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If you have urgent questions, feel free to call: 281-213-5643 - 9am-5pm CST
For questions regarding your order or technical questions: Sarah Smith
For comments or questions regarding research and development: Patrick Hood-Daniel
The new FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and INFAQ (Important but Not so Frequently
Asked Questions), in no specific order:
Q: What are the acceptable materials that I can cut?
A: The machines on this site can cut a wide variety of materials. If there is an
end mill (cutting bit) that is available on the market, the machine can cut it.
The thickness is only limited by the end mill length. This is possible with these
CNC machines and other machines on the market because the machines can be controlled
in such a way that the material can be cut using depth per pass, feed rate, and
Q: What is Backlash?
A: Without getting into much detail, backlash is the amount a machine's mechanism
can shift due to looseness in the mechanism. All machines have backlash. Backlash
can exist various places in a machine: linear motion bearings and bushings, couplings
from one shaft to another, loose set screws, loose clamp collars. clamp collars
that are not positioned correctly, and temperature changes that affect linear expansion
Q: What is better: Roller Chain/timing Belt or Lead Screw?
A: Lead screw is the rotational translation to linear motion driven by a screw using
a stepping motor to turn the screw. Lead screw has the potential to have high resolution
but can exhibit backlash in many places in the mechanism, especially through temperature
change. Roller chain is the translation of motor rotation to linear motion by means
of turning a sprocket or drive pulley on a roller chain or timing belt. The roller
chain or timing belt is always in tension, so backlash through this specific mechanism
is minimal to none. Since there is extremely little to no backlash, microstepping
will enhance the resolution and meet or exceed the effective resolution of the lead
screw. Roller chain or timing belt also allows the motor to use low RPM which increases
the torque at any given speed as compared to the lead screw.
Q: How do I configure my control program (i.e. Mach3, EMC2, etc.) for roller chain
or timing belt steps per inch?
A: First, you will need to know the pitch of the roller chain, or timing belt. For
example, #25 roller chain is .25" (1/4") pitch and #40 roller chain is .5" (1/2")
pitch. Timing belts are similar and you will need to search the specifications of
your particular drive pulley pitch. Take this pitch and multiply this with the number
of teeth on the drive pulley/sprocket. This will give you the number of inches around
the pulley/sprocket. Now, take the number of steps per revolution that the motor
will output. This will be the number of full steps that you motor produces (typically
200, or 1.8 degrees per step) multiplied by the microstepping per step to which
the driver is configured. Divide this number by the inches that was calculated from
the drive pulley/sprocket. Here is an example: If the motor produces 200 steps per
revolution and I am driving it at 1/16 microstepping and my sprocket pitch is .25"
with 9 teeth, my formula would be:
(200 steps * 16 microsteps) / (.25 inches * 9 teeth) = 3200
steps per revolution / 2.25 inches = 1422.222 steps per inch
Q: How do I configure my control program (i.e. Mach3, EMC2, etc.) for lead screw
steps per inch?
A: You will first need to derive the number of turns per inch that your lead screw
produces. If there is only a single start (typical all thread screws), then the
turns per inch is the same as TPI (threads per inch). If there is multiple starts,
then the number of starts is divided by the TPI to determine the turns per inch.
For example, 10 TPI with 5 starts is 10 / 5 = 2 turns per inch. Now that we know
this, we can get the number of steps per inch as described in the previous question:
take the number of steps per revolution that the motor will output. This will be
the number of full steps that you motor produces (typically 200, or 1.8 degrees
per step) multiplied by the microstepping per step to which the driver is configured.
Simply multiple the number of turns per inch and the number of steps per revolution
and you will get the steps per inch. Ok lets see the formula:
200 steps * 16 microsteps * 2 turns per inch = 6400 steps per inch
Q: I have a 4 wire motor, but your videos instruct me for 8 wires. How do I know
which wire goes where?
A: Connect the black wire to the A+ on the driver, green to the A-, red to the B+
and blue to the B-. Here is the datasheet if you are crazy for coils configuration
and the such for a typical 4 wire motor: http://buildyourcnc.com/Documents/KL23H2100-30-4B.pdf
Q: I have an 8 wire motor, and the motor is big (NEMA 34). How do I know which wire
A: Connect the blue and yellow wires to the A+ on the driver, the green and red
wires to the A-, the brown and orange wires to the B+ and the black and white wires
to the B-. This will wire the driver as a parallel connection to provide torque
at higher speeds.