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Author Topic: Side mount tool changer controlled by Mach3? Has anybody done it?  (Read 2728 times)

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Wondering if anybody here has used mach to control a side mount tool changer? Im wondering how you deal with keeping track of where all the tools are? For example if you have Tool 1 in spindle and change to Tool 2, Tool 1 is now in the pocket where Tool 2 came from. So the pocket numbers dont match tool numbers, and they float around all over the place as you run numerous cycles. Seems like it would be complicated. Would this be tricky to do or is it easily done with variables some how?
Re: Side mount tool changer controlled by Mach3? Has anybody done it?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2016, 07:04:13 PM »
I have never seen a tool changer that puts a tool back any place than from where it came from. The really fast machines preload a tool into the changer arm. It grabs the tool in spindle and rotates the arm to the new tool and loads it. Then while the machining going on it puts the removed tool back in the pocket it came from.
Re: Side mount tool changer controlled by Mach3? Has anybody done it?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2016, 08:59:23 PM »
I have never seen a tool changer that puts a tool back any place than from where it came from.

Perhaps you have never watched them closely. Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAo8poNjDLY

They move all around the magazine with this type toolchanger found on the faster machines. Tool 1 might be in pocket 1, then in pocket 6 the next part, pocket 20 the next part, etc. You can view the tool data on real machines and it will tell you which pocket to find a given tool at any time.

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Re: Side mount tool changer controlled by Mach3? Has anybody done it?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2016, 03:14:59 AM »
If you are decent at VB you should be able to do it. Maybe write to User DROs for tools and pocket numbers. For example if you had 20 pockets then you could have a user DRO for each pocket and write to it the tool number you have in it at any given time. When doing a tool change you will look at the user dros and choose the one that has the number of the tool you have requested.
Hood
Re: Side mount tool changer controlled by Mach3? Has anybody done it?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2016, 09:26:54 AM »
I see that it does put tools back in different pockets. Not impressed with the indexing cam mechanism! Starting rotation and stopping at every pocket is such a waste. A servo driving it with continuous smooth motion to the required pocket seems like it would be so much better.

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Re: Side mount tool changer controlled by Mach3? Has anybody done it?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2016, 03:16:31 PM »
Gary, that too would be my preferred way to make a changer but if the machine already has a similar setup to the Haas one  then it would probably have to be used.
 Having said that, if using random tool placement  like above then a servo may actually not be any faster especially if pre-selecting tools before they are actually called as the required pocket would already be in position. That, however, would require external control of the changer with a PLC or similar.

Hood

Offline mc

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Re: Side mount tool changer controlled by Mach3? Has anybody done it?
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2016, 11:08:28 AM »
The problem with doing this in Mach 3, is how do you track the tools, and how do you store the information when things get shut down.
Easiest option I think would be to use a PLC with battery backed memory that keeps track of the tools and slots, and Mach simply requests the required tool from the PLC.

If you were to use something Cam/Geneva driven where you only need to trigger the positioning to move one position, you could use a Macro pump to stage the next tool by using a custom M code, however you'd then be reliant on Mach to handle the tool/slots, which I can't think of any easy way to do. I know Mach can write to output files, but I'm not sure if it can read them?

Mach 4 should be able to handle this. I know there was a discussion about Mach 4 and pre-staging tools, where you can have a script run when a T********* block is read, but the change doesn't physically happen until an M6 is requested. However I've not played with Mach4 for a while, so not sure if it has slot functionality available for the tool table.

I know with my lathe running KMotionCNC, the tool table has columns for Slot and Tool IDs. When I request a tool number, the Slot ID for that tool number is sent to the KFlop for carrying out the tool change. There is also the functionality to change the tool properties from the KFlop, so a random tool changer is possible, but I've never seen anybody implement one yet.
Re: Side mount tool changer controlled by Mach3? Has anybody done it?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2016, 10:24:47 PM »
We have two VMCs at work with a side mount toolchanger. One is driven the same way, probably a Geneva drive i guess. The newer one is a Mazak and is servo driven, magazine spins faster and smoother without stopping.

Looks like it might be tricky to get working. I supposed you could start the machine without a tool in the spindle, load a given tool, put it back in the same place when done and then call up another. This would require the arm changing twice and waiting for the magazine to turn in between. Would be a whole lot slower but probably easier to get up and running.

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Re: Side mount tool changer controlled by Mach3? Has anybody done it?
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2016, 05:44:49 AM »
The problem with doing this in Mach 3, is how do you track the tools, and how do you store the information when things get shut down.

As mentioned above User DROs for each tool slot could be used to keep track of the tool number in each slot and if Persistent DROs is chosen then these would be written to the xml on shut down.

This would require the arm changing twice and waiting for the magazine to turn in between. Would be a whole lot slower but probably easier to get up and running.
Not required as far as I can see, just the movement upwards to put the new tool in the spindle and the old tool in the slot would have to wait for the changer to revolve to the old tools slot. So basically a tool is called, the changer moves to new tool slot, arm picks it and old tool then lowers, changer revolves to old tool slot and arm raises and puts old tool in slot and new in spindle.

As said though, if decent at VB random toolchange should be relatively easy, sadly I am not good at VB but if it was my machine I would get it working, would just take a lot of syntax errors on the way :D
Hood
Re: Side mount tool changer controlled by Mach3? Has anybody done it?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2016, 09:36:37 PM »
ok well im still shopping for a retrofit machine yet, just want to sure i can get it working somehow. Thanks for the help