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CNC conversion to Mach3 possible?
« on: August 07, 2012, 08:20:13 AM »
Hi guys and girls!

New user here, but frequent lurker in the past. Let me introduce myself and the machine that got my interest set on Mach3. My father-in-law has a mid-size business in the wood industry, making wooden crates and boxes primarily for the food industry. For the most part we make wooden gift/display cases for wine and beer. About 10 years ago he had the oppertunity to buy a milling router for a steal, and he took it. the idea was to be able to expand the product list if the usual product sales would slow down.
well, that didn't happen and the router has been standing there for 10 years gathering dust! and this is where I come in, he asked me if i could see if I could get it working again and making it user-friendly and usable for them.

So I started browsing the web for info and looking for ways to make this happen. A technician from Reichenbacher came and gave it a good check, reloaded the OS and it's operational and working again. what machine is it? The big hunk of metal in the pictures is a Reichenbacher RANC 310A, the version with 3 spindle motors from 1986!

when I first started looking into this I figured it would be like plugging in a computer into the controller, draw and convert with CAD/CAM software et voila!! (what do you expect, I'm from the plug-and-play generation!  :) ) I realise now of course it won't be that easy!

Now to come to my questions:

1) I looked into Mach3 and played around with it a bit, and I like it! But will Mach3 be able to control something this big and old? Would this require a big investment into motion controllers etc.? Things like camsoft packages and upgrades etc. I don't think will be worth the investment... Like I said it's more a luxury problem than a necessity, but it would be awesome to get it to work for us of course!

2) the controller is a Siemens SINUMERIK 8M (pic included) which can be operated with STEP5 PC software from Siemens. But for the life of me I still have no clue how to use it and draw up a project and running the job, at least not in a user-friendly way!  :( none of us have CNC experience, and learning to program things on the old controller would be difficult at best. Ideally, user friendly would be CAD/CAM software and a controller to make the machine run (the original 8M or computer with controller software like Mach3?) Can this be done?

3) At present Mach3 can control one spindle motor, correct? Mach4 possibly more spindles I read somewhere? just a small question, I'd be more than happy to get one spindle up and running  ;)

I looked long and hard for info on this CNC, but found very few information  :-\ Can you guys help me fill in some blancs based on the pictures? mainly the spindle motors I have no clue.
From what I've read and learned the spindle motors are servos, pretty big ones in fact. High RPM models at 300Hz/380V. I THINK they can be controlled individually in the Z-direction? Can you see on the pictures if they're AC or DC servoes? analogue probably? any idea how many poles the motors could be?

Many more question I still have, but if I could get a little help so far, I can continue on figuring it out myself. I just hit a bit of a dead end not knowing if it's possible to get this machine running in some kind of CAD/CAM/controller system, and if it is, where to start looking into...

Thanks for looking and reading!

Robby

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: CNC conversion to Mach3 possible?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2012, 11:13:50 AM »
Hi Robby,

That is one beautiful looking router.

IMO yes it could be converted to run GCode via Mach3 etc. but it would almost certainly involve a lot of work with electrical knowledge and skills being required.

Tweakie.
KEEP SAFE !

Offline Hood

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Re: CNC conversion to Mach3 possible?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2012, 02:41:00 PM »
They look to be standard induction motors, possibly controlled via a VFD if the speed can be varied?
Looks like the Z axis for each motor is controlled via some sort of hydraulic cylinder, is that the case?

As for Mach, only 1 spindle in Mach3 but thats not to say you cant control 3, it will depend on the setup but external relays would likely work to swap them and you could have M codes to do that for you.

As for controlling the axis, If the Siemens are analogue input then you could use something like a Galil (expensive) DSPMC (Not so expensive) Kflop/Kanalog (Cheapest) or possibly the CSMIO/IP-A from Poland will be released soon. You will have to find out though if the Siemens drives are analogue control or some other method.

Hood
Re: CNC conversion to Mach3 possible?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2012, 06:03:26 PM »
Hi guys,

Thanks for the info so far!

I tried my best german when looking at the info i found on the perske spindle motors. seems like they're heavy duty AC servos, when looking in the manual i also recognized something that turned out to be the VFD! I have no idea what the cylinders on top of the drives are, I do know they're connected to the air pressure system, and when they're under pressure the 2 outside spindle motors rise to the same level as the big spindle in the middle... does that ring any bells for you maybe?

as for the axis motors, this is what it says in the description: DC SERVOMOTOR PERMANENT-FIELD EXCITED NAT.AIR COOLING, IP 54, 7 NM
for the rest I found extra specs: 177V - 3000 RPM - 15,5A - 2,4 kW

any idea if this motor would be analog or digital?

Thanks!

Robby

Offline Hood

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Re: CNC conversion to Mach3 possible?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2012, 06:32:12 PM »
Ok spindle motors are just induction motors I would say, albeit inverter duty and nice quality if Perske.

Looks to me like the air cylinders just raise or lower the motors and you then maybe have control of the height of the plate the whole lot are fized to for your Z axis.

Axis motors are DC Servos as you say but it is the drives/amplifiers that you need to know what control signal they take.
Hood
Re: CNC conversion to Mach3 possible?
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2012, 04:56:25 AM »
thanks for the info Hood!

I looked into the german manuals for the driver/amplifier, it's a simodrive 6RB2030. Seems it gets 10V on input so that would make it analog. Makes sense because no profibus or modbus ports on this controller which is one of the first of it's kind/series.

I'll start looking into retrofit possibilities with Mach3 PC and analog converters, or possibly a new controller. Everything else still seems up to par, the input and programming methods just need some upgrading!  :-[

any suggestions in this direction are of course always welcome, i'll definately look into the ones you already suggested!

thanks!

Robby

Offline Hood

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Re: CNC conversion to Mach3 possible?
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2012, 05:13:34 AM »
Ok if analogue then thats good as the Siemens stuff is usually good so should do you fine.
As for controller you have a few options as mentioned above, I like the look of the CS-Lab hardware but have not tried it. I am supposed to be taking delivery of their Step/Dir 6 axis controller today but you would need the Analogue version which I dont think is on sale yet.
Hood
Re: CNC conversion to Mach3 possible?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2012, 04:16:54 AM »

Hi Hood,

have you received your 6 axis controller from CS-lab yet? what's your opinion? I'm looking very much into them and I'm mailing them today about some info and feasability of my project with their hardware. The analogue controller is available now BTW!

thanks,

Robby

Offline Hood

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Re: CNC conversion to Mach3 possible?
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2012, 04:20:10 AM »