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Topics - RChadwick

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General Mach Discussion / Simple, Simple question about home.
« on: April 27, 2011, 04:39:46 PM »
I lost the config to my machine, and I'm recreating it. This is my last challenge:

How can I tell Mach3 to start somewhere other than 0,0? I have limit switches that set home, but I have a fixture mounted an inch or so away, and want it to always start from there. I'm sure I'm missing something obvious, but the more I play with it, the more frustrated I get, and I'm not getting any closer.

General Mach Discussion / Parallel Port woes - need advice
« on: April 13, 2011, 01:16:52 AM »
I had Mach3 installed on a touch screen computer using a via chipset and CPU, running Windows 2000, and it worked great other than being slow. I bought a Pentium 4 based touch screen computer, installed a fresh Windows XP, Mach3, copied over the config, and hooked it up to my existing CNC. It seemed like the parallel port was completely dead. No heartbeat to turn on my G540, no limit switches detected, nothing. I uninstalled and reinstalled Mach3, and tried to set it up manually. I thought maybe the new port couldn't supply enough voltage or current to the G540, so I got a C26 buffer board from cnc4pc.com. Nothing. On the BIOS, it was set as EPP, but I try ECP and Bi-Directional as well, with the same results. I disabled the parallel port on the Motherboard, and installed a Moschip MCS9865 based PCI Parallel card. Same result (Although there weren't any port address settings in the driver, I selected LPT1, LPT2, and LPT3.) I suspect nobody will know exactly what's wrong in my particular situation (I still welcome advice!), but I'm hoping someone could suggest some tools for troubleshooting the parallel port. My bag of tricks is empty.

General Mach Discussion / Weird problem with Mach3 and tool paths
« on: February 12, 2011, 02:27:05 AM »
Using D2NC, I generated the code below. Two really weird things happen in Mach3. First, while the part shows up fine, the tool path around it is crooked in places!. Second, if I click run, it doesn't even follow the tool path, but makes first a circle about 1/4 smaller than the part, then traces the circle again. Once in test, the second circle was MUCH bigger. The author of D2NC seems familiar with this problem, but I really hate bugging him to work around a Mach3 problem.  Can anyone help with this?

(D2nc generated code)
G17  (set xy plane)
G90  (absolute mode)
G40  (cancel cutter radius comp)
G49  (cancel tool len offset)
G80  (cancel canned cycle)
G50  (reset scale 1:1)
G91.1 (IJ relative arcs)
G20  (inch mode)
(Tool diameter: 0.01 )
M05  (stop spindle)
M06 T0 (tool change)
M03 S1000 (spindle on)
G00 Z1
G00 X0 Y0
G00 X-.0150 Y-.0625
G42 P.0050
G00 Z.1000
G01 Z-.0100 F0.5
G01 X-.0075 Y-.0625 F1
G02 X.0000 Y-.0700 I.0000 J-.0075
G01 X.0000 Y-.1400
G01 X.0000 Y-.1400
G01 X.0000 Y-.2800
G01 X.0250 Y-.4400
G01 X.0250 Y-.2800
G01 X.0500 Y-.2800
G01 X.0500 Y-.4400
G01 X.0800 Y-.2800
G01 X.0800 Y-.1400
G01 X.0800 Y.0000
G01 X.0000 Y.0000
G01 X.0000 Y-.0700
G02 X-.0075 Y-.0775 I-.0075 J.0000
G40  (cancel cutter radius comp)
G01 X-.0150 Y-.0775
G00 Z1
M05  (stop spindle)
M09  (all coolant off)
G00 X0 Y0
M30  (end with rewind)

General Mach Discussion / Y Axis Issues
« on: January 07, 2011, 01:16:25 AM »
I'm setting up my new machine (A Zen Toolworks Plastic-frame CNC), and I wanted to set up 0,0 in the upper left corner, and have what's displayed in the preview window cut out with the same orientation. However, I'm having a nightmare trying to set up the Y axis. I've tried every combination of 'Dir Low Active', and on the motor home/soft limits screen, 'Reversed', and 'Home Neg', and I haven't been able to configure it right. What I want to do is have it home right, move properly when I jog it (Yes, the Y will move opposite, but correct relative to the cutter), and have the DRO numbers move in the positive direction when moving away from 0,0. Is there a setting I'm missing? Am I going about all this wrong?

General Mach Discussion / Continuing a job after an event stops it
« on: October 11, 2008, 08:43:05 PM »
I was in the process of making my first item on my mill with Mach3, and for whatever reason, it thought I hit the stop button in the middle of the job. Like an idiot, I just cleared the condition, and told it to run. The spindle never turned back on, and it quickly broke the bit. So, is it possible to re-start a job? Is it best to start over, or can one continue where they are? If I have to re-set where on the material to start, I'll never get it in the same position. Thanks for any comments or advice!

I've seen this mentioned before, but I still can't quite figure it out...

I'm trying to make a simple 2D cutout in Plexiglas. It's one continuous cut, and looks a little like an F. To get it cut to a precise size, I obviously have to compensate for the end mill diameter. On the main screen of Mach3, there is a tool diameter setting, but putting the diameter in didn't make any difference. I also noticed a setting in Lazycam, which seemed even more thorough (Like asking whether to trace on the inside or outside), but that didn't seem to make a difference either. What I really need is a Tool Diameter Compensation FAQ.

1) Is it better to do this in LazyCAM, or Mach3? Does it need to be done in both? All things being equal, I'd rather do it in Mach3, as I likely will decide on different size tools.

2) Is there an accurate way to predict the cut will be right? The part I'm making is 1 inch long, using a cutter less than 1MM Dia.

3) Some of the areas between larger protrusions (Think of the area between the top and middle protrusion on the letter F) are only slightly larger than the end mill. Will this confuse Mach3?

I'm not sure if this is a feature, bug, or misconfiguration. I was jogging around to do some simple cuts, and decided to hit the emergency button. Fortunately, it wasn't an emergency, as the spindle relay stayed engaged. Is there a place to configure this?

General Mach Discussion / Table limits and homing
« on: August 05, 2008, 01:00:58 PM »
Well, I've finally got the coordinates of my machine entered in to Mach3. A few more questions/issues..

From what I gather, it seems the limit switches are more of a 'backup', and that, once it's homed, it shouldn't go outside this. However, my limit switches are my home switches. I'd like to build in a 1/4 inch or so buffer, so it won't hit the limit switches. While it seems easy to build in a buffer at the other end of travel, how can I move home a little bit past the home/limit switches?

Also, how can I adjust the speed at which it homes? It's painfully slow. I could see it's a good idea for accuracy, but wouldn't it come off the switch slow, and set then?

Also, in the display in the upper right, how do you pan and zoom? I noticed this in the tutorial videos, but it wasn't clear how it was done. I suspect it might be the scroll wheel on the mouse, but I'm using a touch screen, and my backup device is an old trackpad. Is there another way?


General Mach Discussion / Positioning output on material
« on: August 01, 2008, 12:32:06 AM »
I've got another basic, newbie question. I'm trying to make the mini roadrunner as a test. It keeps trying to put it outside the limits of my machine. I know this might be worded differently from how you're used to dealing with things, but how can I 'put' the roadrunner just where I want it on the material? Do I have to change it in LazyCam? Or is there a way to do it within Mach3?

As a possibly related question, is there a place in Mach3 to put the limits (Size of X, Y, and Z) of your particular machine?

General Mach Discussion / Limit Switch annoyance
« on: July 29, 2008, 10:24:47 PM »
Perhaps someone knows a workaround for this...

When I'm jogging an axis, if it hits a limit switch, it stops (As it should!), but I can't get it to go back. If I hit reset, it just triggers again. The only way I've found to get out of this is to power down my stepper motor electronics, and manually move the axis until it's no longer triggering the limit switch. I'm glad at least I have handwheels on the ends of my motors!

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