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Author Topic: Engraver Conversion  (Read 2366 times)

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Engraver Conversion
« on: July 16, 2012, 08:28:18 PM »
Hi folks,

I'm new to Mach 3 so this may be a dumb question...

I am converting an ancient Dahlgren 300 engraver from the DOS world into this millennium.  This all seems workable except that I'm a little stuck on Z axis control.  There is no stepper here- just a relay to move the cutter up and down. (control is actually electric valve pneumatic)

The question- how do I configure Mach 3 for this kind of "binary" control?

Also, I plan to use this setup with either Engravelab or Flexi Engrave.  Any comments on these 2 pieces of software would be appreciated!

Thanks!

Online Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Engraver Conversion
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2012, 01:26:16 AM »
Hi Bobby,

You can control the pen down / pen up function quite easily by using the M3 / M5 commands within your GCode.
These commands can be mapped to an available output pin and used to control your relay in exactly the same way as a spindle on / off control.

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Engraver Conversion
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2012, 05:56:18 AM »
Tweakie,

Thanks!

Meanwhile, I've been messing around and I also noticed in the Config / General Config a check bubble that reads "Z is 2.5D on Output #6".  Any thoughts on this?  My guess is that this should map M3 / M5 to pin 6(?)

My real concern is a little downstream- I will be using the G code output from commercial engraving SW to run this.  Do you see any problems with the SW interface?

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Re: Engraver Conversion
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2012, 06:58:02 AM »
Hi Bobby,

No, don’t use the 2.5D

Under Config / Ports & Pins / Spindle setup, specify an Output # for M3 (1 would be good). Then under Output Signals for Output #1 specify the port and pin you will be using to drive your pen up / down.
Then the GCode M3 / M5 will activate / deactivate this pin accordingly.

If it is any help, you can e-mail me or post here a sample copy of the code you are planning to use and I will check out the compatibility etc.

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Engraver Conversion
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2012, 10:12:31 PM »
Tweakie,

I have Mach 3 set up on my bench with stepper motor drivers, a couple of loose motors, LEDs etc.
I set the M3 output up as you suggested- but there's is a problem here and I don't understand. 

The M3 command is meant to start the spindle and it works fine this way to "lower" the spindle.  But I need the spindle lifted periodically while engraving.  I used the "Write" engraving wizard to generate GCode to engrave "111".  The M3 command starts and ends fine- but this won't lift the spindle between the characters.

Am I missing something?

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Re: Engraver Conversion
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2012, 02:24:50 AM »
Hi Bobby,

It depends on how your GCode is produced in the first place but it sounds like you need to add additional M3 / M5 codes between each letter.
For example, standard GCode containing Z Axis movements (as would be produced with the Mach3 Write wizard) can be edited (basically using a ‘search and replace all’ function) where every +Z movement is replaced with M5 and every –Z move is replaced with M3. Although this may sound tedious, the task can be automated within most post processors.

Another example… Using your favourite software - If you were to create your text or design and save the result as a .plt or .dxf file etc, this could be loaded into LazyCam and using a modified post processor the resulting GCode would then have the M3 / M5 commands automatically inserted into the correct places.

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.