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Topics - TunerTom

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General Mach Discussion / Turn Screens
« on: January 23, 2009, 10:21:26 AM »
I have an X/Y plotter which works identically to a CNC Lathe which belongs to my employer. The plotter is used to view cutting paths that the lathe performs... to scale on paper.  I am using this plotter to learn to set up Mach3 (see my earlier post "getting started" a few lines down the list)  I can successfully plot drawings using X/Y axis, running simple G-Godes, drawing lines & arcs. I can operate the spindle motor relay On/Off using M3 and M5 and I can control the speed of the stepper motors just fine... but I'm using a "Mill" setup.

Now, I am looking at the Turn Screen 1024.lset  which appears to be intended for a CNC lathe... but this screen uses X and Z axis. A sketch comes up as the program loads which appears to look like a vertical lathe. Is this the intended purpose of this screen... Vertical Lathes? Our lathe is Horizontal  

I want to traverse the tool post left/right using the X-Axis and In/Out using the Y-Axis.  Do I simply need to stick with the Mill configuration and not use the Lathe files?  The Lathe files have no X-Axis and I don't see an easy way to change that in the setup.

I am open for suggestions

General Mach Discussion / Getting started
« on: January 22, 2009, 09:32:33 AM »
I am just getting started, and in doing so, I have been using the Mill screen. My next step after this, will be to switch to the Lathe Screen, which as yet, I don't completely understand.

I am working with a home-brew lathe and matching X/Y plotter, originally built to run under MS/DOS with toolpaths written in BASIC, which operate the stepper motor controllers directly.I have rewired the stepper controllers and now I am switching to Mach3 in an effort to use industry standard methods. 

Everything that is to be done on the lathe, can be emulated on the plotter, and the drawings that the plotter produce are to scale, so it becomes a good test platform for developing profiles. With the plotter in mind...

I have Motor (spindle) control. On/Off, single speed, single direction, just as it should be for this equipment.  (on the plotter, Spindle On/Off? raises/lowers the pen).  M-Code M3 and M5 also work properly.

I have Jog, and I can regulate feed-rate for the lead screws and the "Fnnnn" parameters for P-Code "G01" work as expected.

My Lathe has a pneumatic (in/out) extender for the tail stock. The tail stock can be pulled back to face off the end of a piece, then extended to push a live center into the work. I need to figure out how to add a button to control this and help with a P-Code or M-Code to operate the tail stock. Could someone please point me in the right direction?  I am using Output #2, pin #8 , Port #1 for this operation. I have a simple parallel port monitor, and if I toggle Bit#6 (parallel pin #8) I can toggle the "Tailstock" LED on the plotter, so I know the pin is working.

The Mach3 program is simply awesome! My plotter makes drawings that are exactly to scale, and repeatable. I have re-traced some plots twenty times and the plotter never misses a lick.  When running the old BASIC programs under DOS, the program "stepped" the motors directly and would occasionally skip a beat, particularly at higher feed rates.

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