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Messages - pstenabaugh

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General Mach Discussion / Re: Nmotion Controller
« on: March 09, 2018, 01:48:51 AM »
Hey guys with regards to this nMotion controller, I have finally found my original emails from when I made the purchase last Oct 2017.  I purchased this unit from www.amanmachinery.com.  On their Alibaba page... https://wholesaler.alibaba.com/product-detail/HOT-Sale-MACH3-USB-interface-board_60617319093.html?spm=a2700.icbuShop.94.4.609478f2c6Z4cb check out their use of the Artsoft Logo etc.  This is why I had originally suspected that the device was endorsed by Artsoft.  If not then I stand corrected, but I dont know if there is anything that Artsoft can do about it.  Perhaps by registering a dispute with Alibaba, it might stir things up a bit.

At any rate even after this length of time, they still respond to my messages.  If anyone on the forum needs a copy of the manual for this please message me and I will gladly send them a copy.

The good news is that this device has been reduced a bit in price.  I purchased the 6 axis version last year at $172 US and I think it's now down to about $120.

This device seems to be ok, except that you need the 'usbmove.dll' file, and I am currently waiting for an updated copy from them, in the chance it is newer than what I have.  I do have a copy of that file courtesy of the guys on this forum but I havent installed it yet.  You will need a 24 volt power supply for this device, so I am now waiting on delivery of one from China, hence the hold up - aside from procrastination.

If anyone is looking for closed loop stepper kits - with the drivers, I also have some links to reputable Chinese companies.  These complete kits are appox $90 US - $130 US depending on the motor size.  I have 3 motors now in the process of being hooked up.  I'll try to remember to post back with my results.

General Mach Discussion / Re: Nmotion Controller
« on: February 08, 2018, 07:11:41 PM »
Thanks to everyone who has posted on this issue.  I cant find my invoice for this item, however I recall when I purchased it last year, the seller was advertising the Artsoft logo, so I assumed that those folks had checked it out, or tested it and were supporting the product, but perhaps not.  At any rate, one place where it is currently available is this place... https://www.thanksbuyer.com/upgraded-nmotion-mach3-6-axis-usb-cnc-motion-card-interface-adapter-for-engraving-machine-servo-step-motor-45150 .... this guy also retails on ebay as well.

Doing an ebay search for 'nmotion mach3 cnc controller' yields several places in China for this unit.  Be careful though as prices vary quite a bit. This controller will handle up to 6 axis machines, which is what I purchased for about $170 US last year.  I see it now for $153 US plus shipping.

I purchased this as I am installing some closed loop stepper motors (with built in encoders) and the matching hybrid servo/stepper drivers.  I initially started out with an 'NVUM' controller but couldnt get it to work properly as it kept killing my USB port, so I would have to reboot to get it going again.  10 minutes later it would die.  I checked some blogs and found others that were having the same problem so I looked for something else and found this nMotion controller.  I contacted them initially and they confirmed this controller would work properly with the hybrid motors so I bought one.

If this works it will be great as there is a full - error checking closed loop - between the motor and the driver, via the encoders, so supposedly there are not more missed steps.  There are several suppliers for these motors in China, but if anyone is interested, then email me and I will give you my contacts.  These motor/driver combos are approximately $120US per kit depending on the motor size etc.  Make sure you order a matched set.

I am sequestered in Calgary, Alberta if anyone is from this area. Please feel free to PM me.

If/when I get this beast operational I will post back my results.

Thanks all.


General Mach Discussion / Nmotion Controller
« on: February 06, 2018, 09:36:08 PM »
I have purchased one of the new technology 'N-motion' cnc controllers.  I purchased this partly because it appears to have been endorsed by the Mach3 / Artsoft people. I also want this as I am using closed loop stepper motors with the hybrid servo drivers.  in order to connect up the drivers I need the connections that are available on the Nmotion controller.

In the installation manual it says that it is necessary to download and install the 'Nmotion.zip' file which contains the file 'usbmove.dll' a customized .dll file that has to be loaded in to the Mach folder.

The problem is - NO ONE tells you where to get this file.  I did some searching and the best I found was a Chinese version that was on a non-translatable website.

I am VERY upset that the Artsoft people would endorse such a product when it isnt properly supported.  Even the user manual is difficult to find but I finally did get a copy of that, but no .dll file

Can anyone on the forum help me out here and give me link as to where I might get this file?

General Mach Discussion / Re: Weird action in Mach 3 - need help
« on: September 01, 2014, 06:39:27 PM »
Ok, here is an update to the eratic Z operation..... problem solved with thanks to Art.

The initial problem was solved by using a new .xml file.  Recently I had run the same file on my cnc milling machine (14 hour run - flawlessly), so I copied that xml file to my router.  I did an initial test just as the file came in without changing anything and low and behold the eratic operation vanished.  Now I was both happy and confused and I wanted to know why this happened for future reference.  I continued along and gradually reset all my motor parameter and configurations, testing as I went to ensure nothing weird would pop up.

It was all good now however in this process I also realized that the Z axis had never been calibrated since I had installed my Xylotex controller - because I didnt need the Z for the lathe operation, except to set the cutter height, but I had forgotten all about that.  With the Z axis calibrated, now I was ready to go.  That resolved my dilemma as to why after 7 hours of cutting the cutter had only penetrated -.650" whereas the Mach DRO was showing -1.75".

With things all solved I re-started the 14 hour routing process, and now about 3 hours in, everything is running fine.

Art sent me an email saying that he figured the issue was because of backlash.  I replied saying I had no backlash due to my design of using ball screws and timing belts. Art replied back that the issue was likely due to 'BACKLASH' being enabled in Mach.  So now I had to check that out.....

I loaded up Mach3 alternately using each of the xml files.  First off the old suspect one, and low and behold the damn backlash WAS enabled, it was set to 20% and the Z axis was also selected with a backlash of 0.0035"...... wow, I have no idea where that came from, but there it was........ when I booted up with the newly configured file I found that backlash was NOT enabled, although it was set to 100% which I think is the default.

So this certainly seems to be the root of the problem.  Once I am finished my routing project I will play with this backlash setting and see if I can replicate the eratic operation.  I am pretty sure this is the answer but I just want to know for sure, for future reference.

So for you other guys out there, keep this in mind if your machinery starts doing weird things on you.....


General Mach Discussion / Weird action in Mach 3 - need help
« on: September 01, 2014, 12:55:09 PM »
Over the past several months I have been using my cnc router in a weird manner, by connecting it to a mini wood lathe to create a cnc lathe setup.  The lathe holds and spins the wood while the router, using a fixed carbide insert, does the profiling.  This has been working very well for me, but the setup that I use does not require the use of the Z axis, apart from setting the tool height on the lathe.  After that has been done, I go into the Mach setups and disable the Z axis so that I don’t accidently move it up or down.  

All this is good, however today I had to do some regular 3D routing to create a mold for a friend, so for the first time in many months the Z axis now comes into play.  This is a 14 hour process between roughing and finishing passes.  So today the first 7 hour stint was for the roughing pass.  In my process of getting things setup and switched around I had to move the Z axis up and down many times and I found that in doing so it acted very strange.

When I pressed and held the manual jog key, the Z would start to move in a normal acceleration mode for about a second or so until it reached what I think was the max speed, then it would slow down (decelerate) over a few seconds, then it would accelerate again back up to the max speed and maintain that speed as long as the key was held down.  This would happen in both directions every time I pressed the up and down keys.  When the Z axis was moving fast and slow and fast again, you could see the numbers in the DRO reflect that fast/slow motion every time, so it appears as though Mach was generating some weird signal that is causing the stepper motor to work like this.  At no time did it sound as though the motor was skipping steps so I tried running the file hoping that things would turn out ok, but they didn’t.

Running the router, constantly over the course of about 6-1/2 hours, the DRO screen on Mach said that the cutter should be at -1.7500” but in fact the cutter was actually at about -.6600”.  So for some reason the Z axis has lost over 1” of depth.  I don’t know if it would be possible that Mach would change the scaling on just the Z axis to do that or not?  At least the work piece is salvageable since the cutting was just less than it was supposed to be, so once I get things working properly I can start over.  If this was attributed to missing steps, then one would think that it would be out a lot more than that, over that period as the router should miss steps in the up direction more so than when going down, due to the weight of the axis mechanism.  The Z axis runs on a ball screw so it is pretty free to turn – at least it is supposed to be.

Before I actually ran the file, I did a calibration check (just once though) on the Z axis and it moved 1” for me and was within less than 0.001” so I didn’t check that any further.

One thing that I have so far is to remove the suspect motor and test it out without being connected.  I first determined that the ball screw on this axis is still free to turn, so the bearings etc seem to be out of the equation.  Next I booted up the controller and with the motor lightly clamped down I proceeded to do some rapid joggles with the motor.  With the motor sitting free I could still get the same acceleration, de-acceleration and re-acceleration as when it was installed.  The motor will accelerate for about 2 seconds, then slow down almost to a stop, then pick back up a and accelerate up to full rapid speed.  What now get stranger is that repeated tests - going in the same direction very rarely repeat the weird acceleration action, the motor seems to operate normally by accelerating then holding a constant speed.  Where the weird action shows up is when I reverse directions.  I appears as though the de-acceleration process only shows up on the first motion of the motor, as repeated tests in any one direction allow the motor to operate normally - until you reverse it.

Naturally this is where the cnc routing will be affected since the motor action is almost a reversing process every time it moves, so with this weird thing happening the cnc router is off the grid until I can solve the problem.

The X and Y axis, do not act in this manner they are working just fine.  The X axis is a dual drive with 2 – 1260 stepper motors (slaved to the A axis) and connected with timing belts geared 4:1.  The Y axis is a 1:1 ball screw with a 960 stepper on it.  The stepper on the Z is a Nema 23 1:1 575 oz in motor.

The controller I am using is a 4 axis unit from Xylotex with Gecko 202 drivers.

I have never seen Mach do this before and I am hoping someone might have an idea or maybe someone has seen this happen previously.  I have attached a copy of my .xml file if that might help.


Peter Stenabaugh

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« on: June 13, 2014, 08:38:55 PM »
I use mach 3, and will be using Mach 4 to run lathe turning files since Mach turn is such a poor program and apparently is never going to be upgraded.  This works very well, however in the Mach configuration when I select the X-Z as the active plane, the selection reverts back to Y-Z every time, can this be fixed to stay as the X-Z plane.  Also when selecting the active plane, it would be really nice to have the graphic tool path display default to the same plane that is selected.  This eliminates the need to constantly rotate the tool path image to the correct orientation.

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« on: June 13, 2014, 08:34:05 PM »
Tool Path:

when scrolling through the tool path, there is no visual indicator of where the tool is located, on the graphic display.  This was available in mach 3, can this be added for Mach 4, it is really helpful when trying to optimize the g-code.

With the help of a programmer friend, we have figured a quick fix to the feed rate issue I have discussed above.  Once the g-code has been created in Dolphin Lathe, you can edit the code from the Edit menu using Notepad while still in the cam program.  All you need to do is to run a Find and Replace routine - Find G01 and replace ALL INSTANCES with G01 F3.0 - or whatever feed rate you want.  This of course is a global change but at least it shouldnt crash any tools on the plunge for you.  You can still edit any individual blocks you might need to change.

At least until the Dolphin post guy gets things fixed properly, this is a quick fix.  I'll let you know if/when the Lathe post is corrected, and also attach a copy for any that want it.


If you look at your old posts you could tell if there used to be an issue or not.  What I found with V12 was that there would be a block starting with G00 (which tells Mach to use max rapid speed) then coordinates, the next line would also have X&Z coordinates but no prefix, so the machine would stay in the rapid feed mode.  The second line after the G00 is usually G01 plus coordinates.  At the end of this line there should be a 'F 5.0' or something similar to specify the required machining feed rate.  It is this Feed Rate command that does not show up in these instances, therefore Mach stays in max rapid speed for the duration of the entire process.

This sure makes for short machining times but really *********ty results, broken cutters etc, since you cant machine at max rapid speed......

So anyone that is using Dolphin Lathe V12 be cautious about this - and make sure you COMPLAIN to them about the screwed up post processor.  I tried all the post processors that were available - and they all do the same thing, they DO NOT change the feed rate.  So maybe this is an issue with V12, I have no idea, but it seems to me that it should be controlled by the post processor.

Perhaps Hood can shed some light on this?  Like I mentioned previously, Dolphin is now aware of this and it should be resolved soon - their post writer guy is on vacation or something...... I guess they don't have a backup programmer....  :-\

The V12 will now work with the V11 posts - at least on my machine, but they have been into my computer twice now and they have downloaded and installed several licence files, several new post processors and the like, so it is hard to tell what my machine is doing, at least it is workable for now.  the only way to test it would be to install the V12 demo software and try it out to see where it would be different from the V11, and also verify that the V11 and maybe even the V10 posts might work.  Rodney told me it would be ok to use an older post for the time being, so it should work for everyone, if the post produces proper code.



I have never used Bobcad but cost was also a major factor for me and I got a really good deal from Dolphin and picked up the Mill Pro and the Lathe for the price of the Mill Pro only.  I have read several posts about BobCad that convinced me to stay away from it.  The lathe stuff I need to do is pretty basic.  I was even using pocketing code from Aspire that I manually edited to remove all the Z moves, but then I had to compensate for cutter plunge and retract, running the code in Mach to see what was happening. It was taking me from 3 - 8 hours of playing and testing to get a file that would work for what i needed, as opposed to a 20 minute task in Dolphin lathe (well at least once i get better at it).. ;)  It all comes down to what works best for the particular person and the jobs at hand.

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