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Messages - smurph

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Possible Feed Rate Bug?
« on: February 25, 2018, 03:02:53 AM »
The current feed rate is supplied as feedback from the motion controller.  So maybe there is a timing issue? 


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Tool Life Management
« on: January 29, 2018, 08:37:30 PM »
But yeah, Craig nailed it!  LOL

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Tool Life Management
« on: January 29, 2018, 08:36:41 PM »
Check your PMs.  :)

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Tool Life Management
« on: January 29, 2018, 08:25:56 PM »
You had to go there, didn't you?  LOL!!!


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Is Mach4 really Hobby Material?
« on: January 26, 2018, 07:55:09 PM »

On the Galil, you would use the TM command.  TM is set to 1000 (approx 1ms) by default.  That is the time base that everything uses.  Increasing or decreasing the value of TM would be tantamount to feed rate override.  The challenge then becomes to tie the value of TM to an analog input.  This can be done in Galil DMC programming where a thread is dedicated to watching the analog and adjusting the values of TM (and possibly the PID values to if using servos.  As I said, the Galil is a complex controller.  They have good documentation, but it still takes years to master every facet.  Meaning it is up to you to read the documentation and implement what you want to do.  You will NEVER see a reference to feed rate override in their manuals.  They give you the tools, you just have to figure out how to use them.  However, if you buy a Galil, they do offer great support.  They have good application engineers to help you get what you want out of the controller.  

In order to run a Galil with Mach, you have to know how to run a Galil by itself first.  I run a Galil on one of my machines.  I consider it a viable hobby level controller IF you are willing to learn about it and IF you can/want to afford it.  Budgets being what they are, everybody has their own levels to which they draw a line.  Buying a Galil on eBay is not for the crowd that knows nothing about them.  There are so many different models and a LOT of them on eBay were custom designs made for a particular purpose.  And Galil offers no support for used controllers.  So you better know exactly what you want to pull the trigger on an eBay Galil.

Multiple pass threading starts each thread pass on the index pulse on the encoder or the pulse per rev input.    The infeed amount is already there.  All that remains is synchronizing the Z feed rate with the actual spindle speed.  Z always moves from the start point to the end point and never needs to be re-planned.  It is NEVER as complicated as people make it.  It is actually quite simple to produce a high quality thread with just a spindle pulse and a calculated trajectory.  But it does take a real-time environment to implement the control loop.  

There are real-time extensions for Windows.  The problem is that all of them cost big bucks.  It would more than double the price of Mach.  There are two types for Windows, mainly; Hypervisor and HAL.  A Hypervisor is running a RTOS on the hardware that then partitions a CPU core (or more) to runs Windows in a VM.  The HAL method uses a custom Windows HAL.  The HAL type turns Windows into a true RTOS and can be implemented with a single core processor.  Of the two, I prefer the HAL type.  Interval Zero https://www.intervalzero.com/ is one that I like.  In fact, they have a product called KingStar that implements a software EtherCAT controller.  They are developing a plugin which is nearing completion.  They demonstrated it running a machine at our shop a few weeks back.  But this stuff, while cool, is way out of the realm of Hobby land.  


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: wx.wxMessageBox question
« on: January 25, 2018, 04:09:20 PM »
The code above has lwx.wxMessageBox().  What is lwx?  A typo?  It should be wx.wxMessagebox.  Probably the macro is failing to compile and it is just running the old stale version. 


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Is Mach4 really Hobby Material?
« on: January 25, 2018, 03:42:24 PM »
Windows is not real time and thus any application running on it will never close the control loop.  However, Mach can be part of a closed loop system.  Some motion controllers operate in a closed loop manner with Mach.  Galil, Vital System DSPMC, etc...  For a servo system, the loop can be closed in three places, depending on the setup.

1. On the control itself (LunuxCNC).
2. On the motion controller.
3. On the servo drive. 

It you want instantaneous feed rate override, it has to be done at the point in the system where the loop is closed.  That leaves points 1 and 2, as I have never seen it implemented on point 3 (the servo drive).

Hardware based feed rate override is possible on the Galil with a pot connected to an analog input and a bit of Galil DMC programming.  You change the sample period time base (TM) based on the analog value.  However, if you are running servos, this also changes the PID loop sample period so you had better change the PID values to match the new time base as well (just a mathematical calculation).  If you are running steppers with the Galil instead of servos, dealing with the PID values become irrelevant.

All that being said, I would not consider the Galil a hobby controller.  It is more of an industrial motion controller due to its' complexity and price point.  But the option is there.  The higher priced controllers can usually accommodate these types of requirements.  But we are talking about Hobby level machines and controllers, right?  Professional features come at a price. 

Threading...  it needs to be done in the real time component.  No encoder need be involved though.  The motion profile can be, and is, calculated.  The start and end point of the thread never changes.  The challenge is the spindle speed.  If the spindle speed could remain constant, a perfect thread could be produced with a predetermined motion profile.  However, that is never the case in the real world.  So the real-time component of the motion controller must monitor the speed of the spindle and change the time base in which the thread profile is executed to match.  So how does a motion controller monitor the spindle speed?  It can use an encoder.  But a single pulse per rev is usually quite adequate.  It turns out that producing a class A thread doesn't require THAT much monitoring of the spindle speed.  If you have an encoder on the spindle, then use it.  But it is definitely not required. 


Contec / Re: Contec Plugin not working
« on: January 24, 2018, 02:39:05 PM »
The reasons are:

1.  A plugin may require a third party DLL that is not present on the system.
2.  These third party DLLs may require a hardware driver that must also be installed. 
3.  These third party DLLs may also require system DLLs that were not installed at the time the OS was installed.  Or the DLLs may have been removed if the user "stripped" down the OS.  A common one is the Printing subsystem.
4.  A plugin may not be able to "find" these required components (even if they are installed on the OS) unless they are put in the PATH environment variable. 

In all of these cases, the plugin will be reported as "defective".  All that message really means is the plugin could not load due to some missing requirement.  Perhaps the message could be worded a little differently. 

In the case of the Contec cards, the correct PCI driver needs to be installed.  When installing any plugin, the user must ensure that the hardware and associated drivers and software (API libraries) are there for the correct operation of the device.  Most of the time, there are tools that come with the hardware to verify the correct operation. 



Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Help
« on: January 20, 2018, 07:46:39 PM »
I knew it would.  :)  I don't know why they sent those things out with such a crappy driver.  Epic fail for Intel at that time, for sure. 

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Help
« on: January 20, 2018, 06:11:08 PM »
That is just an informational file to help debug plugin load issues.  Mach4core.dll should not be in the plugins directory.  So please remove it from your plugins directory to prevent that from becoming an issue. 

Since it bombs on "Connecting tool paths", I would say it is your graphics card.  Updating the drivers should fix you up if it is an Intel GMA integrated card.