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Author Topic: Mach 3 and a Roland PNC-2700  (Read 9038 times)

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Mach 3 and a Roland PNC-2700
« on: September 20, 2011, 09:41:46 AM »
I've recently starred working at an architectural modelmaking business who own a Roland PNC-2700 (which I believe dates back to 1993!). My bosses old partner was the one who used the machine, but since he left it's been laying unused. I have a basic understanding of CNC machining (familiar with Excalibur, Rhino CAM and Datron machines), but trying to get this one to work is proving a bit of a problem:

The machine itself needs Modella (3D) player to generate the tool paths.

There is a plug-in update for it to work on XP (any later versions of Windows are incapable), but this isn't much of a problem as the companies desktop has XP, but I'd like to do all my work on my own laptop which runs Windows 7.

Basically, could I use Mach 3 instead of Modella to control the machine independently, or isn't it capable? Sorry if I'm a bit vague, but if you have any questions I'm more than happy to answer, thanks in advance!

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Mach 3 and a Roland PNC-2700
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2011, 12:55:43 PM »
Hi Jonny,

Welcome to the forum.

I don’t think Mach3 will be of much use to you with this machines standard electronics because, as far as I can remember, the PNC-2700 is basically an engraving machine usually running the Roland software Dr.Engrave which is HPGL related.
I don't have any knowledge of Modella - could you provide more details of this please ??

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Mach 3 and a Roland PNC-2700
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2011, 01:49:53 PM »
Thanks for the welcome Tweakie! You're right, it is an engraving machine, but my bosses old partner use to cut out window recesses in MDF and it has a rough Z-height of 50mm, I also haven't heard that it couldn't be used as a 3-axis CNC, unless that's a given? When I spoke to the Roland Digital group support, they mentioned that Dr. Engrave software, but also Modella, which is (taken from their website):

"MODELA Player is a CAM software application that accepts DXF and STL files exported from commercially available CAD/CAM software. It also allows for uniform 3D scaling, selection of milling direction and automatic generation and display of the tool path. Cutting depths and speeds are controlled from a predefined material library or can be set to user-defined specifications."

http://www.rolanddga.com/products/software/3dBundle/features.asp

And this is an updated manual I found online which mentions Modela too:

http://biorobots.cwru.edu/server/howto/cnc/cncmanual.pdf

It seems to be a software solely for generating tool paths to be used with Roland CNC machines.

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Mach 3 and a Roland PNC-2700
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2011, 02:56:32 AM »
Hi Jonny,

Thanks for the info, I had never heard of Modela before.

Roland don't really disclose the code system they use for driving their 3D machines but there is more than a good chance that it is based on the HPGL units system rather than a standard GCode.
The output from Mach is essentially multi axis Step and Direction signals and I doubt this would be compatible with your PNC-2700. Your best bet would probably be to obtain the Roland Modela software and use their system but if this was not possible for some reason then there is always the radical solution of replacing the machine's controller electronics with something that is Mach compatible. This would not be hard to do but it does involve a lot of work and some electrical / mechanical skill.

Hope this helps,

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Mach 3 and a Roland PNC-2700
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2011, 05:17:01 AM »
Seems like no one has heard of Modela before! I doubt I have the know-how to replace the electronics sadly, plus I'd be terrified of making it not work at all! Thank you anyways!

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Mach 3 and a Roland PNC-2700
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2011, 05:31:47 AM »
Just out of curiosity,
What software is the machine currently using ??,   I presume you don't have Modela.

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Mach 3 and a Roland PNC-2700
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2011, 05:40:22 AM »
Well that's the thing, the guy who used the machine left several years ago, and since then the original software, which I believe to be Dr Engraver, has been deleted.

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Mach 3 and a Roland PNC-2700
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2011, 05:52:08 AM »
Ahh,

My best suggestion is you join the various Roland forums, there are 3 or 4 and post a few questions there. Maybee there are other softwares which are known to operate these machines or there may even be some post processors available.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Mach 3 and a Roland PNC-2700
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2011, 12:13:48 PM »
Hi Jonny
I own a Roland pnc 3100 same machine and i have modela as well as all the other Roland programs and i am very familiar with the machine i have used it for years now.you can use a camm program but it has to have a post for the Roland machine the post is hpgl like a printer would use i wouldn't try and remove the mother board and convert the machine to a direct mach set up i think it would be a waist if the machine is in working order if i can be of any help let me know.

Dennis

Offline bw

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Re: Mach 3 and a Roland PNC-2700
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2011, 04:41:38 PM »
I also own one of the 3100 machines.  I use Vetric Vcarve, it has a post proccessor for the Roland machines.