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Author Topic: Mach4 bore probing.  (Read 1035 times)

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Re: Mach4 bore probing.
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2019, 06:28:32 PM »

As you know, I use the IP/A, and from what we read above, this may behave differently to the IP/S and IP/M, despite using notionally the same plugin release.

To be honest, I have had no issues since the release of version 3.16 of the plugin. Having said this, I do not work at the cutting edge. I have a 3 axis mill with servos, a VFD for spindle control, a touch probe, and a tool height sensor. That's it - it couldn't be much simpler. As faras I can tell, the CSMIO-IP/A behaves faultlessly in running this system. I use combined limit/home switches together with index homing which works admirably.  Pertaining to the topic, I use a modified version of the probing module, and have extensively used all but the angular functions over numerous builds of Mach4 (my current build is 4109). Earlier plugings were problematic, but probing seems to have been nailed in 3.16.

In terms of extenders, I don't have the need for I/O or the encoder module and have no idea whether these work fully with Mach4. I do use the CSMIO-MPG in conjunction with a cheap Chinese wired Jog pendant. The plugin should support the pendant without any need for programming, but I have never got this to work properly. Details have varied between plugin releases, but with 3.16 the machine jogs perfectly in one direction, but in the other it moves and and immediately returns to its starting point. I will test this again when we get an update. The pendant is visible as Mach4 registers, however and the values here properly reflect the control actions. So it was a simple matter for me to take the register values for axis and increment and program a couple of functions which I call at 5/second using the PLC. The encoder wheel is handled via MPG #0 in Mach's configuration. This all works 100% reliably, though I am aware of a fraction of a second delay between turning the encoder wheel and the table moving, making it a little less responsive than the plugin's native support but nevertheless eminently usable.

I would like to see Backlash compensation added, despite its limitations (I have added BC to the probing module for more accurate centre and bore measurements). I cannot say whether Spindle orientation or Rigid tapping are available, as they could function via the CSMIO-ENC module. I don't have the luxury of an ATC and have decided that it is easier and cheaper to use thread mills than to fit a spindle encoder.

The hardware is mechanically and electrically robust and noise levels are extremely low. All signal connectors are gold plated. The 2 internal circuit boards appear well designed and free from last minute modifications.

My main frustration is lack of active support. It is 9 months since version 3.16 of the plugin was released, and there is no indication of when (or if) there will be an update and what features or fixes it may contain.

In addition, the main manuals stem from the days of version 2x of the plugin, using Mach3. Though there is the  minimum of essential information relating to plugin 3.x and Mach4 in a couple of additional documents, these are quite brief and I feel it it time the core manuals were re-written in an up to date form. I presume that CS Labs, being a small company, have probably had their hands full with the development of their SimCNC software. I have no interest in this. It may be more appropriate to high speed systems with its S curve planner, but I like the adaptability of Mach4 and will continue to use it.

Will CS Labs eventually drop support for Mach4? That's anyone's guess, but I hope not. Perhaps they were anxious about Mach4 take up. One positive indicator is that the plugin is common to both Mach4 and SimCNC.