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Author Topic: How can i use Mach3 to control a robotic arm?  (Read 7961 times)

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How can i use Mach3 to control a robotic arm?
« on: January 12, 2016, 03:07:03 AM »
CNC are great but robotic arms are even greater :"D

After seeing this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E7rH6XhEGE
And this one : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmWApbrxAf4

I'm convinced that Mach3 is able to control a robotic arm, i just don't know how?!

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: How can i use Mach3 to control a robotic arm?
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2016, 04:33:08 AM »
Mach3 does not actually support kinematic control, however...

Within Mach3 there is a teach wizard called 'CopyCat' which will produce a Gcode file based on the manually created movements of a device which could be moved to each of the desired positions from the keyboard or an appropriately configured joystick. When the Gcode file is run the device will automatically mimic these movements which it has been taught. Unfortunately CopyCat has a limitation of 3 axes of movement so may (or may not) be suitable for use with a robotic arm – you would have to decide. There may be other Gcode 'teach' software available - I really have not looked.
Another member ‘krw125’ claims to have developed Mach3   5 axis kinematic control but this has not actually been verified by independent testing. If it’s any help his website is here http://top-eb.fr/mach3fiveaxis/

In the very early days of using robotic arms in industry they were programmed by the 'teach' method - nowadays, computer processing power has probably increased a million times enabling semi-automatic desktop CAD/CAM programming. Unfortunately Mach3 is never going to get to this level of control.

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: How can i use Mach3 to control a robotic arm?
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2016, 05:37:01 AM »

Thanks for your reply,
So the guys in the first video developed their own plugin, and the guy in the second video used "CopyCat"?
Prior to posting this question i read all the discussion on "krw125" topic, i don't think he has something.

Isn't their any commercial alternative to Mach3 that can run 6 axis robots? i know linuxcnc can do it but i want a fast solution. 

 

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: How can i use Mach3 to control a robotic arm?
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2016, 02:58:03 AM »
I think that there are probably lots of commercial, 6 axis, alternatives available but I suspect that you would need an extremely healthy financial budget to be able to purchase the CAD software, the CAM software together with the associated controller and it's software. (Perhaps LinuxCNC may be the way to go  :)).

Regarding CopyCat, assuming it would not be infringing the copyright, it would be relatively easy to modify this wizard to operate with all 6 axes.

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

Offline BR549

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Re: How can i use Mach3 to control a robotic arm?
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2016, 12:41:03 PM »
Most robot arns still have and use the teach method to program motion.

In most cases it is easier for the Operator to SHOW the arm where to go rather than explaining it in motion code.

(;-) TP
Re: How can i use Mach3 to control a robotic arm?
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2016, 02:59:53 PM »
I was not impressed by the video of a robot running Mach 3. If Mach 3 had the ability to calculate say a straight line move involving 6 axis and you simple programmed move A to B along this line then it would be feasible.  If you have the knowledge to do the calculations then you wouldn't need Mach 3 in the first place.  Clearly these solutions have been aound for a long time. In most cases you don't need real time processing power. You precalculate all the moves and stream a bunch of bits at whatever rate you want for each path. Memory is no longer a problem either. So think of a 16 bit word as 8 axis of step and direction. Build a spreadsheet with the kinematic equations and run it repeatedly calculating step and direction saving it as a stream of words out a parallel port right to the stepper or servo drives. Complex motion performed very quickly.

Offline BR549

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Re: How can i use Mach3 to control a robotic arm?
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2016, 04:49:04 PM »
A motion robot is more akin to a PLC than a Gcode controller . The robot does not have to process variable motion codes and plot a solution. The robot simply follows a predesigned path.

Mach3 can run a 6 axis motion path IF you can program it.  BUT it cannot do world point jogging as it does not understand teh kenimatics of the joints.  WIth a 6 axis CAM it converts teh motion of teh joints into Gcode based moves so that Mach3 does not have to understand teh kenimatics.

Mach3 was NEVER designed to be a robot controller it is a simple Gcode controllers that has been exploted for many other things. Some things it does well and others not worth a hoot.  You just have to keep in mind as to it original purpose. Low cost simpleGcode controller that can run under windows AND use teh LPT ports (2) as teh needed high speed I/O (;-)

It IS possible to do kenimatics in mach3 BUT requires an extensive Plugin to pull it off.   At least that is what Art said long ago.

IF you need to run a robot then Lcnc is what you are looking for it can already do kenimatics directly AND also do world point jogging. Even then it is NOT a perfect Robot controller either (;-)

OR you could roll your own program code. Commercial Robot controllers have been around a long time now . Open your wallet and spend the bucks and you can have one too (;-).  I am sure IF you search hard enough you can find someone that has already been down this road and has a solution.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2016, 04:58:11 PM by BR549 »

Offline BR549

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Re: How can i use Mach3 to control a robotic arm?
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2016, 05:02:49 PM »
You also may want to keep a watch on Arts latest Motion controller project. AUGGIE  It is more an Augmented motion controller than a Direct Gcode controller. It may very well include Kenimatics as it's base.

(;-) TP
Re: How can i use Mach3 to control a robotic arm?
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2016, 02:53:33 PM »
Thank you all for your replies, i will be looking further on the solutions you have given me : )