CNC Plasma cutting table made by a defunct company

I have this CNC plasma cutting table here:
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-AxkcI8flh4Y/UD5SJqLph1I/AAAAAAAABq4/onBU0q1ZvuU/s720/20120829_123101.jpg
Supposedly, what is wrong with it is that someone stole a laptop with a USB key that made this table work.
CR Electronic is an Italian company and they are out of business.
I am wondering, realistically, what is the quickest way to bring this to life.
Thanks
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On Wed, 29 Aug 2012 12:34:48 -0500, Ignoramus9435

You know the answer, EMC. Or linuxCNC
Karl

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Yes. I figured out how to move the table in manual mode.
It seems to be moving fine.
i

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Here's a video of it moving in response to manual operator commands.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlSJB5rh4NE

I am aware that I should not quit my day job to become a videographer.
i
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On Wed, 29 Aug 2012 12:34:48 -0500, Ignoramus9435

You got your old CNC mill into shape with new electronics and laptop. I believe you could do that with this one, too. I wonder if anyone picked up where CR Electronics left off. Find them and you have it made. Ask other Eyetalyun CNC firms?
==That said, HELP!
I'm at a standstill on mine. I'm having conceptual problems. In trying to find references/zero axes, it hits the home/limit switch and stops. I have to reset it for each one. Y wants to go far to home, Z up. I thought home would be down, left, and toward me. What am I missing, guys?
Each axis has home and limit switches in series, with ground and NC switches. The Gecko G540 pulls them high normally, and the activation of a switch grounds the input. A is cloned to X with reversed motion for the dual axis drive. It goes crazy with lots of acceleration but works fine and smooth at 126 IPM.
http://www.geckodrive.com/app-notes.html click motor control manuals, stepper drives, G540 rev 8. Inputs are DB25 pins 10-13.
Another thing, when I programmed a quick square, it went in almost a circular motion. This was for a quick 50 rep x movement from the Mach 3 manual, which I modified to do a square and just 5 reps. It did 1.
F1000 G20 G90 M98 P1234 L5 M30 O1234 G1 X4 G1 Y4 G1 X0 G1 Y0 M99
Clues would be helpful. I'm in serious beginner mode, fer sher.
-- Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. -- Chuang-tzu
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Sounds like a sign error (either in software or on the motor connection) if the axis zero is not where you expect it. I use a different system, but something like y axis scaling set to 126 when what you want is -126.

If the home and limit switches are in series, how can you tell which is getting activated? Home is home, ho hum, no problem, limit is shut this thing down yesterday.
Since you have few inputs, perhaps you mean (or you should) you have limit switches all in series and home switches all in series? In which case if you are blowing past the home switches to the limits, the machine is moving too fast (home should to be done at great speed) or the switches are too close to each other.
My general home routine is to go find it at a moderate speed, back up until it clears, and then creep into it for setting. Then back up and go at moderate speed to the next axis, repeat.
-notlarry
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On Wed, 29 Aug 2012 20:41:14 -0400, Ecnerwal

Mach3 allows you to reverse this in several different screens

Mach3 suggested doing it that way. <shrug>

I'm running both a Warp9 SmoothStepper motion control board (for the 64bit computer) and the Gecko, so maybe I have more inputs than I thought. I'll look into that angle.

I need to find some way to automate something like this on a daily basis, too.
-- Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. -- Chuang-tzu
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How automated? The machine turns itself on and does it or you tell the machine and it does it?
The first is probably doable but would depend on the OS of the computer - a cron job running a file on unix, ferinstance. I don't love that because I don't like machines (physical) starting up without a human looking on, unless there is a lot more than a few limit switches to be sure nobody gets bit.
Again, I can't provide code you can use since I use a different system so my code won't do much for you you, but my basic homing routine runs as a file, so my involvement is fire up the machine and run the home file, which otherwise does what you are doing, I guess, by hand. Goes something like:
are home switches set? (let us assume all homes are on one input)
If so - move away (perhaps an inch) from home switch direction in all three axes. or in one axis, if still set in another axis, if still set in a third axis. The main danger (or hiccup) here is that you will limit if less than an inch from the far end of one axis when you move an inch away in all three.
now, are home switches set? If so, error, if not:
Home switches not set (arrived at either because they were not to begin with, or because you moved away from them.)
Move at moderate speed in x towards home. stop on home switch change.
Back up a small amount (home switch changes state again, go past that a little.)
Creep towards home switch and stop on change of state. Set X axis to 0 (or -1, or whatever.)
Move an inch or two away from X and repeat for Y, then Z. All homed. Human said something like "run home.cam" and got coffee. If you park at 1,1,1 (or 0,0,0 if your homes are negative) the night before (run goodnight.cam which consists of jog to 1, 1, 1 if you want to make it simple) it takes very little time. If the machine is out at 96,48,6 it takes longer. running it more frequently than once a day may be good practice, depending how much your setup is prone to slop.
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On Thu, 30 Aug 2012 00:00:29 -0400, Ecnerwal

The latter? But, I'll also have to do that with bit changes, I'm guessing.

Oh, duh! I hadn't thought of that. Mach3/Gecko/SmoothStepper compatible, so yours would probably work, but I'll likely learn more g-code by doing it myself.

Why?
I'll see if I can do that with the extra SmoothStepper inputs. (Hmm, how do I differentiate them from the standard 25pin inputs? I'll ask Gary at Warp9, I guess. Maybe I'll need that extra parallel port adapter after all.)
Thanks for the thoughts, my reversed friend.
-- Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. -- Chuang-tzu
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The two things I think you could be asking, and the answers to both:
Why assume they are all on one input - because you have limited inputs, and it doesn't really need an input per axis if managed correctly. So even if you have a way to expand your inputs, I'm not sure I'd want to waste two on an input per home switch when they could be doing something else. Or not spend money on an extra interface to get more inputs...
I would use one input for homes, and one input for limits and emergency stop unless you have emergency stop wired a bit further upstream so it can't get dorked by a software glitch. In that case you might want to wire the limits that way too (hitting them would be a big deal depending how much power you shut down, but then, hitting them does mean something went wrong, so...), and you've freed up an input. However, a "not so emergency stop" that does not dork your program might be worth an input and a set of small yellow (say) buttons scattered around with the big red ones for E-Stop. If you avoid cutting to the homes, it could even share with them if your home setting file can alter what happens on the input - ie, home file starts with "disable soft stop", so it can hit the home switches without needing you to tend it, and ends with moving back from the home switches and "set soft stop" where soft stop is something that makes the machine pause whenever that input is set until told otherwise.
Why check to see if they are set? If they are, a move towards home until home is set doesn't go anywhere, and I haven't established which of the axes sharing an input for home are set if I start with one of them set. So I want them clear to begin with.
If none are set, and I move X towards home, when home changes, I know it's X. After I set X, I move away from home in X far enough to be sure X-Home won't go and move towards home in Y, and when home changes I know it's Y-Home, Set, move away, move Z and I know that it's Z-Home.
My machine is an elderly (verging on antique) shopbot, and it does not use g-code, so it really won't translate well. The idea should translate fairly well.
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On Fri, 31 Aug 2012 07:07:09 -0400, Ecnerwal

Unfortunately, the SmoothStepper board was a necessary expenditure to get Mach3 to work with a 64bit machine.

I think the "disable soft stop" might have been the concept I was looking for. Thanks. I'll play with that this weekend.
-- I have the consolation of having added nothing to my private fortune during my public service, and of retiring with hands clean as they are empty. -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Count Diodati, 1807
Too bad -none- of the current CONgresscritters are willing to do that. -LJ
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Larry Jaques wrote:

Individual home switch inputs, and also decel switch inputs are important in a production environment where speed is everything. Individual home switches means simultaneous axis homing instead of sequential homing, and decel switches mean full rapid speed most of the way to home further saving time. In a home shop or even small shop environment saving 10 seconds on a homing cycle doesn't mean much.
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On Wed, 29 Aug 2012 17:20:12 -0700, Larry Jaques

One clue would be to put that M30 at the end. The M30 causes the program to rewind and should always be at the end. ERS
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On Wed, 29 Aug 2012 18:11:30 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@whidbey.com wrote:

I'll try that, thanks. But why didn't it go in a straight line to X4 Y0 before going to the next step? It's like it thought it was supposed to make a circle, cutting the corners.
-- Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. -- Chuang-tzu
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On Wed, 29 Aug 2012 18:11:30 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@whidbey.com wrote:

Correct.
Gunner
-- The essential differences between liberals and conservtives is that liberals could not exist without conservtives to defend their freedom and support them economicaly.
Conservatives on the other hand, can exist and live quite well without liberals."
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On Sat, 01 Sep 2012 04:25:24 -0700, Gunner wrote:

[snip]
...
According to <http://www.tormach.com/m98.html (for example) the M30 is positioned ok. The M98 P1234 L5 line says to call subroutine O1234 five times. The four G1's in the subroutine should draw a square. The M99 returns from subroutine. After five passes around the square at 1000 IPM (*) the M30 ends the program. (*) <http://www.tormach.com/f_feed_rate.html says that F1000 would set feed rate to 1000 units per minute. I don't know if it matters whether the F code appears before the G20 which sets length units to inches.
If the router cannot actually move 1000 IPM and is running open loop (vs with encoders) it might look like it's drawing a circle as new destination coordinates are commanded before it gets to current destination. The total distance commanded is 80 inches (ie, 5 passes * 4 sides * 4 inches/side) which should take 0.08 seconds at 1000 IPM. Programming a slower speed, like 10 IPM, might make it easier to tell what's going on.
--
jiw

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On Sat, 1 Sep 2012 19:18:05 +0000 (UTC), James Waldby

Damn..you are right. I missed the F1000 as well.
There is G code..and G code.
Gunner
-- The essential differences between liberals and conservtives is that liberals could not exist without conservtives to defend their freedom and support them economicaly.
Conservatives on the other hand, can exist and live quite well without liberals."
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wrote:

Thanks, James. I'll try it at 100, 25, and 10ipm to see if that fixes it.

Mach3 said the machine probably wouldn't be able to do it, but it would self-adjust. If this fixes it, I'll be sure to give them feedback on it.
-- The most powerful factors in the world are clear ideas in the minds of energetic men of good will. -- J. Arthur Thomson
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I will try to find out.
I think that it should be exceedingly easy to convert this plasma cutter to EMC2. I can most likely keep the existing servo drives.
That said, I need my CNC milling machine, but I do not need a CNC plasma cutting table. I am using my mill a couple of times a week to make round holes in metal, drill patterns etc. I do not think that I need to plasma cut with CNC, and I do not want to take up the space.
So, the bottom line is that I will sell it. I was hoping to push it a bit farther in the process of getting it ready for sale.
i
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On Wed, 29 Aug 2012 22:10:34 -0500, Ignoramus9435

You can speed up the sale by figuring out how to convert to EMC2 in advance, then offer to set up their laptop, or demo it on your own with a secondary setup. It could double your sale price, I'd guess.
The last CNC torch I worked on was helping a friend figure out how to get the customer's 4-torch O/A setup to work right. It turned out to be a really badly worn out set of ways on an old paper tape drive system. I sure like plasma better. It's so much cleaner and better!
-- Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. -- Chuang-tzu
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