Month: February 2018

Material height measurement sensor

Material height measurement sensor

CNC, Uncategorized
I added a puck-style probing sensor in order to quickly find the top of the raw material I'm milling.  I wanted a sensor that would work on both conductive and non-conductive material and wouldn't require to remove the current tool and install my 3 axis probing tool. I quickly turned a 2" puck 626 mils thick and milled a flat on the side to attach a wire.  I also designed a 3D printed holder to store the puck when not in used.  I configured the input wired to the puck to be Probe 3 in Mach4. So now, when I want to probe any material height, I put the puck on the top of the material and execute a G91 G31.2 Z-2.0 F15 and when the probing is done, I can set the Z position to 0.626" I'm planning to add a custom macro in the future and get Fusion 360 to generate it at th...
Start / Stop buttons

Start / Stop buttons

CNC, Electronics
I finally wired and configured Mach4 to use the start / stop buttons that I installed along the emergency stop button a while ago.  Moving all the home / limit / probing switches to SmoothStepper Port 3 freed inputs on Port1 than I was then able to use for the buttons.  The start button that I used is recessed, making accidental activation less likely. I had to change the screen script to call CycleStart / CycleStop on inputs activation. All in all, I'm pretty happy : The buttons allow me to look at the machine instead of mouse / screen to start / stop the machine
Limit and homing switches

Limit and homing switches

3D Printing, CNC, Electronics
In order to use my newly added tool touch pad, I needed to be able to move the machine to a known (absolute) physical position.  So it was time to finish my half-wired limit / homing switches system. I did a bit of cleanup in the schematic and added a quick and dirty 'breakout' board for the SmoothStepper Port 3.  This also allowed me to regroup all limit / homing / probing inputs on the same port I used cheap 6 pins / 4 pins round connector to make it easy to disconnect the wiring (I'll move the machine in my upcoming workshop this summer).  I actually used the machine itself to machine the connector openings in the board (non-circular holes)   The 'switches' are actually optical barriers.  I decided to use optical switches due to easier installation, ...
Add a tool touch sensor

Add a tool touch sensor

3D Printing, CNC, Electronics
A few weeks ago, I made a wooden plate using my mill machine and decided to time how long it would take to mill the whole plate.  I found out that I spent 25 minutes out of 67 doing material Z measurement (zero) and Tool Z adjustement after each tool change (I want a toolchanger!) I realized that a few thing that I could do to streamline operations (and prevent small tool breakage) would be : Automated material height sensing (Z).  must work with both conductive and non-conductive materials. Automated tool length measurement before and after a tool change in order to automatically adjust the current Z position 3 axis touch sensor (I already have it, just need to make connection easy to do) I decided that the biggest time saving would be #2 - Automated tool length...