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Question #: 14331

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

Current Solution

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.

Respond:

Other Possible Solutions to this Question

  • My plasmacam cnc machine has servo motors with an optical encoder to provide position sensing. Can the pokeys57 cnc controller and drivers run those servos?

    Yes, the Pokeys57CNC can control standard CNC or plasma machine servos as servo drives accept step and direction signals just like stepper motors.

    Click the link to respond:
    My plasmacam cnc machine has servo motors with an optical encoder to provide position sensing. Can the pokeys57 cnc controller and drivers run those servos?

  • What relay should be used with your USB BOB for controlling mist/flood/spindle on/off?

    The relay that should be used with your USB BOB for controlling mist/flood/spindle on/off is one of the following options.

    You could get and use the Planet-CNC.com Output Board found here, http://www.planet-cnc.com/index.php?page=shop

    Or you could create your own setup using a resistor, solid state relay, transistor, and diode. You can watch this video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PJO_XoLL6lQ, to find out the correct way to accomplish this.

    Click the link to respond:
    What relay should be used with your USB BOB for controlling mist/flood/spindle on/off?

  • What are some good ways to control the vertical laser from a Linux machine?

    There really isn't any good way to use Linux when using a traditional Laser Controller. If LaserCAD worked under the Linux OS, then that would work.

    Would you like to know an alternative to use Linux using maybe LinuxCNC? There are ways to do it, but you will find yourself deep in g-code and out of the box wiring configurations, most likely.

    Alternatively, you can create a dual boot scenario and put Window on the other part of the hard drive. This way, you would be able to run LaserCAD.

    You can also "attempt" to use LaserCAD in the wine environment, but I have a feeling that will probably not work.

    Additional Information:
    We're a small family-owned electronics and hardware manufacturer, using LinuxCNC already for milling. Dual-boot into Windows isn't a sensible option -- it would greatly reduce the utility of the machine. I have more information about our use case in https://buildyourcnc.com/FAQ/13985.

    Additional Information:
    Ok, fair enough. Then let's get into the details on how you can use LinuxCNC to operate a Laser machine.

    Do you have an idea what controller you will be using? Parallel?

    Additional Information:
    My first inclination was to use LinuCNC with the parallel interface board. Of that's the answer, then we might want to just add to the LinuxCNC discussion that's starting to firm up at https://buildyourcnc.com/FAQ/13985 rather than duplicate the information here.

    I'm open to other alternatives and am happy to hack; we make PCBs and cable harnesses as a business, so that's not a limitation either. One answer might be to use one of the open source controllers that are starting to show up.

    Additional Information:
    My turn for phone typos. ;-) I meant to say "If that's the answer, then..."

    Additional Information:
    I've started a forum topic about this at http://www.buildyourtools.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=8412&start=0

    Additional Information:
    Good idea. Thanks.

    When a direct solution is realized on buildyourtools, I will post it here.

    Click the link to respond:
    What are some good ways to control the vertical laser from a Linux machine?

  • 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.

    Additional Information:
    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?

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

    Additional Information:
    Hi, how is this setup in mach4?

    Click the link to respond:
    how do I connect my spindle to mach3 so mach3 can control it

  • If I understand correctly, the greenBull kit comes with a spindle and laser. What else do I need to have a working machine. Obviously a table, do I also need the computer, software, wires, pump and plumbing, electronics, VFD, steppers and controllers?

    The greenBull kit (not the assembled) will need the table (the rails for the table is supplied), wires/cables for the stepper motors and stepper motor drivers, smaller gauge wires for digital wire connections (limit switches, drivers to control interface, etc), wires for the spindle connection to the VFD, tubing for water flow to and from the spindle, and a pump and reservoir (we are just about to introduce a small pump/reservoir/radiator/fan system for use with the spindle. The VFD/spindle, stepper motors/drivers and interface board are included.

    Click the link to respond:
    If I understand correctly, the greenBull kit comes with a spindle and laser. What else do I need to have a working machine. Obviously a table, do I also need the computer, software, wires, pump and plumbing, electronics, VFD, steppers and controllers?

  • How can I make LinuxCNC control a spindle?

    LinuxCNC has excellent documents; however, I would like to offer our help in case you don't understand the information on that page. So, please use this FAQ (Question #: 13233) to state your questions by submitting additional information below.

    The LinuxCNC spindle control page is found here: http://linuxcnc.org/docs/html/examples/spindle.html

    Additional Information:
    After reading the LinuxCNC page my first questions would be can the spindle be controlled by PWM signal? Also, what pin on the parallel port would I set to Spindle Enable and FRW?

    Additional Information:
    To connect your computer to the VFD, use a USB to RS-485 interface. RS-485 is just a serial interface protocol that uses standard 0 to +5 voltage TTL signal levels for communication (as opposed to RS-232 which uses -12v and +12 for signal level changes).

    Get a high quality interface to reduce any issues during the process. The VFD should have two terminals labeled RS+ and RS-. The USB to RS-485 adapter should have this labeled on it as well so the connections should be relatively straight forward.

    In the VFD parameters:
    PD001: 2 to accept RS485 commands
    PD002: 2 to accept frequency comands
    PD163: 1 to RS485 slave address:1
    PD164: 1 RS485 baud rate 9600
    PD165: 3 8bit, no parity, 1 stop bit

    Make sure LinuxCNC is also set accordingly:

    The PIN14 and PIN16 in the stepconf wizard should be set to unused because you don't want LinuxCNC to be outputting unnecessary signals.

    In the options step of the stepconf wizard:
    - Check the Include Halui user interface component.
    - Check the Include custom PyVCP GUI panel.
    - Check Spindle speed display

    You will want to edit the custom.hal text file located in the folder that was created from the stepconf wizard. Add these following lines:
    loadusr -Wn vfd hy_vfd -n vfd -d /dev/ttyUSB0 -p none -r 9600
    net spindle-cmd-rpm-abs => vfd.speed-command
    net spindle-cw motion.spindle-forward => vfd.spindle-forward
    net spindle-ccw motion.spindle-reverse => vfd.spindle-reverse
    net on motion.spindle-on => vfd.spindle-on

    The dev folder in linux is typically used for interfacing devices and peripherals to the computer as these devices are communicated by simple memory addresses and these files are linked directly to these addresses.

    Under the custom_postgui.hal file, change this line:

    from: sets spindle-at-speed true
    to: net spindle-at-speed => cfd.spindle_at_speed

    and add the line:

    setp vfd.enable 1

    When you start LinuxCNC, you will a spindle section with the reverse and forward buttons, a stop button and - and + buttons. Use these buttons to conform that the spindle is functioning properly. The spindle speed indicator in LinuxCNC will show the spindle speed and you can confirm that this is equal to the speed indicated on the VFD.


    Credit for this helpful information goes to:


    Additional information was also added by us to provide a better understanding.

    Click the link to respond:
    How can I make LinuxCNC control a spindle?

  • I'm trying to build my CNC router 3m*1.3m, but i'm not sure what is the type of stepper motor i should pay, all my CNC body is Al. I need to bay 4 Stepper motors, 4 drivers, spindle, inverter, and i don't know what is the type of controller ?

    The size of the stepper motor is measured in holding torque, generally oz/in. You will determine the torque loads of your axes when selecting steppers. Once you know which stepper you need, the drivers and controller board are simple to pair with them.

    Click the link to respond:
    I'm trying to build my CNC router 3m*1.3m, but i'm not sure what is the type of stepper motor i should pay, all my CNC body is Al. I need to bay 4 Stepper motors, 4 drivers, spindle, inverter, and i don't know what is the type of controller ?

  • HOW TO CONTROL MY 2.2 KW SPINDLE VIA MACH3

    You can go to our instructions on for the breakout board here: http://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-parallel-breakout-relay to get the information on turning the spindle on and off from the computer and mach3. Alternatively, you can connect the computer using RS485 serial to the inverter and send control commands that way.

    Additional Information:
    HOW TO CONTROL MY 2.2 KW SPINDLE VIA MACH3 usb

    Click the link to respond:
    HOW TO CONTROL MY 2.2 KW SPINDLE VIA MACH3

  • Hi i am interested in the greenBull 6x with Hybrid Laser/Spindle Head (includes Spindle/VFD and Laser Components) - USB Interface (Long Z). I was wondering how much it would cost to get this machine to NZ?

    You can use our shopping cart to determine the shipping. Add the machine and the parts you want to purchase, enter your shipping address and click on the Calculate Shipping Button to get a price for shipping. The shipping charges are determined directly from the carriers at the time of pressing that button.

    Additional Information:

    Click the link to respond:
    Hi i am interested in the greenBull 6x with Hybrid Laser/Spindle Head (includes Spindle/VFD and Laser Components) - USB Interface (Long Z). I was wondering how much it would cost to get this machine to NZ?

  • What settings does I use for controlling the spindle in StepCon/Linuxcnc?

    LinuxCNC has excellent documents; however, I would like to offer our help in case you don't understand the information on that page. So, please use this FAQ (Question #: 13233) to state your questions by submitting additional information below.

    The LinuxCNC spindle control page is found here: http://linuxcnc.org/docs/html/examples/spindle.html

    Additional Information:
    After reading the LinuxCNC page my first questions would be can the spindle be controlled by PWM signal? Also, what pin on the parallel port would I set to Spindle Enable and FRW?

    Additional Information:
    To connect your computer to the VFD, use a USB to RS-485 interface. RS-485 is just a serial interface protocol that uses standard 0 to +5 voltage TTL signal levels for communication (as opposed to RS-232 which uses -12v and +12 for signal level changes).

    Get a high quality interface to reduce any issues during the process. The VFD should have two terminals labeled RS+ and RS-. The USB to RS-485 adapter should have this labeled on it as well so the connections should be relatively straight forward.

    In the VFD parameters:
    PD001: 2 to accept RS485 commands
    PD002: 2 to accept frequency comands
    PD163: 1 to RS485 slave address:1
    PD164: 1 RS485 baud rate 9600
    PD165: 3 8bit, no parity, 1 stop bit

    Make sure LinuxCNC is also set accordingly:

    The PIN14 and PIN16 in the stepconf wizard should be set to unused because you don't want LinuxCNC to be outputting unnecessary signals.

    In the options step of the stepconf wizard:
    - Check the Include Halui user interface component.
    - Check the Include custom PyVCP GUI panel.
    - Check Spindle speed display

    You will want to edit the custom.hal text file located in the folder that was created from the stepconf wizard. Add these following lines:
    loadusr -Wn vfd hy_vfd -n vfd -d /dev/ttyUSB0 -p none -r 9600
    net spindle-cmd-rpm-abs => vfd.speed-command
    net spindle-cw motion.spindle-forward => vfd.spindle-forward
    net spindle-ccw motion.spindle-reverse => vfd.spindle-reverse
    net on motion.spindle-on => vfd.spindle-on

    The dev folder in linux is typically used for interfacing devices and peripherals to the computer as these devices are communicated by simple memory addresses and these files are linked directly to these addresses.

    Under the custom_postgui.hal file, change this line:

    from: sets spindle-at-speed true
    to: net spindle-at-speed => cfd.spindle_at_speed

    and add the line:

    setp vfd.enable 1

    When you start LinuxCNC, you will a spindle section with the reverse and forward buttons, a stop button and - and + buttons. Use these buttons to conform that the spindle is functioning properly. The spindle speed indicator in LinuxCNC will show the spindle speed and you can confirm that this is equal to the speed indicated on the VFD.


    Credit for this helpful information goes to:


    Additional information was also added by us to provide a better understanding.

    Click the link to respond:
    What settings does I use for controlling the spindle in StepCon/Linuxcnc?

  • I HAVE YOUR MACH3 USB BOB, DO YOU GUYS SELL A TORCH CONTROL RELAY CAN WIRE UP TO TURN MY PLASMA ON AND OFF HOW WOULD WIFE THAT TOO THIS BOB?
  • I'm considering buying the 4 axis cnc combo. I have metal lathe with variable speed spindle. Can i somehow control the spindle with the gcode. like s values and ,m03,m04, m05?

    Our spindle VFD's, have a multitude of different connectors that can be used for different operations. There is a manual that comes with each VFD, and you can refer to page 11 for different functions and descriptions.

    We currently have a PWM, working with our machine, however it is connected via USB, and setup through Mach 3.
    Also if you may have misplaced or lost the manual here is a link to the pdf:

    (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCAQFjAAahUKEwibxaaIndTHAhXQlogKHZVyDFE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.c-n-c.cz%2Fdownload%2Ffile.php%3Fid%3D42252&ei=_cHkVdvSC9CtogSV5bGIBQ&usg=AFQjCNHTQcxs-KhJkvkhMdxVFPzkoYJtsA&sig2=JAcZawTGMuC-t4wmn1z-rA)

    Click the link to respond:
    I'm considering buying the 4 axis cnc combo. I have metal lathe with variable speed spindle. Can i somehow control the spindle with the gcode. like s values and ,m03,m04, m05?

  • HOW COMPLEX IS YOUR KIT TO ASSEMBLE, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY - HARD IT SETUP CONTROL THE LASER WITH MACH3?

    The blackTooth Laser cutter and Engraver can be built in a weekend. Take a look at the build instructions and try to determine if you feel you have sufficient capability to put together the laser system.

    Click the link to respond:
    HOW COMPLEX IS YOUR KIT TO ASSEMBLE, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY - HARD IT SETUP CONTROL THE LASER WITH MACH3?

  • I have your mach3 USB BoB, do you guys sell a torch control relay I can wire up to turn my plasma torch on and off and how I would wife that too this BoB?
  • Have a CNC routher that uses the Porter Cable 78125 considering 2.2kw spindle and controller do you have any mounts and our recommenadtions?

    You are making the right choice. The overall cost benefit of a spindle over a router is worth the change. We used a router back in 2008-2012 and constantly replaced it due to the daily use, but we are still using the same spindle we began using back in 2012.

    We sell a mount that you can find here:
    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/spindle-inverter-2!2kw-spindle-80mm-mount

    The mount fits standard 80mm spindles.

    Click the link to respond:
    Have a CNC routher that uses the Porter Cable 78125 considering 2.2kw spindle and controller do you have any mounts and our recommenadtions?

  • Can you control the spped of the 2.2 KW spindle using the breakout board and Mach3 soft ware?

    Yes, you can control the speed of the 2.2 kW spindle, and the other spindles we sell, through Mach3 software. It requires making some changes to the settings in Mach3 and in your inverter. It also requires an additional part, which is called a USB to Serial Converter, found on our site here:

    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/Interfaces-newbiehack-Interfaces-TTL232R-USB-UART-Serial

    I have some additional instructions, that I will send upon request, by email. I will also be adding a complete tutorial and video, to the website, on how to do this soon.

    Additional Information:
    20

    Click the link to respond:
    Can you control the spped of the 2.2 KW spindle using the breakout board and Mach3 soft ware?

  • Which controller(DSP or FPGA or other) is best for CNC machine for G code interpreter operations?

    It's probably better to use an FPGA or a microcontroller that is clocked (provided by a crystal oscillator) fast enough to simultaneously output pulse trains for the number of axes you intent to drive on the CNC and to provide for other processor operations, like spindle control, processing inputs from the machine and other outputs you may have (mist, coolant, etc.).

    Additional Information:
    Hi,
    Thanks for the information.
    Some CNC controllers having both FPGA & DSP. Is there any advantages? What is the role of DSP in this case?

    regards,
    Naveen

    Click the link to respond:
    Which controller(DSP or FPGA or other) is best for CNC machine for G code interpreter operations?

  • Can you have interchangeable heads between plasma and milling head on same machine

    Yes, you can simply disengage the spindle mount or z-axis assembly, and engage a plasma mount. There are many variables, however, depending on the machine.

    Additional Information:
    Thanks for the reply is there a preferred size table for the plasma milling option

    Additional Information:
    The size of the plasma or milling table will depend on how you apply the machine and what size sheet material you plan on cutting and milling. For the plasma work, remember to position a non flammable substance below where the plasma nozzle will be spraying. The particles ejected from the work-piece caused by the cutting action of the plasma nozzle can ignite flammable materials.

    Click the link to respond:
    Can you have interchangeable heads between plasma and milling head on same machine

  • Can you have interchangeable heads between plasma and milling head on same machine

    Yes, you can simply disengage the spindle mount or z-axis assembly, and engage a plasma mount. There are many variables, however, depending on the machine.

    Additional Information:
    Thanks for the reply is there a preferred size table for the plasma milling option

    Additional Information:
    The size of the plasma or milling table will depend on how you apply the machine and what size sheet material you plan on cutting and milling. For the plasma work, remember to position a non flammable substance below where the plasma nozzle will be spraying. The particles ejected from the work-piece caused by the cutting action of the plasma nozzle can ignite flammable materials.

    Click the link to respond:
    Can you have interchangeable heads between plasma and milling head on same machine