mach 3 status no tool

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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by tcaudle »

Stesp in SheetCAM to get a cut file:

1. Setup the material and origins in SheetCAM OPRIONS. Pay attention to the JOB OPtions and the Rapid Height and the Plunge Safety Clearance. Rapig height needs to be at least .75 inch to 1.0 inch

2. Import the Drawign in SVG or DXF format. YOu have to tell it which format you are using .

3. The shapes are called Contours in SheetCAM. There is a Nesting tool that lets you drag/move the entire drawing /part. There is a Contour tool next to it that lets you select individual contours. You can use the CTL ket to left click multiple contours and then right click the group and use the Add to Layer and Layer Name and type inn a Name you will recognize. When you do that it assigns those contours to that LAYER. You can also "drag select" contuses and put them ion a layer. You can also select a couture and add it to an existing layer. A couture can only live on one layer at time. In the lower left you will see a window with LAYERS in it. You can enable or disable a layer. It disappears when you disable it so lets you check what objects are on each layer. Use the Layer tool to organize the cuts much like you would do if you were going to hand cut the design. Inside cuts need to be on one lower whole outside cuts are on another.
3. Now that you have your layers defined you can generate an OPERATION. That process lets you use a TOOL (from a loaded tool table) and assign it to a LAYER (name) and tell it HOW you wan it to cut . That forms an operation. If the text is red or yellow read the error. You may need to change the drawing or how you have selected contours.
4 Once you have an operation it should show you the "Cut" as a wide line along the contours in that layer. If you do not get the cut then check to make sure that DISPLAY CUT option is checked. If it still does not show, you do not have a valid cut and NO G-code will be generated.
5. Once you have valid operations You can run a SIMULATION if you want to see how it will cut. Then you can run the POST processor. Have the correct POST loaded BEFORE you start adding operations is important because some POSTs have options that will sow up as you build the Operation .
6. A valid Toolset for your controllers and plasma cutter is important. There are several settings in it for plasma you need to have , like Pierce Height, Cut height, Pierce Delay, and End of cut delay. Other options MAY be needed if you have a more automated system with advanced THC.

7 You can run the POST and if you get no errors it should generate valid code. That being said you may want to run a "dry": cut (torch off" and make sure it cuts where and how you expect.

You will learn the details of how to beetler use the tools and do things like nesting and to duplicate parts and move a group. You will learn what kinds of files cut best . While the basics are pretty easy the high level of control you can apply with SheetCAM makes it a valuable part of the cutting process.

When we do training we spend a full day on SheetCAM but a lot of that is the advanced options and how to use it with our POST and the added parameters like the Plasma Volts, Auto Set, Cut Current and Minimum Cut Length for our DTHC . SheetCAM is unique in that custom tool parameters and selectable parameter are defined in the POST itself and propagate to SheetCAM when that POST is loaded . The toolsets then have those parameters as variables.


This by far is just a quick tutorial but it should get you started on how to do a simple cut file.
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by adbuch »

Tom - thanks for that great abbreviated SheetCam tutorial.
David
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by NB Forrest »

I am not using my torch yet, I am just trying to get things to work. I have noticed that the image it is supposed to be cutting is way larger than the image drawn. I put a tape measure in my y axis and moved it 20 inches but my machine coordinates said it was only 5.28 inches. How do I adjust this? I have measured the speed at 200 ipm which is what I have adjusted in the motor tuning. My machine moves the torch 200 ipm. I have built this thing from scratch what have I missed?
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by adbuch »

NB Forrest wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 1:26 pm I am not using my torch yet, I am just trying to get things to work. I have noticed that the image it is supposed to be cutting is way larger than the image drawn. I put a tape measure in my y axis and moved it 20 inches but my machine coordinates said it was only 5.28 inches. How do I adjust this? I have measured the speed at 200 ipm which is what I have adjusted in the motor tuning. My machine moves the torch 200 ipm. I have built this thing from scratch what have I missed?
As long as you have your drawing scaled correctly in SheetCam or whichever cam program you are using, the g-code should agree with the drawing size. If your table is moving 20 inches for a commanded 5.28 inches, then you most likely need to adjust your turns ratio so that your actual table movement (stepper motor rotation) matches your desired/commanded movement.

David

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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by acourtjester »

So you understand the speed has nothing to do with distance, the setting you calculate for distance is "steps per". And do remember to save the setting after you complete it. The video David attached is the procedure for finding the correct "Steps Per" for your table. I have found when doing the procedure is to move longer distances each time you run it for closer corrections until it is complete. Also check the speed and acceleration after to be sure the axis is move at a good speed, fast but not stalling. This should be done for each axis for a good table tune.
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by bLouChipBlacksmith »

David,
the list of changes between the Sheetcam Development and Stable versions is accessed from the download page, click on "Show Recent Changes".

take care,
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by NB Forrest »

Thank you for the help. I now have that part of my machine working correctly. Without using a torch, I put a marker in my torch holder and ran the part. Everything is great so now I need to get my torch working. I am using a Proma Compact THC controller 150 and Mach 3 with a Pokeys 57CNC interface card I bought from Buildyourcnc.com and he helped me get the correct pins wired in for my THC. If I run the program for my part with the torch selected on, my machine will run the program nicely but the torch does not come on until I select the THC button at which time the torch comes on and the program runs for a few seconds then the program stops running but the torch stays on. I don't know where to start looking to trouble shoot.
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by acourtjester »

With Mach it is a manual selection over a software (G-code) to tell the controller to use THC. You may not have the torch on signal wired correctly, or you have the emulate selected see attached screen shot. The torch on (arc OK) should shut down the torch when it stops moving as the voltage should show it not cutting metal. Keep plugging at it your real close to having a fully functional table. :Yay
Its been a while not sure if the spindle delay should be check or not.
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by NB Forrest »

input signals.png
I have tried to play around with changing the Emulated but I can't get it to change. I will selected it and it will change, I will click "apply" then when I go back it hadn't changed. I really don't know what else to select or look at that would make my torch come on and not go off when I select THC. You are right, I am very close to this thing working. Almost there.
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by acourtjester »

For the THC you have the 3 enables but no pin or port selected and should not have the emulated green checked, red X for no emulation. That is if you want to use a keyboard key to be used as a signal input (keyboard hot key selection) for testing only.
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by NB Forrest »

How do I unselect Emulated? I uncheck to give the red X then I apply. I come back to Ports and Pins and it is back to green again.
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by acourtjester »

The Mach 3 I an looking at does not have a controller connected to it. If I change to green the exit it is still green, but if I click on the green again and it turn red I exit and it is still red when I go back. Have you changed it and then clicked on the apply button below and then see if its red when you return. I also would download Mach 3 and reinstall it again to see of that helps. Yours may be corrupted in some way and reinstalling may clear that up. I have seen that help too when something screwy is happening.
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by tcaudle »

that THC is a simple UP/DOWN input to MACH 3 and uses the internal THC logic in MACH3 (not in MACH4). Some BOB cards support those inputs , some do not. They have to be assigned to input pins that the The THC UP and DOWN are tied to. Then there is the THC ON. It DOES not enable /disable the THC . Noramlly its the ARC OK but I don't think that THC uses ARC OK (Transfer) . Its use d to stop motion if you lose arc. Its made to not move if you don't have a signal there so you may have to force it one in the inputs .

Firing the torch is not done via the THC. Its an output on MACH (and as tom says the spindle settings are part of that output). M3 codes turn on the output assign to the Spindle . The G-code needs an M3 that is pointed to that output (i.e. M3 turns that ou[put ON, M5 turn sit off. That is NOT the THC enable /disable/ I don't think that THC has a Enable pin BUT the MACH logic has eatable /disable and should have a g-code that will remotely turn it on-off.

Dont expect a high rate of response out of that THC. It uses relay outputs for up and down (SLOOOOW) so loop delay is heavy and about best vertical response speed you can get is in the 20 to 30 IPM range. The good news isi ts so slow that it tends not to dive into voids and if you use SheetCAm ans set some rules for corners and end of cut you can save some ugly torch dives and resulting consumable damage. More modern THCs with closed loop outside MACH can do tent times that speed.

Right now you have the input sin Emulation mode meaning you can fake the inputs with keystrokes . To actually USE the THC those inputs have to assigned ot active inputs that the UP DOWN signals from the THC are tied to and the polarity has to be correct .
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by bLouChipBlacksmith »

Here's the manual for the Proma THC 150 https://www.proma-elektronika.com/downl ... 150_en.pdf
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by tcaudle »

One of the problems with buying a bunch of different cards from different vendors (some which have little or no support) is that they often are not compatible . Even if they are compatible getting one vendor to tell you how to connect to another is typically not possible.

I this case you have selected a THC that needs a direct parallel port input to MACH3 to use the internal Logic. Unfortunately you don't have a parallel port . its going thorough a plug-in (USB or Ethernet ) so there are delays and buffers that cause the actual inputs and outputs to trail behind the software . Like a bad echo. So when the THC sends an UP signal its delayed and makes response a LOT worse than the already slow one from that THC.

In short you are going ot have to either change the Ethernet intercase card tot he ESS where the ESS card itself acts on the inputs , not MACH3 or you have to do with a conventional Breakout board to a conventional Parallel Port.

You have two products that will not work together. Another type of THC or another type of BoB. its all about timing. When the THC logic was put into MACH2 ( asked Art to do that for the simple UP/DOWN THC300 I had made for n myself) MACH3 was a parallel port based system and BoB just interfaced to the PP . The parallel port driver Art created was near real time . He found a way around windows timers to boost speed and performance to do up to 40K pulses per channel. With the PP no longer being used the timing in relation to the actual code running has been disconnected.
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by weldguy »

Awesome and interesting info, thanks Tom.
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by NB Forrest »

Thank you Tom. I am using a Pokeys57CNC break out board. Do you have a suggestion for a brand or style of THC that would work with my BOB?. I really don't want to have to change my BOB but of course I will do whatever I need to in order to get this thing going. I'm so close.
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by NB Forrest »

I appears that my main problem is the switch in Mach 3 for Torch on/off and under that the THC switch. With the Torch on/off in either position makes no difference, the torch does not turn on. However: when I turn on the THC my torch comes on and does not cut off. It will cut like that for a while but then stops running the G-code program. I believe if I can get this part working I can then start adjusting for fine tuning to get an optimal cut. I can't figure out what is turning on the relay to fire my torch with THC on.
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by acourtjester »

With the Proma THC the power supply minus is not the same as the signal common and should be separate. What you are talking about sounds like a wiring problem. This video may help
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

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I have my pins wired exactly as per the video. In fact this is the guy I bought the Pokeys57CNC from. He helped me get it all wired up with the correct wires on the ribbon cable to the correct pins on the board. I have an email to him asking him why my torch fires every time I select THC on mach 3 and I'm waiting for an answer from him. The video is very good but he doesn't tell you which pins on the board to use but it is pins 3, 5 and 7 that correspond to pins 8, 12 and 13 on the Pokeys57CNC mapping. Hopefully he will get back with me soon as I have got just about everything else working.
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by acourtjester »

It sounds like he has the answers for you, hopefully the info you need will come soon. It can be frustrating to be very close, after all the effort and time you have spent. CNC plasma is a great tool and worth the time and effort, it opens up a new world your project list will grow.
try this manual and on page 9 looks like their THC is a copy of the Proma and it shows the pin inputs to match.
Are you using the software plug in for the Pokeys 57??
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by tcaudle »

The problem is the Pokeys is not using the parallel port interface to MACH3 . Its a plug in that translates data from the serial USB ot Ethernet to a parallel port at the POKeys. Like talking though an translator with two languages, . Takes time to sort things out back and forth. The THC logic in MACH is not going to work across that translation gap with any level of response or speed (if at all) . In short you are NOT connected to a parallel port as far as MACH is concerned and the communication path is serial and it uses memory (storage buffers) . MACH and the G-code is ahead of the actual motion so any feedback to MACH is pretty much useless.

As to which THC you can use: It wilt have to be one that is outside the MACH THC logic . A stand alone type . The Promo SD MAY be what you need is cost is you primary concern. The SD takes over the Z motion locally so doe snot use the MACH THC at all . you have to get control of the Z and torch away from MACH because they are out of sync with any USB or Ethernet BoB.

The Warp9 ESS card handles it by moving the TH logic to the ESS hardware so it direct to the signals there and in sync with the actual motion of the XY axis. Pokeys will have to advise you on what they suggest.

As far as firing the torch that should be something that is defined in the Pokeys interface. Inputs and ouputs typically have to be "mapped" / I have no hands on with PoKeys but I do know the ESS card well since we used it for the last generation of MACH3 with our DTHC IV prior to 2016. There were some glitches we had to work around . Sometimes trying ot mix 2020 technology and hardware with 2012 software resuslts in less than perfect actions.
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by tcaudle »

The other issues are that ANY input signal is out of sync with where MACH "thinks" it is. So things like homing and touch off have to be handled directly by the USB /Ethernet module. In essence its a hardware controller that has to do a lot on its own.

Pretty sure the Promo SD will work but it brings some other limitations. Right now its the cheapest and quickest way for you to get running. I would focus on getting the torch to fire (should work with any USB or Ethernet card if its setup correctly) Some THC;s have there own torch fire realy but ususally that takes a hard signal form the I/O card on the PC
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by NB Forrest »

I am using a relay on the Pokeys57CNC card. I have the trigger wires connected to the relay on the board. With the THC button on Mach 3 in the off position, I measure 16V on the relay going to the trigger but the torch does not fire. But if I turn on the THC button on Mach 3 the relay volts go to zero and the torch fires.
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Re: mach 3 status no tool

Post by NB Forrest »

Also, with the Hypertherm in the off position I get zero volts on the relay. With the voltmeter on the relay and I watch as I select and unselect the THC, I can feel the relay click on and off but no voltage change. With the Hypertherm on the 16V goes to zero when I select THC and the torch fires.
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