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Messages - Chet

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Hi Rich!
Sorry for the delay on my response!  I'd thought I'd responded!
However, the folks at Shapeoko are trying to be as helpful as they can, but they emphasize that they do not support equipment that is not their own.
I guess that is a reasonable approach, given that most Shapeoko owners are probably not familiar with Mach3.
But, all things considered, it would seem that a Mach3 operating option would be a great selling point!

Thanks, Craig, for the input.
I'm just trying to avoid 're-inventing the wheel'...  ; - )
I don't mind embracing the learning curve, but that can be a sometimes expensive process if the wrong parts are ordered or hooked up incorrectly...

Hi Tweakie!
As you suggested, the Gecko G540 does get a number of recommendations!
I'm just trying to find a drawing that shows the hook up to the Shapeoko 3 motors, power supply, and printer port.
AND with a brief explanation of the tuning/tweaking steps to get everything working together.
But thank you for  your response!

Please guys, if you are using Mach 3 with a Shapeoko 3, please let me know how you actually solved the interface challenge!
Many thanks!

I want to purchase the Shapeoko 3 to replace my homemade CNC router.
I'm already comfortable with my design software and the use of Mach 3.
I've seen YouTube videos of Shapeoko being used with Mach 3, but precious little 'user friendly' documentation/notes.
I understand that an external driver board is necessary for this to happen.
Would one of you successful Mach 3/Shapeoko users please share your setup, including the driver board?
Also the relevant driver settings to calibrate Mach 3 for the Shapeoko motor and pulley system?
It will be much appreciated!

The challenge with playing with the tuning is that testing on Mach 3 can give false results....  It is a guide rather than a proof of performance.
When I was initially setting up the motors I spent considerable time tweaking the motors.  I'd do the testing with the up and down arrow keys and motors would happily hum (chirp & whistle?) along.  I'd do short runs and long runs without a hitch, BUT during a cut I'd catch the motor stall or skip.  And then I'd have to go back and tweak things down a bit.  Now I did get a great cut today, but if I have a problem with the next run I'll focus on the acceleration.  You'll notice that I'm at 37 Vel and 7.0 Acc  (using the practical setups you've seen, my acceleration could slow down to 3.7 and still be "reasonable"...)

Hi Rich!  I only tweaked the velocity/acceleration a bit downwards with the hope the glitches were right on the margin.  And you are right that I do not specify the exact tool changes....  I just need the program to stop after the rough cut and I exchange cutting bits.  I'll check the rate of cut on next job....

First, thank you to everyone who offered their insights and suggestions.
And a special Thank You to Rich who offered many valuable insights into diagnosing the problem.
Because the problem was intermittent, I felt those who suggested it might be a motor slipping problem might be on to something.
I went back to my motor tuning set up and did some minor tweaking:
I changed my velocity from 38.124 to 37, and my acceleration from 10.937 to 7.0
I'd rather run a bit slower with reliability.
Finished my first 5-1/2 hour cut with the new settings and all went well!
-0- On a side note, some time back I did have problems with random Limit Switch triggering.
Turns out the cause of the problem was that I'd used solid wire to correct the micro switches.
One of those wires had broken due to the constant flexing.
I replaced the solid wire with stranded, and all has been OK since.
Once again, thank you to all who read my post and offered their possible solutions.

Hi Rich!
This file is going to be problematic....
The complete file has 914,301 characters and spaces.
If I broke it up into 20,000 character chunks, it would take 45 chunks....
That does not seem desirable....
I have an email on my website if you prefer an alternate response.

Hi Rich!
OK, I think I have all of my ducks in a row here....
My motors and control board came from Hobby CNC:
Here's more info on the motors:
My kit, which includes a power supply, is no longer offered.
Here's info on the unit I have:
3 Axis Unipolar Chopper Control.
Accepts 5, 6, or 8 wire stepper motors.
42 VDC maximum input voltage, 12 VDC minimum input voltage
3.0 Amps Max per phase, 500 ma minimum.
Idle Current Reduction to 50% when idle for 10 seconds.
On board voltage regulation for 5-volt logic with 24 VDC cooling far from motor power supply.
My version of Mach 3 is:  Mach3 2.0, ver R3.042.029
My code generator is Acme Profiler - Coyote Edition
(The Acme program generates a G92 code which has to be erased before using!  You solved the problem this causes for me years ago!)
The motors have felt pretty darn warm, but after a 1/2 hour test this morning I got the following:
X motor: 120 F,  Y motor: 106 F,  Z motor: 100 F  (perhaps a bit cooler than usual)
Table uses 3/8-12 Acme with switches in series
Code is run at 20 ipm for over 5 hours
A shop vac also runs with a router while running the program
The xml files are correct as of now:  X 9600s/38v/12a  -  Y 9600s/38v/11a -  9600s/38v/8a
You can see my unit running if you go to www.ancrsundials.com and click the video box in the lower left corner of the home page
I tried to insert my program, but it was rejected as too long.
I'll see if I can send it in several pieces....
Thank your perseverance in helping me resolve this issue.
The problem is intermittent - the 4th attempt on the above cut came out perfect!

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