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Messages - smurph

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Read write to a DRO ??
« on: September 22, 2014, 06:20:54 PM »
Edit the screen set and click on the top item in the tree.  Then click on the event icon in the properties.  It will let you edit the PLC script.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« on: September 22, 2014, 06:18:50 PM »
We have been waiting a bit for MachMotion to get their show footage available.  When they do, I will link to it.  Want to see what Mach4 can do?  The guys at MachMotion have paved the way.  There were lots of jaw dropped stares in the SolidCam and Yaskawa booths.  Even the big boys came over to have a look.  It WAS impressive.  MachMotion did a first rate job.  But what else are you going to expect from a group of first rate guys?  :)


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« on: September 22, 2014, 03:49:28 PM »
K-Flop can work in servo mode with K-Analog.  It has a PID loop.  The PID loop is what gets it to point B.  If the PID parameters are not correct (needs tuning) the following error will bee too great and then ANY controller will fault.  Even real-time OS based systems like EMC.  But with a proper PID setup, you will get to point B with K-Flop.  There is NOTHING that will guarantee hitting the numbers with an improperly tuned system.  

If you are interested in the K-Flop, talk to Tom.  He's a really nice guy.  He will tell you exactly what it will do and how to accomplish what you want to do.  Mind you, the K-flop is an advance controller with some amazing flexibility, so there is a bit of a learning curve with it.  But if I didn't already have Galil controllers, I would probably be using a K-Flop or a DSPMC.  Tom is working on the Mach4 plugin now.

There is nothing simple about setting up an analog servo system.  You either have experience with it or are faced with a steep learning curve.  That is why the newer drives also have position control modes.  It makes dealing with servos a lot more simple.  And usually cheaper too.  So if you are not faced with the task of re-using the analog controlled drives, use the position mode drives and a cheaper step/dir controller and call it done.

From what I saw at IMTS, SolidCam is the leader.  There are others that attempt to do what they do, but it just isn't in the same league.  It ain't cheap though.  But well worth it if you make your money with it.  It does require one hell of a machine to run it to it's full capabilities though.


Galil / Re: Galil 2123 with AMP-20520 lathe Z axis DRO not working
« on: September 22, 2014, 02:38:57 PM »
I have never tried a lathe setup with a 2 axis controller.  If you could setup the controller and map the axes to X->A, Z->B and provide a GalilDebug.txt file, that would help me understand what is going on. 


Galil / Re: Mach 3 Galil Setup Problems
« on: September 22, 2014, 02:33:18 PM »
Contour mode is a work in process.  So there may be issues.  I put that in there right about the time I started developing the Mach4 Galil plugin.  And the Mach4 plugin has been keeping me occupied as that is the future.  So stick with Linear mode for the time being.

Why are you using a 4080 to control steppers?  An ESS or HiCON would do a good job for far less money. 


Galil / Re: Galil controller compatability (what works with the plugin)
« on: September 22, 2014, 02:27:50 PM »

Those sound like ISA bus controllers.  But the 5 on the end of the model number indicates a special controller that may have been an OEM controller made to their specs by Galil.  Meaning they may not work as a regular Galil would.  In any case, they being ISA, I would not use them.  Smart Term drivers only.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« on: September 22, 2014, 01:40:54 PM »
Mach 4 has and never will close the servo loop.  It doesn't need to.

The loop can be close in three places:

1) The motion control software. (Mach does not do this.  Windows is not a real time OS).
2) The motion controller hardware.  (Galil, Vital System DSPMC, K-Flop, etc...)
3) The servo drive (Position controlled drives that take step/dir as input).

And we are talking servos here.  Steppers are generally never closed loop.

In the absence of #1 above, software never needs to close the loop.  The software can generate the motion profile without the loop being closed.  This is analogous to you in a car driving from your driveway to the stop sign down the street.  You plan your route (motion profile) before getting in your car (software).  Once in you car (hardware), it is your job to follow the planned route.  If you don't make it to the stop sign, you apply more throttle to get you there.  If you go past the stop sign, you put the car in reverse and apply throttle to get you there.  The end point didn't change and thus the route doesn't need to either. 

So if the loop is closed on the motion controller or servo drive, then there is no need for the software to close the loop. 

So to answer your question, any step/dir plugin that Mach4 supports will work with position controlled servo drives to close the loop.  Any plugin that Mach4 supports that closes the loop on the motion device will work with analog command controlled servo drives.

The Mach4/Galil combination running on my Matsuura MC500 is definitely closed loop.  It is using old school analog drives with PID filter on the Galil that manages the following error.  If you are retrofitting a machine with existing analog servo drives, using a plugin/controller that closes the loop on the controller is the way to go.

The newer and far more simple way is using position controlled drives.  Less tuning required as most of these type servo drive tune themselves.  If you are building a new machine or replacing the drives in an older machine in a retrofit, then this is the way to go.

When we were at IMTS, there were three machines demoing Mach4.  One used a Galil controller with Yaskawa EtherCat servo drives.  (Servo loop closed on the Galil).  Another used an ACS controller with Yaskawa EtherCat servo drives.  (Servo loop closed on the ASC controler).  And then another machine that used a Vital System HiCON controller outputting Step/Dir signals to Yaskawa position controlled servo drives.  (Servo loop closed on the drives).  All of these machines worked flawlessly.

We really had a good show at IMTS.  Mach Motion did a fine job!  The machine using the HiCON was running a SolidCam produced high speed pocketing tool path that was moving the machine @ 600 IPM.  It was simply amazing to watch a 3/16" end mill remove a 5/8" pocket depth of metal in 1018 steel in a matter of 3 minutes.  With precision!  Industrial?  I would emphatically say yes!  The Mach4 machine was capable of keeping up with the Hurco that was also demoing the SolidCam tool paths.  Yeah...  we had something to grin about.  :)

All of the Mach4 machines were running Mach4 Hobby.  How is that for you guys?  Hobby priced software that can keep up with the big boys!  Videos of the show will be forthcoming.  So stay tuned!


Galil / Re: Galil controller compatability (what works with the plugin)
« on: September 05, 2014, 07:58:58 PM »
No parallel port required with Galil.  Stay away from the ISA controller.  It will only work with SmartTerm drivers and that limits you for the future.  The 2200 is ok, but 41x3 or 40x0 is the controllers that we are targeting for Mach 4.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 Bug Reports
« on: September 04, 2014, 07:46:03 PM »
Make sure the axes are enabled.  1953 runs fine so far from other reports.  So there is a problem with the config or something.

To further explain...  The Zero buttons are greyed out based on the availability of the axis.  Same with the jog buttons.  Since yours are greyed out, it makes me think that the axes are not enabled.  So check that out and see.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Screen Set Ideas
« on: September 03, 2014, 07:22:21 PM »
Man, that's a lot of info.

I sure hope they add the ability to create our own LED's, as those round ones look like they came from a DOS program..
What is wrong with the LEDs?  The fact that they are round?  If so, you just change the shape property to square and get Mach3 style LEDs.