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### Question #: 14273

Question: How do I calibrate my machine with mach3

Current Solution

In Mach3, go to the Settings Tab, and select "Set Steps Per Unit". It will ask you how far to move the machine. Before you do this, make a mark on the table exactly where the end mill is resting. You can do this by lowering the end mill until it touches the material, then spinning it by hand to cut a small dimple in the material. Then, raise the end mill to clear the material, and assign a distance to move the machine. Once the machine moves and stops, measure the exact distance that it actually traveled with a tape measure, and enter this value into the dialog box that asks how far it moved. Mach3 will automatically adjust your steps per unit for that axis to be more accurate. Do this for all axes often to ensure you are cutting accurately. The longer distances you use calibrate, and the more precise you are with your measurements, the better.

Respond:

### Other Possible Solutions to this Question

• HOW DO I CALIBRATE MY MACHINE?

In Mach3, go to the Settings Tab, and select "Set Steps Per Unit". It will ask you how far to move the machine. Before you do this, make a mark on the table exactly where the end mill is resting. You can do this by lowering the end mill until it touches the material, then spinning it by hand to cut a small dimple in the material. Then, raise the end mill to clear the material, and assign a distance to move the machine. Once the machine moves and stops, measure the exact distance that it actually traveled with a tape measure, and enter this value into the dialog box that asks how far it moved. Mach3 will automatically adjust your steps per unit for that axis to be more accurate. Do this for all axes often to ensure you are cutting accurately. The longer distances you use calibrate, and the more precise you are with your measurements, the better.

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HOW DO I CALIBRATE MY MACHINE?

• how to calibrate stepper motors with ballscrews In mach3

The easy way is to use Mach3's calibration process to calibrate the axis with the ballscrew coupled to the stepper motor. This is done in the settings tab of Mach3 and clicking the button just above the "Reset" button called "Set Steps Per Unit". A dialog box will appear asking how far you want Mach3 to move that axis. Mach3 will move that axis at a distance that is determined by the existing steps per unit value set in the motor tuning dialog box (config menu -> motor tuning). Not knowing the distance that this axis will travel, it's best to use a very small value.

The more difficult way and the technique that should be used to create the initial value for the step per unit in the motor tuning dialog box. Use the steps/unit formula. This example will use inches.

Steps/Inch
= ((motor natural steps) x microsteps) / (the travel for one complete revolution)

The travel for one revolution would be the distance a ball nut will travel with one complete turn of the ball screw. This is generally the number of starts / threads per inch. Say the ball screw has 5 starts (5 threads starting from the beginning of the screw) and 10 threads per inch (TPI), then the travel for one complete turn of the screw would be 5/10, or 1/2".

Say you set the microstepping to be 1/4 on the stepper motor driver and your stepper motor has 200 natural steps per revolution (1.8 degrees per step), then the total steps would be 200 x 4 = 800.

So, the steps/inch is 800 / 1/2" = 1600 steps per inch

Hope that helps

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how to calibrate stepper motors with ballscrews In mach3

• HOW DO I CALIBRATE IN MACH3?

In Mach3, go to the Settings Tab, and select "Set Steps Per Unit". It will ask you how far to move the machine. Before you do this, make a mark on the table exactly where the end mill is resting. You can do this by lowering the end mill until it touches the material, then spinning it by hand to cut a small dimple in the material. Then, raise the end mill to clear the material, and assign a distance to move the machine. Once the machine moves and stops, measure the exact distance that it actually traveled with a tape measure, and enter this value into the dialog box that asks how far it moved. Mach3 will automatically adjust your steps per unit for that axis to be more accurate. Do this for all axes often to ensure you are cutting accurately. The longer distances you use calibrate, and the more precise you are with your measurements, the better.

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HOW DO I CALIBRATE IN MACH3?

• MY COMPUTER DOES NOT HAVE A PARALLEL PORT. HOW DO I INTERFACE WITH THE MACHINE?

If your computer does not have a parallel port, all you will need is a low cost PCI parallel adapter card (these can be found on amazon for \$15-\$20). If you plan on using a laptop (not recommended) you can try to find a PCMCIA parallel adapter, but many people have frequent issues with this setup. A more expensive solution would be to purchase a USB smooth stepper board. Unfortunately, we do not supply any of these adapters and cannot attest to their reliability.

ur gay

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MY COMPUTER DOES NOT HAVE A PARALLEL PORT. HOW DO I INTERFACE WITH THE MACHINE?

• HOW DO I SQUARE MY CNC MACHINE OR GANTRY?

I use a standard large "L" square used in construction. I run gantry up and down with the bit along one side of the square to make the square aligned with the x-axis. I then run the bit along the other edge and if I see space from the edge of the bit to the square, I adjust the gantry square by loosening and tightening the eye bolts that hold the chain at the ends of the table. Repeat as necessary to get the desired square.

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HOW DO I SQUARE MY CNC MACHINE OR GANTRY?

• HOW DO I MAKE MY MACHINE SQUARE?

I use a standard large "L" square used in construction. I run gantry up and down with the bit along one side of the square to make the square aligned with the x-axis. I then run the bit along the other edge and if I see space from the edge of the bit to the square, I adjust the gantry square by loosening and tightening the eye bolts that hold the chain at the ends of the table. Repeat as necessary to get the desired square.

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HOW DO I MAKE MY MACHINE SQUARE?

• WHAT ELSE DO I NEED WITH THE MACHINE?

PC with parallel port and USB port
20awg stranded wires for the motors - http://www.buildyourcnc.com/electronicscombo.aspx
18awg stranded wires for power supply to drivers
24awg stranded wires for breakout board to drivers
(location and spacing of components varies from one person to another, so we do not provide cables/wires)
- General purpose extension cord (cut the female end off) to provide power to power supply
- USB cable to power breakout board
- Parallel cable to communicate to breakout board
- Router
- (optional - instead of router) Spindle with power inverter http://www.buildyourcnc.com/SpindlesAndAccessories.aspx
- (if purchasing spindle with inverter) General purpose extension cord (240v) (cut the female end off) to provide power to power inverter
- End Mill(s) http://www.buildyourcnc.com/ProductsEndMills.aspx
- CAD, and/or CAD-CAM software (to produce geometry, machine operations, and g-code) http://www.buildyourcnc.com/CNCsoftware.aspx
- CNC control software (to read g-code and control machine) http://www.buildyourcnc.com/CNCsoftware.aspx
- If the machine does not have the table included, then a table will need to be built. The rails, chain and chain mounts are included that are used on this table.

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WHAT ELSE DO I NEED WITH THE MACHINE?

• [575] How do I get the USB Driver to work with Mach3 Version 1.84

What problems are you experiencing?

Are you able to install a newer version of Mach3? If you are worried that your configuration will be lost, you can save the configuration by copying all of the XML files from the Mach folder. The XML files contain all of the settings that you applied in Mach3. Just in case the XML files are not compatible with the new version, make sure not to erase the current Mach3 that you have on the machine.

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[575] How do I get the USB Driver to work with Mach3 Version 1.84

• IF MY COMPUTER DOESN'T HAVE A PARALLEL PORT, HOW DO I RUN THE MACHINE?

If your computer does not have a parallel port, all you will need is a low cost PCI parallel adapter card (these can be found on amazon for \$15-\$20). If you plan on using a laptop (not recommended) you can try to find a PCMCIA parallel adapter, but many people have frequent issues with this setup. A more expensive solution would be to purchase a USB smooth stepper board. Unfortunately, we do not supply any of these adapters and cannot attest to their reliability.

ur gay

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IF MY COMPUTER DOESN'T HAVE A PARALLEL PORT, HOW DO I RUN THE MACHINE?

• Can I increase the travel speed of my machine with different lead screws?

Changing your lead screws from a tight to a lose lead will definitely make your machine move faster as long as your stepper motors can handle the new torque that the lead screws will impose.

Here is an example of a speed change from one lead screw to another:
- Existing constants in the example: Stepper Motor steps 200, microstepping 1/8 making the total steps 200 * 8 = 1600.
- Old lead screw: 1/2" allthread = 13 threads per inch (UNC)
- New Lead Screw: 1/2" 5 starts, 10 TPI = 10 / 5 = 2 turns per inch

Old lead screw would achieve a steps per inch of:
1600 / (1 inch / 13 turns) = 20,800 steps per inch (You can also express the calculation as 1600 * 13 = 20,800 steps/inch)

New lead screw would achieve a steps per inch of:
1600 / (1 inch / 2 turns) = 3200 steps per inch

You can see that the new lead screw requires far fewer steps to get to the same length of travel. If you maintained the same velocity for both examples, the new lead screw would travel the same distance 13/2 = 6.5 times faster. So, if your velocity was say 10 ipm, your new velocity would be 65 ipm. That would translate to far fewer burned edges and longer end mill life!

Just remember, confirm that your motors will be able to handle the new lead screw. You will need to reduce the steps/inch causing the motor torque to increase quite a bit, so you should be fine.

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Can I increase the travel speed of my machine with different lead screws?

• how do I connect my spindle to mach3 so mach3 can control it

It is not necessary to connect the spindle VFD (Variable Frequency Drive also called an Inverter) to the computer or CNC motion electronics. The VFD can be controlled independently using the control panel on the VFD. The control panel has the ability to control all aspects of the spindle including Speed, Torque, limits, etc. However, you can connect the VFD to the computer so the CNC control program can control the spindle during the CNC Machine operation. You will need to connect the VFD to the computer via a serial conection (in this case, it is the RS-485 protocol).

The following are instructions on how to connect the VFD to Mach3 via this RS-485 serial connection.

The first thing you will need is the dynamic link library to pair with mach3 called the Huanyang VFD Mach3 PlugIn. You can find this file at the mach3 support forum here: http://www.machsupport.com/forum/index.php/topic,14182.0.html

You will also need to download the Microsoft .net 3.5 framework and install it: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=21

Follow the pdf that comes with the library file, but here is a synopsis of what you need to do (I also added a lot more information that may be useful during this process as the manual does not cover the main connections that need to be done):

You will need to program your VFD so that it knows how to communicate with mach3 and the computer (go into the programming mode of the VFD and change these parameters):
- PD001 - value 2 - Enables with communication aspect of the VFD
- PD002 - value 2 - Enables frequency control from the communcations port
- PD163 - value 1 - VFD address
- PD164 - value 1 - Baud rate of 9600 (speed of the communication)
- PD165 - value 3 - 8N1 RTU - 8 bits (that's the size of the word that gets communicated), N (No parity or no error checking) and 1 (1 stop bit)

Copy the dll file to the PlugIns folder of mach3.

Connect the RX and TX lines to your computer. There are a couple ways you can do this, but the recommended way would be to use an FTDI USB device which converts a USB to a serial com port. The device will have Rx and Tx connectors to connect to the VFD terminals with the same labels. This method is recommended since serial ports are not as common in computers these days.

Next, you will need to configure mach3 to use the plugin library. Start mach3 and click on Menu -> config ->Config Plugins. Enable the new plugin by clicking on the red cross on the left column next to the plug in. Restart mach3 after doing this.

No you need to configure mach3 to use the HuanyangVFD plugin. Go to the ports & pins configuration and select the spindle setup tab. Make sure that the Disable Spindle Relays checkbox is unchecked. We don't want mach3 to output a signal for a relay since the spindle will start up and turn off within the VFD and not from an external relay.

Next, go to the HuanyangVFD settings by clicking on Menu -> plugin control -> HuanyangVFD. Set the parameters to the same settings you put into the VFD programming. The com port will be shown as new hardward when you plug in the USB FTDI device. A little bubble will be displayed at the bottom right where it will notify you that a new device is being installed (be patient while windows assigns a com port). Alternatively, you can use the windows device manager to see which port was set for the new USB FTDI device). You may need to restart mach3 several times until you get the correct information displayed in the PD001 and PD002 fields. When the com port is correct and the other parameters, like baud and VFD address is the same as you entered in the programming, then the PD001 and PD002 will show the number 2, otherwise, a 99 will appear which means that communication was not successful.

You can now control the on/off and RPM of the spindle using the RS485 communication between mach3 and the VFD.

The question was how to connect the spindle to the redfy. I did not receive a VFD.
I have the redFly system and a 2.2kW Spindle - 110V how do i connect the spindle?

If you received a spindle without a VFD, please contact us asap. Our spindle will not work without a VFD.

Hi, how is this setup in mach4?

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how do I connect my spindle to mach3 so mach3 can control it

• HOW LONG WOULD IT TAKE FOR MY TO BUILD A MACHINE?

The length of time it will take to build a CNC machine kit is not an easy answer. There may be a wide array of circumstances that limit a persons abilities to build the cnc machine kit in an efficient timeframe; however, if you have moderate dexterity and moderately mechanically inclined, you should have no problem building one of our machines within one weekend if the project has very little downtime.

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HOW LONG WOULD IT TAKE FOR MY TO BUILD A MACHINE?

• Will Bobcad v27 work well with Black Toe machine. Which post processor driver do I use?

The BobCAD post processor that will work with the USB interface that uses the Planet-CNC software:

According to the Planet-cnc folks, wincnc or mach3 post-processors should work. According to a representative at BobCAD, mach3 post-processor should work.

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Will Bobcad v27 work well with Black Toe machine. Which post processor driver do I use?

• where is the build manual for the blacktooth laser? online? I didnt get one with my machine

For our machines our steps for the build process can be found on the actual machine page with images to reference (please read carefully all the instructions) (https://www.buildyourcnc.com/blackToothLaserCutterAndEngraver.aspx).
You can get further help here (http://blacktoothlaser.blogspot.ca/2013/04/index-for-blacktooth-laser.html?view=sidebar) a post made by one of our customers!

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where is the build manual for the blacktooth laser? online? I didnt get one with my machine

• How should I control a plasma torch, spindle and a laser on my CNC machine?

It will depend on how you configure the machine to use the Laser and plasma. Is the laser on a separate gantry? That will determine the way you will connect the laser control system or if you use a typical CNC controller. The plasma will need inputs of THC on, THC up, THC down and outputs to trigger the plasma torch. I recommend the Pokeys57CNC for the plasma and you can also fire the laser with it, but you will not be able to do engraving with the laser unless you use a laser controller. If you use a laser controller, you will need to either build circuitry to switch the digital signals from which controller you will be using, or if you have the laser on a separate gantry, you can use a traditional laser controller connected to the stepper motor drivers on that gantry.

Users response:
I was planing on using same gantry, and installing plasma and laser module on z axis along the side with current router. Perhaps if it’s needed installing another z axis on current z axis. So that when I use plasma, router z will be homed and plasma z axis will be able to utilize thc.

When you say “If you use a laser controller, you will need to either build circuitry to switch the digital signals from which controller you will be using,”
If i install laser controller, pokeys and router motion card, do you mean all ( axis and router/laser/plasma) signals or just the one that controls router/laser/plasma?
I was wondering if I could jump (parallel connect) axis signals from card to card without ?
Also do you prefer ethernet card or usb?
I really do appreciate your help :) thanx again.

Buildyourcnc response:
Not a problem at all.

Remember that with all of that weight on the z-axis, you will not be able to do efficient raster style engraving.

By putting the laser on another gantry, say at the far end of the table, then you would be able to use a laser controller that controls its own stepper motors and the nozzle can have fast swing motion for engraving. With the laser on the z-axis of the spindle (like see on the greenBull), you will only be able to do vector motions for the laser.

You can also have a CNC interface and laser controller controlling the same stepper motor drivers, but you will need a few tri-state buffer chips where you can use a toggle switch for which controller has control of the drivers.

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How should I control a plasma torch, spindle and a laser on my CNC machine?

• WHAT NOT INCLUDED WITH THE MACHINE?

PC with parallel port and USB port
20awg stranded wires for the motors - http://www.buildyourcnc.com/electronicscombo.aspx
18awg stranded wires for power supply to drivers
24awg stranded wires for breakout board to drivers
(location and spacing of components varies from one person to another, so we do not provide cables/wires)
- General purpose extension cord (cut the female end off) to provide power to power supply
- USB cable to power breakout board
- Parallel cable to communicate to breakout board
- Router
- (optional - instead of router) Spindle with power inverter http://www.buildyourcnc.com/SpindlesAndAccessories.aspx
- (if purchasing spindle with inverter) General purpose extension cord (240v) (cut the female end off) to provide power to power inverter
- End Mill(s) http://www.buildyourcnc.com/ProductsEndMills.aspx
- CAD, and/or CAD-CAM software (to produce geometry, machine operations, and g-code) http://www.buildyourcnc.com/CNCsoftware.aspx
- CNC control software (to read g-code and control machine) http://www.buildyourcnc.com/CNCsoftware.aspx
- If the machine does not have the table included, then a table will need to be built. The rails, chain and chain mounts are included that are used on this table.

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WHAT NOT INCLUDED WITH THE MACHINE?

• How should I connect the E-stop to the machine?

I would recommend wiring the E-Stop to an input terminal via an NC connection. This is the industry standard. It requires a NC (Normally connected) circuit for the machine to be operational, and when the circuit breaks, the machine shuts off. This is better than having a circuit NO (normally open), open circuit that requires a circuit to be created to have the machine shut off for safety.

Having en E-Stop run through the mains line would only work for a single circuit (or use multiple E-stops, which defeats the purpose). The E-stop connected to the input terminal would shut off all machine functions.

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How should I connect the E-stop to the machine?

• How can I convert from Xylotex to yours, four axis with limit switches. Have parallel PC and steppers on machine.

Sure, the USB interface has a place for 4 axes of limit switches.

Each axis can have two limit switches: one for the ++ (positive) end and one for the -- (negative) end. The positive end would be the limit switch at the end of the machine that, say the machine has a 4'x8' area, reaches a bit after the 8 foot mark. The negative end would be the limit switch behind the 0 foot location behind the origin. If the origin is in the middle, the negative would be at a little more than the -4 foot end and the positive would be at a bit more than the +4 foot end. Note that you can have more than one switch on each pin where the NC is connected in serial fashion and the NO is connected in parallel fashion (this can be seen on the diagram in the multiple limits switch section). The software configurations for the limits switches are under File -> Settings -> Limit.

A typical limit switch has three connections on it. These connections consist of COM (common), NC (normally closed) and NO (normally open). The COM would generally go to GND and the NC or the NO would go to the pin. If the NC is used, then the the switch is constantly connected until the switch is pushed (engaged) then the connection from the pin to gnd is broken (open). Use the settings in software to set whether in NC or NO configuration.

Let me know if this information was helpful (or not) by adding information to this question. Thanks.

User response:
Thank you very much for this helpful information. I'm still a little fuzzy on how the 6 limit switches physically connect to each other and to the USB breakout board. You've stated one switch (home) goes to positive and another switch (limit) goes to negative. Are all the GND prongs from all 6 switches connected to each other and going to GND on the breakout board, or no? And the NC prongs, how exactly are they connected to each other? And to the board? There has to be a diagram somewhere shows this visually, no? I don't know how to wire the switches in series or in parallel. I have already physically installed all the switches on the machine and ran the wires to where the board is. Now I just need to know where to plug these wires into the board. Also, taking into consideration that I'm using the Planet CNC software, the only settings I have pertaining to limit switches is "Enable/Disable" for each axis, and the actual limit for each axis. Nothing about NC or NO. Is that only in Mach3?
Thank you.

buildyourcnc response:
On the USB interface, the COM on the switch connects to GND and the NC or NO connects to the input pin (i.e. x++, y--, etc.)

Limit switch configuration is rather difficult to understand, especially with series and parallel. You can think of series as a single wire going from GND to the axis letter input terminal (i.e. X++ or X--). If the wire is broken, then the circuit is open (or the switch is engaged in a normally closed scenario). Normally closed is like an actual wire, and when engaged, the switch "opens" (breaks the wire). This is why we recommend in some systems that you can put many switches in series on a single pin. When one of the switches is engaged (breaking the connection) then the entire circuit of switches is broken and the machine stops.

In a parallel scenario, the state of the circuit is always broken until the one of the switches is engaged and the circuit is then closed or connected. The topology looks like a ladder. All the switches connect to both sides of the ladder and the switches are like the runs of the ladder (the horizontal bars that the feet are placed while climbing). Imagine all of the switches broken in this scenario (normally open). It would be like the ladder could be split in two, but if one of the ladder runs (switches) is closed by engaging it, then that run would connect both sides of the ladder and the two sides of the ladder would have a connection.

There is a diagram on the USB page of the various limit switch configurations. If you need more information (visual and/or otherwise), please let us know and we will immediately add that information to benefit everyone.

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How can I convert from Xylotex to yours, four axis with limit switches. Have parallel PC and steppers on machine.

• HI..I am having a problem with my machine going off axis and not returning to zero

Hi, can you elaborate on what you mean off axis? If the CNC router is milling correctly and then suddenly in a location that you would not expect, then you are exceeding the torque of the stepper motors and stalling. If the cnc router stalls, then the cnc router will continue but the software controlling the cnc router will not have the correct position of the cnc router.

If this is the case, then you need to either reduce the acceleration, reduce the velocity, or both. Does the problem occur during the milling process or during the jogging (rapids)?

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HI..I am having a problem with my machine going off axis and not returning to zero

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