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Controller and drivers
« on: October 04, 2018, 12:40:42 PM »
Hello everyone, I'm new to the CNC world, and I'm a bit lost regarding controllers and drivers, and how the parallel port for mach 4 works.

I'm trying to fix an old gas-cutter at my dads shop, the cutter is from the 1980, and is not working correctly anymore.
Here are some pictures of the gas-cutter setup and a quick explanation on each image: https://imgur.com/a/qD02SCu

My plan was to replace the motors, and create a new setup so it would be controlled via a PC (Mach 4). But I don't quite understand the parallel port function with Mach 4, or if it's really necessary to have? Can I skip the parallel port if I have an external controller ? What solution is better, using the parallel port or an external driver ?
Is there any other hardware I need? As I understand it the setup would be like this: PC->Controller->Drivers->Motors, is this correct ?

Thanks for any help,
TJoensen
« Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 12:42:34 PM by TJoensen »

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Controller and drivers
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2018, 02:43:33 AM »
I think an external motion controller would be a better choice than parallel port operation.

You would need to find details of the existing motors and drivers as they could possibly be OK to re-use.

It certainly sounds like an interesting project to undertake.

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Controller and drivers
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2018, 04:53:27 AM »
Ok, external motion controller it is.

The current motors are just normal brushed dc motors, and they are in quite a bad shape. I think it would be best to replace them. I tried with stepper motors, but they don't get to high enough rpms so I think servo motors would be the way to go?

TJoensen

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Controller and drivers
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2018, 06:26:55 AM »
Choose a motion controller with good backup and support (not a cheap Chinese product) and the same for servo's and their controllers and all should be well.
It's not going to be a cheap project but I am sure the end result will be well worth the effort.

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Controller and drivers
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2018, 10:29:13 AM »
Any motion controller that you can recommend?

TJoensen

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Re: Controller and drivers
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2018, 10:33:53 AM »
There are many to choose from but I use a Warp9 ESS and that works well for me. https://warp9td.com/

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Controller and drivers
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2018, 11:44:36 AM »
I'm looking around for motors, but am only finding cheap chinese motors, or motors that are waay too powerful and expensive.
Do you know any websites to look for Digital Servo Motors ?

TJoensen
Re: Controller and drivers
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2018, 02:46:24 PM »
Hi,
DMM have a good reputation:
http://www.dmm-tech.com/

Delta is made in Taiwan and is good. Note there are a range of models, choose with care...they are all good quality:
https://www.deltaww.com/Products/CategoryListT1.aspx?CID=060201&PID=ALL&hl=en-US

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Controller and drivers
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2018, 07:48:28 PM »
Thanks for the links, Craig.

I've come up with one setup, can you guys tell me what you think of this?
Also, I'd gladly take some tips if you think there are cheaper/better options.

Servo Motors: https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/servo-motors/1110818/
Servo Driver : https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/servo-drives-controls/1110807/
Motion Controller: http://www.vitalsystem.com/portal/motion/hicon/hicon_integra/hicon_integra.php
Re: Controller and drivers
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2018, 09:31:05 PM »
Hi,
they all work but they are expensive.

The Hicon is $600. You have not established the case that requires such a board. The UC300, the ESS or the 57CNC are all capable
and way cheaper, $150-$200. You will need BoBs for the UC300 and ESS, C10 BoBs are $23 each, you might get away with one but
are unlikely to require more than two.

The servo you linked to is only 100W. Why go so small? For the same money you could get 400W-750W DMM's.

There is nothing wrong with Schiender....its just expensive for what you get.

Consider:
Mach4                                          $200
ESS                                              $190
2 x C10 BoBs                                 $46
3 x DYN4 220V DMM drives             $654       ($218 each)
3 x 400W DST 200V DMM servos     $441      ($147 each)

Total                                             $1531

Compared to:
Mach4                                           $200
Hicon                                            $695
3 x LXM28                                     $928     (250 GBP each converted to USD at 1.31 without VAT)
3 x BCH2MB0133                           $880     (224 GBP each converted to USD at 1.31 without VAT)

Total                                            $2703

There are considerations like how much you have to import, DMM for instance is Canadian, ESS is US. How VAT works I'm not sure,
in New Zealand we Have GST which I believe is similar and the bottom line is that I have to pay the GST on any import. It does not
affect a comparison though....its just a flat rate.

The DMM/ESS/C10 is over $1000 cheaper.....that buys a fair swag of oxy-acet and/or material.

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