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Offline Hood

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Re: Noob is mystified
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2009, 02:24:26 AM »
You dont have any motors enabled in that xml, so it cant be the xml you are using as there would be no axis movement in the DROs and no movement showing in toolpath display when you pressed start.

I dont have LazyCAM installed so would appreciate if you attach your code :)

Yes the simulate is to estimate run time.

Hood

Re: Noob is mystified
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2009, 09:24:21 AM »
Ok,

Thanks for the reply.

I'm looking at my Mach3 directory from a command prompt...

I do a "dir *.xml" (directory listing of all xml files).

It shows:

 Directory of C:\Mach3

04/22/2009  08:37 PM            84,536 Dyna.xml
04/22/2009  08:19 PM             2,514 LazyCam.xml
04/06/2008  11:54 AM            91,309 Mach3Mill.xml
10/25/2006  09:15 PM            45,264 Mach3Turn.xml
10/25/2006  09:14 PM            43,674 Plasma.xml
12/03/2007  04:00 PM                12 Screen4.xml
               6 File(s)        267,309 bytes
               0 Dir(s)  147,745,312,768 bytes free

As I only installed Mach3 yesterday, which was  04/22/2009... and alll of the files except two have dates older than that... meaning they are all "as installed" except Dyna.xml and LazyCam.xml... I'm pretty sure I'm using Dyna.

Further... if you look at my screen captures... they both show the Dyna profile as the selected profile.

I'm not surprised to hear there are no motors enabled.

Again... this is a pure evaluation environment... no machine tool... no actual motors... no parallel port driver.

The DRO's DO change when I press start, and the Crop circles DO get drawn in the toolpath window... again... see screen capture "start.jpg" in my previous message.

Now... I'm completely willing to believe they SHOULDN'T... but they do... even though it may be due to some sort of uninitentional byproduct of the program running with no driver.

And that is why I'm confused.... it DOES do something, it's just that what it does... doesn't seem to have any correlation to the geometry or the g-code.

You have to admit... that's confusing.

As a programmer myself... I completely understand that any deviation from the path of expected use... may yield unexpected results.

I prefer to spend my own coding time working on features for the 99% of user's that use my software as intended, rather than trying and handling every possible error that the other 1% may induce.

I suspect, by not installing the parallel driver, or setting up any motors... I've put myself square into that 1% weirdo category and am thus... seeing behaviour you folks haven't seen.

My fx for that is... quit being the 1% weirdo... use it the way everybody else is using it... and see if I get different results.

If there are any out there that are curious enough about what I'm seeing... I would suspect it's easy enough to duplicate.

Install the lockdown version of Mach3 and LazyCam, but deselect the driver during the install.... then just load the examples into lazycam, and post-code them to Mach3, and run.

I bet you will see crop circles too.

As far as posting the g-code goes.... easy enough.

Whenevery you click on "post-code" in Lazycam, it automatically transfers the code to Mach3 (depending on your LazyCam settings) but it also creates a g-code file.

I'm attaching the file here.

I'm now going to uninstall Mach3 and LazyCam, and then do a re-install, this time WITH THE DRIVER.

I'lll definitely make at least one post with the results!

Thanks for all of your help!

Best regards,

Michael

Offline Hood

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Re: Noob is mystified
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2009, 10:49:01 AM »
Reason I needed the code posted is I dont have LazyCAM installed ;)

Ok you need the motors enabled, you dont actually need motor connected, you dont need the driver installed but you do need the motors enabled. Try it and see if it works :)

Hood
Re: Noob is mystified
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2009, 02:34:57 PM »
Hood,

Thanks again for your continuing assistance.

I had read in your previous post that you didn't have LazyCam installed.

The info in my post about how/where the g-code file was obtained... was meant to state how I got the file... not how you could have.

Sorry if I wasn't clear, I do realize you already know how to generate a g-code file.

The goal was to show that it wasn't something I wrote... as admittedly, I'm the questionable variable here.

It's an un-modified example that ships with Mach3.

I realize I'm the noob here... and I'm putting in lots of extra info in my posts in an attempt to show:

1.  That I'm not really doing anything all that weird... I'm using the examples that came with Mach3 and LazyCam.
2.  That I'm not really the sort of person that should have much difficulty with making this work... I'm a very proficient hardware and software guy... I'm just not a machinist (which I do realize is a full-on art, and profession, in it's own right).

I'm a bit surprised that my initial attempts didn't "just completely work", while at the same time, absolutely delighted wth how much "did just work".

Alright... back to this motor enabling thing.

Unfortunately, by the time I read your post, I had already un-installed both Mach3 and LazyCam (in preparation to reinstall with the driver).

That means I wasn't able to just try enabling the motors, and that's a bummer, as I'm really curious if that's all it was.

It does seem a little strange... I'm not really interfacing to a machine, there are no motors, there is no driver... it's purely a simulation... but you are saying I need to enable some (non-existent) motors to make it work.

I'm not trying to be argumentative... I'm absolutely going to try exactly what you suggest... I'm just pointing out that it does seem a little bit odd.

What I now notice is that, despite the uninstalls, I still have a Mach3 directory, and it has "A LOT" of stuff in it.... multiple sub-directories... multiple files... lot's of dlls, so much for a clean uninstall.

I could understand if any custom files or directories were left... things like my profile, any files that I modified, etc., but that's not all that's left.

I'm not sure I really care... it's not going to make much difference anyway, as I'm about to re-install over it anyhow.

I'm just surprised/concerned that the uninstall wasn't more comprehensive.

It does make me even MORE cautious about installing the driver... if it causes problems... I don't want to end up having to do a system restore to get things back to right.

So... now I'm trying to decide how to proceed.

The plan:

1.  I want a working installation of Mach3 and LazyCam on my office machine.
2.  The office machine installation will NOT interface to a real CNC machine, and I don't want Mach3 to affect the normal operation of that machine for my other critical tasks (all the other stuff I do).
3.  Initially, the office machine installation is purely for evaluation purposes... it let's me get familiar with Mach3 and LazyCam.
4.  Eventually, the office machine is where I would do most of my CAD/CAM programming work, drawing geometries, defining tool-paths, producing G-code, checking results, etc.
5.  I will have a 2nd P.C. in the basement, attached to my CNC machine (iniitally via LPT port, maybe an external motion controller later).
6.  The basement machine will be the one that actually does the machining work, but it will run the files that I initially developed on my office machine.

I want the above in order to cut down on the amount of time I spend in the basement next to my CNC... it's much more comfortable upstairs, plus, the upstairs machine is a much nicer and more powerful computer.

That allows me to keep the basement CNC computer "CNC task specific", optimizing it's hardware and software for the critical "real time" task it will be performing (while at the same time, keeping that critical real time task OFF my office machine).

I expect that the above is not so different from the way most people operate.

Question:  "Do I need to buy 1 or 2 Mach3 licenses for above scenario?"

Given above... I'm about to proceed as follows:

1.  Re-install Mach3 on the office machine... I'm thinking WITHOUT the driver, again.
2.  Install Mach3 on the basement (CNC) machine (with the LPT driver).
3.  Buy a Mach3 License.

I have some hardware interface work to do between the basement machine and my CNC mill, but I'm hoping to be moving motors by next week.

Hey... did I miss the whole "backlash" compensation topic in the tutorial on homing?

I was listening for it... and didn't hear it... though I might have just missed it.

Typically... when you home an axis, you first touch the limit switch, then slowly back off until it "clears" then slowly approach the switch again until it activates... you count the steps, and the value tells you the backlash on that access, which you then use to compensate for backlash on all subsequent moves (as you change axis direction).

Did I just miss it?

Sorry for writing a novel here... my posts should get shorter and less frequent as things progress!

Best regards,

Michael
Re: Noob is mystified
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2009, 02:51:12 PM »
Mach 3 just homes by moving into the home switch and then slowly backs out until the switch changes and stops.
Backlash must be determined with a dial indicator. Then there is screw mapping which is another whole topic.
Your plan to install without the driver on the office machine is a good one. Enableing the axes is needed so the program has a reference to track on the screen.

Offline Hood

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Re: Noob is mystified
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2009, 03:02:38 PM »
From the Mach website regarding licence terms.

Quote
Non-commercial users (aka hobbyists) are permitted to use one license for as many machines as they want.  For commercial users (anybody who uses the software to generate profit), we require a separate license purchase for each machine.

As for computers you can install on as many as you like whether commercial of hobby, the licence terms above relate to use on actual machine tools.
 Licencing is changing shortly but the same terms will apply, here a quote
Quote
License for Mach3 is about to be locked per machine ID.. The old
license format has served us well over the past 8 years but it is time
to change with the times   . This will be web based (you don't need to
have the controller computer connected to the web) . It is a simple code
that you need to type in... The license file that you have now will get
you into the data base and allow you to register your machines on the
web page to get your code. I hate to do this to you but we are getting
to many people copying license files and using us for support    . In
the end that is what pays to make it so we can keep working on the
software to make it better and more robust! one last note on the license
junk.. the terms will be the same.. If you are a hobby user (Not cutting
for money) you can run from the one license that you have BUT you will
need to register the machine on the web using the same license name.


Hood

Re: Noob is mystified
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2009, 04:17:53 PM »
Regarding,

"Mach 3 just homes by moving into the home switch and then slowly backs out until the switch changes and stops.
Backlash must be determined with a dial indicator. Then there is screw mapping which is another whole topic.
Your plan to install without the driver on the office machine is a good one. Enableing the axes is needed so the program has a reference to track on the screen."

Yowza.... really?

It's such a simple thing to do as part of the homing... and can be done for each axis in a matter of seconds.

The controller that comes with the Dyna machine measures and compensates for backlash every time you initialize the machine, and it displays the actual backlash values.

This is very handy as:

1.  I don't have to manually do it, cuz I'm really pretty lazy.
2.  It gets done routinely, adjusting for changes in the backlash that may (and do) occur over time, keeping the machine more accurate.
3.  It warns me when the amount of backlash is too big... which is something that can be fixed, but requires physical adjustment of the axis.

That really leaves me wondering why Mach3 wouldn't just do it the same way... it's so easy to just slowly move the axis back and forth while looking for the switch state to change state, and counting the steps.

Perhaps it requires a particularly precise type of home/limit switch in order to work, and not all machines have them?

I guess I can probably live with it for now, and figure out how to do it automatically (in my own custom script or macro or something) later, but it's dissapointing.

I just tried to buy a license via the ArtSoft site (via SecurePay.com), and that didn't go well at all.

I got through the first screen, where I entered my personal info, then clicked on the button at the bottom.

Instead of progressing to a credit card screen, I get an error screen about needing cookies and session settings (something like that) enabled.

Now... I'm no noob to online shopping.   I routinely buy things from any number of online stores, digikey.com, tigerdirect.com, amazon.com, symantec.com, so on an so on.

I haven't experienced a "need to have cookies enabled" screen in literally years.

I tried just adding securepay.com to my trusted sites... no dice.

Further... the error screen offers no information about exactly what settings I should change in IE to allow it to work.

My feeling is... I shouldn't have to change jack-squat... plenty of online stores are able to work without me lowering my security settings... this is bad.

The last thing the ArtSoft people should want is for people that are ready and willing to buy... not being able to because of the way SecurePay's order processing works.

VERY FRUSTRATING!

I've seen that other merchants sell Mach3 licenses.... can anybody suggest a reputable dealer that has a better online store?

Thanks for the licensing info.

Sounds like "not too painful today, but much more so tomorrow".

I'm in a bit of a grey area... my actual machining work is going to be VERY MINIMAL... cutting holes in the occasional plastic front panel, prototype stuff.  Very "hobby like".

But... I'm an engineer... most of what I do is somehow related to eventually producing some product.

Technically... for profit... somewhere down the road.

But I'm also just one guy, working out of my house... two licenses for one machine tool that I will use a few times a year... seems like gross overkill to me.

At $175.00 per... I don't really care... I'd be willing to buy two and not have to wonder... it's still a bargain.

What I don't want, as a legitimate holder of two licenses for one machine tool that I will use a few times a year... is ANY KIND OF HASSLE in getting that software and licenses to work.

I change out my P.C.s fairly frequently... about once a year or so... and I"m frequently in "License Hell" with the various software packages I legitimately own.

It's not one of my favorite topics, as it has costs me many days of effort to continually resolve licensing issues with all my various design packages.

I'm hoping the new machine locked scheme will stop well short of making Mach3 a pain to use.

Chances are... the license cheater folks will find a way around it anyway... which means the only people that will actualy suffer... you got it... are the legitimate users.

From the quote... it sounds like the powers that be at ArtSoft are at least aware of the issue... even apologetic... I guess that's a good sign... caring is nice.

Best regards,

Michael

Offline Hood

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Re: Noob is mystified
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2009, 04:25:01 PM »
Quote
But I'm also just one guy, working out of my house... two licenses for one machine tool that I will use a few times a year... seems like gross overkill to me.

Not sure I follow, why would you require two licences if you only have one machine?

Hood

Offline Jeff_Birt

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Re: Noob is mystified
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2009, 04:40:43 PM »
Quote
"Mach 3 just homes by moving into the home switch and then slowly backs out until the switch changes and stops.
Backlash must be determined with a dial indicator. Then there is screw mapping which is another whole topic.
Your plan to install without the driver on the office machine is a good one. Enabling the axes is needed so the program has a reference to track on the screen."

Yowza.... really?

It's such a simple thing to do as part of the homing... and can be done for each axis in a matter of seconds.

The controller that comes with the Dyna machine measures and compensates for backlash every time you initialize the machine, and it displays the actual backlash values.

The Dyna controller tries to measure backlash by sensing the number of pulses between the closing an opening of the switch. That is not real accurate at all it does wind up giving you some idea if your switches are sticking though. To really measure backlash you really need a more accurate way to measure it, like a dial indicator.

Backlash compensation on a mill is somewhat of a myth. The cutting forces (bit on material) will have a tendency of pushing the table around taking up any backlash opposite the direction of the force. If you enable backlash compensation, set it right and, move one axis at a time it will look like you accomplished something. In actual practice you'll find that it did not help at all.

A more accurate homing solution is to use an encoder with an index pulse on each axis. The home switch then becomes a 'hey home is near' switch and 'Home' is seen as when both the mechanical 'home' switch and index pulse are seen.

Quote
My feeling is... I shouldn't have to change jack-squat... plenty of online stores are able to work without me lowering my security settings... this is bad.

The last thing the ArtSoft people should want is for people that are ready and willing to buy... not being able to because of the way SecurePay's order processing works.

VERY FRUSTRATING!

I've seen that other merchants sell Mach3 licenses.... can anybody suggest a reputable dealer that has a better online store?

I can understand being frustrated but I can see the other side of the coin too. As an online merchant I can check and double check things and then my shopping cart software, some browser, etc will change on little thing and something breaks for someone. It is frustrating for all involved. Try it again and if you have no luck you can pick up a license at my site: http://soigeneris.com/shop/Mach_3_97626.aspx (I guess I would have to count myself as being reputable  ;) )
Happy machining , Jeff Birt
 
Re: Noob is mystified
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2009, 05:07:03 PM »
Backlash:

I'm not sure what's right... but I don't really see anything wrong with the Dyna method, provided the limit switches are precision devices (repeatably activate at same mechanical position).

If they are... then the method described should work very well, as the number of steps "lost" (that don't produce actual axis movement) when changing axis direction... is directly proportional to the backlash, is determinate, and can be calculated based on the value of distance per step for the machine.

I'm leaving the door open on this one... as I'm NOT a machinist, and I realize there are things at play here that I don't know about.

I'm just saying... seems like it should work well... Dyna used that method for years, and had machines that were absolutely capable of producing very small, very precise, parts.

Even when used by bozos like myself.  :)

Licensing:

In the P.C. application software licensing world...  a license that is locked to a single "Machine" usually means a license that is locked to a single "P.C." (the machine being the computer the software runs on).

You are thinking Machine = CNC, which may be right... but it's up to the ArtSoft people to make it clear what they mean by "Machine", as they are the ones doing the licensing and employing the scheme.

As stated, I want to run Mach3 on two different P.C.s, only one of which will actually be controlling a CNC "machine".

The question remains... one license or two?

Best regards,

Michael