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Topics - BIGWING

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SmoothStepper USB / Mach3 ESS G76 threading problems
« on: December 21, 2018, 12:11:51 PM »

I have an Emcoturn 120 lathe that has been working with Mach3 for about a year now. The threading wasn't brilliant but ok.
The surface finish was fairly rough. I put the poor surface finish down to the fact my feed rate could only keep up for RPM 's less than about 250.
To combat this I purchased an Ethernet smoothstepper.

I have set the ESS as best I can and there has been vast improvement in the in the smoothness and available speed of my steppers.

However there is one area that is not working properly that is using the G76 threading cycle. Now I have an intermittent fault that is either
 a) each thread pass not picking up previous so effectively removing all peaks from threads or
 b) cutting no thread at all ie going from start of thread cut to clearance position
 (see attached photo) note predicted tool path seems to be correct but the actual tool path does not always match it)

I have tried with programs produced from cam package and using the threading wizards with the same results.

The threads I need to cut the most is M4 with 0.7 pitch. Now with the RPM set to about 500 the feedrate of 0.7 seems to be very constant in the DRO.
I have three LED's set up to help with threading 1) index 2) trigger 3) threading
The index LED seems to be the only one working. (however not sure if they worked in pre ESS days as I never really paid too much attention to them)

The fault seems to be intermittent as even powering down and back up again can change from one to the other.
 I have got to the stage where I am trying to work my way round altering every setting to see what effect that will have, but to no avail.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated

Just for information my current settings are as follows

Mach3 ver R3.043.062      (when previously turning ok threads I was using a later ver of Mach3)
ESS M3-180220-v4f1-l

controller freq 1 KHz (tried modifying up and down)
spindle 32khz

noise filtering
Encoders/mpg 10.0 (tried modifying up and down)
Misc 10.0 (tried modifying up and down)

Spindle step and dir Pulse width (us) 5.0

stepper settings steps vel acc
x 1280 400 80 (started off with smaller micro steps and
z 1280 400 80 and ended up here)
spindle 1000 120 200

Breakout board Optoport V3 and spindle board V4
I also have an ethernet version pokeys fitted for control panel layout

General Mach Discussion / Access to maintenance parameter values
« on: March 13, 2017, 10:10:08 AM »
Hi All

I want to get my lathe cnc lubrication system up and running

I would like to access some of the values contained in the maintenance flyout

Ideally I would like the combine the value of both the x Total Distance and Z Total Distance

when the combined value is greater than say 20 Metres bring on the pump for a few secs

using either brain or macro

I have noticed that GetParam("TotalHours") works but I can't see anything for Total Distance.

Any help would be greatly appreciated


PoKeys / MPG not working properly
« on: October 17, 2016, 08:39:18 AM »
Hi All

I am at the final stages (I hope) of an Emcoturn 120 lathe mach3 Pokeys 57E retrofit

I had just about everything working fine when I wanted add final piece of jigsaw

which was the installation and control of a lubrication system. When the relay was

activated to operate pump I was getting some electrical noise showing on my screen.

To combat this I decided to tidy up the bunch of spagetti that I called wiring.

I rerouted all on cable tray (separating power and signal) and checked all my cable shielding grounds etc etc.

All has worked well EXCEPT my MPG wheel that I use to control jogging on

the Z and X axis.  When I start to jog using the wheel (using step) If I move just

one increment just keeps pulsing movement and only stops when the reset is pushed.

When the reset is activated again the movement continues. It only stops fully when

mach shut down and then started up again. I have noticed that in the diagnostics page

the mpg dro shows -65536.00 as soon it is used.

Note. The pulsing is not regular but rather more intermittent but always there.

The jogging works perfectly if I use the keyboard arrows or the Tab flyout screen to control the jogging.

The MPG was set up on pin 8 (A)  and pin 12 (B) using ultra fast encoder  setting.

(Pin 13 Ultra fast encoder index was automatically generated but not used. Can't remember if that was there before)

I have tried using pin positions 1(A) and 2 (B)  (fast encoder checked) but same outcome.

The wheel is the large version supplied by Pokeys.

No signs of noise on the system now.

(The ethernet cable is cat6 shielded)

5v supply seems ok  (tried using both pokeys 5v and separate 5v supply)

(don't have oscilloscope to check wheel can this be done using voltmeter?)

Any help would be greatly appreciated


General Mach Discussion / G54 work offset issues
« on: May 18, 2016, 11:56:44 AM »
Hi All

Just about finished converting an Emcoturn lathe to mach3 control.

Now just starting to make some swarf.

I have used Mach mill for some time but this is my first venture into Mach lathe.

I have a couple of issues with the work offsets table. They may or may not be a

problem, The problem may just be in my understanding of how they should work.

A) I have a rear mounted toolpost and have this option selected for all tools (rear toolpost led lit)

I was expecting that with the rear toolpost setup selected a G55 workoffsets would be generated

It isn't. It generates a G54 workoffset. But having said that from what I have tried so far it appears to work!!

What I am worried about is. As I am new to running a Mach3 lathe, if this is wrong,  is there a situation where

this issue is likely to bite me some time in the future?

B) Secondly. I wanted to try and save the X axis work offset so I didn't have to do the complete skimming of

stock etc etc each time I switch the machine on.

My lathe has home switches so at the moment when I switch on I immediately home z and x.

Does the act of homing wipe out the offsets?

I have tried using the save button in the offsets table with no joy.

At the moment the offsets stay as long as the machine is switched on, but are gone on startup

Is this the correct way it should work?

For information I have the following settings

(tick)  Copy G54 from G59.253 on startup

(tick)  Persistant offsets

(tick)  Persistant Dro's

(tick)  Optional offsets save   (save fixtures etc via message boxes during shutdown)

As I say because of my inexperience in using the cnc lathe these issues may or may not be a problem.

here's hoping someone will point me in the right direction

cheers George

PoKeys / how to use macros with Pokeys 57E
« on: May 18, 2016, 05:51:59 AM »
Hi All

I am in the process of converting my Emcoturn lathe to Mach3 and I am incorporating a Pokeys (Ethernet version)

to help with the control panel.

The lathe has 8 stations and I have modified my tool change macro so that when I enter T101 ...to....T808 into

the MDI line it works fine . However it is very cumbersome and slow with a lot of typing involved. (well, it feels like it at the time !!)

I have spare buttons on my control panel and would like link one button to each tool change position.

(ie button 1 pressed runs macro with line    Code (" T101 ")   etc etc

I did link up one button to run a macro to index the turret one position for each press of the button

(which works well but is very slow in operation as it fully locks the tool home each time)

using SetTriggerMacro in association with OEM code 301

but that " appears " to only allow control of one macro. I want 8 one for each button.

I used to have the Pokeys 56 Usb version a few years ago  and I have it in the back of my mind that

I was able to directly link every button straight away to a macro.

I suspect I am missing something very obvious and everyone is laughing at my stupidity but I just

can't for the life of me see what to do.

Can anyone out there help and put me out of my misery

cheers George


I am partway through a project getting my 8 station tool turret up and running and now I'm stumped.

So far the turret is working mechanically and when I press a button a short macro controls it so that

it indexes one position. At the same time a Brain program reads 4 sensors compares against truth table

then outputs the current tool. All that appears to be working fine.

The next step of the project was to make it fully automatic with all the indexing controlled from M6start macro.

I thought it would be a relatively straightforward extension of my initial program. Apparently not.

After some investigation I identified where the program was failing. It wasn't reading the selected tool !!!

I have whittled the program down to the minimum just to test this function


Dim tool As Integer

tool = GetSelectedTool()

Message   " Requested   Tool     " & tool '  just a test output to check function read

As a test when I type for example    M6  T4     into the MDI line    I was expecting to get

Requested Tool  4          instead I get         Requested Tool     0    and the current tool DRO also changes to  '0'

I have tried  on mach3 mill and it works as expected  but not on mach3 lathe

For information

I have  CONFIG - TOOL CHANGE-  set to   Auto tool changer

tried on versions  R3.043.066  and R3.043.052   with three different lathe screen sets

I have looked through the forum and cannot see   this flagged up as a recurring fault

and considering the amount of lathe tool turrets there are out there is must be something I am doing wrong

Any help would be greatly appreciated

cheers George

ps I have also tried removing the brain program from the equation but result is just the same

General Mach Discussion / Why Is this happening?
« on: September 06, 2015, 07:57:09 AM »
I am in the process of setting up my lathe tool turret

I am using small stepper motor, an encoder and using Pokeys 57E

I have a button via Pokeys calling a macro controlling the operation.

In the macro I have G01 code controlling the movement with a high

feed rate F900. I need this high a feed rate because of the turret gearing

It all works as expected except  when I first load up mach and try it

at this point it appears to use the feed rate in feed DRO.

It completes the cycle ok but way to slow.

Once it has completed one cycle it seems to follow the macro perfectly.

Does anyone have any ideas on what could be influencing the first cycle

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated

cheers George

PoKeys / Pokeys 57E Encoder reset
« on: September 05, 2015, 09:00:03 AM »
I have hit a brick wall here and in desperate need of help

I am driving my lathe tool turret with a small stepper motor. The turret rapid rotates (47deg) anticlockwise past location, pawl engages then slowly rotates (2 deg) clockwise to locate etc.

I have got it working physically in that I press a button and  it indexes properly. However as a safety feature I have added an encoder to verify that it has indexed correctly.

(eventually I want to get it working automatically via  M6 macro)

I have linked the turret rotation up to A axis and that DRO is working fine. I have created a encoder count DRO  and that is mimicking the values in the Pokeys F7 table  but what I can't

get it to do is to zero. Note if I press the reset button on the F7 table it does zero but not via my macro.

What I want to achieve is the following. (encoder related only)

When the button is pressed the macro is called.
The encoder count is set to zero.
When the turret rotation is complete the encoder count value is compared with a reference value.
If it is within range proceed, if not output an error message and stop.

For the moment I have cleaned the macro down to just two lines

DoOEMButton(1011)  ' This zeros the A axis DRO and this works'   I have left this in as this proves my link from the button to the macro works

SetOEMDRO(102,0)  ' This isn't working

For information

The encoder is set up as encoder 2 in pokeys mapped to OEM DRO 102 " MPG2" and setup in config ports and pins encoders

(Also don't know if it's relevant but I am not using pokeys pulse engine)

I am pulling my hair out here so any help would be greatly appreciated

cheer George

Brains Development / compare immediate not working
« on: June 16, 2015, 08:19:47 AM »
Hi Guys

This is my first attempt at a brain so the solution to my problem may be human error and immediately obvious to someone. I hope!!!

I am working on my lathes 8 station tool turret which has 4 optical switches used to detect the current tool.

It's logic uses the following truth table

tool position       1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8

switch    1          1     1     1     1     1     1     1     1
switch    2          1     1     1     0     0     0     1     1
switch    3          1     0     0     0     1     1     1     1
switch    4          0     0     1     1     1     1     1     0

The switches are connected via a pokeys and are referenced to INPUT #1 , INPUT #2, INPUT #3,  INPUT #4

when I rotate the turret the switch signals seem to follow the truth table pattern ok.

These signals are reflected accurately in both the first column of the brain program

(ie input colours  blue/ green  change  to reflect truth table)

the pokeys status page and the mach3 diagnostics page so (I think) the input signals are fine.

(What I want to do is use a brain program (for speed) to set the current tool position then use a

simpler macro to control tool changes.)

The structure for the program is straight forward and I have attached a photo of my layout.

The problem is the second column of the program does not respond to the changes of the inputs.

ie the immediate compare isn't comparing.

More often than not the immediate compare boxes just retain there initial startup value ( ie blue or green)

very occasionally some will change but with an incorrect result.

I am not entirely convinced than my logic is correct

ie  IF   input 1  AND   input     AND   input  3    And   input 4   are correct   then enter tool number into current tool DRO

I am not sure if changing the value in the dro changes the current tool value. I have the feeling that

SetCurrentTool ()  should be employed somewhere  but to simplify the matter and to test the compare function

I have also done a version that removed the last two columns of the program and took out all reference

to current tool and changed it with a simple output 1 .......output8 

this would also have benefit of letting me check the results on the  diagnostics page

but result was just the same.

Any help would be greatly appreciated as I don't know what to try next.

cheers George

ps I don't know if this is normal or not but if I go into program edit then click on the comparison box

the compare immediate is highlighted  but none of the other  3 options are highlighted

ie greater than ,  less than ,  or equal to 

even though the comparison box shows the equal sign  !!!

General Mach Discussion / Spindle setup problems
« on: November 28, 2014, 02:11:19 PM »
I have encountered a problem incorporating a SP4DC spindle control card into my cnc lathe project.

equipment used
SP4DC spindle controller    manual  http://www.diycnc.co.uk/spindleV4.pdf  
Breakout board UIM2901-5a  manual   http://www.robocutters.co.uk/uim2901.pdf  
Stepper drive Leadshine AM882    manual  http://www.leadshine.com/UploadFile/Down/AM882m.pdf  )

I chose this bob initially as I thought it would control my lathe spindle. Unfortunately upon closer inspection I noticed that it only had one relay so it could only do fwd/stop and I require both forward and reverse. Hence the need for the SP4DC board. I have wired it as shown in the attached file

The good news is I can get both the spindle and the stepper motors to work independently. The problem is I can't get the steppers to work when the spindle board is connected. I am not sure if the conflict is to do with the software settings or the wiring. From the bob manual (although there are some typos)

The A Axis pins are    STEP  9    DIR   8   ENA  14

The spindle motor settings I have used  are     Output #1 (ccw)  8        Output # 2  (cw)   14    and   Enable    14

which means there are two outputs using pin 14   !!!!!

When wired as shown and the enable is activated the voltage at  ENA is only   3v   and the AM882 drive requires   3.5v
(when the drive has the correct enable voltage the power light flashes)

Question 1   My electrical knowledge is very  limited. Can anyone see any wiring or setup errors here?

When this didn't work my conclusion was that it did not like two outputs on the same pin. So I thought of using pin 1 to control the run signal but this also proved to be unsuccessful. Mainly I think due to my lack of electrical knowledge. Pin 1 has two connectors P1E and P1C  . My assumed layout is shown on the sketch. (I am also assuming that the 5v supply for P1C is provided internally on the bob) so all I do is connect run to P1C and GND  to P1E.

I have shorted the two right hand pins of both JP7/JP8 to disable PWM output and hence enable  the terminals  P1c and P1E

I have tried to control this output using  Output  #2  (cw)    enabled      port 1        pin 1      active high

but am showing no voltage across terminals when I try to start spindle.

Question 2    Can anyone make any sense of my wiring or logic on how to control the run signal using Pin 1

Any help would be greatly appreciated

cheers George

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