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Messages - dbren

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Once they commit to going forward, I'll contact you.  Thanks!

You make it sound so simple!  :)  Thanks for all the good info.  It may take me awhile to go through the project, but you have given me enough direction to keep me busy for awhile.  I may have some more questions as I go through it.

Thanks again!

Hey Gary, thanks for the reply!  I just recently started through a course on PLCs and have software to simulate the projects.  I'll check out the boards at Automation Direct.

So, do the PLCs have plenty of memory to download a few dozen locations? 

Would the encoders input directly to the PLC for location?


We are thinking of using a scissor lift for a parts picking operation.  We would like to load the locations using XZ coordinates, then the lift would go to that X location on the isle and raise to the Z rack height.  We would need to use a controller that would link to the electric drive of the lift and incorporate acceleration/deceleration.  M00 codes with safety devices would make sure the lift doesn't head for the next location unexpectedly.  The safety devices would likely include mechanical limit switches as well as a two-handed 'resume motion' command input.  Position feedback would probably be encoders on the drive wheels for X position and maybe just a timer on the hydraulic drive for Z motion to determine height.  Each axis would reset zero when X hits its home position when returning to the end of the isle and Z when it lowers to the bottom, and hopefully this would be adequate for any error correction.

Any thoughts on the best controller type to use for this operation?  I don't know if something like the Arduino could be linked to Mach and do everything we need.  We will likely need to use relays with more amps to control the scissor lift, but that's an easy thing.

General Mach Discussion / Re: How to program a toolsetter probe
« on: March 06, 2014, 11:17:47 AM »
No, I haven't had time yet.  I'll post as soon as I can test the method and let you know the results.  If you beat me to it, please let me know how it worked.

General Mach Discussion / Re: How to program a toolsetter probe
« on: March 03, 2014, 07:10:42 PM »
I got a reply from a machine company rep who said they don't normally recommend Gcode or programming, but he made a one-time exception and said to try this. It may take me a few days to work it into my schedule, but below is what was recommended. Like him, I'm not responsible for anyone who tries it and I plan to hand trip the toolsetter the first time to test it.

1. Set up your toolsetter on the table

2. Select a work offset coordinate system that you don’t plan on using for your part program, e.g. G58

3. Remove any tool from the spindle and type ‘0’ in the tool dro (this cancels TLO)

4. Remove the collet or tighten the drawbar to the point where the collet no longer protrudes past the spindle face. We will be touching the spindle face off on the toolsetter

5. Use the “Move and set work offset” button on the Z probe screen. This will move the spindle face down until it touches off on the top of the toolsetter, and set the G58 Z position to Zero right at the triggered position of the toolsetter

6. Then, in your g code program, use the following code (I’ll assume you’re in G54 and measuring tool 1 for this example):

a. G49 (Cancel TLO)

b. G58 (Switch to work offset G58)

c. G0 X--- Y--- (move the tool over the toolsetter)

d. G31 Z-10 F15 (probe tool down till it touches the toolsetter)

e. G10 L1 P1 Z#2002 (set the tool length offset value to the G58 Z position where the probe tripped)

f. G0 Z3 (move up to safe distance)

g. G54 (reapply old work offset coordinate system)

h. G43 H1 (apply new TLO for tool 1)

General Mach Discussion / How to program a toolsetter probe
« on: March 03, 2014, 04:00:53 PM »
I need to use Gcode to activate a tool height setting.

Can anyone show me a sample code that will position the tool above the toolsetter, initiate the downward move, and reset the tool height offset?

The tool will have already been touched off, but this is to double check the engraving tip and make any adjustments needed while in a loop program doing multiple parts.    I'm building a single part changer so I can mind my other machine while this machine is engraving.

I'm thinking something like this:

G1 X___ Y___ Z___ F 50. (Go to position above toolsetter)
G31 Z-.1 F15.  (Does this initiate a move to the toolsetter?)(I have not been able to find real instructions, so I don't know what happens after it trips the toolsetter switch)
G10 L1 Z0.  (reset T1 height offset???)

I appreciate any help or leads to someone who knows how to do this.

General Mach Discussion / Using toolsetter inside a loop program
« on: March 02, 2014, 10:39:34 AM »
I have recently purchased a Tormach 1100 PCNC and am using it full time for repetitive engraving operations.  I produce 5 series of small parts and each part gets about 25 to 30 characters 1/8" tall.  (Part #, metal cert #, Revision, etc)  Part runs are normally 500 to 1000 in quantity.

My current temporary setup is simply side and back stops clamped to the table and I slide 10 parts in place and tighten a top clamping bar and a Mitee-bite toe clamp to hold them snug.  The program is just a subroutine of a single part engraving and it is called up with a new G52 address for each part location.  This setup works, but it keeps me jumping from the Haas which does the part cutout to the Tormach for reloading.

I am currently putting parts together for a single parts feeder which will operate from a relay board sold by Tormach.  The board will operate with Gcode and run the 3 or 4 actuators that remove the engraved part and slide a new part in place.

OK, finally, I am to my question:  I purchased a Tormach toolsetter probe pad.  I know I can manually go to the probe screen to initially set the tool length.  However; I'm only engraving about .005" depth and as the engraver tip wears, I occasionally have to reset the height offset to compensate for the wear.  I usually get a total of about .005" of wear adjustment before the tip is too far gone to continue.  I plan to program a loop (G47?) so that as long as there are parts in the chute that it will continue.  I am looking for info on what the actual programming code needed to tell it to go tap the toolsetter probe pad after every 10 parts and reset the tool height offset.  I've been told that the Tormach does not actually use wear values but only height of diameter offsets, so I'd have to use the actual too height offset.  I'd also like to program a parameter that says it can only offset the original tool height by a maximum .005" before alarming out and stopping the machine until reset.

Any hints, ideas, or leads would be appreciated and I'll gladly share programming as I have proofed it out on the machine.  I have plans to also design a bar feeder and single part fixture on the Haas but figured this  engraving operation might be the easiest place to start my education.

General Mach Discussion / Re: Z axis not stable
« on: July 28, 2008, 07:47:54 AM »
Thanks, Hood, I'll give that a try.  Another user suggested I try to separate my cables better and I'll try that also.  I appreciate the help.

General Mach Discussion / Z axis not stable
« on: July 27, 2008, 10:45:42 PM »
Hello, I'm a new user/member here, and really do like the forum and instructional videos.  Very well done.   I have a Cinncinnati Arrow 500 that I produce oilfield parts on and set up a new Taig mill with Mach 3 to do the engraving.  So far I am very pleased with the setup, but still have a few items that need attention.

I engrave about 25 (1/8") characters per part, with 4 parts in the fixture.  Material is 1018 cold roll, tool is carbide 60 deg. point, 5000 rpm (fastest available on the Taig), and I use a mist system.  It takes about 5 minutes to engrave the four parts.  Almost every cycle, I have to adjust the Z axis UP from about .003 to .010.  Normally, wear would mean that you adjust down as the tool wears, so I've got something else happening; my tool keeps lowering.  I haven't done any real tuning on the motors, except that I know I'm way slower on velocity and acceleration than I need to be.

Occasionally, my X or Y home will relocated during a cycle with no apparent reason.   The amount has varied from about .1" to about .7".  Not sure what is happening there, either. 
My first question is: if my motors are not tuned to optimal, could that be the reason? 

I've been programming and running cnc equipment for a couple years, but am not an expert; still have lots to learn.  Any hints would be appreciated.
Don B.

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