Proxxon CNC Mill and nccad9 software

Discussion in 'Software and Programming' started by Lofty76, Feb 10, 2018.

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  1. Sep 24, 2018 #21

    Chris Alderson

    Chris Alderson

    Chris Alderson

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    Yes I was able to get my head around most of the code and figure out what instructions where being sent to the mill apart form the max computer feed rate conversion.

    This is part of the code generated by the NC-program in nccad9 for a simple engraving of 4 letters using a 0.5mm engraving bit, as far as I can tell the issue is when the first letter is finished and the machine is moving to the next letter, it lifts on the Z axis, drops on the Z axis and before moving stops and gives the above error.

    what puzzles me is the fact it starts and finishes the first letter fine then gives the error when moving to the next.

    I have not spoke to Axminister regarding this but will be at some point regarding the description on the website for this machine, I have to say I have only ever had good experiences with purchasing form Axminister however.

    Barrie do you use a program to generate the code or do you just write it your self from scratch ?

    Regards

    Chris
     
  2. Sep 24, 2018 #22

    Bazzer

    Bazzer

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    Hello Chris

    I rarely write programmes by hand, I generate code in a programme called BobCAD, sometimes I do the 3D designs in BobCAD and sometimes in other programmes such as Alibre Design or MOI.

    Mostly I like making RC pylon race aircraft, the wing and tailplanes of the models in the photo's are designed by me and machined by me and the younger guy, he is an excellant machinist. The wing has 2.8 million lines of G code to produce male patterns.

    These models fly at around 200mph and have a very powerful 6.5cc engine
    IMG_0179.jpg

    I think that Axminster just use the text from Proxxon to describe the products on their website, I think there is quite a learning curve with any CNC system, the problem with Proxxon and Wabeco is that they dont have a big presence in the English speaking World with their CNC offering so it is not easy to find people to ask questions and bounce ideas off of.

    I already had a fair understanding of G code and CNC in general, so in about a day I had figured out the qwerks of the Max computer controls.

    I guess you either have to ***** like hell to Axminster and I doubt they will do anything or alternatively keep calm and politely point out the failings but get on and learn the system. I think you will get there quite quickly as you are able to figure stuff out.

    Would you upload that whole engraving KNC file for me to have a look at?

    Best Regards

    Barrie
     
  3. Sep 25, 2018 #23

    Chris Alderson

    Chris Alderson

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    Hi Barrie

    I will have to take a look at those programs, I have no doubt they will come in handy as I have already looked in to so many from cad to cam to generate g code to import in to nccad, it really has gave me a headache.

    Ah I see, my older brother got in to RC when we where quite young he had an over wing trainer with a decent little OC engine that ran on nitro methane if I remember rightly, wasn't the best smelling fuel, he also got in to flying helicopters and was a big fan of RC cars too although he never got a chance to get in to the engineering side of them.

    I had somewhat of an interest in them at a younger age but migrated towards computers and learning as much as I could about them, I work as an electrician and am currently now doing an HNC in electrical engineering as well, I'm getting in to CNC as more of a hobby than anything else although I've seen quite a few uses where it will come in handy.

    Yes they do Barrie, I noticed that when originally looking in to this machine and viewing the details of it on both websites, I've been dealing very closely with a gent who works in my local store all the way through ordering this machine, he has went way beyond the expected realm of customer service even delivering the machine to my door him self and helping me carry it in to were I set it up.

    Axminster have been very forthcoming with information I have requested and had advised me there is somewhat of a delay from me asking a question to them receiving a reply from proxxon as any information asked is really 3rd hand information, its much easier to just email proxxon.

    I plan to stick it out as I really do think the machine its self is of excellent quality and will probably just take more of an understanding of the control side of the equation to get everything working as I want, granted its a bit of a strain at the moment as learning this on top of quantitative methods, dimensional analysis and the programming of PLC gives one somewhat of a headache to say the least.

    I will have a go at uploading it Barrie but not sure if the will be a limit to the characters I can enter in a post on here, the file is quite large in terms of character count.

    Regards

    Chris
     
  4. Sep 25, 2018 #24

    Chris Alderson

    Chris Alderson

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    Here is the file Barry, I didn't realise I could just upload the file itself, please find it attached.

    Also if you are wondering who Jack is which is what the engraving spells out he is my Yellow thighed caique.

    Regards

    Chris
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Sep 25, 2018 #25

    Cogsy

    Cogsy

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    Just for some piece of mind Chris - that file you uploaded would count as 1182 'sentences' only, so you're not hitting that limit. That should also give you an idea of how big a job you could get done with the basic version of your software. When I was using a trial version of MACH 3 it was limited to only 500 lines (sentences) but even so I could engrave a fairly detailed scorpion. 5000 might well be enough for you, especially if you chain programs together when you get to a very complex part. For example, the first program could carve out one side of a flywheel, the next engrave the outer rim or something like that.
    I'm thinking it's as Barrie suggested, you are operating at one end of your allowable Z travel and the command to lift the cutter out of the first letter is trying to exceed the allowable limit, causing the crash.
     
  6. Sep 25, 2018 #26

    Chris Alderson

    Chris Alderson

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    Hi Cogsy

    I see 1182 is a lot less than 5000, however if I add just a few more letters, it flags up with an error saying I'm exceeding the 5000 limit and cuts off which ever letter came last.

    I wouldn't have minded had I known the basic version came with the machine and not the full version when I was looking in to purchasing it, however when looking at the information on proxxons website there is no indication of this at all which to me is misleading, you only find out once you have installed the software and try to update, or go to proxxons website, click on the software update link on the page for this machine, it tells you straight away that you only have nccad9 basic and if you want to use the full program you will need to go to the shop.

    I see, so where do I check the allowable Z travel limit ?

    Regards

    Chris
     
  7. Sep 26, 2018 #27

    Cogsy

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    I agree they should make it clear - seems a bit dodgy to me as well. 5000 lines is quite a bit in the CAM software I've used in the past, such as CAMBAM, but yours may be different. I just checked an example I made a while back, a Christmas bell mold I made. The bell itself was 4 different heights, with around 6 pocketing passes to achieve the depths, plus at least 2 passes of text engraving which read (in fancy script) "Merry Christmas 2014 from the FAMILY_NAME family" and in total it was 3096 lines of G-code.

    I can't help you with your Z limits as I don't have any experience with your machine/software. What I'm used to is a button in the controller software that allows you to define a zero, then coded limits for allowable travel which you tune for your machine. It's quite possible that yours is set to only a small allowable positive Z value and the error will be generated when a call to go above that is executed.

    Looking at the code you uploaded where you think the error is occurring for you, there is a call to retract the Z to 5mm above zero. If your maximum allowable Z value is anything less that it will create the error you're seeing. Maybe try searching through your settings to find anything about limits. Also, there is a thing called "soft limits" which is where the machine will slow down its movement speeds when approaching the limit of travel, so as not to bang into any stops due to inertia. If you have this setting enabled and your Z limit is close to zero it would explain why the rapid Z retract in Barrie's code was a slow retract. BTW - Barrie is much more familiar with this stuff than me, I was just making a suggestion. Trust his input more than mine!
     
  8. Sep 26, 2018 #28

    xpylonracer

    xpylonracer

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    There are several incidences of code raising the cutter out of the work to 5.0 and then moving to 0.5 before applying a cutting depth move. I take it Z00 is the workpiece surface.
    G00 Z5.000
    G00 Z0.500
    G01 Z-2.000 F5.000
    What's the point of the first 2 lines in the above code ?
    If no positioning move or tool speed/direction change why raise the tool ?

    Emgee
     
  9. Sep 26, 2018 #29

    Chris Alderson

    Chris Alderson

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    Hi Cogsy

    I ma going to persevere and see how it goes, Axminster are chasing up possibly getting the full version of the software shipped over for me but just waiting on them getting back to me.

    Either way I appreciate your input, any knowledge is good knowledge.

    xpylonracer, I'm not totally sure from what Barrie has shown me so far G00 is rapid movement so the Z axis is being told to move up 5mm above zero point but then to move back down to 0.5mm above zero which seems a waste of time due to there being no x or y positional change, then G01 (move at set feed speed), Z-2.000 (Move Z axis to -2mm below set zero point), F5.000 (move at set feed speed of 5.000).

    Please correct me if I have made any mistakes above.

    I noticed this on another programm where nccad had entered G00 Z20.000 then G00 Z20.000 straight after repeating the same line of code.

    It may sound a bit daft but it wouldn't surprise me if Max computer had set this up in order to use the 5000 limit quicker in the basic version to increase frustration and likelihood you will go and give them another £290 quid plus shipping, I know it sounds a little far fetched but they do seem the type from what I have read on them so far.

    Regards

    Chris
     
  10. Sep 27, 2018 #30

    Bazzer

    Bazzer

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    Hello Chris

    I will try and get a sample code set done for you this evening.

    Regarding Max Computer, I dont think they are particulary cunning or sophisticated so I doubt any clever conspiracy theories. They survive by providing software that is taken up by the education sector in Germany in my opinion. They are OK to deal with commercially.

    I think the Proxxon published information about NCCAD 9 is vauge at best, Wabeo clearly have a table of limitations of the basic v pro versions of the software.

    I think you are left with little choice but to upgrade otherwise you will always be hitting this 5000 line limit, I know it hurts a little to be facing another cost but if the machine had been presented to you costing £280 more you would have probably still bought it, just saying.


    Best Regards

    Barrie
     
  11. Sep 27, 2018 #31

    Bazzer

    Bazzer

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    Emgee

    That sort of thing can happen with CAM and post processors, the CAM see's some area it wants to machine and maybe close or next to and existing cut but it see's that it has to unengage the cut, hence the positive Z axis movement.

    I have to say though, I did not see such movements in the 2.8 Million lines of code for the wing !!

    Best Regards

    Barrie
     
  12. Sep 27, 2018 #32

    Bazzer

    Bazzer

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    Hello Chris

    Cogsy might have a point regarding setup of the Z axis travel, if the Z axis travel number is incorrectly set very low then the machine could just run out of travel.

    Are you able to manually drive the Z axis down to the table with a cutter in place (mind the table).

    I have attached a screen shot of the area where the Z axis travel is set, look for menu item Parameters>Machine and this is on the first tab/page.

    Best Regards

    Barrie Axis settings.jpg
     
  13. Sep 27, 2018 #33

    Bazzer

    Bazzer

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    Hello Chris

    Of course one thing that none of us have mentioned, especially seeing as how you are self commisioning the machine, has some kind of referance run been done to find the machine home positions.

    on some hobby machines this just means carefully running the machine up against mechanical stops (Stepfour 540 basic router and EMCO F1 mill springs to mind) but I have a hunch your machine has switches as Max Computer has a 'Go to referance point' button when you are in the machine control.

    On the Wabeco that is the first thing I do when starting the machine up.

    Regards

    Barrie
     
  14. Sep 27, 2018 #34

    Chris Alderson

    Chris Alderson

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    = Hi Barrie

    That would be very much appreciated.

    To be honest I don't think proxxon are too bothered, I received a reply today basically saying sorry nothing we can do basically referring me to MAX-Computer again.
    If I had been offered the upgrade at point of sale I would of taken it hands down, Unfortunately I was under the impression that the machine would be working to its fullest potential in 3 axis out of the box, on the software it came with.

    lesson learned is all I can say.

    I've had a look at the values you have shown me in the screen shot Barrie and am a bit confused as they are as follows:

    X = 285
    Y = 103
    Z = 195

    In the manual the traverse paths are as follows:

    X = 290
    Y = 100
    Z = 220

    However looking at the specs for the machine its self online the traverse paths should be:

    X = 220
    Y = 100
    Z = 290

    Which would make sense as the Z axis is massive in comparison to the other 2 on the machine, not sure what to do there ?

    Do you think the above could be related to the error ?

    Regards

    Chris
     
  15. Sep 27, 2018 #35

    Chris Alderson

    Chris Alderson

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    Yes that was one of the first things to do in commissioning in the manual, go to home position (End switches)
     
  16. Sep 27, 2018 #36

    Bazzer

    Bazzer

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    Hello Chris

    I think we might be getting somewhere!!

    The machine will home in the Z axis at the top of the Z column, if the machine is only being allowed to come down 195mm from that position, you may well be trying to work right at the limit of it's imposed shorter travel.

    I would set your Z zero half up the Z axis column and run the engraving programme again, my guess is that it will work.

    Without seeing the machine up close it is a bit difficult to setup that Z axis travel, however I would proceed as follows.

    Do the 'go to home position' run, and zero the Z axis in that position then drive the Z axis down with the cursor keys or the down arrow in the machines software control panel. Very likely it will stop at 195mm, this will show in the readout. Be careful that nothing is in the way or obstructing the machine as it comes down.

    If everything happens as described above then start altering that 195mm figure in the setup towards 220mm, you will have to look at the machine etc to be sure that nothing stupid is going to happen like crashing into the table !!

    The Wabeco is set in such a way that the spindle with no tooling loaded cannot peck at the machine table if that makes sense.

    No chance to do the programming tonight - sorry

    Once you have the Z axis undercontrol it would be normal to zero the Z axis on either the top or bottom of the work piece, in Max Computer you ahve 20 diferent work piece zero points, this is handy for running different jobs.

    Best regards

    Barrie
     
  17. Sep 28, 2018 #37

    Chris Alderson

    Chris Alderson

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    Hi Barrie

    I know once I had commissioned the machine I had a little go moving the Axis with the cursor keys inside manual control, I did notice the Z axis stopped well above the table and would not go any further which puzzled me, but I believed at the time a mistake like that would not be made at the factory.

    Also the table movement on the X axis is not even, when the table moves to the right I worry about load on it as it stretches right out and partially runs off the dovetail slide ways, but the other way it hits the limit switch. no where near as far over as the opposite direction.

    I actually tried jacking the work piece up 30mm and had no problems at all, the same program ran to end with no problems.

    The original piece's top face was already lifted 60mm off the table surface.

    When ever you get a chance would be great Barrie, I'm currently messing round with a plugin I found for sketchup which generates G-code for the object you make in it, there are a few kinks to iron out though as I'm modifying the script to use KOSY friendly G-code which it currently doesn't so have just been modifying it post process before importing to nccad, seems to work ok once it has been tweaked though.

    I will have to get my head around the 20 different workpiece zero points and their uses.

    Regards

    Chris
     
  18. Sep 28, 2018 #38

    Bazzer

    Bazzer

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    Hello Chris

    From what you have said I think we can say that all of your problems have been an in correctly set Z axis travel.

    If we look at your numbers it tells the story, so you raised your work piece by 30mm then the prgramme ran, so what you effectively done was put the workpiece into the catchment area of the 195mm travel limit.

    I would then further suggest that the travel limit will likely need extending towards 280mm if you are going to be able to work with flat sheet materials sat on top of a spoil board on the machine table.

    I will address the issue of the table running off the dovetails this evening.

    If you tweek that Z axis travel limit in the software, then I think you are home and dry !

    Best Regards

    Barrie
     
  19. Sep 28, 2018 #39

    Chris Alderson

    Chris Alderson

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    Hi Barrie

    I have checked the set limit values and they are correct, the Z axis is not able to run any further down toward the table than its set limit sounds like it jumps off the screw threads if tried, its not really a problem I can just lift the work piece up in future, just glad I now know what was causing the error in the first place.

    Regards

    Chris
     
  20. Sep 29, 2018 #40

    tjwal

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    Estlcam.de is a simple cam product that is easy to use and UNDERSTAND. It opens and displays a dxf file. You then choose one of the shapes and through a menu and icon system you tell it what you want. For example for a rectangle you can cut around the outside, inside or clear out the inside. You choose the tool and federate to use. It takes this info and generates gcode. I found it useful to generate gcode for a few different shapes and the exam the gcode and figure out what it meant. A great way to learn gcode!
    It’s free to use but after a number of uses a timer pops up suggesting that you license it. I think it’s only $50.
     

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