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Messages - SimonRafferty

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Mach4 Toolbox / Re: EMCO PCMill100 or VMC100 Toolchange Macro M6
« on: November 27, 2021, 11:44:40 AM »
The motors in the machine are a funny 5 pole design - and it's almost impossible to find different drivers for them.  Most people seem to replace the motors.
I figured the motors were perfectly good - so it made more sense to re-use the existing drives & motors.

They are not the smoothest or quietest, compared to modern drivers - but they work just fine.  They give 0,01mm resolution which is sufficient.

Mach4 Toolbox / Re: EMCO PCMill100 or VMC100 Toolchange Macro M6
« on: November 27, 2021, 11:07:42 AM »
the other side

Mach4 Toolbox / Re: EMCO PCMill100 or VMC100 Toolchange Macro M6
« on: November 27, 2021, 11:06:56 AM »
Not the tidiest machine cabinet in the world (at the moment anyway).

The ATC works fine inside a program, automatically.  Don't adjust the feed rate while the ATC is running though as it uses timing to determine the gap between the sensor positions.  If you change the speed (or the feed is too high), it messes up the timing.

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach4 Lathe - which motion controller?
« on: January 05, 2021, 04:06:21 AM »
You're right, you can - and that's what I use on my Mill.  However, my servo spindle controller is an old Fanuc which only has 0-10V + Direction.
I talked to CS - and they said it was impossible.  Unfortunately, I don't believe in impossible!


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach4 Lathe - which motion controller?
« on: January 05, 2021, 01:50:30 AM »
Thanks for all your help.
I had pretty much narrowed it down to PDMX or HiCON but then, decided to buy a CSMIO-IP/S.

The reasons were mainly faster delivery (to the UK) and cost.  Also, since the machine was already running CSMIO-IP/M, the re-wiring would be minimal.  In practice it only took 30 mins to get it up & running.

So far, it looks good.  My problem with jerky servos has vanished.  I think the IP/M couldn't deliver pulses fast enough.
The only negative seems to be that it doesn't (obviously) control the spindle as a servo - just as a simple VFD.  It clearly has some speed regultion / calibration inside, as the spindle speed is spot on but it's not regulating it on the fly so the speed changes with load.

Rigid tapping works OK with small taps - but because there's no speed regulation, it's easy to stall the spindle on larger ones.  I'll have to see if I can tweak the servo parameters to fix it.

My next machine will be HiCON though for certain!

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: How to display C axis in Lathe graphics?
« on: January 02, 2021, 05:07:59 PM »
Thanks Brian,
My first thought on how to approach it was to open the G-Code file and parse it line by line.  Then it's just a case of join-the-dots in 3D, mapped to 2D.  I'm guessing there's a counter for the current line being executed somewhere to allow it to update on the fly.

In that case, the latter would be more useful.  I've not actually tried drawing - but I've seen a couple of things other people have, so I think the basic commands are there.  It ought to be a simple line drawing (not a Rembrandt  ;)).

I'd give this a pretty low priority in your schedule - I have a feeling you've got quite enough to think about without my random tangents!

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: How to display C axis in Lathe graphics?
« on: January 02, 2021, 01:04:32 PM »
I've not played with it yet - but since you can draw on a screen panel, I had wondered about making my own tool path display in Lua?

I also have a C Axis and (once I build it), live tooling.  There isn't much support for either, natively, in Mach4 (it's a bit unusual on 'hobby' machines) - but it strikes me, the tools are probably there to implement a solution.

It will have to wait for my next spell of time off (between films) though.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 open source content
« on: January 02, 2021, 12:54:09 PM »
There is a fair bit of open-source content for Mach4, but you have to hunt for it!

We, the users, want Mach to be all things to all machines - but with the variety of machines, that's almost impossible out of the box.  Mach4 has a nice, scalable architecture and delivers most of the common things you need for most machines.  They've also made it easier to script our own solutions to customise it to our specific requirements.

OK, that does require learning to write the script - but there are some good examples and great videos that explain how all the bits fit together.  Why some things are possible / easy, and others not (or at least are difficult).

The ease of modification also means that the screens people have developed are for their own machines, with code specific to them.  If you try to run the screen on a different machine, it may not work.  To fix it, you need to code - and if you learn to code, it's often easiest just to start with one of the standard screens and hack it about until it looks like, and does what you want.

It all feels a bit daunting at first - but with the help and particularly videos, learning bit by bit is surprisingly easy!

CS-Lab / Re: Jerky movements in complex toolpaths.
« on: December 25, 2020, 11:15:26 AM »
I don't know if you found a solution to this - but I'll tell you mine all the same!

I had the same issue.  CS Support wasn't really much  help, but I found a comment on line suggesting that a faster PC fixed it for them.  I was running a new i3 with 8GB 2GHz - so it isn't slow by any means.  My servos (Fanuc with Ultra3000) were perfectly tuned & lightning fast.  Running in test mode from the Ultra3000, or even a pulse generator they moved smoothly.

Connected to the CSMIO however, they were lumpy / jerky as hell.  Looking at the scope in the U3000, I could see the step pulses were coming in erratically.

I tried it with a i7 16Gb 4GHz - and now the axis are smooth.

I fail to understand why a motion controller needs a fast PC.  The jerkyness appeared even on straight line moves G0 Z500 kind of thing where I imagine the PC would just send one coordinate to the controller which would deliver the pulses at the required frequency.  However, it appears to send continuously - maybe so you can stop in the middle of a move?  It seems even more daft when the old PC with Mach3 & a parallel port BoB could drive them just fine.

The upshot is - if your servos are jerky, use a faster PC.

Mach4 Toolbox / Re: Troubles with ATC script and Disable / Stop
« on: December 24, 2020, 05:16:01 AM »
I'd found the same thing - but assumed it was just not supported and everybody but me knew about it!

Despite having lots of problems (lack of type casting being a big one) - it is an easy to write, easy to understand language (even if it trips you up occasionally).  Probably not a bad choice for non-coders?

I do wonder why they didn't go with VB Script & use Visual Studio as the IDE.  VB ticks the easy box but has a proper stack and types - and is more common than Lua.

That said, I'm grateful that it has any kind of scripting interface!  We can always work around the problems.


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