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Author Topic: My second build, advice please, Mach3 vs. Mach4  (Read 2065 times)

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Offline GT390

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My second build, advice please, Mach3 vs. Mach4
« on: May 27, 2017, 12:59:35 PM »
Hi Guys,
   I completed my first build a few years ago on my Hurco KMB1 using geko servo drives, pmdx-126 breakout board and a smooth stepper, its all running welll.
I have now been gifted a Beaver VC5 which I am hoping to convert now too. It has been a while since I have been on here or any other forums and technology has moved on a bit, I initially had thought of using dugong drives as I need more power handling this time, but they seem to have disappeared from the marketplace in my absence.

I am seeking so advice and recommendations on what components are out there now in todays market, and advice on Mach3 Vs. Mach4

Also as I only use my machines for my personal hobby and enjoyment cost is of prime importance

servo motors are Siemens 167v 12.5A permanent magnet
spindle motor is 5kw DC driven by a KTK controller
machine also has a 12 station tool changer

would Mach4 be more suitable considering the setup for the toolchanger?    I know nothing about Mach4 only that it is more versatile than Mach3
Are there specific breakout boards for Mach4 ?     I think I rerad that somewhere
What servo drives with suitable output for my application  are people opting for ? maybe viper ?
Is a smooth stepper still a good option ?
would I be able to keep my existing KTK spindle driver ? ( it is the same one used in bridgeport interact I believe)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Robert
Re: My second build, advice please, Mach3 vs. Mach4
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2017, 04:45:11 PM »
Hi,
either Mach3 or Mach4 would work fine.

Mach4 has greater capacity for customisation and is still developing whereas Mach3 is what it is and no further development is planned.
Mach4 is at its best with an external motion controller. There are an increasing number of manufacturers who make Mach4 ready boards
but still rather less than the number of Mach3 boards. If you are familiar with SmoothStepper you will be encouraged to learn that the
Ethernet connected version is Mach4 ready for instance.

From the budget point of view being able to retain your existing servos, spindle motor and drive will save you thousands. From your post I'm
guessing that the servo drives are missing? If so you need to replace them with either the same type or at least compatible drives. If that's
not possible then you'll have to replace both servos AND drives, likely to be expensive even if it desirable for reliability over years to come.

You also need to establish whether your spindle motor and drive is in workable condition. Do you have manuals for either or both? If you're
unable to wire up and test the spindle get the assistance of someone who can. The spindle, spindle motor, spindle drive are the heart of the
machine, if any are in trouble you MUST find out soonest.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!

Offline GT390

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Re: My second build, advice please, Mach3 vs. Mach4
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2017, 05:27:34 PM »
Thanks Craig, the machine is complete and was running when removed but had some fault with the Z, that`s all I know, I have not put power to it.
It has siemens servo boards and motors, I never thought of keeping the original drives, might be a possibility
The thing that worries me about the spindle drive is it has a ton of wires connected to it, its a huge unit, not  simple connections like a VFD, I have no idea why it has so many terminals ??? I have tried to google for a manual but have had no luck so far its a KTK 6P4Q7-5MTD and has a FXM5 field controller wired to it as well

I have looked at the PMDX-424 BOB, reading the spec it appears this board has a  device similar  to a smooth stepper built into it, and its designed to run on Mach4

The Lua programming is really daunting though as I have zero programming skills

Offline ger21

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Re: My second build, advice please, Mach3 vs. Mach4
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2017, 05:38:30 PM »
A USB Smoothstepper will not currently work with Mach4, only the ESS at this time. But their website says they're working on the plugin for the USB version.
Gerry

2010 Screenset
http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html
Re: My second build, advice please, Mach3 vs. Mach4
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2017, 05:52:10 PM »
Hi,
I think your project is at this stage working out whats still usable on your machine.

The spindle particularly. You mentioned that you thought the same drive had been used on Bridgeport machines. Might be worthwhile
to see if Bridgeport documentation contains anything about the drive you could use. If you cant find any info is there an industrial
electrician who might be able to help. If you cant get this spindle to operate then you'll have to replace it. A 5kW spindle and VFD
could easily run to $5000. That could stop you in your tracks.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!

Offline GT390

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Re: My second build, advice please, Mach3 vs. Mach4
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2017, 06:21:16 PM »
Pleasantly surprised today.. after being informed that KTK drives had become "control techniques" I emailed them today and within the hour they had a pdf copy of the KTK manual for my spindle drive sent out to me, fantastic.
I have pretty much decided to go ESS, pmdx126 BOB and pmdx 107 spindle controller, the same as my Hurco, as I am familiar with these.
I might be able to use the stock servo drives

My last decision I guess takes me back to the heading of this post

Mach3 or Mach4 ?

would mach4 be more suitable, adaptable, easier or capable when it comes to trying to configure and operate my 12 station tool changer ?
 
Re: My second build, advice please, Mach3 vs. Mach4
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2017, 06:31:38 PM »
Hi,
kool. My preference is Mach4, no other reason than personal preference. Could be quite a challenge to learn LUA
sufficiently well to program your toolchanger.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: My second build, advice please, Mach3 vs. Mach4
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2017, 06:41:17 PM »
Hi,
just thinking a little more, I would not commit to buying anything just yet. Its not impossible
that either or both servos and spindle are analogue. If thats the case the items you've mentioned
will not work.

Still need to find out  what signals are required by your servos and spindle.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!

Offline ger21

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Re: My second build, advice please, Mach3 vs. Mach4
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2017, 08:16:02 PM »
You might want to look at the MB2 breakout board from CNC Room. Excellent board, for a little less money than a PMDX-126, and designed around the ESS.
Gerry

2010 Screenset
http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

Offline GT390

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Re: My second build, advice please, Mach3 vs. Mach4
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2017, 04:01:46 PM »
Hi,
just thinking a little more, I would not commit to buying anything just yet. Its not impossible
that either or both servos and spindle are analogue. If thats the case the items you've mentioned
will not work.

Still need to find out  what signals are required by your servos and spindle.

Craig

Thanks Craig, great advice, something I had overlooked, the original drives are siemens 6RB and are +/- 10v analog so if keeping the drives a KFOP/KANALOG may be an option. I am going to get it into the workshop and hook up power to see whats working and whats not, apparently it had an issue with the Z axis, whatever that turns out to be may help me make the decision on which way I go