. .
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
  1. #1
    Mammers's Avatar
    Lives in North West, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 13 Hours Ago Has been a member for 0-1 years. Has a total post count of 19.
    Hi there! I've been lurking for a little while and scratching my head, I just figured I'd come and say hello

    I've been using a 3 axis CNC router made by Marchant Dice (I understand that's a bit of a swear-word around here) for several years now, but I realise I know next to nothing about how it operates, the parts it uses and why, or how I'd repair a catastrophic failure... that sort of thing. I've just been going through the motions and doing what I was taught/managed to figure out, I'd like to upgrade from trained monkey to competent technician. The knowledge some of you guys have is staggering!

    I have an engineering degree and a can-do attitude. The machine has a 2.2kw water-cooled spindle and 1.2x1.2m machine bed, the control box is a Tonman Superbox (pretty sure it's obsolete) and the PC is old as balls running Mach3 on XP, and all my toolpaths are made in VCarve. Looking to learn! If anyone has any resources that have helped them out over the years I'd be glad to be pointed towards them.

  2. #2
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 12 Hours Ago Forum Superstar, has done so much to help others, they deserve a medal. Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 2,815. Received thanks 346 times, giving thanks to others 8 times.
    First thing I'm going to ask, is do you have a backup of the Mach3 config files?

    The most likely thing to fail is the PC, so make sure you have a back up of all the critical files. Main one is the machine config (.ini file IIRC - it's been a while since I've used Mach3!), and the macro directory for that machine. Easy option is just copy the entire Mach3 directory to a memory stick, but upload the critical files somewhere safe as well.

    Next would be to make sure you have a plan should the PC/control box fail.
    Is the control box parallel port, or some form of USB controller?
    I'd probably start by making a wiring diagram of the existing setup, as should something fail, it then removes a big part of diagnosing/replacing things.


    Other than that, the mechanics should be pretty simple. Given it's a MD machine, they're not likely to be ideal, but should be simple to identify any problems and find replacement parts.
    Avoiding the rubbish customer service from AluminiumWarehouse since July '13.

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to m_c For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Mammers's Avatar
    Lives in North West, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 13 Hours Ago Has been a member for 0-1 years. Has a total post count of 19.
    Hi m_c, thanks for taking the time to read and respond!

    I'm fairly sure I have backups, I'll double-check. Regarding the control box- it's parallel port. I don't have a wiring diagram, that's a great idea, I'll do that tomorrow.

  5. #4
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 12 Hours Ago Forum Superstar, has done so much to help others, they deserve a medal. Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 2,815. Received thanks 346 times, giving thanks to others 8 times.
    As it's parallel port, you probably want to have some kind of plan in place should the PC die.
    Getting a replacement PC with parallel port is doable, but they are getting a bit rarer and generally only available second hand, plus you can't go any newer than Windows 7 32bit.

    What you'd potentially replace it with is more a case of how much you'd want to rework the control cabinet.
    Something like a CNC drive UC100, or PMDX-411 should be a pretty much direct replacement for a parallel port.
    Or you could switch to LinuxCNC which would allow you to keep using a parallel port on newer hardware.

    Off course, you could do a more major rework of the control cabinet.
    It all mostly depends on if you feel you'd benefit from a more involved upgrade.
    Avoiding the rubbish customer service from AluminiumWarehouse since July '13.

  6. The Following User Says Thank You to m_c For This Useful Post:


  7. #5
    Mammers's Avatar
    Lives in North West, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 13 Hours Ago Has been a member for 0-1 years. Has a total post count of 19.
    Thanks m_c. We're pootling along just fine at the moment, but you are right: there is the ever-present worry of PC failure and lack of parts. We've had some close calls.

    I've never seen those motion controllers before, I'll have a read up on how I'd go about integrating one of those into our setup. Where did you learn about all this stuff?

  8. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Mammers View Post
    Thanks m_c. We're pootling along just fine at the moment, but you are right: there is the ever-present worry of PC failure and lack of parts. We've had some close calls.

    I've never seen those motion controllers before, I'll have a read up on how I'd go about integrating one of those into our setup. Where did you learn about all this stuff?
    You could change controller to an ethernet one like a UC400eth. (Better than USB) .
    Get a couple of IDC26 to DB25 cables. Then use your existing parallel board with it on one of the ports and just change the pin numbers accordingly. You then have a second port for another parallel board if you want to add any other items later on.
    Chances are you'd only need to deal with power supplies in the box that's all.
    I'm assuming your system is using 5v? that all stays the same.
    You'd just need a small extra one to power the new controller. (the UC400eth needs 24v I believe).

  9. The Following User Says Thank You to dazp1976 For This Useful Post:


  10. #7
    Mammers's Avatar
    Lives in North West, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 13 Hours Ago Has been a member for 0-1 years. Has a total post count of 19.
    Quote Originally Posted by dazp1976 View Post
    You could change controller to an ethernet one like a UC400eth. (Better than USB) .
    Get a couple of IDC26 to DB25 cables. Then use your existing parallel board with it on one of the ports and just change the pin numbers accordingly. You then have a second port for another parallel board if you want to add any other items later on.
    Chances are you'd only need to deal with power supplies in the box that's all.
    I'm assuming your system is using 5v? that all stays the same.
    You'd just need a small extra one to power the new controller. (the UC400eth needs 24v I believe).
    That's really helpful, I'll certainly look into this aswell. Thank you.

  11. I upgraded from an old XP machine with PP to a Dell Win10 machine last year, using UC100s. (One for mill and one for lathe.) Process was painless, I just transferred the xml file that defines the machine configs, installed the UC100 Mach 3 plugin, and was away.

  12. The Following User Says Thank You to JohnHaine For This Useful Post:


  13. #9
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 12 Hours Ago Forum Superstar, has done so much to help others, they deserve a medal. Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 2,815. Received thanks 346 times, giving thanks to others 8 times.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mammers View Post
    Where did you learn about all this stuff?
    I've been around this stuff for far longer than I'd care to admit

    The main driver for how much you plan for replacement/upgrade will be how reliant you are on the machine.
    If you can't really afford any down time, I'd probably look at creating a completely new control box with more modern drivers, and a suitable motion controller. The controllers already mentioned are only a couple of lots of options. More modern drivers are also likely to allow you to get a bit more performance out of the machine, but you are then heading towards the rabbit hole of how much you upgrade.
    Avoiding the rubbish customer service from AluminiumWarehouse since July '13.

  14. The Following User Says Thank You to m_c For This Useful Post:


  15. #10
    Mammers's Avatar
    Lives in North West, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 13 Hours Ago Has been a member for 0-1 years. Has a total post count of 19.
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnHaine View Post
    I upgraded from an old XP machine with PP to a Dell Win10 machine last year, using UC100s. (One for mill and one for lathe.) Process was painless, I just transferred the xml file that defines the machine configs, installed the UC100 Mach 3 plugin, and was away.
    That sounds like a winner, thanks for sharing your experience

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 2 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 2 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Entry level Probe
    By Leadhead in forum Probing, Digitizing & Scaning
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 09-10-2013, 07:55 AM
  2. help needed going to the next level
    By luke11cnc in forum Computer Software
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 20-09-2012, 08:53 AM
  3. Which end mill to level my acrylic bed?
    By HankMcSpank in forum Tool & Tooling Technology
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 03-02-2012, 02:57 PM
  4. NEW MEMBER: Just joined, hobby level
    By cncgcg in forum New Member Introductions
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 03-12-2011, 02:32 PM
  5. Level Y Axis
    By sfallan in forum Machine Discussion
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 26-09-2010, 12:52 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •