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General Mach Discussion / Mach 3 locking computer up
« on: May 27, 2011, 05:28:29 PM »
Hi all-

I am having a strange problem with Mach, and I need help figuring out what is causing it.

I am using a used Dell Optiplex computer, that is not connected to the internet.  So it has the barebone programs installed on it.  I was using this computer for my flame cutter, and then I decided to change the gearboxes to 30 to 1.

Now I have everything back together, and I am trying to get back to a runnning condition.

Whenever I start Mach, the computer locks up.  I turned the task manager on, and was watching the resources tab as Mach loaded.

The resources showed that the computer was using 100%, then it would just hang up.

Any ideas?

can I just install a new upgraded version of Mach, overtop of the existing version?

Would this erase all of the existing setup conditions?


General Mach Discussion / Screen help
« on: January 17, 2011, 01:08:52 PM »
Hi all-

I have had some computer problem during the last week or two.  I had a computer die, and I thought I had everything backed up.  But Murphy struck!

Anyway I finally have my flame cutter up and running, and I can use it to make parts.  So the important stuff is finished.

Now for the hard part.  I added three objects to my screen to help with the cutting.  One is a display of Varible #500 and the other two just add or subtract 1 to the value of varible #500.  This is so I can adjust the preheat time while the machine is cutting for multiple parts.

The problem is that the screen is correct, but it does not display the Varible #500, and I can not figure out how I did it :(

can someone point me in the correct direction? 


Galil / Which Galil motion controller?
« on: January 05, 2011, 08:56:24 PM »
Hi everyone

I think I have finally had it with my antique hydrapath iii controller.

I am trying to decide on what controller to install on my moog hydrapath mill.

My mill has a 22 tool changer, so I need lots of I/O.  I am also planning on replacing the drives and servos also.

For the ac servos, I am looking at 3 choices:
1.  TECO
2.  Sure servo
3.  Mitisubishi

I am also looking at the vital systems Dspmc controller?

There are so many different Galil controllers, I am at a loss on which ones I need to start comparing.

Thanks for the advice


General Mach Discussion / Backing up Mach
« on: January 02, 2011, 04:20:52 PM »
Hi everyone-

I have had a second computer fail out in my shop.  The first one was when I was building my flame cutter, now I have everything running and have work for the machine it up and dies!

I took the hard drive out, and put it in a second computer.  I can read the files, but I can not run Mach.  So I think all the information is there.

Does anyone have a list of files that I need to copy, so I have a backup?

I have already started on Sheetcam, so I just need Mach.


General Mach Discussion / home / limit switches
« on: December 12, 2010, 11:30:21 PM »
I know this is a simple question, but I can't find the answer.

My flame table has both overtravel limit switches, and home position limit switches.  The problem is that the home limit switches act like the overtravel switches when the gantry is moving.  This normally is not a problem when I cut 4 x 8 plate, but it I don't have the 5 x 10 plate loaded just right then it will hit the x home limit switches.

Can anyone tell me where the box is I need to check?



General Mach Discussion / New MHP mill project
« on: September 26, 2010, 02:40:44 PM »
Hi all-

I am in need of advice about my MHP mill I purchased. It uses the Hydropath III controller. When I got it home and connected the power and the air, the machine came to life fairly easy. I was worried because it had a rough ride on my trailer for 100 miles or so.

After playing with it for a few days and finally figuring out most of the buttons, and learning how to do a tool change something changed. I started to get following errors on the x axis. I have a complete set of manuals for the machine, but there is not a lot of information about the “Following Error”. If I jog the machine really easy, then I can make the x axis move, but any faster and it faults out. During the few days playing with it, I cut a 2 inch hole in ½ plate, and by using calipers it is 2 inches. There no bumps in the cut when the axis changes direction. I did not have a chance to do any more tests on run out or backlash before the problems started.

Here is what I know about the machine-- It has a 10 HP spindle, with a pneumatic hi/low changing gearbox (50 to 5000 RPM). It has a 22 tool changer that uses BT 40 collets. It has an automatic oiler. It has a Toshiba variable frequency drive, it has some way to control the location of the spindle orientation because the spindle stops at the same position every time. The servos are 94 volts DC ( I think) and use resolvers. The z axis also has a brake on the axis.

I started to do some simples troubleshooting on the x axis tonight, and here is what I found. With the servo disconnected from the ball screw, the servo is still getting errors, and is also jerky. The ball screw appears to be in good shape, and the ways are in great shape. They are boxed ways if that matters.

I am planning on swapping the x and y servo driver just to see if the following errors follow the drive.

Now for the questions---

Should I continue trying to fix the x axis, or plan on starting swapping the electronics out and re building the mill?

I have successfully built a 6 x 12 cnc flame table, and the hardest part for me was figuring out what electronics to use. After swapping parts and have problems, I ended up using granite devices servo drives, US digital encoders, the BOB from candcnc. I also tried the smoothstepper (which I still have) and the c23 BOB (still have this too) from cnc4pc. Power supplies from Jon at Antek.

So what should I buy? I have been reading up about Ajax, and the DSPMC controllers. I would like to stay with the granite devices servo drive. The only reason is that I can order 1 extra drive and use it on either machine. I would also like to use and industrial PLC. I work with AB, Mitsubishi, Fanuc, Motoman, Toyopuc (Toyoda) and a few others at my day job, so I am very familiar with PLC controllers and the Ladder Logic.

I am planning on spending between 2000-3000, to get it running.

Any and all suggestions are welcome.


G-Code, CAD, and CAM discussions / Using a Variable
« on: May 24, 2010, 11:25:11 AM »
Hi everyone-

Now that I have the M code problems figured out (for now), time for a new twist.

I talked to LES at sheetcam, and he said what I am wanting to do is possible on the sheetcam end, now to figure out if Mach can do it.

Since I am using an Oxy/ propane torch, when  have multiple cuts on a sheet, or the cuts are close together, then I am needing a way to change the pre heat time.

Les Said that he can have sheetcam insert a varable into the G-code, so how could I change this on the fly?

If you need more information, let me know


G-Code, CAD, and CAM discussions / G code help
« on: May 20, 2010, 02:19:35 AM »

Hi all-

First I want to say that I know ZERO about G-code.  This is my first cnc project, so I am learning as I go.

I am using sheetcam, and this does just about everything I need, but I am wanting to make it better.

I have a cnc oxygen/ propane cutter nad here is what I am wanting to do

Here is the order of events
> 1. torch moves to cut position
> 2. z axis moves down to find the plate---at speed 75ipm G31 Z-75
   3. Z axis resets zero + needed offset G92 Z-.15
> 4. z axis moves UP to .140
> 5. output #2 turns on (this turns oxy/propane on)
 6. wait .1 or .2 seconds (this allows propane to get to torch)
7. turn on output #3 for  .2 seconds ( this turns on electronic torch igniter
> continue with the existing post processor
> 8. when cut is finished, raise Z axis to safe height and turn off
> output 2 (this turns off the solenoids for the pre heat oxygen and
> propane)
> 9 continue to the next cut cycle

so my main questions are

1.  how do I turn output #2 and 3 on and off
2.  How would I create a timer/ delay

Les with sheetcam is helping me create a POST that will do all the functions that I need, I just have to develope the g-code that I need

thanks for the help


General Mach Discussion / more port and pins question
« on: May 07, 2010, 01:13:58 AM »
Hi all-

I have been reading the forums for several weeks, and I am more confused now than ever.  But on the bright side, I finally have my 6 x 12 oxy/ propane table running good enough to make parts.

Here is my question.  I am trying to add a fault circuit to my table, and the best OEM code I can find to stop the motion of the table is OEM 1021.

When I set up the ports and pins in the input config page I have set OEM trigger #4 to port 2 pin 3
then on the hotkeys setup page I have OEM #4 set to 1021.
I have also emulated OEM trigger #4 to the "F" key

When I short (jump together ) the two terminal on the I/O board I can see the RAW Ports and Pin change states, but nothing else happens
When I press the "F" key, the raw ports and pins led changes states, and the system goes into reset.

I am using granite devices servo drives
I am using the BOB from candcnc

I am sure that I am missing something simple.  any ideas?

for some reason I cant post the pictures.  I will try to edit the post later and add the pictures

General Mach Discussion / my first project
« on: May 08, 2009, 01:38:45 AM »
Hi everyone-

My name is Steve, and I am in the process of building a plasma table.  I have been working on this project on and off for some time now.  I finally have the mechanical and most of the electronics installed and wired up.  I have started to configure Mach 3, and that is where some of my problems are starting.  So I am hoping that someone can get me pointed in the right direction.

Here is what I have so far.

My cutting area of the table is 6 x 12 foot, I also have 2 feet of extra running room at each end.   This allows the gantry to travel the entire area of the cutting space.
-   I am using 2  - 1125 in oz servos with 1250 US Digital encoders for the X
-   I am using 1 880 in oz servo with 1250 US Digital encoders for the Y
-   I am using 1 600 in oz servo with 1250 US Digital encoders for the  z with a ballscrew
-   I am using a rack and pinion for the movement
-   I am using 5 to 1 Thopmson DuraTrue planetary gearboxes
-   I am using VSD-E servo drives from Granite devices
-   I am using linear rails and bearings
-   I am using the C23 breakout board
-   I am using the Smooth Stepper motion controller
-   and I am using a Modbus I/O board

That is a list of most of the stuff I have installed so far. 

I tuned the VSD-E servo drive according to the manufacturer, this took awhile (long Story), now when I try to control the servos with Mach, the servos will start to spin, then speed up out of control.  This is my biggest problem.  I am not sure if it is a Mach 3 problem, a servo drive problem, or something else.  If I can not figure this out, I see a major CRASH in my future.

My next issue is with the E-stop.  I have an E-stop located at each corner of my machine.  When the button is pressed, nothing happens.  The servos keep running.  The BOB shows that it received the e-stop signal, but that is all.  So is this a BOB problem, a Smooth Stepper problem, or a servo drive problem?

The last question for now is can I or should I connect my over travel limit switches directly to my BOB or can I connect them to the Modbus I/O board?   My over travel switches are one of the last items I need to wire.

I will try to post some pictures in the next few days.

thanks for the help, and let me know if you need more information.


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