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Author Topic: Starting over, new to Mach - Supermax Retrofit  (Read 4030 times)

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Starting over, new to Mach - Supermax Retrofit
« on: October 14, 2008, 05:14:35 PM »
Hi everyone, thanks for letting me play with the cool kids.

So here is my deal...I have a Supermax YCM-16 VNM that used to have a 3-axis Anilam controller on it.  I had the same machine before (lost that one in the Witch Creek Wildfire) and did an AJAX retro kit a couple years ago.  Once I got it working, it was fine.  But…I do not think it was worth the money, nor was it as flexible as Mach appears to be (ok, I read the USB pendants forums and was very impressed…)

The Anilam controller is largely gone minus a few key components (power transformer, spindle motor relay, servos, and the cabinet).  All in all the mill is in great shape.

The servos are:
SEM
MT30M4-59
Stall Torque 3NM
Max 2400 RPM, 140V, 30A
Tach 9.5V/1000RPM

What I am looking to build is a basic system with future upgrade capability.  For this basic capability I would like to control XYZ, flood coolant (relay), spindle on/off (relay), with growth (depending on cost) to a fourth axis and maybe some buttons/switches to play with while the chips fly. 

The problem is I have no idea where to start…there are so many options available how do you decide?  Does anyone have a list of components that are known good/compatible?  Do all I really need is the PC + Breakout board + servo drivers?

On the Ajax retrofit, it came with 2000 line digital encoders…where do I get them or do I even need them?  I know the accuracy/repeatability on my old machine was dramatically increased with the new encoders.

Thanks - Brian

Offline jimpinder

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Re: Starting over, new to Mach - Supermax Retrofit
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2008, 04:29:51 AM »
Where do we all start - that is a good question.

I have no idea about the kit you already have - this is for you to look at and decide - BUT

Mach 3 operates from a PC (which I assume you have). I do not know if you are trying to put this together on the cheap, or have a reasonable budget to play with (things being as they are).

The original idea for Mach was to output all the signals via the 25 pin LPT printer port.If your PC has one of these, then you can use it. You do not need a breakout board, but it is easier with one - just for the reason that someone else has done the hard work, and you have only to be able to fasten wires to it. I recommend a NON powered board. Mine was from Routout (which may be only available in UK, I don't know. Others may recommend any number of the various breakout boards that are available, particularly in the States. I don't particularly like them, because many have all manner of electronics added to them, and you need a manual just to understand the breakout board. These on board electronics has caused some problems, particulary missing steps. I prefer a "clean" board to which I can add what I want.

If you do not have a LPT1 port, then you can use the new Smooth Stepper as an output, and, indeed many would recommend it anyway. This fastens to your USB output from the computer (Plug and Play the in thing these days). This also has several advantages since it has all the outputs for the 6 axis, but has extra outputs for inputs and outputs to limit switches, alarms, push buttons etc (there are only 4 outputs and 5 inputs on a breakout board). It also generates on board, all the pulses for the motor axis (which are said to be cleaner and faster than the computer output) , which takes the pressure off your computer and allows it to concentrate on running your code.

Whichever route you choose, you will need drives to power your axis motors. I would recommend Gecko (only as a satisfied customer) and the range of drives is shown on their website (including ones to drive servo motors). They would appear to have the voltage and current capacity you require. I understand you can also get good advice from Gecko about what you will need to compliment their kit.


Gecko drives can be driven directly from the non-powered breakoutboard, or the smooth stepper. They have opto isolation on the inputs, therefore negating the need for such things on your breakout board.

That is enough to get you started. A breakout board, or smooth stepper, three Gecko drives. You will need some feedback arangements from your servos. I am not familiar with them so cannot comment.

This will get you going and everything else can follow in good time.





Not me driving the engine - I'm better looking.
Re: Starting over, new to Mach - Supermax Retrofit
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2008, 06:36:32 AM »
check out the sound logic breakout board.worth the cost. has 4 relays onboard, one you can configure for a safety charge pump(very inportant !)

Offline Hood

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Re: Starting over, new to Mach - Supermax Retrofit
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2008, 09:00:18 AM »
Dont think Geckos will be any good for you, the motors you have are 140V and 30Amp, presume the current is peak but even still its pushing it for the Geckos. You could settle for the Geckos as far as the voltage is concerned as long as you were not needing the speed, at the 80V of the Geckos you would get a max of 1370RPM on the motor, probably slightly less.
 There are a few drives that can handle your motors, Rutex and Larkin are two, dont know anything about them but have seen quite a few problems reported with the Rutex but cant really comment as I have never personally used them.

 If your budget is reasonable then you might consider getting AC Servos and drives, thats the way I went with my lathe and mill.

As for Breakouts, as you see Jim likes the very basic ones (no optos etc) but I prefer to have something there, I use the PMDX 122 and have used it on all 5 machines I have built and not had an issue and to be honest I cant say I have ever seen anyone else report a problem with them either. The ones from Bob Campbell get a good name as well.

Hood
Re: Starting over, new to Mach - Supermax Retrofit
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2008, 06:29:43 PM »
Thanks guys. 

So I really like the idea of the Smooth Stepper, seems easy to use and versitile.

As far as drivers...the closest ones I have found without exceeding the servo capability are:

Gecko 340 = 80V, 20A @ $148
Rutex R2010 = 100V, 20A @ $148
Viper 100 = 100V, 20A @ $199

If the Rutex's are problematic (not saying they are, just not clear yet), the Gecko's leave my system handicapped, that only leaves the Viper 100's.  Ok done, unless there are any other drives to look into (looked at the automation direct, very nice, a little out of my budget).

So, 1 PC w/ Mach3, 1 smooth stepper, 3 Viper 100's, 1 or 2 Estop switches...now only need to figure out the encoders, right?

Offline Hood

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Re: Starting over, new to Mach - Supermax Retrofit
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2008, 07:37:57 PM »
Encoders are easy enough, they go to your drives. Not sure what the vipers are like for following error setting but with 2000 line encoders that is 8000 pulses per rev so if its too small it may be a problem. Then again my servo drives are set to 20 counts following error which in my case means if the axis is out of position by more than 0.0125mm (0.0005" approx) the drive will trip and I have never had a problem so far :)

If you dont have encoders then you can look at US Digital, they do some for around $50 I think. If you get a SmoothStepper then 2000 line should be great but if you decide to use the parallel port then you would be best with 500line or your rapids will be limited. I use the SmoothStepper on all my machines and wouldnt be without it :)

Hood