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  1. #1
    Hi out there. I am hitting a few problems with a lathe I am trying to convert. It all started when I tried to calibrate the lathe in mach3 ( what a total pain that this). Anyway trying to make the stepper motors move .5mm lead to this problem. Ok they would move the distance maybe three times before cutting out and it took turning off the power to the break out board and drivers for a time before the motors would move again, then the same would happen. I am using one of the 100khz breakout boards from Amazon. One of the stepper motors is a 6amp closed loop system using a CL86T driver and a nema 34 motor. The other motor is the motor which came with the lathe which is nema motor but is 8 wires into 4 configuration. The power supply is a 24vdc. So any ideas on the cutting out.
    I am also trying to get information on Linux, is this a better system for lathes, if so what board do I need, I am running usb windows 10 64bit. Is calibrating the lathe easier then the nonsense in mach3 turn. I am in the U.K. thanks

  2. #2
    Doddy's Avatar
    Lives in Preston, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 3 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 1,364. Received thanks 188 times, giving thanks to others 66 times. Referred 1 members to the community.
    Terry1956,

    Background: I've converted a Myford ML7 to CNC. For better or worse.

    You have 3 questions which need to be dealt with largely separately.

    Your "cutting out". There's a lot of possibilities, and very little info. From the outset I'd look at your NEMA 34s and question the 24V supply voltage - you really should be up at 60 volts or higher. In fact the first hit I had with a CL86T indicates a 30V minimum supply rail. Conversely, I'd question a NEMA 34, but as you've not indicated what lathe you have.... Anyway - you'll need to fault-find a bit more for us. Are the stepper drivers getting hot?, what's the supply voltage doing when the system freezes?, are there any fault indications on the stepper driver? Does the same happen if the steppers are mechanically uncoupled from the axis-drives? Does this happen on one axis, or both? Also, for background - are you using the original trapezoidal screws or have you replaced these? Photos are always welcomed (though you may have a 10 post limit to hit before you can post those?) Please, help us to help you - provide some more detail.

    The "100khz breakout boards" most certainly will tie you to Mach3. If you want to consider another motion controller (such as LinuxCNC) then you'll need something different. If you have a parallel port then this is one way forward; the LinuxCNC route also favors/supports the Mesa hardware - good kit, but expensive, and perhaps unobtainium with the current semiconductor crisis. Others will advise on more hardware/software combinations - I've only used LinuxCNC/Mesa.

    Linux vs Mach3. By this I expect you mean LinuxCNC - which is what I use (and, I think what most people here use for turning). It's not that it's the best, more than it's the least worst. It's powerful, certainly, and supports the turning functions well. But if I was to assume that you've not used Linux before then my first bit of advice would be to understand that you have a vertical learning curve ahead of you. Others on this forum with far more experience of LinuxCNC would be able to advise further and more accurately. I'd simply say that it's not straightforward. "Calibration" is a funny old word - what are you trying to calibrate? the X/Z axis are much of a muchness regardless of Mach3 Turn or LinuxCNC - both require you to understand the basic mechanics of the CNC conversion (offset / turns, and steps/turn). What both Mach3 and LinuxCNC do require for any basic threading is a form of spindle-encoder - and for this to be calibrated. Have you had a thought for this?

  3. #3
    Thanks for your reply. I think that I am not using enough power for the stepper motors which in turn is leading to the lost of steps. I have ordered a new higher rated power supply. One one thing that puts me off Linuxcnc is going backwards with using a printer cable. I know that the 100khz is not the best breakout board however it’s one good point is it automatically sets the ports and pins. I remember years back pulling my hair out with ports and pins. As to what I am trying to calibrate, we’ll that would be the movement of the axis to match the distance given in mach3. So the motor moves the correct distance to what mach3 thinks it has moved. I will wait until the new power supply turns up and start playing again Thanks for your help.

  4. #4
    Muzzer's Avatar
    Lives in Lytham St. Annes, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 14 Hours Ago Has been a member for 6-7 years. Has a total post count of 410. Received thanks 59 times, giving thanks to others 9 times.
    The more recent Mesa boards connect using ethernet, so there's no need for parallel ports / printer cables as such. As for the "pins/ports" business, setting up all the HAL and INI file settings can be quite a challenge in LinuxCNC, even with the config wizards. The LinuxCNC support forum is well intentioned but you are still expected to go on a bit of an adventure with no certainty where it will end up and the software is constantly evolving. If you are wary of getting back into that, you may be better sticking with something else.

    My Colchester Bantam runs LinuxCNC and the gmoccapy GUI which sort of works now (although some features don't) but I have to admit when I moved on to my Tree CNC lathe, I wimped out and went with Centroid Acorn which is much more of a known, stable quantity with good support. I know others have had good experiences with UCCNC, so there are other options out there.

  5. #5
    Hi, I looked at the centroid acorn but at nearly 400 it’s a shed load of money for a board. The lathe itself only cost 80.

  6. #6
    Muzzer's Avatar
    Lives in Lytham St. Annes, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 14 Hours Ago Has been a member for 6-7 years. Has a total post count of 410. Received thanks 59 times, giving thanks to others 9 times.
    No matter what you do, it'd going to cost you more than 80 - it's really a question of what you fancy. Perhaps a DDCS 3.1 would fit the bill?
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005...540277150%21sh

  7. #7
    What lathe is it?

    I can't understand the issue with "calibrating" the axes. It's just a matter of doing a straightforward calculation and typing the steps/unit into a Mach3 text box.

    I'm not familiar with the "100 kHz breakout board" but I assume that it comes with a Mach3 plugin for the USB port? Do you have this? Many of the USB controller from the Far East have a poor reputation for the quality of the USB implementation. I use CNCDrive UC100s and they work perfectly for me. Does the one you have support threading and probing? These have to be done in the motion controller - threading is mandatory for a lathe to be much use and probing is useful for tool setting. Mach3 is fine for threading on a larger lathe with plenty of spindle power and inertia.

  8. #8
    Hi John, the problem is not the amount of movement in the axis, I have sorted that. The problem is the following. If I input by hand something like z+40, the motor moves 40mm all good. However it only moves at a very slow crawl. If I adjust the acceleration etc in motor tuning, safe etc. and input z+40 the speed is the same just a crawl. However if I jog the motor it moves at a good speed.
    I am not interested in threading, as I find just using a die faster. I have the lathe just too make smaller parts for my O gauge locomotives. It maybe the breakout board, but I have used the same type for years on a mini mill.

  9. #9
    But do you also enter a feed rate?

  10. #10
    Doddy's Avatar
    Lives in Preston, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 3 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 1,364. Received thanks 188 times, giving thanks to others 66 times. Referred 1 members to the community.
    Terry - apologies if I'm asking the blinding obvious - but you are setting the feed-rate in the G-Code? And does a G0 Z40 also crawl? Have you tried a F200 or F20 before moving?

    Sorry - it is going back to basics, but a MDI input should be able to match the jog speed.

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