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  1. #1
    Have had an old Deckel FP 1 mill in my shop for years and it still does good work. (Pics attached ) but I have been tempted for some time to use it as the base for a CNC conversion

    Rather than interfere with a classic, I have planted an Axminster compound table onto it https://www.axminstertools.com/axmin...d-table-400385 and converted that table with stepper motors and Chinese ballscrews.
    I built my panel and with all sorts of problems along the way. I then downloaded a licensed version of Mach 3 and with a few more problems managed to get the table moving in X Y plane. That is a very abridged version of what went on, but with a simple routine I managed to cut a pocket.

    Clearly I needed a Z axis ( not easy on a Deckel where the usual Z motion lifts the whole table)
    The quill has very little backlash, so I have added a Heath Robinson drive to give me the Z motion and it all seems to work fine
    Sooooohh, I know this is a rough project, but If I can get an understanding of the processes then I will move to building something a little more refined .

    So I now want to make the machine loop through the same repeated routine to a given depth.
    I am told that IF and GOTO instructions are not supported by Mach3 and if I try to use a parameter to define the depth , increased at the start of a subroutine I get a vague error message which tells me it does not understand the word .

    How would others program this to cut progressively down to say a depth of 6mm
    Please go easy on me . I am a total newbie and struggling with the tutorial manuals .
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  2. Heath Robinson?, hey it works. Actually the ball-screw adaptation of the XY table would be an interesting write-up for anyone here looking to produce a CNC mill on the cheap.

    I guess you're manually writing the G-Code?, many/most here will use a CAM processor (e.g. CAMBam on PC) to generate the tool paths, including the decreasing Z depth, and the output from the CAM processor will be the G-Code to feed into mach3,or similar. I'd be going this route, personally.

    To answer your question - I've never tried this with Mach3 (though have done similar with LinuxCNC), you *could* (many ways to skin a cat), use a subroutine to perform your pocket operation at a single depth, and use a loop and G-Code incremental mode to create the increasing depth.

    Something like (and this will be full of errors - so use it to understand the concept, not to test, -- prefix = my comments, not valid G-Code) It's nasty, it's probably naughty but it might give you ideas. But see (a) above - look at CAM processing instead! Again, don't run this at all!!

    G90 -- Absolute mode
    G0 X0Y0Z10 -- Move to 0,0,10mm
    M98 P02 L60 -- 60 Loops, (60 x 0.1z = 6mm) ... Z will start at 10mm and ultimately drop to 4mm safe clearance height.
    M30 -- program end

    O0002 -- subroutine to perform one pass on the pocket
    G0 X0Y0 -- reset to X=0,Y=0 - if your G-Code returns the spindle to the start position of the pocket then you don't need this, but you must be positioned to XY that's safe to plunge into the work piece
    G91 -- incremental mode
    G1 Z-10 F100 -- plunge down 10mm
    G90 -- absolute mode

    -- << do your pocket stuff here... NO Z movements!!!! >>

    G91 -- incremental mode
    G1 Z9.9 -- retract 9.9mm, the difference between this and 10mm is your plunge depth, here, 0.1mm
    G90 -- absolute mode

    M99 -- return from subroutine

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply Doddy.
    Late now so will look at it in the morning to see what i can make of it


  4. #4
    I thought i would need some understanding of coding before I embarked upon the Cam stuff.
    I did try using Autocad but havent really tried too hard to get into it yet.
    I will be hoping to machine pieces to my own designs and nothing too complex . Are you saying it would be better to learn to draw them on paper, rather than code what is in my head?

  5. #5
    Hi John,

    If you use programs Like CanBam or any of the CAD/CAM programs like Fusion360 etc then you don't need to write a single line of G-code. That is the purpose of them to makes things simple and easy.

    However, if you are using Mach3 there some wizards that will do basic operations like Pockets, Hole patterns, surfacing, etc and all you do is enter in the parameters like depth, length, width, etc. You can even build the code up by using a combination of the wizards.
    -use common sense, if you lack it, there is no software to help that.

  6. #6
    If I am going to look at CAM then which version is best for a novice .
    In particular which has the best tutorials.

  7. #7
    Muzzer's Avatar
    Lives in Lytham St. Annes, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 2 Hours Ago Has been a member for 2-3 years. Has a total post count of 138. Received thanks 24 times, giving thanks to others 4 times.
    For tutorials for all abilities and applications, you couldn't do better than Fusion. Can't imagine anyone arguing with that.

  8. I'm a big fan of Fusion (especially as I hate Windows machines), but you'd be running into a wall of learning curves. CamBam allows you to go from a single point to a machine drill operation, through basic primitives (lines, circles) to more complex machining operations (pocketing, etc). It's a really useful and pretty capable.

    Fusion et all are great but not an easy-in on CAM. Get the basics understood first, learn to walk before you try running.

    ...or maybe that's just me

  9. #9
    I think you’ve made a good point Doddy and I agree. I have used CAD and CAM packages for years so when F360 came out it was an easy transition.
    But if you are starting from very little experience it could be too much.

    Coming from the other end I think starting with the gcode is equally challenging and I think you are better off letting the CAM software generate the magic code leaving you free to concentrate on what you actually want to make.

    Are you familiar with the steps that are required in the whole process as there are actually quite a few?

    Have an idea
    Draw it in CAD
    Export the file out as something like .IGES format (assuming CAM is a separate program)
    Load the file into a CAM program
    Select the lines and circles and tell the software which tool you want to use and how you want it to be cut (inside the line , outside the line, or drill a hole etc)
    This generates the toolpaths
    Export out these toolpaths as gcode (.txt format)
    If you like you can view these in an editor as see what code it created
    Load the gcode file into your control software (Mach3) or whatever
    Assuming machine is homed and ready then hit cycle start

    When you write it out in a list like this there is a lot to step through so start simple and get practising. There will be set backs and frustrations but it will start to become clear.
    Building a CNC machine to make a better one since 2010 . . .
    MK1 (1st photo), MK2, MK3, MK4

  10. #10
    Hi guys
    Have downloaded Cam Bam (9.8)
    And had a quick look through the tutorials
    Have to say I was quickly lost. The tutorials seem to go far too fast for a total novice to follow and by the time he had copied and pasted 3 items i was so far behind him it was hard to catch up.
    Are there any step by step tutorials for us old fogies to follow at our own pace .
    I will give it another shot later but are there others out there that dont find it easy to keep up?

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