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What does the "To Go" button do?
« on: January 25, 2008, 03:12:17 PM »
Hi - as you can tell, I'm a real newbie at this. I can't find a manual on how Mach3 works (no, that "Using 3Mill.pdf" isn't very helpful at all). A few first questions:

What does the "To Go" button do when it's not blinking. What does it do when it is blinking?

What does the "Machine Coords" button do when it's not blinking. What does it do when it is blinking?

What does the "Ref All Home" button do? The pdf only says that it's "equivalent to referencing all axis". What does that mean? Referencing them to what?

The pdf also talks about the "De-Ref All" button with the mention of a "referenced state". What is that?

Enough for the moment! I really would like to start using my machine but can't seem to get started. Does anyone here live in the Amherst/Greenfield/Noho area of western MA and is willing to help out?

-- Rich --
Re: What does the "To Go" button do?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2008, 10:46:44 PM »

Offline jimpinder

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Re: What does the "To Go" button do?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2008, 06:38:53 AM »
Rich - You are getting worked up over nothing. The buttons you are talking about have nothing to do with getting started.

I must assume you have some knowledge of machining, such as cutting speeds, traverse speeds etc etc and are used to these. You can go through Mach3 configuration and set as many of these as you can. If you do not understand it, leave it alone. The majority of entries do not interfere with the normal operation of the machine.

To answer a couple of your queries - the machine needs to know where it is all the time. It keeps track of it's movements. It stores these positions in the Machine C0-0rdinates DRO's. However, machine co-ordinates are not particularly useful to us, the operators. We are probably more concerned with the position of the machine in relation to our work, and the program.

The Machine Coords buttons swaps between the two types of read-out. When lit it is showing the "raw" machine position. When not lit it is showing a more sophistacated position (which depends on several factors).

The "Ref all home" button is part of the positioning. If you have "home" switches fitted to your machine (They are NOT necessary) you can hit this button, and the machine will go to each switch in turn, stop at the position and zero the DROs.
This sounds great, but, whilst it might be alright for the big boys, in practice it is somewhat limiting - since it means all your work, all your programs etc have to start from that position. If your machine moves at the speed of light, then this is no problem. My home switches ( which I hardly ever use now) are fitted underneath the chuck, with the lathe table as far towards me as possible. It was really the only place to fit them. At the speed of travel of my table, it takes two minutes for the thing to get back to a position where it can do any useful work.

If you do not have home switches activated in the ports and pins table, the hitting this switch zeros the DROs, so the best plan of action is to move the table to a convenient position for your work (say bottom left hand corner) then hit the ref all home and the DROs go to zero - a nice place to start.

Worrying about the positional side of things is not the place to start - it is too complicated.

Concentrate on placing a workpiece on your table. Jogging the axis to touch the start point - bear in mind the thickness of the tool. Setting the DROs (just type in the numbers and hit return) to the correct start position (normally Z, the cutting tool rests on the workpiece (this is z=0), and then moving the table about. The DROs will always show your relative position from the start position.

You can then move your tool manually using G0 and G1 commands. You can expand this and perhaps write a G Code program to move the tool from 0.0.0 to the centre of one side of the work piece, then bring down the tool 10 thou, start the tool, and cut a grove along, up down ( in fact anywhere you want) and finally return to position 0,0,0.

Once you can do this, you understand what CNC is all about - there are other moves, arcs of circles to the left or right, and some specialist drilling moves, but basically G0, G1, G2 and G3 cover the vast majority of moves. All the rest is just icing on the cake, and things you will pick up as you go along - because you have got to that position where you need to know to enhance your program.

These things sound very basic, but unless you understand the fundamentals, using these super dooper programs to produce reams of G Code will be a mystery.




Not me driving the engine - I'm better looking.
Re: What does the "To Go" button do?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2008, 11:31:02 AM »
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I must assume you have some knowledge of machining
I have *no* knowledge of machining. Zero. I don't know anything about cutting feeds, speeds, etc. Configuration is a total mystery. Reading the Using3Mill.pdf manual is like reading Greek.
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the machine needs to know where it is
By machine do you mean the spindle?  I'm really confused about this as the "manual" (and many people) refer to the "machine", "spindle", and "table" interchangably. Or maybe that's just the way it seems from my newbie viewpoint. I see a counter (table?) which my machine sits on. The machine is 28"x30" and it has a "working area" of 16"x16" and a spindle (a motor?) that moves above the work surface. What exactly is the "machine" and what is the "table"? It sounds like when you say "machine" you mean the spindle?
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If you have "home" switches
I don't know what those are. The Using3Mill.pdf talks about "limit switches" and "home switches" which I can understand but I can't see any (I don't know what they look like so probably wouldn't be able to recognise them) on my machine.
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you can hit this button, and the machine will go to each switch in turn, stop at the position and zero the DROs.
Hit that button when the "Machine Coord's" is lit or not?. Right now I'm trying to understand this from my home computer as the one at the shop isn't hooked up to the internet which means that I can't get info (like from this site) or see any of the videos. When I hit the "Ref All Home" button the DRO's spin around forever no matter what state the "Machine Coord's" or "Offline" state is in..
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If you do not have home switches activated in the ports and pins table
I see that port #1 in enabled but not port #2... does this mean I "have" it or not? Seems incomplete?
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so the best plan of action is to move the table to a convenient position for your work (say bottom left hand corner) then hit the ref all home and the DROs go to zero - a nice place to start.
Meaning move the spindle... and hit the "Ref All Home" (in which state?) doesn't zero the DRO's and I get the flashing "Reset" button happening.
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These things sound very basic, but unless you understand the fundamentals
That's the problem - I *don't* understand the fundamentals and all the information about setting up the machine, manual, tutorials, videos... are almost indecipherable to me. I can't seem to find fundamentals information. I've been through the "Coordinates systems" video now three times and am taking copious notes that I'll be able to refer to when I get over to the shop later today. I can see some progress in my understanding each time I go through it but it's really, really slow going. I really want to understand these things. The guys that sold the machine to me say that it's drop dead easy for anyone to use. I've read a lot and practiced with it being off-line but the first thing I did with the machine on was to make a hole in the bed of the machine and bust a bit (or cutter, tool - whatever it's called). I guess that's why I'm getting worked up. Destroying bits and the possibility of wrecking an expensive machine isn't "nothing" to me.

Thanks for your help - I really appreciate it and look forward to more!

-- Rich --

Offline Chaoticone

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Re: What does the "To Go" button do?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2008, 09:57:09 PM »
Rich,
    I have sent you a personal message.

Brett
;D If you could see the things I have in my head, you would be laughing too. ;D

My guard dog is not what you need to worry about!

Offline jimpinder

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Re: What does the "To Go" button do?
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2008, 11:38:44 AM »
Oh Dear !!!   I don't know what the personal message is, but, yes, you have a lot to learn. Since I am on the other side of the "pond" I don't think I am in the best position to help you.

As a matter of interest, what made you buy a machine, what is it, and what are you intending to use it for ??
Not me driving the engine - I'm better looking.
Re: What does the "To Go" button do?
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2008, 12:05:52 PM »
The PM was an offer to have me call him to talk through some basics - which I did this morning. He was helpful though I think I have to take this slowly as there is only so much I can assimilate at one sitting.

We bought the machine http://tigertec.us/6090-2.html - a small router-type CNC so that we could make our own parts rather than to rely on outside jobbers to provide parts for us. We make concertinas (you might appreciate that!) http://www.buttonbox.com/morse.html and virtually all the 1100 or so parts each one has is unique and something we have to design and make (or have made for us). For the past 10 years I've designed the parts (I'm good with CAD) and have found other people to make them (using laser, waterjet, stamp, etch...) and then we assemble, test, tune, etc. The problem is that we're forever having quality and delivery problems with our many jobbers.

Whenever we bitch about this people would tell us that CNC machines are so easy to use and that having one would be ideal for us.

After looking into it a fair amount - everyone (EVERYONE) says that "anyone" can easily learn how to operate one - we bit the bullet and got one. I'm really surprised now little basic information there is out there on machining. And one would think that the "Using 3Mill.pdf" manual would be more helpful (even a glossary of words would be a big help!) especially as so many people point to this program as great for beginners. Doesn't help that the interface is very confusing (maybe not to people who know that everything means - but wouldn't it be better to have descriptive buttons and states?)

Anyway. I'm off soon to the shop to fool around with it a bit more. I must be really laughable. A friend came by a couple of days ago, took one look at our set-up and told us that we were putting the clamps on the work in a completely wrong way! There is just ssssooooooooooooo much to learn!

-- Rich --
Re: What does the "To Go" button do?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2008, 07:48:38 PM »
Rich

  You are standing where I was three weeks ago. First time I ran Mach3, I thought OH NO,  this is going to be hard.

First I assume the people you bought your machine from also provided a configuration file for Mach 3 and you want to run it with the preset setting they entered.

 This is what I do and it gets me started. 
1.   Load the g code file.
2.   positon my x y axis where I configured them in my cam program  (bottom left hand corner as I face my machine)  I then position the bit in the spindle very close to the top of my work and hit the Zero x,y,z buttons followed by the Regen. Toolpath button.
3.   Press the  Cycle Start button and  I'm cutting parts.

At my current level the only buttons I use are the Zero z,yz,. Reset, cycle start, feed hold, stop, rewind, regen. Toolpath.  Also the Tab key to bring up the MPG sometimes when needed.

Don’t worry about any other of the other Mach 3 pages (yet). The input part of the MDI page comes in handy tho.

I use Vcarve Pro to generate all my files and they pretty much make the tool selections full proof to start off with.
Re: What does the "To Go" button do?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2008, 08:46:02 PM »
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First I assume the people you bought your machine from also provided a configuration file for Mach 3 and you want to run it with the preset setting they entered.
Yup.
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1.   Load the g code file.
Yup.
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2.   positon my x y axis where I configured them in my cam program
Do you mean move the spindle motor to the far left front of the table? Or move it to the corner of the material that you're going to cut?
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and hit the Zero x,y,z buttons
With what buttons lit? Offline, Go to Z, To Go, Machine Coord's, Soft Lmiits?
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the only buttons I use are the Zero z....
What does the Zero Z button do? I can't find any reference to it in the Using 3Mill.pdf manual.

Still, this is sounding very doable - I'm greatly relieved. Everyone here's so helpful and patient! I hope to actually cut a part tomorrow!

-- Rich --
Re: What does the "To Go" button do?
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2008, 10:15:25 PM »
Sorry I was a little confusing.

In Vcarve I use the bottom left corner as my home position when I draw up parts.  So I jog my z to that position on my work and lower the z to almost touch the work.  Then press the Zero x,y,z.

I have all the buttons under the DRO display turned off. I do not use home switches. I played with the “Go To” once and the z when off on it own so have not played with it again. (I too will have to do some reading, I think I should have the soft limits turn on.)

After you position your z axis to the home position on your work, pushing the zero x,y,x tell Mach3 that is the home position to start from.  After your part is cut Mach 3 will move your x,y,z back to your start position. 

If anyone sees me giving the wrong info, please jump in and correct.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2008, 10:20:02 PM by lovebugjunkie »