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Larger machine electronic component and software selection

Discussion in 'General Electronics' started by Rangatang, Jan 26, 2017.

  1. Rangatang

    Rangatang Well-Known
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    Questions below. Can't post a thread without a spam error.
     
  2. Rangatang

    Rangatang Well-Known
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    New here, but have been spying around for a while now. Not sure if this is the proper area to post my questions, but they are mainly electronic component and software related.

    Machine specs:

    1000mm x 750mm x 300mm
    Linear supported bearings and carriages
    Nema 23 high torque steppers (3 total)
    2.2kW spindle with 2.2kW huan yang VFD
    Ball screws

    I'm waiting for my mechanical components to arrive, and decided to start tackling the electrical. Questions are below. Again sorry for multiple posts, not sure why it keeps getting marked spam.
     
    #2 Rangatang, Jan 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
  3. Rangatang

    Rangatang Well-Known
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    Basically my questions are as follows. Sorry I couldn't put it in one post. My end result is to control my CNC router with a VFD style spindle controller. I'm mechanically all there, but unfortunately electrically I'm not. I need hardware and software recommendations.

    1.) The flow of components from computer to the machine to me seems to be:

    Computer, control board, stepper drivers (power supply in here somewhere), then to machine. The software needs to communicate with all of this. Can anyone clear this up for me?

    2.) Can anyone recommend a set up that would work with 3 nema 23 steppers (3.0 amps max each, one per axis). It also needs to have the capability of controlling the vfd powered spindle (2.2 kW). I would like to stay away from hardware that is only compatible with online based software, but that isn't a game changer

    3.) Does anyone have a similar build that they wouldn't mind sharing?

    I guess I'm looking for the whole picture. I see several things out there that explain individual components, which is fine, but putting it all together is slightly overwhelming to me. I did see the tutorial with the tiny g controller, but I know the dedicated drivers won't even come close to powering my steppers. I wish there was something like what that guy did (AK something was his name, can't recall exactly), but for my situation!
     
    #3 Rangatang, Jan 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
  4. Joe Santarsiero

    Joe Santarsiero OB addict
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    Hi Rangatang, You have the flow down for the most part. Computer>Control software>Control card>Drivers>Motor output. The PC has to be compatible with the software and the card. Sometimes there has to be a device in between the computer and the control card so they can communicate together. That device may also be used or required to communicate with the vfd to control start/stop and speed/direction if the control card can't provide the required signal for the vfd. The vfd signal requirements can vary. For instance, speed may be voltage or current regulated. Usually it's a 0-10v or 4-20 milliamp signal. though I have seen 0-5v. My vfd can use either. I'm not familiar with your brand vfd, but I know there are others here that use them. I believe there was a resource put up just recently on them so you may want to check in that section of the site and from memory there are some videos of how to set them up for remote operation on YouTube. There are signal converters btw.
    For your build it sounds like you may want to stay away from the budget compact usb style controllers with integrated drivers like the TinyG and Xpro, but it sounds like you know this. You'll want seperate full size drivers like the DQ542ma in the store or a combination full sized driver and controller package like the G540 or MX3660.
    I use the MX4660 with an ESS between it and the computer and it has been a pretty solid setup. A bit pricy for some though. One could run GRBL on an arduino out to full sized drivers. There are a lot of great options out there these days. I'm sure someone will chime in with other suggestions.
    Regardless, while making your decisions you'll want to make sure everything can talk before you buy.

    Good Luck and keep us posted

    Joe
     
  5. Rodm

    Rodm Veteran
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    Rangatang,
    I'm new to DIY cnc world to. Still working on my design. Im not skilled enough to help with recommendations. This site and the people here are 1st class. You'll get lots of help.

    I know enough that your specs bring couple question to mind. Only 3 stepper motors? Most designs I've seen are using 4, 2 for the y. What are you going to be cutting? Those 2.2 spindles are brutes and heavy. My research has me considering the .8 or 1.5 but I'm only looking to cut wood, plastics and aluminium. How is your x and z set up? It's got to super strong to handle a 2.2. I'm curious about your mechanical design. Can you post some details?

    Regards,
    Rod
     
    #5 Rodm, Jan 27, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
  6. Rangatang

    Rangatang Well-Known
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    Thanks Joe! As far as the grbl software goes, is that what you use? I would prefer to use a controller that several others use as well. It seems like you've had good luck with your MX4660. I'll look at those. What is an ESS?

    Maybe what I'll do is start there and post links to the other things I find. Then eventually I'll draw up a wiring diagram so you or someone can check it out! What type of machine do you run? 3 or 4 steppers?

    Rodm, I'm building my machine to be as strong as possible. I have a design, but I'm waiting for my linear bearings to arrive so that I can tweak the design to fit them. I'd be more than happy to share as it comes along. PM me!
     
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  7. Rangatang

    Rangatang Well-Known
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    By the way, is the mx3660 full 3d or 2.5d?
     
  8. Joe Santarsiero

    Joe Santarsiero OB addict
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    The Gecko G540 or standalone drivers are more popular than the MX series. All of these are LPT port solutions so you'll need a PC with LPT to connect to them unless you implement something in between to talk to them. I use the Warp9 Ethernet Smooth Stepper(ESS) to talk to the MX through Ethernet cable, but there are other solution out there. There is a USBSS too. The MK's and the UC's are other options. Google MK3/4 and UC100.
    You really don't need any of these if you have a PC with an LPT port. You could just connect a G540 and go.
    "GRBL is a free opensource software that runs on an Arduino" This is a nice solution for budget builds. You install the code on the Arduino and operate it using GRBL control software.
    I don't use an Arduino or GRBL with this machine. I have used GRBL on other things. I use Mach3 for control software although I've been tinkering with free LinuxCNC on and off.
    I use 4 motors and plan to implement a 5th this year.
    I hope the haze is clearing up for you and not getting worse.

    Joe
     
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  9. Rangatang

    Rangatang Well-Known
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    Joe,

    The haze is definitely clearing up. You're very helpful and I'm extremely thankful for your inputs (get it?).

    Looks like I have two older dell desktops that both have parallel ports in my basement! This is a game changer. I think I will implement one into this build.

    That said, I looked at the manual for the g540:

    http://www.geckodrive.com/images/cms_files/images/G540 REV8 Manual.pdf

    I just want to make sure that this can be used with the 425 oz-in steppers (3) and to control a spindle with a VFD drive. I believe it has these options but, being an engineer, I like to have double checks.

    Sounds like this will take care of almost everything. I'll pair it with a 48V power supply (unless I can go higher), and my 3 steppers. My limit switches and e stop will hook to the g540 from what I'm seeing. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    If all sounds good I will place an order for the steppers, the g540, and the 48V power supply today so I can start tackling the wiring.

    Lastly, the software that communicates with the g540 that I can look into is mach 3? There's also a mach 4 now and on the website it looks like support for mach 3 is no longer.

    Thanks again.
     
  10. Rodm

    Rodm Veteran
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    I would if I knew how? Is that the "start a conversation" funtion?
     
  11. Rangatang

    Rangatang Well-Known
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    I wish I knew! I'm assuming so.
     
  12. Rodm

    Rodm Veteran
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    Funtion? These auto text, spell checking functions mess me up on almost every post. How smart can the phone be if stuff like that is considered a correction?
     
  13. Joe Santarsiero

    Joe Santarsiero OB addict
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    Wrote this a couple of days ago;

    :confused: I'm on the edge of my seat with writing a guide for everything not mechanical.

    This is a really good question.

    In short, it doesn't care.

    Don't associate 2d, 2.5d, and 3d with individual machine electronics. Those things are usually used in reference to a machines capabilities or part design.

    2d is flat profile parts like circles and squares, and pockets and holes at similar depth..like laser, plasma, and water jetting.
    2.5d is Vcarving and engraved shapes. Think fancy letters and seashells. This is what most users are trying to accomplish. Pockets and holes at varying depth can be considered 2.5d.
    3d would be parts that have features not accessible to the same tool head without the work holding or tool moving into a position to access them. Like a turbine blade. This would be a multi-axis table or tool head. Some 3d work can be accomplished with only an additional rotary axis.

    If you want to know if all three axis can move at once then the answer is yes. Mach3 can move all axis at once. For the most part It will do what your CAM software can throw at it.

    Is the MX3660 capable of supporting 2.5d and 3d work? Probably. If it's used with the right machine.
    It could also just do 2d.
    The MX4660 has two additional channel signal outputs to connect additional drivers for a total of six. The 3660 might, but I haven't looked at the spec sheet in a while. Since some machines use one stepper and others use two for one axis it becomes tough to tell someone if a driver package will be sufficient. Best design the machine to figure out how many drivers you need then look for drivers.

    Joe
     
  14. Joe Santarsiero

    Joe Santarsiero OB addict
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    If you're using 3 steppers then the G540 will work perfect with those motors and power supply. You'll also have the additional fourth axis if you changed designs to two steppers on one axis, decided to add a 4th rotary axis, or redesign entirely later on.

    Controlling the vfd: I can't comment on this. You'll have to do some homework and ask around.

    You can also purchase separate drivers and a control card probably for less than the G540 package. 3 DQ542MA, a C10 break out board, and 48V PS will probably run you around $200 US shipped. Don't forget the cables.

    Mach3, Mach4, and LinuxCNC will work with the G540. I think there is another piece of nice control software out there that works with LPT hardware. The name escapes me..
    You can also download the free trials of Mach3/4 to get everything up and running -the cost of the software. LinuxCNC is freeware and has some nice features.

    On top of the machine control software, there is also the CAD/CAM software to figure out. Sketchucam, fusion360, and F-engrave are all excellent (and free) starts.

    Joe
     
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  15. Rangatang

    Rangatang Well-Known
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    Thanks Joe!

    I do like that the G540 has support, and it's own features. It might be worth the extra 90 bucks but I will also look at the other option you just shared.

    As far as the software.....that will have to wait until I get the pieces in. That's why I'm trying to get these now while I finalize my mechanical design. I can play around with the motors and wiring on rainy days. I'll post here soon on what hardware I'm going with.
     

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