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...
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
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, ...
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...