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Author Topic: Hoping to retrofit a CNC mill with Mach3. Where do I start?  (Read 22354 times)

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Offline Hood

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Re: Hoping to retrofit a CNC mill with Mach3. Where do I start?
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2009, 03:40:48 PM »
You will need to measure the pitch, easy enough to do with some digital calipers, just same idea as measuring TPI of a bolt. Best idea is to measure over a distance of greater than 1 inch.  Over 5 tracks (1 inch)  the difference between 5mm pitch or 0.2" would only  be 0.00319 inches but oviously over 30 (6 inch) it would be 6 times greater so easier to differentiate.
It is likely that they will either be 0.2" or 5mm as that is the norm for machine tools such as lathes or mills.

Hood
Re: Hoping to retrofit a CNC mill with Mach3. Where do I start?
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2009, 05:06:54 PM »
I am bringing this old post back to life as I am hoping to start making some progress on the retrofit project.  Since I last posted, I have removed all of the control components from the mill.  The servo motors and spindle motor are still in place (as are the limit switches).  I should probably go ahead and start purchasing the necessary components.  I am planning to buy some of the new 160V Granite drives.  I was also looking at their breakout board.  Would it adequately complement the servo drives?  My mill has a two-speed geared head and a spindle brake (both controlled through electro-pneumatic relays... I'm not sure if that's the right term for them).  Typically, does the breakout board control such things, or would I need another component for the PC to control any other relays?

Also, I was hoping someone might be able to recommend a good VFD for me.  My mill has a 7.5 HP (5-6kW?) motor.  I'd like to find one that is reliable and fairly easy to use.  I have no experiences with VFDs, but it sounds like it shouldn't be too terribly hard to interface with the PC control.  If anyone has any recommendations on a breakout board and VFD, please let me know!  Thank you for your time.

Offline cnc-it

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Re: Hoping to retrofit a CNC mill with Mach3. Where do I start?
« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2009, 02:27:28 PM »
Hi Ions,

Just a note on the Fanuc Model 3 spindle motor...keep the drive for it if you can as it's a servo drive and should give you excellent controll of that motor. Those Fanuc spindle drives are super reliable and have good safety devices inbuilt in them to stop any major damage if something goes wrong. The drive will do orientation for tapping and tool changing.

I have two machines with the Fanuc model 3 motor on and they will tap holes no problem with a tension compression tap holder.
Is the drive an A06B-6044-H07 ..?

http://www.dnc-electronics.co.uk/fanuc-drives/6044_fanuc_spindle_drives.htm

The Fanuc stuff  might be old but it's damn good quality!! :)

By the way there is a nice 8 axis Galil motion card on ebay at the moment that would control your  servos and drives..would also control your spindle drive too! It will do analogue 10V or torque mode or even steppers...
The Galil section has all the info!

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=230366526511&_trkparms=tab%3DWatching


John.
Re: Hoping to retrofit a CNC mill with Mach3. Where do I start?
« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2009, 06:03:52 PM »

Just a note on the Fanuc Model 3 spindle motor...keep the drive for it if you can as it's a servo drive and should give you excellent controll of that motor. Those Fanuc spindle drives are super reliable and have good safety devices inbuilt in them to stop any major damage if something goes wrong. The drive will do orientation for tapping and tool changing.

I have two machines with the Fanuc model 3 motor on and they will tap holes no problem with a tension compression tap holder.
Is the drive an A06B-6044-H07 ..?

http://www.dnc-electronics.co.uk/fanuc-drives/6044_fanuc_spindle_drives.htm

The Fanuc stuff  might be old but it's damn good quality!! :)

By the way there is a nice 8 axis Galil motion card on ebay at the moment that would control your  servos and drives..would also control your spindle drive too! It will do analogue 10V or torque mode or even steppers...
The Galil section has all the info!

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=230366526511&_trkparms=tab%3DWatching



Thank you for the info, John!  I do still have the spindle drive.  Unfortunately, I chopped the wires from the bottom of it.  However, I kept all the plugs that went to/from it.  I assume that it would have to be configured differently, anyway, so it may be of no consequence.  It is an A06B-6044-H007.  To me, it just looks like a complicated mess of electrical components.  It appears that the going rate for these things on fleaBay is around $2500.  I never would've guessed an old spindle drive would be so valuable.  Would the performance and reliability be much/any better than a VFD?  I'm no expert when it comes to electrics and electronics.  The VFD just sounded like it would be a fairly simple solution to spindle control.  However, if the Fanuc drive would be just as reliable (and not too much trouble), I might just go with that.  Would the spindle control or the breakout board control of the spindle break and geared head?

As for the Galil unit...  It seems a little bit complicated.  I'm not sure, but I get the impression that it has a LOT of features that I will never need (or even know how to use).  For me, simplicity and reliability are going to be key to getting this retrofit done.  I assumed that the Granite unit would be best for the Granite drives.  However, I could very easily be missing some very important understanding of these components (which may be obvious from reading my posts).  Thanks again for the valuable input!

Offline cnc-it

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Re: Hoping to retrofit a CNC mill with Mach3. Where do I start?
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2009, 03:10:53 AM »
No problem just glad to help.. :)

The spindle drive will run as is if attached to something like the Galil board..there are other versions available with less axis but the one on Ebay is well priced. Plus if you want to add a 4th axis indexer at a later date you will still have axis left to play with.
You could  add an encoder to the spindle motor and wire this to the Galil board to get position feedback from the motor for tapping cycles.
Best to wire everything back to the spindle drive as it was then wire the analogue 10v control signal from a Galil board to the drive.
Don't forget that drive should still be tuned into that motor so it would save you setting the motor up again!

As far as I know the VFD will not work as precisely as the Fanuc unit but I'm no expert on these...my philosophy is to use the drive that was built for the motor being as it is of high quality..the VFD would normally be a cheaper alternative to the full servo spindle drive  you have now.

Also you can buy expensive motors  and control them from a low end motion card but you will get better results from using your old servos with a high end card like the Galil.

Mach puts out step and direction from the printer port, the idea with the galil is it gives you much more control over the analogue drives and because it runs from a pci slot on your pc motherboard you can get up to 12mhz pulse rate..far faster than the pulse rate from the printer port so faster rapids and smoother motion  can be achieved from older  analogue drives.

 http://www.galilmc.com/products/dmc-18x0.php
 
John.
Re: Hoping to retrofit a CNC mill with Mach3. Where do I start?
« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2009, 01:35:15 PM »
Thank you for the additional info, John!  Also, thank you for taking the time to put things into layman's terms.  I'm not the most technically-adept fellow, so it is very helpful when someone explains all this stuff in a manner that I can actually understand (for the most part).

So, I am curious about the Galil cards and how they compare to a "breakout board" setup that seems to be the standard for most CNC retrofits.  Does the Galil only provide advantages when using older analog servo drives?  I was planning on buying some of the new Granite drives.  From what I've read, digital drives are quite a bit more reliable and easier to set up than older analog drives.  I still have all the drives from the original control.  From what I gather, a Galil card would allow me to keep the original drives, but I would have to buy  some additional (and fairly costly) equipment.  The work I plan to do with this CNC machine is fairly simple (no large-scale production and no sub-.001 tolerances).  However, there may be some 3D movements involved.

Anyway, the two things that are most important to me with this retrofit are simplicity and reliability.  I don't mind having to go a little slower to get the job done, so maximum speed and performance isn't at the top of the priority list.  As I've mentioned a few times, I'm not too familiar with the intricacies of setting up and dialing in electronic equipment.  I just want to make sure that I know what I should be looking at before I plunk down any money on the necessary parts for the retrofit.  Thanks again for the additional information.  It will give me something to think about as I shop around this week.

Offline cnc-it

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Re: Hoping to retrofit a CNC mill with Mach3. Where do I start?
« Reply #26 on: September 08, 2009, 02:36:36 PM »
No problem I'm no expert but just speaking from experience!

The step and direction signal Mach puts out is really for controlling steppers but some "intelligent" digital drives will accept this signal too but with a Galil card the benefit is you can run any type of drive and motor..so if you decided to stick with your old drives to save on cost you would still get good performance well fast enough for the type of machine you have.

Just a point on the old drives..set up won't be an issue as they are already tuned to the motors..nothing against the Granite drives though as they should be easy to set up too. 

With the Galil you would need the break out board they supply (ICM 2900 I think) to wire your encoders into and the analogue command signals too.

Other break out boards that you have seen for Mach 3 do the same thing and also have connections for i/o such as controlling solenoids and rotary feed switches etc.

John.

Offline RossF

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Re: Hoping to retrofit a CNC mill with Mach3. Where do I start?
« Reply #27 on: December 29, 2009, 01:30:21 PM »
Hi Ions82. How far have you got with your investigations?
I am in the process of retrofitting an Extron mill and I went for a Dynomotion Kanalog/Kflop board after a lot of investigation.
The machine is twelve years old and most advice was to ditch the old Panasonic servos and drives and fit new ones. That was outside my budget.
I got in touch with Tom Kerekes and he advised me that if I could get servo movement by putting a standard 1.5v battery voltage across a couple of pins on the servo driver input then we should be able to get the machine working with his board and Mach3.
And he was right. I got movement with the battery and tons of help from TK.
We removed all the old computer hardware and have a standard PC, running Mach3, and the KMotion software that comes with the board and is used for setting up the system to interface with Mach3.
I have the machine at the stage of tuning the motors and I am still in information overload mode, but we're getting there and Tom's help has been fantastic.
There have been a few misunderstandings with terminology, as you have to cope with engineering, coding, computer and just plain English terms, and Tom has always been patient with me and worked through it :).
Re: Hoping to retrofit a CNC mill with Mach3. Where do I start?
« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2010, 11:02:06 PM »
How is this project goinig?  I recently got a 330 too and want to refit it to a Mach3 control system.  I would love any advice you have or lessons learned you would like to share.  Thanks for any help.

Chris
Re: Hoping to retrofit a CNC mill with Mach3. Where do I start?
« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2010, 08:11:27 AM »
ions82,

Please contact us shop@kieh.org we are just starting a 330 rebuild. Ask for Frank, Eric, or Christ.

I have read that other people are hoping to stand on ions82 shoulders during their rebuilds. Feel free to contact us too.

Shop