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Requesting help on emergency Mach 3 install
« on: November 19, 2019, 11:23:20 AM »
Hi ya'll!

I am the CNC operator on a Gerber Sabre 408 for a sign shop in Central New York. We are in our busiest season, with our main corporate client ordering about 8-10 die cut sintra signs a day. Unfortunately, we had a power failure last week that resulted in the logic board on the gerber controller getting fried. We've looked everywhere for replacements, and the soonest we can get one is two weeks away. So I have been charged with looking for solutions, and thats when I stumbled upon Mach 3, and this forum.

Using Mach 3 as a controller for this machine is about five different work arounds, I am aware. Several months ago, we began using Artspool from Artcam, to translate g-code for the Gerber, so that is one issue (sorta) solved, but I know there's many others I'm unaware of, so I was hoping some members of the community could help me out.

Now, I'm unfortunately not a big enough tech junkie (especially not with 1998 tech) to figure out some things, so here are the specs I know, thus far. Please let me know if i need to provide more information. Currently our Gerber is receiving files via a Windows XP desktop, via 9-pin serial port, but the station does have a DB25 in. The serial cable is coming out of the Sabre's db25 out, and has an adapter switching it to serial. I'm not entirely sure why they did this instead of just going db25 to db25. The db25 connector coming out of the Sabre's electrical tower itself, only has 3 pins in it, the 12, 11, and 7 pins, which I'm assuming are translating the data for the X, Y, and Z axis. (The Controller itself uses serial, and has five pins, which im guessing the other two are for E-stop and...?)

So here's my laundry list of questions, and I apologize if I'm coming off as a bit manic here:

Can the mach 3 be run on the Gerber Sabre, as is, without any new hardware installations?

Without having any breakout drives, what is the safest way to connect the Db25's?

Do I have to manually remove any pins on the db25's, or can I just 'tell' Mach 3 to ignore them?

How do I find out which pins I need, so that I can remove the others/Tell Mach 3 which pins go to what?

If i do get this system all up and running, does Mach 3 have table initialization capabilities?

Attached are the technical specs on my Gerber tower and wiring. Hopefully one of you amazing Samaritans can help me out here, in a time crunch.  I have ordered a 25 ft db25 to db25 cord, in hopes that this may all work out.

Thank you folks!

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Requesting help on emergency Mach 3 install
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2019, 01:43:00 AM »
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Can the mach 3 be run on the Gerber Sabre, as is, without any new hardware installations?

Hi ValleySigns,

Unfortunately NO.

Just looking at your attached diagrams your machine control is serial and although some 25 way Cannon sub D connectors are used that is just coincidental - they cannot be used to connect your machine to a PC's LPT Parallel Port.

If you were going to make any change from your existing Gerber system then forget Mach3 and go to Mach4. You would definitely need a new servo orientated controller and many other new parts to make the conversion.

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Requesting help on emergency Mach 3 install
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2019, 09:09:52 AM »
Thank you Tweakie!

Given my tight schedule here, is there any way you could provide me with more information? I have done very little research into Mach 4, and I am not familiar with the technical aspects of finding/installing servo controllers. Are there any resources/tutorials for this procedure on the Gerber Sabre 408?

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Requesting help on emergency Mach 3 install
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2019, 10:15:06 AM »
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Are there any resources/tutorials for this procedure on the Gerber Sabre 408?

I am sure someone will have converted the Sabre 408 to operate from Mach3 or Mach4 but I am not aware of any tutorial on this or any other website. Perhaps other members here may have some information that may be of assistance.

If you check-out the Gecko website it has much product and application information which may give you an insight into what is required.
https://www.geckodrive.com/products

In my opinion...
The process of converting the control system of an existing machine requires quite some technical knowledge and it is not something that could easily be completed within a tight schedule. There are businesses which will undertake the conversion for you, it will not be cheap, but perhaps that is the way forward.

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.