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Topics - fortdick

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General Mach Discussion / UC 100 or new computer
« on: April 27, 2016, 10:00:07 PM »
Well, the power supply on my last computer with a LPT port blew.  Now I have to decide whether to fix it, or just go with something like the UC 100 usb/parallel port converter.  I have been using a 64 bit Win 7 machine setup next to my old XP machine to do my MeshCam and CAD stuff, and the XP machine just ran Mach 3.  I would like to just have the one machine, but not enough to spend a gazillion on a new usb breakout board.

Anyone have experience witht the UC 100?  I have looked at the SainSmart and what not, and that seems a risky deal.

Any advice is welcome.

General Mach Discussion / Using f engrave
« on: December 27, 2015, 06:58:49 PM »
F engrave really is a great tool for doing simply inlays and engraving.  And being free, I can afford to use it.  Works outstanding with wood, but I am having some issues engraving aluminum.

I am trying to get some letters engraved, kind of like a serial number, with letters about .187 in.  My problem is that my v bits are a little too wide an angle for this small a work.  I am using .03 tip with a 90* angle.  I can't seem to get to a useful depth and still have clean letters and numbers.  Also, engraving it really cuts deep in wide lines, I am assuming because it is trying to cut the entire line in one pass with the v bit, so it has to go deep to get the proper width.

What size bit would someone suggest for small work?  Is there any useful primer for a beginner on this software?


CVI MachStdMill (MSM) / MachStdMill Personal Edition
« on: November 22, 2015, 12:47:51 PM »
Anyone using MachStdMill by Personal Edition Calypso Ventures?  I am asking because I tried it but the edge finding and touch off functions weren't working.  I was wondering if these buttons were disabled in this edition.


Mach3 under Vista / Stumped on how to code iterations
« on: November 18, 2015, 02:11:41 PM »
I am trying to run simple program to cut a slot making deeper passes with each iteration of the code.  I need to code to make 80 cuts, .015 inches deep.  I have tried a G92 command to reset Z0 after each cycle, but for some reason I can't get the syntax right.  I haven't tried a G10 because, as I understand it, that just resets the G55, G56, etc., for fixtures.  Can someone help me out with how to use G92, or a better alternative.

Thanks from the dummy trying to learn G Code on his own.


General Mach Discussion / Wiring Limit Switches
« on: September 29, 2015, 01:27:53 PM »
Occasionally, I have to bite the bullet and admit how stupid I am.  Although I am a reasonably bright guy, I can't figure out electronics to save my butt.  I have spent hours reading online about limit switches and how to wire them, but even the most basic primer assumes that I know the difference between the three wires I am dealing with.  So I am going to ask some very basic questions and hope that someone will take pity on me and get me squared away.

I have 5 switches, each wired with a shielded cable.  That meaning two wires wrapped in foil and copper strands of wire wound around that.  There is a red, which I assume is for the 5v positive, a white, which I assume to be common, and the copper windings which I am pretty sure is the ground.  Red and white wires are connected to the NC terminal and it appears the copper wire is attached to the comm terminal.  I had hoped to have the switches set to X+ and X- to pin 11, Y+ and Y- to pin 12 and Z+ to pin 13.  That just seems to me to be the logical way of doing it.  I have read section 4.5 of the Mach 3 manual a couple times, and although I understand the principles, nothing there tells me which wire goes where.

I have tried connecting a single switch to pin 13 on my BOB by the following.  5v in to the red wire, ground to the copper and the white to the input pin.  I use the autoset feature in the ports and pins setup I seldom a reaction from the BOB when I trip the switch.  When I do get a reaction, it usually jumps to pin 10 or 11, instead of 13.  Not always, but as often as not.  I tested it with a 220 ohm resistor between the red and the 5v and without the resistor.  

I tested all the cables and all the switches for continuity and that does not seems to be the problem.  That pretty much narrows it down to operator error.  In this case, my stupidity in not knowing which wire does what!

I am resolved to just wiring them in series and having one pin for all the switches and letting Mach 3 decide how to handle limits.  To wire them in series, I am assuming it is like batteries, positive to negative and daisy chain them all the way to the end with 5v+ in the first switch and ground coming out of the last switch.  But is it Red, white, or both that get connected to the comm terminal on the next switch?  Which wire connects to the input pin, red or white?  Do I need a resistor to pull up the current, because it doesn't seem that 5v is passing through the switches when I have them powered?

Again, I am embarrassed by not understanding this stuff.  I really appreciate any help I can get.


G-Code, CAD, and CAM discussions / Interpolation is hard!
« on: February 06, 2015, 03:56:55 PM »
Sometimes it is!

Actually, I am new to this stuff and have been having a hell of a time figuring out what I am doing wrong.  I hope someone can help me out, and maybe I can take another step towards actually knowing what I am doing.

I am trying to mill a circular pocket .5 deep by .8125 diameter in medium steel with my X2 conversion.  I am currently testing it with a 3/8 end mill HSS TIN coated.  I have loaded gcode form three different wizards and each has its own problems.  The closet one to working is the Mach3 circular pocket wizard by Brian Barker.  Everything is fine except that I don't know what to tell the thing for ramp distance.  I have tried to stay conservative with a 2* ramp angle is other wizards, but Brian's doesn't ask for ramp angle, just ramp distance.

I am running at 850 rpm and a feed rate of 4.5, step depth of .01

Can anyone explain what the ramp distance would be?  I hope I don't seem too stupid.


General Mach Discussion / Simple question from a simple mind
« on: December 04, 2014, 01:07:02 AM »
Got my probe working, kinda, now have shifted my efforts to home limit switches.  

I got a simple 5 switch kit from CNC4PC.  The switches are all wired in series and the wiring is a RJ45 plug.  Following the wiring diagram provided, I have Z home, ++ & -- plugged into pin 11 on my BOB,  the Y's into pin 12, the X's into pin 13.  I really don't know why I need to plug into pins 11 or 12, because everything registers pin 13 when I use the auto set to configure.

My question is, since the switches in series equal one switch with 5 gates, why can't I plug the wires from all 3 axes into pin 13 and leave the other two for something else, like a touch plate and an iPod?

J/K about the iPod.


General Mach Discussion / Wiring Wild Horse Econo Probe
« on: November 30, 2014, 01:39:24 PM »
I am my wits end.  I am trying to wire the probe up to my BOB (DB-25) but I can’t get it to work.  I know little if anything about electrical stuff, so whether I need a pull up resistor, and pull down resistor, or an in between resistor has me stumped.  I do know that an LED requires a resistor but just don't know if board has one built in.  

I cut the wire about 6” from the probe body and soldered in a female 3.5 stereo plug so I would have a short wire from the probe in case I wanted to turn it manually for aligning or whatever.  The wiring inside the probe is as follows:
right side of circuit - blue wire
left side circuit -  green wire
the yellow wire goes underneath the circuit board, so I am assuming it to be grounded to the probe case

It appears to me that I attach the the green wire to ground, the blue wire to pin 10, but am not sure if I connect the yellow wire to anything.  Since it is normally a closed circuit, I am thinking that maybe the yellow is a common and has to go to the 5v terminal, but I would ask and see if anyone can give me some advice.  I don’t want to blow it up.
I realize I still have a lot to learn, but am too deep into this hobby to give it up, and too stubborn to admit defeat!

General Mach Discussion / Motor tuning headache
« on: September 20, 2014, 04:26:53 PM »
I am trying to finish up my X2 cnc conversion and am having trouble getting my motors tuned.  I just finished three hours of futile trial and error.  I didn't want to have to ask for help, but I surrender.

I am using a kit I got off EBay from Longs Motor, with 23HS motors.  I learned after the fact that their documentation is lacking, to say the least.  I have it all set up and running, but when I try and tell Mach where to go, it doesn't want to go where I tell it.  I have tried switching the dip switches on the drivers and the config in motor tuning to no avail.

I went to the setup screen and tried calibrating that way, but the setting Mach3 gives me is over the limits.  I started at 2000 120 4 and up to 3600 steps per, but the movement never changed.  Trying to move just on inch gives me about 5/16ths and 2 inches gives me about 25/32's.

My ball screw is .2 ipr, so I figure that at 400  steps per rev, which is the lowest my motor will go, I am at about 2000 steps per unit, so it must be the acceleration that is wrong.

Can someone point me to where I can find an explanation that will help me fix it?  I searched the forum and got a gazillion hits, but have to research after every post I look at and that is too much for my current state of patience.  I just don't know what I am doing wrong here.

Thanks in advance and sorry for not seeing what is probably very obvious.


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