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PM-45M-CNC Setup and Configuration with Mach3

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qualitymachinetools

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Hey guys, Great Thread! Very helpful, I appreciate it! I even learn from you guys too, so its very, very helpful!

To answer the last question, YES they are ball screws, the delrin is just on the end of the nut there, but yes, absolutely, ball screws on all 3 - X, Y, and Z Axis on the 45M-CNC and new 940 CNC thats coming out.
 

damo green

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OK, good to hear they are ball screws, fine pitch for a Ball Screw thanks for the quick reply.
I have one tip : Put a stop on the arm of the switch box, so it can't be rotated too close to the spindle head, otherwise it can catch on the quill's spring cover and when the Z axis raises....ouch,.....don't ask how i know, ,lol. I just glued a small wooden block to prevent this happening again.
 

Jamespvill

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Gentlemen, quick question...

What are your fastest rapids on your PM45CNC's? I seem to be maxing out at 20ipm and I'm starting to get this CNC thing down...which means I need to try and make things go faster and consequently break other things faster!

Joking aside, is everyone else in the same boat as I in respects to travel speed?

Also, sometimes when profiling and moving in a direction that requires the use of both axis at once my machine will start to get jerky and move one axis, then the other while going around radius and things of the like. (Imagine stair-stepping rather than a smooth radius). While not horrible, it is very, very annoying. It is also slowing down cycle times and giving me spotty finishes.

Has anyone else noticed this? I'm curious if it is mach, bobcad, or the machine itself...perhaps the motion controller?
 
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damo green

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MUCH faster than 20 ipm, can't remember where mine are at right now, but the horizontals are around 100 (or more), the Z can sometimes do 75 or so, but sometimes the steppers may skip going up, so I have it around 75 or 50 ipm right now.....i'm still a new user so have not settled on a number yet, just being conservative. Could counterbalance/spring the weight of the head to get faster Z's someday. Don't forget to experiment with the acceleration rates also, (sliding friction is less than static,inertia..yada yad yada)
 

Jamespvill

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Whoohoo!! We're cruising now! Obviously the "Velocity in IPM" in the motor tuning and setup is where to configure the speed. Not sure why I set it at 19.98... Thanks for the info Damo! Now I actually have rapids.

Unfortunately, as predicted, just like a teenager with a mustang; I've gotten myself in trouble with the speed! Something has gone horribly awry!
62544-97cd7d1e6f04d874c72d12b14cbdf03d.jpg
Actually this has happened before and I just put the gib back in place and tightened it without really giving it a good lookin'. But I looked close this time and the tension screw isn't actually engaging the gib at all, just sort of pushing on its side. Now it slides out every time I rapid North on my Y. Is anyone else's Y axis gib looking like this?
62545-c2e456503864db310294dbc8ddb8bd13.jpg
I looked at my PM45 932M and it is very different and is engaging fully.
62546-52051126870d1af90d69b817e785c690.jpg

image1.JPG image2.JPG image3.JPG
 

damo green

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lol, kind of funny, JUST yesterday i was tuning up my backlash and noticed that there is marginal overlap of the adjuster screw heads over the end of the gibs....especially since the fit of the OD of the screw head is not as precisely located radially by the hole I.D as it could be...vs screw pressure. I modified a fender washer into a "tab" with a hole in it to provide better overlap, it's not necessarily worth starting with a fender washer as you may end up making the same from scratch easier. An even better way may be to weld up the "point" of the gib to get it closer to the adjuster screw centerline. Part of the problem is that at certain gib positions the screw head is past the outside of the hole entrance (axially and then radially) , then when tightened in this (erroneous) position it performs an unwanted chamfering procedure...
 

damo green

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Right now, I'm trying to diagnose some Z axis noise, I think it is just chatter from backdriving the unloaded manual drive gear (backlash) . I may try to grease the manual Z drive gear. This requires moving the CNC electrical cabinet. If so I may try to add a lubing port so that the cabinet does not have to be removed. I tried putting some load on the manual shaft as a diagnostic aid , it does help. Could possibly be the handle bearings also. I don't think it is critical, just annoying. Even if it is chatter at the drive gear at least this part of the ball screw is never in contact with the ball screw bearing nut. So wear here is not critical, but still would like to avoid any and the noise.
For reference:
http://cdn1.grizzly.com/manuals/g0755_m.pdf (see figure 52 p. 34 )
 

Jamespvill

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lol, kind of funny, JUST yesterday i was tuning up my backlash and noticed that there is marginal overlap of the adjuster screw heads over the end of the gibs....especially since the fit of the OD of the screw head is not as precisely located radially by the hole I.D as it could be...vs screw pressure. I modified a fender washer into a "tab" with a hole in it to provide better overlap, it's not necessarily worth starting with a fender washer as you may end up making the same from scratch easier. An even better way may be to weld up the "point" of the gib to get it closer to the adjuster screw centerline. Part of the problem is that at certain gib positions the screw head is past the outside of the hole entrance (axially and then radially) , then when tightened in this (erroneous) position it performs an unwanted chamfering procedure...
Glad I'm not the only one with this issue, I figured it was something that needed to be modified but just wanted to confirm that it wasn't some sort of "Quick release gib feature" that I missed. I may just sink a small screw screw into the gib so the adjustment screw can engage on that or go your route and machine up something with a tab. I'm not familiar with welding cast so I'll leave for another day (I'm assuming the gib is cast iron?).

As you stated, the chamfering procedure is interesting...Almost funny. Sure is efficient though!

I've also got some noise in my Z. Only while traveling up though. If you figure it out, would you mind passing on your findings?
 

damo green

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VERY IMPORTANT WARNING: On MY Vista laptop when using <SHIFT> to overide STEP Jog Mode into continuous....you MUST release the directional key BEFORE you release the shift key, otherwise the axis will continue moving at Rapid speed until it crashes or hits a limit . This is problem is pretty easy to find on google...I believe some think the culprit is the motion card and not Mach3....but I have not gotten that deep into it yet. My PM45CNC was bought in Spring 2015...if that helps, I don't have the exact Controller date or other I.D yet.
 

GaryL

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See the thread I created in the Precision Matthews section on the G31 issues. While I can get the probe to indicate using the diagnostic LED display, the G31 command will not work at all. No Motion. I am asking for others to try a G31 command on the MDI to see if this is unique to my system or an issue with this Motion Controller.

GaryL. That is very interesting. By default Mach3 looks for the probe on Input #7. There may be a way to use a different input and have Mach3 recognize it as the Probe input but I am not sure.
Well I did get a probe to work in Probe-it on my PM45M CNC, all I had to do is replace the Chinese motion/BOB with an Ethernet smooth stepper, a PMDX-126, and a PMDX-107. Now everything seems to be working as it should.
 

damo green

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I suppose backlash compensation now works with the Smooth stepper? Have you tried it yet? I could not get it to have any effect with the chinese one that comes with the PM machine.
 

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Well I did get a probe to work in Probe-it on my PM45M CNC, all I had to do is replace the Chinese motion/BOB with an Ethernet smooth stepper, a PMDX-126, and a PMDX-107. Now everything seems to be working as it should.
Outstanding! was it difficult to replace the motion controller?
 

GaryL

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Well it took me about 2 weeks to get it all figured out, but now I could do it in about a day.
 

GaryL

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I suppose backlash compensation now works with the Smooth stepper? Have you tried it yet? I could not get it to have any effect with the chinese one that comes with the PM machine.
I have not yet got a chance to try the backlash compensation, but my hand held pendant (imach P2S) now works perfectly and so far the probe-it is working with my probe. I managed to get a bit behind doing the board swap so it might be a while before I can check out the backlash compensation.
 

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Well it took me about 2 weeks to get it all figured out, but now I could do it in about a day.
I have been considering the same sort of conversion. Was it as simple as identifying the wires on the existing board and then moving them to the same functional connection on the new break out board? Any Gotcha's to look out for?
 

GaryL

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I have been considering the same sort of conversion. Was it as simple as identifying the wires on the existing board and then moving them to the same functional connection on the new break out board? Any Gotcha's to look out for?
Just about that simple. The estop did not work because the new bob was expecting a normally closed switch and ours is a normally open. To get around that just leave the jumper on the estop connections on the bob and hook the estop to the fault connection and it accomplishes the same thing. If you do try the conversion I could get the setup info to you and pictures of setup screens and the way I mounted the new boards. That is assuming you use the same boards.
 

Boswell

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OK, any issues with wire lengths and mounting? I am in the middle of a couple of big projects right now but I think I am going to order the parts and do the upgrade in a few weeks when I get "the Bench" clear.
Thanks for pioneering this. I have long thought that the motion controller board was a weak part of the PM-45 and this seems like a great way to address this with a somewhat standard solution. Setup information and pictures would be great but no hurry as I won't get to this for a few weeks.
 

GaryL

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OK, any issues with wire lengths and mounting? I am in the middle of a couple of big projects right now but I think I am going to order the parts and do the upgrade in a few weeks when I get "the Bench" clear.
Thanks for pioneering this. I have long thought that the motion controller board was a weak part of the PM-45 and this seems like a great way to address this with a somewhat standard solution. Setup information and pictures would be great but no hurry as I won't get to this for a few weeks.
The wires were all long enough, but as you can see from the attached photos, I had to add a few. I built the brackets out of aluminum.

20160325_143335.jpg 20160325_143355.jpg 20160325_143423.jpg 20160325_143445.jpg
 

Boswell

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Thanks for the photo's. The aluminum brackets look like a good simple solution.
 

Boswell

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The wires were all long enough, but as you can see from the attached photos, I had to add a few. I built the brackets out of aluminum.

View attachment 125658 View attachment 125659 View attachment 125660 View attachment 125661
I ordered the Ethernet smooth stepper and the PMDX-126 and 107 boards. They should arrive early next week. I want to get my probe working and I want to check out Mach4 and this seems like the best way forward. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks GaryL for paving the way !
 

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Great, I think you will find these a definite improvement. You can set up the Smooth stepper with your computer without connection to the pmdx-126, then it will be ready to go when you hook it up. If you have any questions, just ask.
I will be interested in how this works with Mach4.
 

jbolt

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I ordered the Ethernet smooth stepper and the PMDX-126 and 107 boards. They should arrive early next week. I want to get my probe working and I want to check out Mach4 and this seems like the best way forward. I'll let you know how it goes.
I have this combo on my PM932 conversion and have been extremely pleased with it. I really like the PMDX products and their support is awesome. My only complaint is the manuals are written for someone who knows what they are doing and some of the terms are confusing. Once you get it setup it seems too simple. I will also be interested to hear what you think of Mach4. I'm about done fighting Mach3 randomly not turning on the spindle.
 

Boswell

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The parts have shipped and I am just waiting for them to arrive. I'll share my experience once I get it up and running. What kind of Pwr supply did you both use for the SmoothStepper? The manual recommends against using a switching supply but I am having problems finding a linear supply for 5v other than a wall-wart.
 

jbolt

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The parts have shipped and I am just waiting for them to arrive. I'll share my experience once I get it up and running. What kind of Pwr supply did you both use for the SmoothStepper? The manual recommends against using a switching supply but I am having problems finding a linear supply for 5v other than a wall-wart.
If you mount the smoothstepper on the PMDX-126 and use the recommended ribbon cables the PMDX-126 will provide the 5v power for the smoothstepper.
 

Boswell

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If you mount the smoothstepper on the PMDX-126 and use the recommended ribbon cables the PMDX-126 will provide the 5v power for the smoothstepper.
Well, if you did into the instructions some they say that if you are going to use a PMDX-107 daughterboard then you must power the Smoothstepper separately.
Anyway, I found and affordable Linear 5v power supply so I am good to go. Just waiting for the parts and some time. Hopefully this coming weekend I will have time to work on it. It does not look like a difficult installation. Probably more time spend on fabricating the brackets that wiring up the boards. (I hope)
 

jbolt

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Well, if you did into the instructions some they say that if you are going to use a PMDX-107 daughterboard then you must power the Smoothstepper separately.
Anyway, I found and affordable Linear 5v power supply so I am good to go. Just waiting for the parts and some time. Hopefully this coming weekend I will have time to work on it. It does not look like a difficult installation. Probably more time spend on fabricating the brackets that wiring up the boards. (I hope)
Yep your right, I forgot about that. I used a power supply similar to this.

https://www.amazon.com/uxcell®-Swit...1468354569&sr=8-13&keywords=5vdc+power+supply
 

Boswell

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I have received the Ethernet Smoothstepper and the PMDX-126 and PMDX-107 and I hope to work on the upgrade this weekend.

GaryL, Do you happen to have a chart that shows what Connections on the PMDX-126 that you used for which functions? I figured if you had this it would make it easier to compare and share if we both used the same I/O configuration. Sort of a Quasi standard if you will. I can tell by your pictures that you used J1, J2, J3 and J4 for X-Y-Z-A axis. Any other config documents that you have handy could be useful.
 
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