View Full Version : Fancy a challenge?

01-09-2010, 05:04 PM
Hello People.

I'm new here so would greatly receive any advice given to my questions.

Three years ago I purchased a CNC router from a guy in London whom built the machine from a kit imported from the US, to cut a very long and painful story short he let me down and I'm left with a machine that does not run nor was ever commissioned. I did see the router running on a 2d CAD and mach3 software but soon after the PC died and I lost all the software. I have since loaded the demo version of Mach3 to try and bring the beast back to life and do get some limited movement, on pressing the <> keys the z axis moves but only up and from the left/right keys I here a motor running but no movement.

Does anybody on here have knowledge of MACH3 that can help?

Does MACH3 need to be set up before initally working the control AXIS?

Does anybody know a CNC guru based in Kent that I can grace his palms with beer tokens for help?

Any advice would be helpful as I'm losing the last of my limited stock of hair due to the frustration of not knowing what I'm doing.

Sorry for the long post!

01-09-2010, 05:36 PM
Hello there, the guys here i'm sure can guide you to a solution, or if you get really stuck give me a bell and i can hopefully help you out.

I'll pm you my contact details.

01-09-2010, 05:48 PM
Yes , MACH3 needs a certain amount of configuration before it is useful. To set it up you'll need to know the following:

pitch of leadscrews in mm
whether or not the steppers drive the leadscrews directly (you can assume they are 200step motors)
what type of stepper drivers you have
what breakout board (BOB) you have
how the BOB is wired to the stepper drivers...
Once you have this information, setting Mach3 up is relatively easy

02-09-2010, 07:37 PM
Hi Cassius,

In Mach3, these are my setting which may work for you, depending on your BOB:
Config > set units (e.g. mm)
Ports and pins > Port setup and axis selection > Set port address (probably OK since you have some movement)
> Kernal speed 25KHz
> Nothing else selected

Ports and pins > Motor outputs > Enable (tick) X Y Z axes
> Step pin, Direction pin are the parallel port pins used
to control the step and direction. Mine are:
X Step3 Dir2 Y Step5 Dir4
Z Step7 Dir6
Step Port and Dir port are all 1
Everything else on this menu disabled / zeroed

Ports and pins > Inputs > Enable X, Y, Z related boxes. These are the limit switches. Set the port to 1 for all 9 of these, and the pins to the pin relating to these functions on the BOB. Sorry, can't remember these off the top of my head. Not required to get it moving, but don't go near the edge!
> Scroll down to Estop, set to port 1 and pin 13?

Ports and pins > Output signals > Scroll down to Charge pump, set to port 1 and pin 1

Config > Motor tuning > Steps per = calibration of movement
> Velocity = top speed
> Acceleration = acceleration
Play around with these values, starting low. The calibration one is related to the stepper, the lead screw pitch etc., but for now put anything in to get it moving (say 100). When you get this far, post back and I or someone will talk you through the calibration bit. Calibration is telling the machine how many stepper pulses are required to move the tool 1mm and can be worked out, or you can get close by trial and error for starters.

Config > Hotkey > Set up left, right, back, forth, up, down. I use the arrow keys for L/R/B/F, and page up and page down for up and down.

Config > Save settings

Don't be overwhelmed by all other the menus and options. These are for further tweaking etc. and are not required for very basic movement. I'm doing this away from my CNC machine so hope I haven't missed anything.

You mention that a motor makes a noise but nothing moves. Probably loose grub screws in the coupling between the motor and the leadscrew. A strip down to find this part is required. Post some pictures or make of machine for more help on that one.

Post back if the above does not work, or partly works, and we'll get you through the next bit. Mach3 is very popular and someone will get you through so don't worry.

02-09-2010, 08:48 PM
thanks Routercnc, we ran through everything last night and set it up.

03-09-2010, 02:44 PM
Thanks Guys for all your help, Following a 3 hour phonecall to i2i we managed to get the Mach3 set up. Thanks again Tom!
I'm based in Weald of Kent!