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Author Topic: Vertical mill Mach 3 retrofit using existing steppers/drivers, advice?  (Read 6105 times)

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Hey everyone, new to the site and to milling machines.  Recently picked up a Supermax vertical mill with Crusader M (anilam) controls on it and uses stepper motors with glass scales.

Would like to convert the machine over to Mach 3 running on a PC.  Probably replace the control panel with a touch screen.  Someone tell me how far off this sounds:

I will need a PC, a touch screen, a parallel port breakout card (only one or two?) or should I go with the new USB driven ones?  How does the feedback from the glass scales get to the PC? thru the breakout board?

So the PC will send the signals needed thru the breakout card directly to the existing stepper driver boards?  Or is another device needed (like the smooth stepper board)?

Trying to learn as much as I can to come up to speed ....

Thanks!

Offline Hood

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Re: Vertical mill Mach 3 retrofit using existing steppers/drivers, advice?
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2009, 04:29:55 PM »
As it is a stepper based control you have then it would seem to suggest the drives will take Step/Dir signals which is what Mach puts out, you would need to find out the inputs to your drives. You can either use the parallel port or get something like the SmoothStepper, up to you. Feedback is not used by Mach, you could feed the scales into Mach (if they are ttl) but they will be for monitoring by yourself only. There is a board that rogersmachine.net sell that will take ttl encoders or scales and will monitor the position and fault out if a user set amount of steps are missed.

Hood
Re: Vertical mill Mach 3 retrofit using existing steppers/drivers, advice?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2009, 06:19:59 PM »
So a PC w/ monitor, a copy of Mach 3, and a smooth stepper board and I can be cutting.  If a DRO is needed when in manual I could use the encoder interface that rogersmachine.net sells.  This encoder interface would also allow Mach3 to stop when a missed step is detected.

I just looked thru the paperwork and the linear encoders are TTL level signals.  Also noticed the schematics and drawings all refer to Servo drives and servo amp cards not steppers.

Now I'm wondering what it has, the owner specifically told me it has steppers.  It's a Supermax YCM-40 if that makes a difference.  The schematics show five wires going to each axis motor if that helps.  I won't be able to look at the machine again until this weekend to get part numbers off them.

Offline Hood

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Re: Vertical mill Mach 3 retrofit using existing steppers/drivers, advice?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2009, 06:24:48 PM »
do you have the schematics in pdf or can you scan?
If servos then its likely analogue so no use for Mach unless you get a StepDir to analogue converter.
Did you see the motors? If so what did they look like?
Hood
Re: Vertical mill Mach 3 retrofit using existing steppers/drivers, advice?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2009, 06:38:36 PM »
I've got schematics but they are size "E" drawings just huge.  May be able to scan...

As far as what they looked like, long and round? Looks very similiar to this machine...

http://magnumprecisionmachines.com/usedpgs/used_ycm40_supermaxb.html#

Offline Hood

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Re: Vertical mill Mach 3 retrofit using existing steppers/drivers, advice?
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2009, 03:02:49 AM »
Thats DC Servos by the looks of them.
Hood
Re: Vertical mill Mach 3 retrofit using existing steppers/drivers, advice?
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2009, 11:43:16 AM »
So if they are in fact DC servos, how does this change my plan?  I need an additional StepDir to analogue converter?

Based on my reading on this site, it appears servos accept different types of inputs based upon make and model.  Is this typically a analog voltage level with polarity changes for direction changes?

Attached are two of the wiring drawings.

Offline Hood

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Re: Vertical mill Mach 3 retrofit using existing steppers/drivers, advice?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2009, 01:33:01 PM »
Drives of that era will almost certainly be analogue input only  drives(Amps), ie +-10v so you will need the converter to change the Step/Dir from Mach to the analogue voltage. Another option would be to go for the DSPMC motion controller, I have never had one but user reports seem good.
Hood