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Messages - justCNCit

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Just FYI, got tired of dealing with Mach 3 and installed an Arduino between the parallel port and the 540, with a homing program connected to the switches and it works perfectly now. I can post the program if people want to see, lessons learned here were that Mach does control direction outputs and override the Arduino even if there is no movement, so you would either have to disable those outputs from Mach in software or disconnect the cable while using the Arduino homing program. A $10 solution.

So at this point hardware and software are sort of working.

A axis is not homing correctly. Y axis which is the master, homes very well. A axis comes back and will land anywhere within +/-0.020" and this defies my explanation. Diagnostic screens show home switch triggered just like the Y axis but the motors are not moving properly. I am thinking about writing software to handle the parallel port manually, based on the input pin and step output to the motor to position the motor square to its master.

Yes. I just thought it might be informative to know if the A had been off for some reason. And I understand that Mach zeroes the axis once the home switch turns on and then off, so then the A switch must be positioned to turn on and off before fixed into place after the gantry has been stopped on the Y.

if A was off, you would know by watching this number during homing?

Ok I tried and it worked, but it was not helpful that A axis does not show a position on Diagnostics.

Thanks. I had used the diagnostics screen to REF Y but will try next to REF ALL. The A axis is not showing a position or movement on the Diagnostics screen regardless, so that isn't helpful, since if the two axis aren't assured to move together, you can wreck your gantry very fast. Will disconnect the steppers mechanically to test and report back.

Hello, some more detail: I have disabled "home slave with master" in General Config. A home switch has been installed for the Y and A axis. But when hitting the REF button in diagnostics for Y, only the Y axis moves home, and the position for the A axis does not change even if I attempt to change that position manually. A and Y move together under ordinary operation fine. But A axis will not home at same time as Y. Thanks


Days is not an accurate description. These tool paths are usually 2+ hours at a time, 4 max. It may take a few days to finish one piece.

Not sure about duplicating the fault, they both occurred towards the end of the last tool path. The only thing I can think of to nail it at this point is to repetitive stepping with the motor against a dial indicator for say 4 hours to the range of the axis.

My motors are bipolar stepper 400 oz in with a 5 start ACME thread 1/2-10", and I run at 100-125 IPM max rapids/feed.

Thanks for the advice, I will be cleaning up the wiring and using ferrite core rings. I assume the wire gets wound around the ring like an induction coil. Other than that the only 'solution' seems to be to run a very long stepping program to see if motors are losing steps. This gigantic job was the first time I noticed a problem, it missed steps twice. You can see where the entire program shifted and the amount of shift seems to be about .1, the amount of a missing step.

Hello, new here, first here is what about 2-3 days of machining looks like for botched work:

I've been running this machine for several months without issue, far as I know no missing steps, but today it seemed like the X was suddenly off by .1 inch twice during 3 hour cuts.

I have rotary encoders from Digikey and 4 axis mill (2 slave drives for the Y) and was thinking of getting the Encoder Interface Board


Some of these jobs are expensive taking a few days and expensive wood. I am just hoping to take out 'insurance' on the part by specifying an allowable deviation, say of .005", on any given axis before Mach 3 or 4 shuts down the machine waiting for me. Is anything like this possible?

Since I just bought the G540 about 4 months ago, with the great rep it has would like to avoid servos!! Thanks


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