X3 With CNC Fusion Kit, Geckos, CandCNC MiniIO, Kelling Drives, etc.
I just purchased the full complement of items to cnc my X3. I purchased the cncfusion kit with the upgraded preloaded ballscrews. I also bought a neat 340 controller and drive box. I am pretty sure as configured it wont work because its not a normal 4 axis stepper system so I also bought the miniIO card from CandCNC to replace their controller card. I'm pretty sure that the 4 drives that come with it will work, if not i'll replace those too with gecko's. For how much the whole thing cost me I just couldnt pass it up even if the only useful thing in it is the power supply and case. I purchased mach3 and intend to purchase some stepper's in the near future. This is my first time building a cnc mill so if I'm missing something obvious please let me know.
I would also like to comment on the fantastic support from Micheal at CNCFusion. I had yet to purchase his conversion and asked him about 30 questions in email's as to whether or not this or that would work well together as well as asking what do I need to build the electronic part of the system. He always answered promptly and was always willing to give suggestions. His emails were instrumental in me gaining a far better grasp of what I needed to purchase and how things needed to go together. He also said that he would give me a full wiring diagram of how to put the certain parts together. I'm sure Ill be able to figure it out with everything that is on this forum if nothing else but that is awesome customer service in my opinion.
So anyways, stay tuned.
Last edited by pzzamakr1980; 11-10-2006 at 09:43 PM.
Okay, I made a really stupid beginner mistake by not fully researching something before I bought. I purchased the NEAT system for 300 dollars. A good deal if it was what I wanted. It turned out that the system would be nearly useless for me. No Mach3 support and everything would have to be programmed through basic as well as having other drawbacks.
Instead I asked the seller to be compassionate and give me a refund which they did minus a small fee for listing fee's and such. I then purchased the miniIO breakout card from CandCNC.com. Seems like it is nice and has all the inputs that are necassary. I was going to go with the breakout card from CNC4PC.com but it wasnt opto-isolated which from reading on this board is very important. Plus, the one from CandCNC didnt require a seperate power supply which is also nice. I then purchased 3 gecko 201's from Keling Technology. I also purchased from them 3 steppers, the power supply, and mach3. I purchased stepper wiring on ebay for cheap and the seller got it to me in two days. Very nice.
I actually stripped the whole mill down today and Damn! there are a lot of screws. I was intending to take pictures of the process but i couldnt find my camera and so said screw it. I figure I will show the process of putting it back together when I get the conversion which should be sometime next week. I also received my parts from CandCNC.com. I will also take pictures of these when I get everything.
I think I may have caused something to fail in the mill motor when I disassembled it. It will no longer run although the whole unit powers on. It is seperated from its mounts and I wanted to make sure that when I disassembled it it didnt loosen any wires. I wanted to do this because it fell out of my hand and yanked on the wires kinda hard. Is there a failsafe built in that would prevent the motor from turning when not mounted. If anybody knows that would be great to share. If not, how do you remove the cover to check the wiring on the motor.
mmm maybe try grounding the motor, if the wires were pulled off, make sure ther reconnected correctly, otherwise it should work off the mounts. Check for any fail safe switches, tho I doubt thers any...
Okay, heres a couple pictures to let yall know how its going so far. A couple of the pictures are the electronics and a couple are the X3 basically ripped down to near the bare bones. Its a mess which is generally not my style but I had a hot date. So i hurrried!
I had also intended to show how to break down the machine but couldnt find my phone and hence couldnt take pictures while I was doing it. I do however intend to show from beginning to end how to install the cnc fusion kit once it gets here. Thx
Also, I do have one other concern. I emailed tom at CandCNC about the adaptor to go from a 25p IDC? cable to the DB25 cabling and he has yet to respond. You can see the cable above the breakout board in picture one. I looked all over Mouser for one and couldnt find one. Anybody have any suggestions as to where one can be located. Thx again
Okay, found the solution with a bit of further research in regards to the interface cable. The board pin is actually an IDC26. There is not an adaptor but instead a whole cable that adapts from the IDC26 interface to a DB25 interface. I felt this should be noted for those who have the xylotex boards as they use this very same interface.
Also, as a side note, Tom from CandCNC had a replacement cable sent out today free of charge. So far, I have had nothing but good things to say about those I've shopped through. Either because of lack of problems and timely shipping or in the one instance where there has been a problem, it was remedied very quickly. All that I am so far waiting on to continue is the CNC Fusion kit itself and I'll get things started.
One other note. I am compiling a list of little things such as capacitors, fuses, interconnects, etc. from Mouser and will post what I ended up buying and needing when I start to do the whole electronics building.
Another stupid mistake because of me not looking closely enough and not taking my time on something. I had intended to just use 4wire motors because of their simplicity to wire but instead made a mistake while ordering and purchased two 8 wire versions of the NEMA23 motor. Because of this I had to find 8 conductor wire which is a bit of a hassle as none of the vendors I found had any in lengths smaller than 100 feet. I did find some for super cheap so hopefully that little problem is taken care of. While not a master electrician by any means I am also fully capable of wiring these motors properly especially with the data sheet provided by Keling Tech Inc. I also did not feel like going through the hassle of sending something back and paying for shipping. It is however, a small concern of mine that this could cause problems besides the hassle of wiring. If this is true please speak up and let me know.
So, pay attention and save yourself some trouble and money.
Well. I have finished the cnc conversion of the mill. It took about 10 hours to finish and that was only because of having to figure things out. If I had instructions it would have taken me less than 5. Maybe less.
Also, here are pictures of the electronics board and the enclosure. Also, to make my life really easy I am combining the computer parts with the cnc electronics. Micheal mentioned to me that this may be a bad idea so I will be taking some measures to prevent electrical interference from the computer. I have already bought shield wiring. I also realized that I dont need 8 conductor wire since the motors will be run parallel and there are actually only 4 wires that are necessary to run the motors. DUH. As you can see I bought a huge enclosure that is more than ample to fit both sets of electronics with tons of room. I am also going to replace the sides with really cool sides from a plastic computer case that I had used as my desktop. That way it will be super easy to cut out the necessary holes for the motors and the computer stuff is pre-cut along with about 5 fan holes and with the computer in there I can power those with the motherboard. Plus it glows under blacklight which makes my computer nerd self very happy.
Ahh, the joy of figuring out how to do something all by yourself. Or mostly by yourself. Or with just pictures to go on. Anyhow, here goes. If this seems a bit disjointed understand that I am doing this from the build up not the tear down.
Start by taking of the cover that is seen in picture one. Then the other cover that holds the safety switch. For this cover just loosen the bolts and slide the cover to the left and off. The remove the electrical housing from the back. There are two bolts on the base of the mill and two on top of the z-axis. You will also need to remove one of the rear covers to undo the ground wires. Also you will need to remove the belt from the motor and the four screws that hold the motor to the mill. Remove all these items (they are all connected) and set them someplace safe. The rest is just undoing some screws and pulling of some lead screw mounts and such. Some of these were stuck because of the alignment dowels were pretty darn tight. I just used a flat screwdriver and some mallet taps to loosen them up so i could pull them off. The third picture shows (in my opinion) the ideal condition of the mill to begin rebuilding.
Now put the y-axis ball screw mount on. You will need to remove the alignment dowels to put the mount on. You will not use them. The ball screw already came mounted so it made my life real easy. I didnt tighten this down too tight so i could make sure it was aligned properly. It was pretty good without the pins as it would turn out. The mount is shown in picture 4. The x-axis ball screw mount is shown in picture number 5. Its the same procedure as the y-axis but it is imperative that you not tighten it so it will align properly. I then put the table on and proceeded to slide the table back and forth a bit with the ballscrew so it would self align. I then flipped it up a bit and tightened down the screws. To put the slide on and the table on I held them with my left hand while holding the gib in place with my right and just lifted in on straight and jiggled a bit so it would go on. I again used the ball screw to move the slide along the y-axis so it would align and then held the mill base up to tighten the screws. I know the fifth picture show the slide mounted without the table on but after that picture was taken i put the table on. Took the slide off and aligned the mount. Save yourself a step and just align it before you mount the slide.
This took some figurin' because I didnt realize that you were supposed to reuse the bearings from the X3 but I had an epiphany when I woke up the next morning and realized that I was supposed to do so. It was literally an epiphany. Epiphany is a good word by the way. The first picture shows the y-axis motor mount facing up so you can see the preload nut. It presses against the thrust bearing. If i was going to add a single item in the kit it would be some decent bearings. The stock bearings are pretty ****ty and a bit difficult to work with. I think this has been mentioned in previous posts by others and I will have to second it. I didnt need to tighten these much. Just a bit to take the wobble out of the mount. The second picture shows the mount tightened down and right side up. You may need to use the included shims to have the correct amount of screw sticking out. Next the x-axis motor mount. You reuse the hand wheel side of the stock lead screw assembly and mount the preload nut on the end. This is shown in picture 3. Use the motor mount in the kit on the other side. This is shown in picture 4 and the mount is in picture 5
Start off with installing the motor mount. This is pretty straightforward but make sure the motor will face up when installed. Its really aggravating to realize that you made a stupid mistake two thirds into a process. Look at picture 1 to see how the mount goes. Also make sure you reuse the spacers that the stock screws used but make sure you use the longer bolts provided in the kit. Dont put the motor on or the belt yet. I just didnt have an earlier picture so I had to use this one. You will reuse the all the stock mounts and bearings from the X3 so make sure you have them handy. Look at pictures on the CNCFusion website to get an idea of how the whole assembly looks. Picture 1 shows the top mount with the ball screw partially inside. It doesnt have to go far, just far enough to prevent the screw from whipping. Before trying to mount the ballscrew make sure that you remove the motor mount to ease installation immensely. This is shown in picture 2. It also shows the belt drive mounted. Now you can install the motor mount with the motor and the belt drive for the motor. Put the belt on and tension it properly by moving the motor mount. You do this by loosening the the screws that hold the mount on and pulling out on the mount. Look at picture 1 again to get an idea how its supposed to look. At this point, you are pretty much done. Put the motor and the electrical housing back on. The next picture shows the mill all put together. And we are done, I think. If anything seems really screwed up when i run the machine I'll let you know and do what I can to fix it.
Tomorrow I intend to cut the enclosure so I can mount the computer box sides and from there its just a hop skip and a jump to putting the rest all together. Lets hope the jump isnt too big.