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Dynapath Delta 20 controls - Retrofit or leave alone?

Discussion in 'CNC IN THE HOME SHOP' started by strantor, Mar 20, 2017 at 9:34 AM.

  1. strantor

    strantor United States Active User Active Member

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    I recently picked up a Lagunmatic 110 CNC mill, 1988 vintage. It has a fully functional Delta 20 control system. I have never ran a CNC machine before, so I will be cutting my teeth on it.

    A bit of background info... I'm a Controls Engineer. I design control systems for subsea and industrial equipment. Mostly VFDs and PLCs, not much experience with servos and position control. But I want to get into that, especially robots. I was actually looking for an old CNC machine with bad controls, with intent to save money and retrofit the machine to PC control; I just happened to find one that already worked, for a better price than broken ones.

    Now that I have a running machine, I don't know how to run it. I'm in the process of printing out the only manual I could find for it (479 pages), and I'm told that's just one of many manuals that should accompany this mill. It seems like a pretty daunting learning curve, with a dearth of resources.

    Would time spent learning this system be an investment or a waste? From what I see on eBay, I might be able to get $1500 for the complete Delta 20 system since its fully functional. I assume that should be enough for the retrofit (Mach3 or LinuxCNC or other), which I assume would be more capable and easier to learn. But would I be giving anything up? (is this Dynapath system actually more capable than Mach 3 et. al.?)
     
  2. Tony Wells

    Tony Wells United States Vice President Staff Member Administrator

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    I have some time on a couple of Dynapath controls, and IMO, as far as ease of use and easy to learn, they are one of the best. I'd keep it on there instead of a homebrew system. They are conversational, as well as capable of reading straight G and M code.
     
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  3. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    I would run the Delta 20 until it dies, then do the upgrade. As Tony says, they are pretty user friendly. Learning how to run a CNC is the fun part, makes you think through the process before you make chips. Air cutting is your friend.:)
     
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  4. strantor

    strantor United States Active User Active Member

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    I had the same thought. Learn how this system works and the experience gained would help me to know what to expect out of the retrofit, when the aging electronics inevitably give out.

    But on the other hand, right now the Delta 20 system is worth money. Once it croaks, it won't be worth much.
    ....I assume. I see the controls for sale on eBay for >1,000$. Doesn't mean anybody is buying them for that price, or at all.
     
  5. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    I sold my non-working Anilam-M system on Ebay for $250 in about a half hour. I think that means I priced it way too low ;)
     
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  6. strantor

    strantor United States Active User Active Member

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    It's been said that the Dynapath system is user friendly. Is it more user friendly than Mach3?
    If I "upgraded" (still not sure if it would be an upgrade) to Mach 3, would I be giving up any features that Dynapath offers that modern PC-based systems just don't offer?
    If I "upgraded" to Mach 3 would I have any new features? Offhand my understanding is now I would be able to do 3D machining. Right now (I think) all I can do is 2.5D machining (helical interpolation?).
     
  7. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    As I have stated before, Mach3 is not my favorite CNC controller, but as I understand it will run up to 6 axis with full coordination. I assume that the new Mach4 program will also have similar capabilities.

    If the Delta 20 will run full interpolated 3 axis, then it's just a matter of feeding it the proper G-code. For most projects 2.5D will do everything you want. I didn't add full coordinated motion until I added my 4th axis.
     
  8. strantor

    strantor United States Active User Active Member

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    What is your favorite CNC controller?
     
  9. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    Mine of course. :grin: I wrote it when I got p***ed at Mach3.
     
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  10. strantor

    strantor United States Active User Active Member

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    Well that reply was certainly unexpected!
    It's awesome that you wrote your own. What was so bad about Mach3 that you needed to roll your own?
    Are you close to releasing it?
     
  11. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    Per customer request I installed Mach3 on a commercial router as part of a general controls upgrade. The machine ran fine at lower speeds, but at the production speeds they wanted to run, it just couldn't keep up. Accuracy was not good, missing steps, etc. I even tried installing a Galil Motion Controller that Mach3 was running, the results were better, but still not adequate. So I just sat down and cranked out a CNC program in about 3 weeks, it wasn't pretty but it worked and solved my immediate problem. Rather than the PC program doing the trajectory planning as Mach3 does, I let the Galil controller do the heavy lifting. That is what it was designed to do and it does it very well.

    The Win7-10 version is in beta release right now. And the best part; it is absolutely free. Runs steppers, closed loop steppers, and servos. Also runs tool changers, has full spindle control, and PLC functions. The downside is that it will only work with Galil Motion Control products.
     
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