The machine runs (after some troubleshooting)!

Yesterday I got the machine to make it's first movements! But it took me a few days to figure out why it wouldn't move...

As soon as I realised that the rough build was done I loaded the software hoping to get immediate satisfaction on milling great looking parts. I loaded one of the example files so that the machine could do a dry run.

If only things were that simple....

I was flooded with messages that did not mean any thing to me. Except for one:

Movement on z-axis exceeds minimum, Movement on z-axis exceeds maximum. In one message...

The other messages I was able to solve. They were about the system expecting input from the end switches on my machine, which I did not have. The end switches are set up in the stepconfig wizzard, by linking them to a pin on the LPT port. As my machine is very basic I switched every pin to "unused" except for the 6 pins that directly related to the x, y and z axes.

This got rid of all the messages except for the one relating to the z axis.

I spent 3-4 days searching the internet, re writing my little bit of G, but I did not get any further.

I decided to open the configuration file ("my-mill".ini) itself and found the first big clue. There was a big difference in data in the x and y axes compared with the z. X and y showed the correct limits but z showed minimum movements of + and - 0.001 mm. I ran stepconfig wizard again and it showed the z travel as I wanted it to be. I chaged the .ini file manually but the system still did not run.

In running the stepconfig wizard I could move all axis in test mode. But as soon as I wanted to run a program in emc the minimum/maximum message appeared. It drove me mad!

I also was unable to jog the z axis in axis. It would not be jogged, even if if continuous jog was selected, it would only move by the smallest of steps.

Because the z axis did fine in test mode I thought it must be some stupid little thing. I decided to set up a fresh machine in the stepconfig wizard changing as few things from the suggested settings as possible. And there it was!

I finished the configuration and ran emc. For the first time I saw a simulation of the milling of the EMC2 axis theme running on my screen! The next day I went to the workshop to try it on the machine. It worked!

So what was wrong in the set up?

I had reversed the numbers for table travel for the z axis. Where the wizard suggested a travel of -4 to 0 (inch) I set it to 15 to -65 (mm). All I had to do was to enter -65 to 10! That's all!

As soon as I changed that in my workshop configuration the machine started to move. But way to slow. This was my own G so I loaded the standard emc2 file and it ran! What a thrill!

I browsed trough the code and found that I had set the wrong feed in my own G and when that was set correctly my own file would also work fine.

I have a working CNC router!


There are a few things to do now.
There is a bit of play in the machine. Circles are not circles. I soon found that one of the bearings off the Y spindle was not secured in its base, it could move sideways. That is plain stupid as it is supposed to be a precision part but I've added a washer inside the housing and it is fixed.

The tube that holds the clamp for the router can move, that has to be sorted. And for teh rest, a lot of refinement will take place as the I start using the system.

The first is making rudder blades for one of my steering systems. I am working on some G for that (it's a simple part). I'll be making two pallets for it so that I can quikcly put a set of two blades on to the machine and prepair another set when when the first is being milled.

I'm sure I'll find a lot of stuff that needs improvement when I start using the system for real. And I also want to add dust collecting to the machine.

But a new era has started, I have a CNC router!