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So n00b it hurts! Help please...
« on: February 26, 2008, 03:46:30 PM »
Hello all, first post.  I am a n00b to the cnc world.  I have a sign company and have been doing it for 10 years. I have a regular vinyl plotter and also a full color digital printer/cutter.  I have recently got into building audio electronics and decided that a cnc machine might help out with some of my projects/business.  I purchased a cnc sidwinder 24" x 36" router and was told to download the mach3 demo.  I have no idea what I'm doing other than what the guy gave me as far as instructions and set up (which was minimal at best).   At first he did not send all the information so I was stuck unable to get the thing to even move for a few weeks.  Now I am able to get it running and use my hot keys to move the carriage around. 

Now for the problems I have...

1.  I set up the soft limits that he gave me and it doesn't seem to adhere to them.   Meaning it bashes into itself at the end of the travel.  :-\   (Attached what I was given)

2.  So when I set the zero position just before cutting and I move it and press return to zero it does nothing at all.  Won't return to where we called zero.  How do you set zero properly, I might just be doing it wrong?

3. I am able to make the  X Y  to move properly but with Z it will only go up and not down with the hot keys. 


I had my friend who runs cnc machines for a company that builds airplane and helicopter simulators over to see if he could help and he was stumped as to why the thing would not return to home or have soft limits.  Unfortunatly he is not familiar with the mach3 software so he has limited knowledge of the program.  Help from the forum is most appreciated and welcome. 




« Last Edit: February 26, 2008, 04:38:54 PM by lowell513mx »

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Re: So noob it hurts! Help please...
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2008, 04:08:02 PM »
Please attach your xml file, you will find it in the Mach 3 folder. To attach it you will need to rename it, so copy it to your desktop and rename it then use the forums full reply form and use the additional options to browse your drive for the renamed xml. If you are just using the standard profile for Mach it will be called Mach3Mill.xml.
 I see from your screenshots you dont have any home switches set up, you are best to do that, you can use the limit switches as home switches so going by your screenshot above I would  set your
X Home to Port 1 Pin 3
Y home to Port 1 Pin 4
 Z home to Port 1 Pin6
 I will go have a look at your link and see what type of machine we are talking about.
Hood

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Re: So noob it hurts! Help please...
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2008, 04:15:52 PM »
OK just had a look, dont see any limit switches on them in the pics, are there limit switches on your machine?
Hood
Re: So noob it hurts! Help please...
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2008, 04:17:30 PM »
Hello n00b, welcome aboard. I'm still learning myself but soft limits can be turned off - can't remember what screen it's on but it mihgt be Settings. Possibly too easy but just as easy to overlook.
Re: So noob it hurts! Help please...
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2008, 04:31:55 PM »
OK just had a look, dont see any limit switches on them in the pics, are there limit switches on your machine?
Hood



Hmmmmm... ok well switches it does not have. I thought the limits were determined by the number of revolutions or something on the step motors (again I'm not as well informed about this as I should have been prior to purchase).  Here is my xml. file for the machine.

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Re: So n00b it hurts! Help please...
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2008, 05:02:31 PM »
OK if you dont have limits then you are not going to be able to use soft limits unless you do a routine at start up. Mach needs to know where the table is in order to use softlimits.
 What you will need to do is disable all your limits and home switches in Ports and pins. Jog the axis to the lower left of your work envelope and Z to fully up. You then press Ref all and you should see the green LEDs for each axis turn green. This has now set your machine coordinates to X0 Y0 and Z0. What you want to do now is enter 0 for X min, 0 for Y min and 0 for Z Max. next jog to the extent of each axis and make sure you are looking at the Machine coords (you can see them by pressing the Machine Coords button) you will see a red LED surrounding the button and that lets you know you are looking at the machine coords. Ok so note down the numbers you see in each axis DRO and enter them as values in X Max, Y Max and Z min.
 Next make sure you have enabled the Soft limits  by pressing the button, you will see a green LED surrounding it when they are active. You should now be able to Jog and Mach will stop before it reaches the ends of the axis, take care just in case its not set up right.
 Every time you start Mach you will need to move to each axis extreme then press the Ref All button.
 Now when in normal use you dont have the Machine CoOrds button active, this lets you jog to a position then zero the axis and it will now set that position as a work offset, if you press the Machine Cords button you will see it shows different numbers, that is because Mach is remembering the "real" Coordinates.
 Hope you folow but if not ask away and you are sure to get help.
Hood

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Re: So n00b it hurts! Help please...
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2008, 05:04:09 PM »
BTW when I said above that you set your X min, Ymin etc etc I am meaning in your homing and limits page.
Hood
Re: So n00b it hurts! Help please...
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2008, 05:10:24 PM »
Thank you very much for your speedy responses.  I will give it a look tomorrow and see if I can get anywhere with your settings. 


Cheers,

Lowell

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Re: So n00b it hurts! Help please...
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2008, 05:14:46 PM »
No problem, oh and just in case you dont know there are quite a few video tutorials which might help you get to grips with Mach, your will find them from links at the top of the forum. Also there are links to the manuals, they are excellent but can be a bit daunting when new to all things CNC, however they are still worth a look and once you get to grips with things can be a great help for reference.
Hood
Re: So n00b it hurts! Help please...
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2008, 07:17:44 PM »
OK... I am lurking here... and I try really hard to read all the other posts to prevent duplicating. I think that this is going to solve my problem as well (TAIG MILL) as do NOT have limit switches on my mill.  SO.. the question is...  if you need to re-zero your machine each time... is this when I turn off the computer? Or the controller?  If I leave my computer running with Mach 3 and I *just* turn off the controller when not using it... will that require a need to re-zero the machine?

If anyone out there has a TAIG mill and cares to send experiences, please feel free to do so.