Wired a Haas 5C indexer to be controlled by CNC mill

I have a Haas 5C indexer, similar to eBay item 310175166880, except mine is a stepper driven model. It has a chuck on its nose also.
The way it works is that you program it like a VCR, and upon pressing a button, it advances one step of the program. You can, say, specify that it needs to divide a circle in 23 divisions. There is a provision of a remote button at the end of a two conductor cable, and it can be wired to the CNC mill.
Which is what I did.
Now the mill can use the M64 and M65 G codes to tell the indexer to advance. I wrote a G code subroutine advance_indexer that does its namesake job using M64, M65 and waiting.
After this I added a GUI button "advance indexer".
I used an "audio extension cable" to provide a disconnect capability.
What is really amazing is how easy it was. I was tired, garage was cold, I made several dumb mistakes (like forgetting to install a DC SSR into the slot that I wanted to use), and yet the whole job took 2 hours from start to finish.
Thank you, EMC2. Also kudos to Jon for his easy to use PPMC system.
i
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That sounds great! Not only would it be handy for gears and such but I thought I would like one just to be able to machine 2 sides or 4 sides of a workpiece. It would also be neat if you were making some kind of indexing turret. Seems the possibilities are endless.
Years ago I called Anilam about adding I/O to my mill so I could turn on coolant, spindle, etc, plus maybe turn the machine off at the end of the program. The board was going to cost somewhere in the $1000 neighborhood IIRC. It would only cost me a few hundred to convert to EMC2 and have all the I/O plus additional axis I could want.
Got any plans for making things? I enjoyed the way you took the group through the conversion process with you, all the info an pictures. I'd bet there are many others that want to someday.
Thanks!
RogerN
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Yep.
Yes, it is not that EMC2 magically gives the machine better physical performance than the original control, but what it gives us is flexibility to do whatever we want at close to zero cost.

I need to make gears for one guy, for his machine. I will make a couple for myself too and will sell them on ebay.
i
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Ignoramus18541 wrote:

What's the resolution off the indexer?. I guess suitable for your gear requirement. I used to know a guy that specialised in gear cutting and broaching, unfortunately now dead from leukaemia shortly after retiring, and he had a number of Fellows gear shapers. His only foray into CNC was a large CNC Beaver mill and CNC dividing head which he used to do an order for a set of prime number master gears IIRC for a gear cutting machine. That one required a fair degree of accuracy on the part of the CNC dividing head.
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I saw resolutions under a minute of angle.

Interesting. I believe it is far more accurate than necessary here.
i
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On Sat, 27 Nov 2010 00:37:41 -0600, Ignoramus8184

Great project Iggy. Say, did you look at just hacking into the step driver and giving step/direction signals? Then you'd have a full fourth axis.
The barn got too cold for work, so I moved to the heated shop. Yesterday, I took a probe I scored on the bay and mounted it in a tool holder then added an input for it. And a quick plugin connection.
My first macro is "find hole center". I put a user button on the screen and thne jog to roughly put the probe in the hole, just press the button and the machine stops after finding the center.
Today, I'll add a teach function so I can do several holes and record. Useful for copying parts or making something to bolt up.
Next, I'll make an outline probe routine. Go all around the perimeter of a part and touch off edge then record point. very useful to copy a broken part or make something to match up. (I had connected a laser last year, they are great at surfaces but poor at edge find)
If you're like me, you get addicted to how easy it is to add great functionality to PC controls.
Karl
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On Sat, 27 Nov 2010 05:00:08 -0600, Karl Townsend

Bonus Algebra question:
I wanted two estimates of hole diameter. In the above routine, first you can get X center and a chord length. After moving to Xcenter, you get Y center and a diameter and now know how far off center the above chord it. So, for a given chord length and distance from center: what is the dimaeter of the circle? Note, the data I have is the four touch points on the hole.
This would be helpful to know on worn parts.
Karl
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...

...
Second note. I said algebra, not trig for a reason. I can draw a pciture and solve the problem for a given set of data. What I need is the general case, given four X values and four Y values: what formula can I enter into the computer to give the answer? At least for me, this is MUCH harder to do.
karl
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All you need to know
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumscribed_circle
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There is a complication: holes need not be round, even new holes, but especially if worn.
How should wallowed out or rounded triangular holes be handled? Smallest diameter, largest diameter, the average, something else?
Non-circular holes need not be symmetric, so the location of the center may vary as well. Here, the best approach is usually some kind of average.
Given that measurements are made by machine, is there any reason to be limited to four measurements? With more measurements, it becomes easier to detect and handle irregular holes.
Joe Gwinn
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I am not sure if I want to do it, since I have a big CNC rotary table (cost me $149). It is more work to get it to work than the Haas, because it has a resolver, it needs another servo drive installed, etc. But eventually I want to use the Troyke CNC table as a real 4th axis.

Awesome. I still have not gotten around to doing that.

This is REALLY cool Karl. I would like to do the same. The math for finding "inscribed circle" is very straightforward. I have a probe, just have not hooked it up to anything yet.

I am already addicted...
i
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Ignoramus8184 wrote:

Yep, the old indexers provided a way to to limited 4th axis work on a control that didn't have a full 4th axis, but provided a general purpose output or two. These days all the controls have 4th (and 5th, 6th, etc.) axis capabilities so indexers are a thing of the past, but they're still plenty handy.
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I have a fourth axis CNC rotary table (I do not remember if you saw it), but I have not wired it yet, it is going to be pretty time consuming. I will use the indexer for now.
i
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Ignoramus18541 wrote:

They both have their uses, and the chuck on the indexer makes it useful for a lot of stuff. There are a lot of things you might make that don't need full 4th axis movement, just indexing.
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Here's a link for making a digitizing probe, seems that could be a nice thing to have if you want to digitize parts sometime.
http://www.indoor.flyer.co.uk/probe.htm
It's one of my hopeful future projects, after the EMC2 conversion of my mill, after getting a building to put a shop in.... :-(
RogerN
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wrote:

This is exactly the one I bought for $100. His manual says email to aminear<AT>wyomingwireless<DOT>com Its made a bit nicer than mine would have ocme out and has one spare piece that will break when you crash it.
I was impressed with the accuracy. I calibrated on one ground and polished measurement ring. Then put others in, the result was within .0005 on diameter with my probe routine.
Karl
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    --They're nice but they're pricey; I've been making do with the little Sherline cnc rotary table to do similar stuff; I'm using it to radius the ends of aluminum parts on my semi-manual mill. Video here:
http://www.youtube.com/user/wanglydiaplt#p/u/6/CASnbTeknzE

--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : Time flies like an arrow
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : Fruit flies like a banana
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