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Author Topic: Supermax VCM-16VS retrofit  (Read 13916 times)

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Supermax VCM-16VS retrofit
« on: December 27, 2006, 01:44:22 PM »
OK, I am reposting this here from my project log on cnczone.

About two months ago I bought this Supermax YCM-16VS Vertical Turret Mill from a friend. It was previously owned by Tektronix and resided in the Model Dept where it was converted to CNC by a local company. It was fitted with an TERA 4030 series CNC control with Glentek Servo Drives and Motors, Heidenhain glass scales, Bridgeport belt housings, Ballscrews on X and Y, and a Air assist ballscrew on the knee.

My friend sold it to me because he could not get it to work. The control would come on but when you went to turn on the servo it would just shut off as soon as you let go of the button. He messed around with the servo drives and eventually it just set around for about 2 years. I was looking for a mill and was looking at a Jet vertical cnc. I told my friend I was looking at getting it and he offered to sell me his supermax. This was better for me as the Jet was a dedicated CNC machine. No real manual controls and the head was fixed so no pan or tilt. Plus since he is a friend I can barter and trade!

So I offered him something he couldnt refuse as a true lover of gizmos (His site: http://www.surpusgizmos.com ) I traded him an Esab Plasma Cutter I rebuilt, a bottle for his Mig welder, a Kurt vice, and a little cash. All in all I have about $1100 out of pocket into the machine.

It weighs in at somewhere around 2700lbs at best guess. Getting it home would be fun. Luckily I have a friend who does fabrication and weding on heavy equipment so I enlisted his help. He has a 10000 lb crane on his truck. Using that we lifted it up and onto the back of my friends pickup, tied it down and brought it over. Picked it back out and set it on a pallet where I used a pallet jack to move it into the garage.

Here are some pics of moving it.
Re: Supermax VCM-16VS retrofit
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2006, 02:04:06 PM »
More Pics
Re: Supermax VCM-16VS retrofit
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2006, 02:08:35 PM »
So the first thing I had to do is solve the three phase problem. It was set up for 208v. Looking through it is seems everything except for the motor is designed o run either on 120v or 240v single phase. Simple enough! I picked a phase to get rid of and went about moving all of the circuits so the shared the two remaining legs.

The motor was controlled by a standard 3 phase mechanical interlocking reversing contactor. I have a 2HP vfd that can handle up to 7.5 amps continuious whicj is what the motor is rated for (Although the motor is rated for 3 hp.). I mounted the motor right where the contactor was. The contactor was driven by two small icecube relays so I rewired that to control the fwd/rev inputs on the VFD. For now I just set the hi output to 60hz and put a jumper from the 10v conection to the analog in. This gives me a basic fwd/off/rev capability. Good enough.

Hit the power button on the control and the machine booted! So far so good! Tried turn on servo power. Did the same thing as it ws doing for my friend. As long as you hold down the button it works, but it wont latch in. I played around and couldnt figure out the maze of wiring.

I managed to get a hold of a couple of the guys that had originally ran this machine when it was at Tek. He said what might cause servo to trip was no air to the machine. On the back of the mill is an air regulator with a copper line disappearing into the base of the mill. He told me this was an air balance that took the weight off of the knee ballscrew. If there is no air the servo can trip. I tried hooking up air and no difference.

Next day I headed down to my friends shop. He had all the manuals for the control, schematics for the console and back control box, and even the manual for the mill. SCORE!

Well, with the schematics I was able to figure out what was going on. The overtravel limits are wired in series with the estop circuit and there was no power going to the control from the limits to the console. Lookin at the limits I noticed that one of the limit switches was newer then the rest. Opened it up and sure enough someone wired it wrong. Two wires were backwards. Re connected to resolve this and bingo! It worked. The servo stays on.

So everything works now! I have the manuals for the control and too some time to figure it out. Works. Only problem is is it uses a proprietory disk format and I cannot copy the software discs nor copy g-code to it to run. Thats leaves MDI and I figured out the editor on board and was able to get it to move with that.

Great! It works but no tooling. I had been looking at the Tormach tooling system. Turns out someone on PractialMachinist.com got a new mill and o longer needed the set he had. So we stuck a deal and I bought his set. Then soon after that I ran across a Craigslist ad where a guy had a whole bunch of US made end mills brand new and wanted to trade it for an Oxy/Acet torch set. I had a spare so I traded it. All sorts of goodies. round nose, dovetail, round over and regular cutters. About $1300 worth!

One of the reasons I bought this machine was I had one of the Hrbor Freight Micro Mills I converted to CNC. I finally bought a casting kit for a small gas engine but it was just too small. Now I have something to work on the engine!

I was milling out some areas on the cylinder water jacket when the machine went crazy! The Y axis took off towards the column at about Warp 3. Luckily the control sensed this and shut everything down. But not after snapping off a new 1/4" round nose bit. And gouging the casting. Ouch!

Well, it seems the servo card is messed up. It just gives ut 12v on the motor control no matter what. Went back to my friends place. He had gotten a spare control box for parts when he bought the machine. I have not gotten it from him as we didnt have room the day we moved it. i got the spare servo card and installed it. That seems to fix things up.

I manage to finish the machining on the casting. Man this beats manually locating holes for drilling!

I start playin with the machine trying to figure out how to get it to talk to another computer. It has RS-232 built in. Eventually I figure it out. Only problem is my floppys are failing. and there is no way to back up. Great now I have a good working controller with no operating system!

Here are some more pics, including one of the mill this machine replaced.
Re: Supermax VCM-16VS retrofit
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2006, 02:10:57 PM »
I bought this machine intending on replacing the controller. Goetting the controller working was a bonus. I let me figure out how the system really worked. With this and the schematics I was sure I could convert the machine with minor modifiations to the controls.

The machine has good servos and drives. No since in replacing them. I bought three of the $69 Pixies from http://www.skyko.com . These let you control servo drives with analog on with step/dir inputs. I also went to http://www.cnc4pc.com and bought two of bidirectional buffered breakout boards, one of the VFD controlboards, and one of the charge pump boards. Great boards. Only thing I didnt like is the mounting holes are all over the place!

I went to back down to my friends surplus shop and picked up another 4 position opto22 G4 board for $25 w/modules. Also picked up some 4 wire and two wire shielded control cable and some snap in circuit board standoffs. While I was there I went ahead and yanked off the spare front panel for the console as well as the panel that has all the connectors that hook the control box to the console. After going back to pick up my card (oops) I also found a piece of aluminum to mount all of the interface boards on. When I got home I found some din rail, din mount relays and din mount terminal strips I had stripped out of an old machine.

Here are some more pics showing the inside of the old console and the spare connector panel.
Re: Supermax VCM-16VS retrofit
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2006, 02:29:28 PM »
I intend to use the existing cabinet as a home for the new controls. I took a piece of plywood and marked it to figure out the layout I wanted all of the boards and rails. Took out a pair of calipars and tarted getting dimensions and drew out a print. Took that piece of aluminum and cut it down to size on the table saw. The mill was still working, although very sluggish from all the disk errors and was able to use mdi to input all the hole locations. I flipped it over and counterbored the holes so the standoff would snap in.

I decided the most out of the way place inside the cabinet would be right next to the conector panel. Since these boards will be wire to the connectors i decided to just tig weld the panels together. Of course I am out of Argon. And its Friday night... Ugh.

Well, there is nothing more I need to make with the mill for the control so I go ahead and gut the console. Comes apart easily. They used connectors everywhere so no cutting needed. The original control also had provisions for controlling a variable speed spindle drive. Jut the wires were not hooked up in the console connector so I hooked up the wires and extended the signal wires with some of tht 2 strand shielded to reach the input of the vfd. I also seperated the overtravel limits so they were seperated and used some spare lines in the umbilical to the console to bring these signals up. These along with the home switches give a 24v dc signal to the console powered by a 24v linear power supply in the cabinet. I will isolate these signals with those little din rail mount relays.

Finally its monday and I got another bottle of argon. Welded the panels together and drilled a couple holes where the wires will come in and split up amongst the boards. I had some wire trough so I put that in to keep everything in somewhat order. Installed all of the standoffs and boards and started wiring. All from the schematics and from my head. I has also earlier marked which wires I wanted to use from the connectors with tape.

I guess it took about 2 hrs wire up. What a pain! But everything went well.
For power to the board I need +5v, +12v, and -12V. The easiest thing to do is draw power off the ATX power supply for the computer. I picked up an ATX extension and attached a 4 pin connector to connect to the control panel. Doing this will eliminate the possibiity of ground loops.

Now for the moment of truth. I installed the interface panel and hooked up the computer I had been using with the micro mill. I alread had Mach3 installed. i also had picked up a 15" kiosk style LCD panel off ebay that I plan on installing in the cabinet.

I put of this together and powered her up. So far so good. All of the limits were activating the correct relays. All of the power lights were on. I hooked up a jumper that would activate the servos until I installed the board for the charge pump control. Immediately the servo took off for just a second an all of the pixies started blinking. Went into tune mode on the pixies and changed the output polarity. Now they work. I spend about an hour tuning the motors and they seem to work fine.

I load up mach and enter the pin designations for the interface boards. i enter the steps per inch for the motors (50000 steps for X and Y and 166666.66 for Z, Later I use the built in step multiplier in the pixies to drop these levels. ) I also enter the parameters for the VFD control.

It works! I go to MDI and enter 1 inch and it moves that! I also have full control of spindle speed and direction! I play around with motor setting and It seems to like rapids at about 100ipm which is pretty close to what the old control did.

Heres some pics of the construction of the interface and the mess left over!
« Last Edit: December 27, 2006, 02:48:41 PM by macona »
Re: Supermax VCM-16VS retrofit
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2006, 02:33:20 PM »
Still more pics...
Re: Supermax VCM-16VS retrofit
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2006, 02:36:13 PM »
Well, it seems to work pretty well. Two problems. One is the table oscilliates back and forth and the other is I just cant get tuned well so it overshoots.

I took the scope and retuned the drives. No difference. Just too much backlash in the system. About .002". Not good.

The problem lies in the feedback setup of the mill. The original setup used the LS303 Heidenhain Slides connected to EXE602 interpolators to give positional feedback to the console. I just cant get it tuned right to work like this. The only solution is to install rotary encoders on the motors themselves.

i had bought three brand new 2500 lpr encoder about 5 years ago for an DRO project that went nowhere. I had some little zero backlash couplers and bored them out to fit the encoder and the 1/4" stub on the motor shaft. I used the mill to cut out the hole on the end of the coverplate on the motors. i just locktited the coupler to the shafts after I cut the shafts to length. Soldered on new lengths of 4 wire shielded cable and hooked these to the pixies.

Now I could tune the motors. My signal gain was too high and I think that was causing my problems with the slide. Oh well, I will use the slides for DROs in Mach.

Like I mentioned earlier the X and Y have about .002 backlash. Not only that the machine rumbles when it moves. I took a dial indicator and put a ball bearing ball in the centerhole at the end of the ball screw. I have about .001 end play. Looks like my bearings are shot. So I yanked the y axis motor mounts and sure enough, they felt pretty bad. They were made by Fafnir. Applied Industrial called up Fafnir for me and found out they were a bridgeport part number. Called Bridgeport and ordered 4 bearings. Two showed up yesterday. Grr. Installed them and mde a heck of a difference. Dropped the backlash down to about .001. And made it so smooth!

Also last night I went ahead and installed the board for the charge pump. Now when mach goes into estop it shuts down the servo system (Includes spindle and coolant pump).

That brings this project up to date. I bought a jog pendant I am going to tie in to the system and am currently designing the new control panel. Need to call up Bridgeport and yell at them monday too.

Couple more pics...
Re: Supermax VCM-16VS retrofit
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2006, 02:40:01 PM »
Got my second set of bearings. Bridgeport sent out the second set next day air. I installed the bearings and also changed the x drive belt while I had it apart. What a difference! The control consold no longer shakes when I rapid!

Finally cut some steel with the mill. I got tired of my touchscreen moving away from me every time I go to push something so I cut a hole in the panel for it. I have been slowy designing my new control panel for the mill in solidworks. I exported it to a .dxf and popped it into lazycam and deleted everything except for the mounting holes and the hole for the LCD. I set up the panel in the mill, ran a couple air cuts to make sure everything is where they should be and then laid into it. Worked great, only I had the feedrate too high nd by the time I was done I had toasted the bit. Oh well...

Now if only I had measured all four mounting holes to make sure they were the same distance apart. Who would of thought they would be 10" apart a 11" on the top?

The touch screen is much easier to use now with it mounted rigidly. I am reusing a lot of the buttons from the old panel, many in their original location. I ordered a piece of aluminum today for the overlay to cover all the holes and the rough cut edges.

When I was setting up the front panel I had a little accident. I crushed the reader head on my X axis Heidenhain slide. The overtravels were not working as I was still waiting for the second parallel port card. Anyone have a spare Heidenhain LS403?

I found out the computer I picked just isnt going to hack it. i cant rapid a anything past the 35khz setting im mach without it jumping around. I have an old P4 2.4 SFF pc that I was going to use for another project. Its kind of like a shuttle PC. One PCI, One AGP and not much more. I had gone to urn it on a month or so ago and the power supply blew up. I called FIC about a new power supply and they wanted $65+ shipping. Forget that!

I endup just getting a generic P4 ATX type power supply at goodwill for $2 nd set it on top of the machine. I got a dual port PCI card from ebay and installed that. Reinstalled windows and all the drivers and replaced the old computer. This made quite a difference. Not only can I run in the 45khz setting but going into wizards dosent kick in the driver watchdog. Also I can rapid much faster now. I was limited to about 120 ipm and now I can do 180 on X and 150 on Y.

Now that I have the second parallel port installed I also have my home switches and overtravels working. The mill has some nice switches installed. So far they are totally repeatable and have hit the exact same spot everytime I have home the machine.

I also hooked up the linear slides to the second port... Well, the two that are left... So far it looks like my Y axis is ending up where it should be withing a couple tenths everytime and I have about .0008" backlash. I also found out I had my Z setting way wrong! by 20%. I had thought the Z ball screw was .2" pitch like the others but it is actually .25 pitch. Also the Z screw is showing quite a bit of wear as it seems a little drunk. I will have to try the screwmapping and see if that helps.

My next project is to add spindle feedback. I picked up some Keyence retroreflective fiber optic sensors that I am hoping to be able to pick off a mark on the spindle and get it to stop in a certian position to do the back boing canned cycles. Also to compensate for load while cutting.

At this point the panel is mostly designed. The only thing I am waiting for is I need to come up with something to do mouse clicks. The toucscreen driver does have an option fot right clicks but does not work very well. I think i am just going to take a cheap mouse and gut it for the circuit board and mount some panel switches in place of the old switches.

Here are a couple more pics of getting ready to cut the hole for the display and the finished prouct.
Re: Supermax VCM-16VS retrofit
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2006, 02:45:27 PM »
Also a couple pics of the harmonic gear reducer I plan on using for a fourth axis. It has a 101:1 gear ratio and absolutely no backlash. I figured out the pinout for the encoder and now just need to hook it to a counter and figure out its ppr.

Offline Chaoticone

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Re: Supermax VCM-16VS retrofit
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2006, 03:05:49 PM »
Very nice. We like the sexy pics. ;D

;D If you could see the things I have in my head, you would be laughing too. ;D

My guard dog is not what you need to worry about!