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Mach 4 on a Millright Mega V: What do I need?
« on: April 21, 2020, 07:14:36 AM »
I have a Millright Mega V. This machine uses an arduino and grbl, with UGS as the preferred gcode sender. I hate UGS - used it on my last Millright machine and it was just flaky as hell with lots of limitations. But on that old machine (an M3), the stepper drivers were part of the arduino and changing it out was a big hassle. On the Mega V, the stepper drivers are standalone units so I can swap out a controller (just bypassing the arduino entirely) without having to do as much work. I'm looking into switching over to Mach 4, but would like to know what I need in terms of controller hardware to interface with the existing stepper drivers and the computer.

This machine has dual Y-axis motors, which I believe share a driver, then there are separate drivers for X and Z for a total of 3. I also have a touch probe, and a 1.5kW Spindle/VFD I'll need to connect to it, and at some point I'd love to add an ATC spindle, and a way to automatically control a coolant mister, so whatever controller I get should have room to grow. Suggestions?

Thanks!

Offline Graham Waterworth

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Re: Mach 4 on a Millright Mega V: What do I need?
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2020, 07:42:24 AM »
All you will need is a motion controller, Smoothstepper, or CSLabs or one of the many others out there it all comes down to your budget.  Very few if any of the cheep Asian ones work with Mach4 so stay clear.
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Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Mach 4 on a Millright Mega V: What do I need?
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2020, 07:46:05 AM »
Just a suggestion...

Mach4, the Warp9 ESS motion controller and the C11G breakout board should meet all your requirements. Perhaps check out the Warp9 website for more details.

Tweakie.
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Re: Mach 4 on a Millright Mega V: What do I need?
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2020, 02:35:41 PM »
Hi,

Quote
All you will need is a motion controller, Smoothstepper, or CSLabs or one of the many others out there it all comes down to your budget.

There are a number of posts on this board (Mach4 General Discussion) that talk about the shortcomings of the CSlab
products with Mach4. The hardware quality is good and the Mach3 plugin is fully developed but the Mach4 plugin is
buggy and CSLabs, contrary to their reputation, have not been botherd to fix it. Given the cost of the CSMIO boards
hard to recomend for Mach4.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Mach 4 on a Millright Mega V: What do I need?
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2020, 03:33:22 PM »
Cool. Next time I can get into the office I'll check out the Millright control box, and I'll measure up the inside. looks like the Warp9 ESS is about the size of an arduino uno, and if I recall, there's room for a breakout board in there as well since I don't have the extra stepper driver and larger PSU that the 4-axis Mega V uses. I think I can pull the power for the ESS from the built-in power supply that the Arduino is currently using, since that would go away in the new setup. Seems like a reasonably inexpensive solution.

A few folks have suggested getting a Masso controller instead of using Mach 4. There's some appeal there, in that it doesn't need a computer to run and it looks like a pretty slick interface. What does Mach 4 have over the Masso that makes it better? Total cost (Mach4, ESS, BOB) winds up being about $150 cheaper than the Masso, but beside that, I mean.

Not having used either, I'm not really sure where the pitfalls are here.

Thanks!
Re: Mach 4 on a Millright Mega V: What do I need?
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2020, 04:56:07 PM »
Hi,
Mach4 is a highly flexible CNC solution, it can be programmed to do many things.
As a straight out CNC user I would not expect Mach4's flexibility to be significant to you.....
but you never know. Many people here thought they would never customize their machine
and yet a few months later thats exactly what happens,

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Mach 4 on a Millright Mega V: What do I need?
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2020, 05:10:41 PM »
Just curious - customize in what way?

The stuff I need to do seems to be supported by pretty much everything (even UGS, though not very well). My main goals are to have the following:

1) Reliable controller
2) Ability to restart a job partway through if I have to stop it for some reason
3) ability to do tool changes (manual at first, auto later maybe)
4) Has to handle homing/limit switches
5) has to support a touch probe
6) ability to control spindle speed through VFD
7) ability to turn coolant on/off
8) e-stop that shuts off the spindle along with the rest of it.

I may want to add a 4th axis at some point, but I'm mainly using this machine to cut fairly simple aluminum and plastic or delrin parts out of bar stock. It's primarily for work, where we're making parts for some specialized equipment we're building for in-house use, but it will also be used a little bit for some personal projects. So far I haven't come up with anything that I can imagine wanting to customize, but maybe that's because I don't know what the options are yet!

Re: Mach 4 on a Millright Mega V: What do I need?
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2020, 12:28:05 AM »
Hi,

Quote
Just curious - customize in what way?

Lets take a fairly simple example. Lets say you have a large VMC and the operator Estops it.
Because of the weight of the Z axis it slumps down under gravity, which would be VERY dangerous to the operator.
A machine builder might customize the control program such that before the power is disconnected from the Z axis
motor the brake is engaged.

Another example might be that you have an independent axis that rotates a part in discrete amounts. A machining
operation is performed and then the part is rotated another 30 degrees say before the maching operation
starts again. You could of course do that with a fourth axis but it is possible to do it with an Out-of-Band axis, of
which Mach4Hobby is allowed six. So you could have multiple OB axes manipulating parts say, or jigs or clamps...
The last feature for instance is likely to be important to a machine builder whom needs a flexible control for his new
machine....prehaps less so to you.

Quote
1) Reliable controller
2) Ability to restart a job partway through if I have to stop it for some reason
3) ability to do tool changes (manual at first, auto later maybe)
4) Has to handle homing/limit switches
5) has to support a touch probe
6) ability to control spindle speed through VFD
7) ability to turn coolant on/off
8) e-stop that shuts off the spindle along with the rest of it.

All of this is pretty much bog standard for any CNC solution and yes Mach4 can do it all.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Mach 4 on a Millright Mega V: What do I need?
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2020, 07:13:34 AM »
cool. thanks!
Re: Mach 4 on a Millright Mega V: What do I need?
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2020, 04:09:32 PM »
My customizations are:
-Pneumatic drawbar release from a pushbutton on the head of the machine
-Serial communications to my motor drives to pull diagnostics
-Spindle load monitoring
-4 axis pendant interface
-Start-up script that does everything I forget to do (like turn on soft limits)
-Custom homing sequence
-Interlocking certain actions with my safety system

I like customizing my stuff so I'm a high use case. I don't know Masso well enough to recommend one over the other, but coming from Mach 3, I have to say I am very impressed by Mach 4.