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Author Topic: New to CNC, mach3, and all the other stuff. Am I on the right path?  (Read 2119 times)

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Hello,
My name is Tim. As you can see by my screen name I know virtually nothing about G code, mach3, or CNC. I have been a conventional machinist for close to 30 years, I try to do a bit of everything for the sake of learning, but I've always been a bit too scared of CNC. I still used a drafting machine until 2000
I'm about to put on big boy pants and try something CNC. I want to build a fairly simple machine in the sense that it will perform very basic moves. In short, I will load a open face mold in a fixture near front center of the table (for now the mold will be filled by hand) I would like to start the program, the carriage would move z,x then y would drop down z,x screed the top of the mold, and return home. I'll bet you are saying that's beyond simple, that's OK I deserve it for hiding under a rock. I know nothing about G code or mach3, but my gut told me there must be something in the program that allows me to move the x,y,z by eye or a numerical estimation that would possibly generate the code? a manual data input? is that a real thing? if it is, I will get mach3 and start the learning process.
Eventually the machine will have 5 axis, a stepper driven depositor to fill the mold as well as another axis to rotate the screed or the mold so it can wipe from multiple directions.
Am I on the right path?
Thanks for your time
Tim

Online Davek0974

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Re: New to CNC, mach3, and all the other stuff. Am I on the right path?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2016, 12:54:16 PM »
Hi Tim

I was a newb to cnc until a year ago, manual dinosaur as well ;) I have since built three CNC machines - two plasma cutters and a mini-mill so, yes it can  be done.

I am sure what you want to build can be made, maybe try also on a forum like MyCNCUK.com as there are a lot of weird machines being built there.
Bridgeport Mill, Mach3 V062, CSMIO-IP/A controller, AC Servo Drives
Re: New to CNC, mach3, and all the other stuff. Am I on the right path?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2016, 01:18:36 PM »
Thanks!
I just don't have the comfort level with the control system that I do the hardware. I can put this machine together and enjoy it, but controlling it is a subject I know nothing about. Do you know if mach3 has a feature that will allow me to enter values and or jog the motors to the positions I need and then use those values to generate the program (I assume G code) to then drive the machine?
Thanks again for the reply and encouragement
Tim

Online Davek0974

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Re: New to CNC, mach3, and all the other stuff. Am I on the right path?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2016, 01:42:51 PM »
I think it does have a 'teach' mode but never used it, have a look for the manual, its on this site somewhere, might help.


Simple G-Code is not that hard to pick up or understand.
Bridgeport Mill, Mach3 V062, CSMIO-IP/A controller, AC Servo Drives
Re: New to CNC, mach3, and all the other stuff. Am I on the right path?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2016, 02:38:37 PM »
Thanks so much. I'm starting to be a bit less scared, but confidence is quite a ways away. I think I'll get mach3 and just start the learning process. Not knowing anything about this world, I just wondered if mach3 was a program I should be messing with. It seems to be a pretty universally used program.
Thanks again!!
Tim
Re: New to CNC, mach3, and all the other stuff. Am I on the right path?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2016, 03:29:46 PM »
I started on the same path a couple of years ago, I followed the recommendations about learning G-Code and read several guides on programming.
When I came to the point of having a functional machine in front of me I did some basic work and found that manual programming of even basic 3D (not 2.5D) parts isn't for me.
Since I bought CAD/CAM I've found it very useful to be able to scan through and have an idea what's happening and occasionally edit something but have never needed to manually code a part,

 - Nick
Re: New to CNC, mach3, and all the other stuff. Am I on the right path?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2016, 03:38:20 PM »
Thanks Nick,
Although some day I know I will get into a cnc machine for making parts, this machine has no part to make...it's basically a robot and I need to run a program that takes the 4 steppers from point A to B at certain speeds. So I basically want to teach it like you would an industrial robot. I wouldn't know where to start unless I could move the motors by keyboard or pendant and then go in and edit.
Thanks for the reply
t

Offline RICH

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Re: New to CNC, mach3, and all the other stuff. Am I on the right path?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2016, 05:07:52 AM »
Here is what I would recommend.

Go buy CNC Programming Handbook by Peter Smid. Then read / study the first 150 pages or so because that will ground you
in the basic's of CNC. Yes there is other stuff around, but that book can be your "single" source of info for reference, learn right the first time!

Then watch the Mach video's, then have a read / study of Mach manual.

Sorry, it's a learning path that everyone must walk.

Look in Members Doc's and there is Hoss book in there for learning Gcode.
Just note that there are differences in  Gcode just as there are dialects in language.

RICH
Re: New to CNC, mach3, and all the other stuff. Am I on the right path?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2016, 10:18:42 AM »
Thanks Rich,
I was looking at cnc books on amazon, and knowing nothing about it or if I'm even heading in the right direction, I could not decide on one. I really appreciate all the help here. I think I'm on the right path, I'll have a book in a couple days and I'll continue with the mach3 videos...I'm sure the book will help me understand those.
Thanks Again
Tim