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PLEASE HELP! New user, new machine, CRAZY Z depth
« on: July 21, 2017, 03:07:37 AM »
Hello,
First let me say that I am new to the CNC world. Took a class at a makerspace 3 months ago, have watched videos and read forums. I understand the basics and am able to successfully create code using V-Carve Pro. I have run several jobs with some success, but there is something wrong with the Z axis. It does not plunge to the right depth consistently. One job may run perfectly, the next job the x, y, and z all move in the right direction, but the z just floats over the surface of the material and never plunges, the next job the z depth starts correctly then loses depth throughout the job. After every job, it will return to the perfect zero starting point so I have been told it can't be a missing steps issue. The physical machine seems to be working fine with everything moving smoothly. The router is secure, the bit is placed appropriately and secure. Here is what I am using and what steps we have taken so far (all unsuccessful).

We have a Zenbot 4896 with a Hitachi m12vc. Using a Gecko g540 4-axis control box. We are running Mach 3 - settings are preconfigured by Zenbot. All code is generated through Vectric's V-Carve pro. We are running Mach 3 on an HP desktop with no other software on the machine and it is not connected to the internet. Running Windows 7 Profeesional service Pack 1, Intel core 2 CPU, 1.86 GHz, 4GB, 32 bit. It does have an integrated video card, however Shaun at Zenbot checked with ArtSoft and was told that shouldn't be an issue (I do understand ArtSoft advertises use of a non-integrated video card and I have read on several forums that one should ensure it is non-integrated).

The first job upon start up seems to run okay and then every job after gets wonky with the Z depth. We have tried multiple g code files to ensure it wasn't one particular file. Today we ran a new gcode 3 times one right after the other. Simple script text using a 60 degree v-bit. Boards were all level, table is level. First run it seemed perfect. Second run it was much shallower in some places, barely skimming the surface in others, Third run was deeper than the second, but not as deep as the first. Yesterday we ran a different code twice. First run seemed correct, second run barely skimmed surface in some areas, but mostly just hovered over the material running the correct path.

We have:
re-installed Mach 3 at least 3 times
double checked all of the cable connections
ensured table and material are level
used different electrical outlets as our entire garage is wired at 15 amp all on same circuit
re-installed V-carve pro, updated to version 9 yesterday
tried different g code files


During one of our very first runs, we tripped the circuit breaker right in the middle of a job. Not sure if that could have caused any damage to the Gecko processor?
We are using a surge protector (not sure if that could have any impact, but we are desperately trying anything)


Have ordered a different desktop with a non-integrated video card and a new parallel port cable but can't test those until they arrive.

I do not understand most of the settings in Mach, but if I am told what and how to check something, I can do that easily.

I am attaching photos of today's and yesterday's runs.

Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated. THANK YOU SO MUCH

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: PLEASE HELP! New user, new machine, CRAZY Z depth
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2017, 04:30:13 AM »
Hi Mili68,

You have not said which version of Mach3 you are using.

If it is not .062 then please download that version from the following link and then install it over the top of your existing installation.  ftp://anonymous:guest@ftp.machsupport.com/Mach3/Mach3Version3.043.062.exe

Does that make any difference ?

Tweakie.
KEEP SAFE !
Re: PLEASE HELP! New user, new machine, CRAZY Z depth
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2017, 11:06:21 AM »
It's version R3.043.066. I will try the link you shared.
THANK YOU!!

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: PLEASE HELP! New user, new machine, CRAZY Z depth
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2017, 01:49:55 AM »
Hi Mili68,

My best guess…

I am assuming that your VCarvePro is set-up with Z zero as being with the cutter in contact with the work surface and that you are setting the cutter position and zeroing the Z axis DRO prior to starting the job.

That said, if during the job the cutter is not reaching the correct depth and the Mach3 Z axis DRO shows the required (correct) depth then you could be either loosing steps (which you doubt) or have lost motion (backlash, loose coupling, loose grubscrew, loose collet, etc.) on the Z axis or within the spindle itself.

My best guess is that something mechanical may have come loose on your Z axis, perhaps thoroughly check the thrust bearing and everything else associated with that axis (including the spindle motor).

Hope this helps,

Tweakie.
KEEP SAFE !
Re: PLEASE HELP! New user, new machine, CRAZY Z depth
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2017, 02:31:17 AM »
Hi,
I go with Tweakie here, I had a problem with Mach3 when I first started with the Z axis drifting. I blamed all sorts of things but the single
biggest cause of the fault was the tool drifting in the collet!!! You'd think you'd see it...but no it took some hours of frustration before I realised.

Have noted that 'frustration' is a real headwind when it comes to problem solving....I'm so pis....ed off that I forget to think!!!

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: PLEASE HELP! New user, new machine, CRAZY Z depth
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2017, 12:33:07 PM »
Thank you both so much! I ran the same job yesterday, 3 in a row, after installing the software version Tweakie recommended.. results were much better. Not perfect, but exceptionally better. And yes, to all of the other checks. I calibrated the z and it's spot on at .25, .5, 1, 2, 3, and 4 inches. Different desktop arrives today and new z cable and parallel port cable Monday. Will also check on what you are recommending. Thanks to both of you.

Offline joea

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Re: PLEASE HELP! New user, new machine, CRAZY Z depth
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2017, 01:37:20 PM »
I cannot down load the .062 version.; system goes into infinite loop.

.... joe

Offline joea

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Re: PLEASE HELP! New user, new machine, CRAZY Z depth
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2017, 08:05:13 AM »
help: How can I download the .062 version?

...  joe

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: PLEASE HELP! New user, new machine, CRAZY Z depth
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2017, 10:11:37 AM »
Hi Joe,

The link given above works just fine here. Could you perhaps try another computer ?

Tweakie.
KEEP SAFE !
Re: PLEASE HELP! New user, new machine, CRAZY Z depth
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2017, 07:03:17 PM »
I just checked Tweakie's link.
Worked fine for me.