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totts
10-07-2014, 09:45 PM
Looking for a usb smooth stepper for my new machine i am building, has anyone used or have one of these usb smooth steppers?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/151346390371

Is it just plug and play with mach 3 or does it need a plugin?

Thanks

Ger21
10-07-2014, 11:38 PM
It uses a plugin for Mach3. The plugin is included with the manual from the link on the Ebay page.
Fwiw, the Smoothstepper is made by Warp9.
This is a Chinese motion controller, similar to a Smoothstepper. It's not a Smoothstepper.

Boyan Silyavski
11-07-2014, 02:04 AM
I wouldn't buy a Chinese controller. Once i did and it finished in the bin without even managing to make it run. Crazy.

I would buy a reputable well known controller that is known to be well supported.

totts
11-07-2014, 07:19 AM
Ahhh okay that was my worry, does anyone know a uk supplier of usb smooth steppercnc or ess?

JAZZCNC
11-07-2014, 05:44 PM
I only know of one in Uk selling ESS and they are ripping people off so I'm not even going to mention them. If you want the Smooth stepper then I and others have bougth from Peter Homann in OZ as some times it works out cheaper with currency rate etc or direct from Warp9.

Personally I would forget USB and go with Ethernet It's much more stable and reliable than USB.

To be honest I've got and used all the current motion control cards and these days I only use the ESS occasionally as the others have caught up and in one case far surpassed the ESS.
The best one by a long margin is the CSlab's Csmio-IP-M but it does have one draw back in that it doesn't support the use of slaved motors. At first look it seems more expensive than the ESS and others but when you consider the fact you don't need a BOB or spindle speed control it works out about same or cheaper.! . . BUT . . There's more to it than that.?
It uses 24V Differential I/O with which greatly helps with noise and the fact there's no external BOB and all I/O are connected direct to the unit thru nice quality connectors means there's one less thing in the system to go wrong and since BOB's are major cause of troubles this is very welcome and not to be under valued.!
It's powered by 24V with very low current draw so can use same PSU used for powering Limits etc.
It mounts to industry standard DIN rail and is very robust and neat with very high build quality, it's truely industry standard which can't be said for any of the others.
It's got plenty of I/O and 2 x 0-10v analog I/O for Spindle speed control or any other thing you need to control speed externally. Can also attach potentiomiter to analog input to control speed overide etc.

The software plugin is second to none which is quite a important thing to consider with all motion control cards because they are only has good as there plugin. This one is very simple to use and setup at which point it becomes transparent and you never see it or touch it again. It's also got very few bugs I now about and it does everything it's claimed to do and if a Bug does appear it's fixed quickly which can't be said for Warp9 and the ESS.

None of the others come close IME.

Now next alternative to the ESS and the one I now use for slaved motors is the Russian PLCM-E3 which is a good card and matches the ESS in every department. When matched to it's Dedicated BOB to get it's full I/O potential or one of the cheaper BOB's they make it's a great card with spindle speed control. (buy from Zapp in UK)
It's got good software and Backup from the guys in Russia is excellent if needed, I've only had one issue personally and know of one other and in both cases they fixed the problem within the week. This wouldn't have happened at Warp9 untill 10,000 americans jumped up and down at same time and even then it would have took 2yrs and still not got fixed properly. .. Lol

So IME experience the Warp9 ESS in this country is now in 3rd place as it's expensive to buy in and offers nothing more performance wise than the others and greatly lacks in the back up and software department and to get the best setup you really need to match it with PMDX breakout boards which again drives up the cost as you can only buy PMDX products direct from PMDX. It performs and works great just getting expensive and has been caught up and passed by others.!

When buying a Motion control card the BOB you use is big consideration so don't scrimp in this department.!

Clive S
11-07-2014, 08:01 PM
I use the Russian PLCM-E3 from Zapp and yes I did have a small problem with it. The controller worked fine (I use a slaved axis)
Then I found a problem with a probing routine and only one motor would run and the slave would be locked so that the gantry tried to rack. I contacted Garry at Zapp and within days a new firmware was sent to me which cured the problem completely. I am very pleased and happy with the PLCM-E3 Another good reason for buying from a UK supplier. ..Clive

JAZZCNC
11-07-2014, 08:07 PM
For clarity's sake Clive's Issue was the other I knew about.!. . :loyal:

totts
11-07-2014, 09:56 PM
Wow that was very informative thankyou! Im not too clued up on the electrical side of things, need to have a big read up on these things, that CSlab's Csmio-IP-M looks promising!

More bed time reading! Thankyou both of you!

Neale
11-07-2014, 10:02 PM
To clarify - I think that you are saying that the PLCM-E3 can handle a twin-motor X axis? That would make it a bit more useful than the CSMIO-IP-M and cheaper than the bigger CSMIO version that costs a lot more, even if it doesn't include BOB functionality.

JAZZCNC
11-07-2014, 10:40 PM
To clarify - I think that you are saying that the PLCM-E3 can handle a twin-motor X axis? That would make it a bit more useful than the CSMIO-IP-M and cheaper than the bigger CSMIO version that costs a lot more, even if it doesn't include BOB functionality.

Yes PLCM-E3 can handle Twin motors and I did say at the beginning "It's only draw back is doesn't support slaved motors" this is the only down side to the IP-M version for use with routers using slaved motor setup but in every other way it's far superior to any of the others. Also remember there are a lot of people out there who don't use slaved motors on routers but still want motion control cards.
It's bigger brother that does do slaved motors isn't really in the same market or aimed at steppers and is aimed more at servo's where again there's very little to touch it in quality and performance at that price range, you have to spend a lot more to even get close matching it.

For Twin motors the PLCM-E3 is a cheaper option and like I stated it's what I now use on slaved motor machines. I used to use ESS + PMDX which I still very much like and would recommend and use if could buy cheaper in UK but not since prologic brought out the dedicated BOB with spindle control, Which you couldn't do at one time without PWM spindle speed control board or BOB with one fitted, then I've started fitting these after testing for over a year on my machine. (I won't recommend or fit anything I haven't tried to kill first.!!)

Boyan Silyavski
12-07-2014, 12:15 AM
Just don't forget that you can still "slave" the axis by using bigger motor and belt to drive the 2 ball screws together , so actually The Csmio-IP-M is still viable option , in fact the best if you go that way.

Dean, did not you drive your machine like this?

JAZZCNC
12-07-2014, 01:34 AM
Dean, did not you drive your machine like this?[/COLOR]

Yes my machine is driven like this and it's actually using the Csmio-ip-M at the moment.
I've had all the motion control cards on it at one point or another and none of them can match the Csmio-IP-M. It's much smoother and actually increased max feedrates with no change other than the controller and plugin.
I was very surprised to be honest just how much better it performed to the others and that's dispite it having a much lower frequency. I mostly put this down to the fact there's less bottle neck from not having an external BOB in between with the signals being much cleaner and more closely controlled.

ozspeedway
12-07-2014, 09:34 AM
One of the things I like about being here is finding out about other products we never hear about. Nearly every other forum I frequent sings the virtues of US made products - Gecko, ESS etc. Now I have found out about the PLCM-E3 I am very tempted to buy one instead of an ESS even though it would be about the same in Aus dollars either way. My only question would be would it still be a good idea using it along with a PMDX-126 as I am a neophyte when dealing with motion controllers.....

JAZZCNC
12-07-2014, 09:41 AM
To be honest there's virtually no difference between them performance wise except I'd say the PMDX is much better BOB and Steve stallings is very good with support as is Peter Homann so in your case being in OZ I'd stay with the ESS + PMDX. Worst thing about the ESS is Greg at Warp9 won't fix things that should be fixed or if he does it takes an age and lot of shouting.

ozspeedway
12-07-2014, 09:51 AM
To be honest there's virtually no difference between them performance wise except I'd say the PMDX is much better BOB and Steve stallings is very good with support as is Peter Homann so in your case being in OZ I'd stay with the ESS + PMDX. Worst thing about the ESS is Greg at Warp9 won't fix things that should be fixed or if he does it takes an age and lot of shouting.
Thanks Jazz. The only thing that spooks me are your final words of the above, being on the butt of the world has its disadvantages and support like Warp9 would be one of them. I already checked the website of the PLCM-E3 and they only ship to places in Europe so I would need to find another dealer anyway.

Anyway, as I was not pulling the plug on the ESS until next week, I have at least heard of other options now for future reference.

Ger21
12-07-2014, 12:57 PM
Bruce,
I'd seriously consider the CSMIO/IP-S. It's the one I'll be using if I ever get around to assembling my machine.
I've heard nothing but outstanding reviews from the most respected members of several forums.
As Jazz says, it's the best available. It's expensive, but you won't need the PMDX-126, so the total cost isn;t that much more than the PMDX + ESS.

ozspeedway
12-07-2014, 02:14 PM
Gerry

I read that too however I have already bought the 126. I just wish I had seen Jazz's post before purchase otherwise I would would be doing as you suggested. The IP-S version, to buy from the UK, would be over AUD$1000 however but the IP-M would be a tad over A$400, actually less than a 126 + ESS. Hmmmm wondering if I can sell my unused 126 for close to what I paid for it? :)

ozspeedway
12-07-2014, 03:46 PM
Well, after reading the manual for the IP-M version I have decided NOT to buy an ESS but wait a little longer and buy the CSMIO/IP-M at a later date. Even though I have a Mechmate with dual X drives, it is not recommended practice to home both sides separately meaning the IP-M is a perfectly valid option for my machine. The PMDX-126 can do the job for now while I watch the Euro exchange rate closely :)

JazzCNC, please do tell more on your implementation of the CSMIO/IP-M with AM882 drives, I am all ears...

Ger21
12-07-2014, 04:14 PM
I don't think so. The IP-M does not support slaving at all, not just slaved homing. Jazz can correct me if I'm wrong.

ozspeedway
12-07-2014, 04:18 PM
Bummer... oh well, I'll have to save a little longer and go for the IP-S :)

Tumblebeer
12-07-2014, 11:35 PM
I've seen people connecting step and dir of both x axis motor drivers to the same output on a bob. It's there some reason this isn't a good idea? If the IP-M can source/sink enough current this would work to slave, yes?

JAZZCNC
13-07-2014, 12:12 AM
I don't think so. The IP-M does not support slaving at all, not just slaved homing. Jazz can correct me if I'm wrong.

Yes your correct Gerry it doesn't and can't ever do so not even with a firmware update. I've contacted Cslabs about this and the Hardware doesn't support it so unless they change the hardware it can't ever use slaved motors.


I've seen people connecting step and dir of both x axis motor drivers to the same output on a bob. It's there some reason this isn't a good idea? If the IP-M can source/sink enough current this would work to slave, yes?

No this isn't a good idea. While in theory and practice it does works it gives problems due to the way drives work regards handling midband resonance. Modern drives compensate for mid band resonance and apply correction, problem is the correction only happens on one motor but at same time forces the other motor into resonance so it's a bad idea and often results in lost steps and crazy weird shit happening. (If 2 motors sharing one drive)
Also then there's slight timing differences and if your lucky enough to run the motors in range where you avoid resonance the timings can slowly run the machine into loosing positon and racking etc.!


JazzCNC, please do tell more on your implementation of the CSMIO/IP-M with AM882 drives, I am all ears...[/COLOR]

Connect just like any other drive except you connect to the IP-M Output terminal connections instead of going thru a BOB. Also the outputs are differential outputs meaning each output has it's own Positive & negative signal and are not connected to the common Ground like most regular BOB's do. This gives the best protection from cross interference and noise immunity, they are also very high speed signals as they are not optoisolated which can slow down signals. This high speed and noise immunity does come at a slight cost in that you lose some protection. Like I say these drives are industry standard and designed to work with Servo drives or high quality Digital servo drives that take full advantage of the extra speed and clarity of the signals and with this it's given that the person installing is competant. They don't suffer poor workmanship and misswiring.!

Boyan Silyavski
13-07-2014, 02:42 AM
Some experience from my build.
If you make your long rails perfectly parallel / using some hard stop fixture and precise square and rule or straight edge/ and perfectly level -using epoxy, then will be very easy to align perfectly the ball screws. That would lead to extremely precise movement where the only factor left would be a missed step due to who the hell knows what reason.
So doing all this correctly will lead to such ease of movement, as i discovered some days ago, that the gantry will move without racking even with one motor only and the other tripped. The tripped motor ball screw will turn by itself even with speeds like 10m per minute as i said-without racking.

What i want to say is not worry, if you like the controller, wire it like Dean says, you can use hard stops to Zero the gantry axis at some very low speed / this programmed at the soft limits tab in mach3/

Another thing is that the Leadshine stall detect works better than expected/ found with faulty LPT cable/ so if you wire the alarm to say Enable or something similar or alarm input/ the machine will stop right away. Then take the power of the motors, move screws by hand so to say to center more or less the gantry, then run again and Zero.
This is a worse case scenario which may happen very rarely if ever when the machine is tuned.

Anyways, doing the machine precise is a must and so is centering the ball screws. Otherwise there will be problems later. Like running out of square/the gantry and the job, cause the travel of rails differs between them/due to slight angle out of parallel/ or between rail and screw/for the same reason as before said/, and that means adjusting steps in Mach separately for the gantry motors, which i believe could be a nightmare, especially if you aim precision.


As to the Americans and their preferred drives and BOBs. I have Geckos on my machine and they never lost a step for 3 years, coupled with Campbel design BOB. So,for sure there is a reason why. Too bad that they are far away and we have to pay tax.


About the CSMIO 6 axis controllers. Cheap from industrial point of view. Very expensive from DIY point of view. Not worth the effort for me. On my next build which would be quite industrial i spend nights contemplating to buy or not. 549.00 EUR + 23%=667euro. Not for me. I bought 8 axis Galil for 500eur which though risque, seemed quite a better purchase with much more possibilities.

At the end it seems there is almost no choice of BOBs, though it looks at first glance that there are a lot of them.

Tumblebeer
13-07-2014, 09:43 AM
No this isn't a good idea. While in theory and practice it does works it gives problems due to the way drives work regards handling midband resonance. Modern drives compensate for mid band resonance and apply correction, problem is the correction only happens on one motor but at same time forces the other motor into resonance so it's a bad idea and often results in lost steps and crazy weird shit happening. (If 2 motors sharing one drive)
Also then there's slight timing differences and if your lucky enough to run the motors in range where you avoid resonance the timings can slowly run the machine into loosing positon and racking etc.!


I'm not saying to connect two motors to one driver, but rather connect two drivers to one step output. The aim of a slaved axis would be to provide two identical step pulses anyway, yes? There's no feedback from the driver to the controller anyway, so it can't possibly adjust more synchronized with separate step pulses than with two parallelled identical?

JAZZCNC
13-07-2014, 09:29 PM
I'm not saying to connect two motors to one driver, but rather connect two drivers to one step output. The aim of a slaved axis would be to provide two identical step pulses anyway, yes? There's no feedback from the driver to the controller anyway, so it can't possibly adjust more synchronized with separate step pulses than with two parallelled identical?

I know what your saying but the answer is not simple and several factors play apart. The BOB output circuitry plays a hige part and like wise so does the drive input circuitry. Often output signals are buffered and filtered on the BOB and only have a certain amount of current available and if the drives are optoisolated which often they are there may not be enough current to drive both opto's correctly and then signals start going stray. This is just a simple version and there's more to it than this but the up shot is your playing with fire and likely prone to timing errors.

IMO why bother to go to all the trouble and time building the machine only to spoil and cripple it for the sake of a few more pounds.?

vre
22-07-2014, 01:29 PM
Real stuff are real time linux kernel + linuxcnc + mesa fpga or any other card that supports real time.
If you want industrial level controller with low cost that is the way.
USB is not a real time interface all usb boards use buffers mach3 is not real time because windows is not real time.

Ger21
22-07-2014, 02:49 PM
I've been using "industrial" machines that cost $150,000 or more for almost 20 years. They all run from a Windows PC.
I doubt that there are any real commercially available "industrial " machines running Linux CNC.

LinuxCNC is a viable alternative. But the LinuxCNC guys need to stop knocking Mach3 every chance they get.
Mach3 users probably outnumber LinuxCNC users by at least 20:1. So Mach3 can't be all that bad.

vre
22-07-2014, 03:50 PM
I have seen an industrial machine 160k euros or 216k usd it is semi-realtime because it has a realtime fanuc motion controller (with buffer)
but it don't show in real time at windows program what the machine is doing, is realtime but it has no realtime feedback to windows (windows is not realtime).
The only realtime part that machine have is the fanuc controller not the windows software...

Linuxcnc is not alternative.. is the only way to get a soft real time industrial controller with low cost.
I dont want to knock mach3 but the difference with linuxcnc is huge (difference to the underlying os) that is the simple truth.
The problem is not in mach3 is to the windows which is not real time os.In the other side linux has a realtime kernel.
You can get realtime with mach3 but only with a hardware realtime motion controller and buffer.
Caveat with linuxcnc is more difficult learning curve.

deisel
06-09-2014, 08:56 PM
Any feedback on this below,theres not that much chat about em on the web...,im not sure how long they've been around.

http://cncdrive.com/UC300.html

magicniner
06-09-2014, 10:50 PM
The problem is not in mach3 is to the windows which is not real time os.In the other side linux has a realtime kernel.
You can get realtime with mach3 but only with a hardware realtime motion controller and buffer.
Caveat with linuxcnc is more difficult learning curve.

I think there are a lot of guys out there milling and turning parts who have a problem they don't know about, how about you don't tell them and they'll just keep making the parts ;-)

- Nick

JAZZCNC
07-09-2014, 01:00 PM
Any feedback on this below,theres not that much chat about em on the web...,im not sure how long they've been around.

http://cncdrive.com/UC300.html

Don't know anything about these UC300 but do know plenty about other USB based motion control cards SS USBCNC etc and I would advise you to go with Ethernet based cards as they are much better regards handling noise which plagues USB cards. They also allow much longer cable runs and can be connected to networks etc. They appear to give a cleaner signal as well which translates into faster smoother motion.

My Favorite (and I have most common cards) by a very long margins is the CSLABS CSMIO-IP-M or IP-S and while the IP-S is expensive nothing comes remotely close in it's class.

deisel
07-09-2014, 03:05 PM
cheers,i know the Ethernets favourite over usb, I cant do it this time round,this lathes got to help stock up on a bunch of components,then I will move it on in favour for an emco 220p.id go for the ss usb from the uk seller but its still twice the price of that uc300.

JAZZCNC
07-09-2014, 04:02 PM
.id go for the ss usb from the uk seller but its still twice the price of that uc300.

Yes it's a very good price and this leads me to think that with the amount of time it's been around that maybe it's not that good.? . . . Why because if it was good then at that price I'd expect to see a lot more folks using it and I don't.!

That said I never discredit or promote anything unless I have personal experience of some kind and tried to kill it. So I'll just say give it a try and let us know.!

To be honest I may even give one try my self as I have couple of small Boxford lathes i need to convert so if I do I'll report back.!

Edit: Let me just say that with Motion control cards it's often the Plug-in for Mach3 and how it's supported that lets the card down. The SS being a prime example, Warp9 are RUBBISH at updating plug-in's or bug removal so if your system does have any issues with the plug-in or Mach3 is updated and breaks your plug-in it can take an age to get fixed.
The better more expensive cards have the software very dialed in and with relatively little to no bugs and if you are unlucky enough to have any issues then they sort them out quickly.
So believe me if you do have any issues you'll be glad you payed that bit more.!

blim
25-11-2016, 09:44 PM
Yes my machine is driven like this and it's actually using the Csmio-ip-M at the moment.
I've had all the motion control cards on it at one point or another and none of them can match the Csmio-IP-M. It's much smoother and actually increased max feedrates with no change other than the controller and plugin.
I was very surprised to be honest just how much better it performed to the others and that's dispite it having a much lower frequency. I mostly put this down to the fact there's less bottle neck from not having an external BOB in between with the signals being much cleaner and more closely controlled.

I am really struggling to figure out which controller to buy, and whether it should have support for gantry squaring or not. My original plan was to run the machine with grbl controller, which does not support separate limit switches on a dual motor axis. So I used a timing belt over a center mounted motor, but the timing belt teared apart quite fast due to the high load (2 x 10 mm pitch ball screw, 30 kg gantry).

Can you help me with these two questions?

1. Which timing belt and pulley size do you use if you run with one big stepper?
2. I plan on buying AM882 drivers. Would you go with CSMIO-IP-M + belt or PLCM-E3 with slave stepper if you were to build a new machine now?

JAZZCNC
25-11-2016, 11:49 PM
Can you help me with these two questions?

1. Which timing belt and pulley size do you use if you run with one big stepper?
2. I plan on buying AM882 drivers. Would you go with CSMIO-IP-M + belt or PLCM-E3 with slave stepper if you were to build a new machine now?

Yes no problem. If your tearing belts apart then something was very wrong. 2 ballscrews and 30Kg is nothing for belt drive. I use this method all the time with 2 x 20mm 10mm pitch ballscrews and never have any trouble with belts tearing.

Q1: 15mm HTD belts are what I use. Pulley size depends on machine but often I use 18 or 20T. Try to keep the pulley size small possible to lower inertia but keep in mind shaft size so don't go too small.!

Q2: Simple to answer because I've just built two identical machines using the same setup.
IP-M and with belt drive using 4.5Nm Nema 34 motors turning 20mm dia 10mm pitch screws with 1.25:1 ratio (16T on motor 20T on screws)

blim
26-11-2016, 03:08 AM
Yes no problem. If your tearing belts apart then something was very wrong. 2 ballscrews and 30Kg is nothing for belt drive. I use this method all the time with 2 x 20mm 10mm pitch ballscrews and never have any trouble with belts tearing.


Thank you for your help.
I used some old XL 10mm pulleys and belt I had from another project, the belt reinforcement teared from the inside. Will buy some HTD5 and give that a try. Do you use pulleys with set screws? If so, do they keep tight over time, the ball screw ends are 12, or do you use keyway connection or flatten the shaft where the set screws sit?

Regarding gantry squaring with dual motor drive - I understand that is a feature controlled from within mach3. Wouldn't it be possible to use mach3 to perform gantry squaring on CSMIO-IP-M also?

Ger21
26-11-2016, 02:25 PM
No, gantry squaring is handled by the motion controller, and the IP-M doesn't support it.

It tells you that on this page, right below the comparison chart.
http://www.cs-lab.eu/en/produkt-18,2-CSMIOIPM_4axis_Ethernet_Motion_Controller_stepdir_ with_connectors.html

blim
26-11-2016, 03:32 PM
Ok, thanks. Will go with belt synced dual screws on a single stepper. I use 2 screws 20 with 10mm pitch, length 1900. Will use the machine for plywood cutting. Plan is to use AM882 drivers on 70V. Any recommendation on stepper motor that will handle this setup allowing high feeds? Also read somewhere about stepper drivers running from mains power supply, should I consider that? - any examples on these kind of drivers?