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Thread: PROTO-TRAK

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    Question PROTO-TRAK

    HI fellow machinist's Have any of you ever ran PROTO-TRAK MX2 or MX3 control systems? I run both a Lagun knee mill and a TRAK DPM bed mill with PROTO-TRAK systems on them I have off line programing on my computer but I do 99% of my programing on the machines themselves. PROTO-TRAK is all I've ever run so I'd like to know how it compares with other systems like Fanuc,

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    Hey Gary55,
    I run a TRAK DPM as well. I ran a Prototrak Edge MX2 control. I actually like the Edge better than the DPM. I started as a computer guy before getting into Machining so I like to draw out my parts on Mastercam and export the toolpaths out. I started machining on a Supermax 3 Rebel with a Fanuc controller. Talk about jumping head first into the heat of things!! Anywho... When it comes to getting easy paths ie. rectangles circles and regular shaped pockets, Its obviously easier to figure your cords out quick and throwing them into AGE 2 or 3. When I was using Prototrak Edge, I could post my more difficult paths to a floppy and throw it in and run it pretty quickly. I have run into a big block with the DPM!! I have no AGEOL software. I had a part a week ago that I had to draw out on Mastercam and then label the outline of the parts points and manually enter them into the controller. 34 sets of mill paths with different Zs. I would have been able to get the job done in an hour but it took the better part of a day to do because I dont have a post for mastercam for AGE3. Bummer!! So in my humble opinion, usability wise, AGE is great for quick easy jobs and would be a trump to a fanuc if I could post to it for the harder ones. As far as Fanuc, Its great if you know G Code and how that al works. Code Geeks would eat up a fanuc!! Its like candy.

    P.S. If you could get your hands on a post file for the DPM AGE3 for Mastercam, I would be very greatfull!!

    Last edited by stpierrenb; 02-08-2008 at 10:57 PM. Reason: not finished with post.


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    stpierrenb if you sent a reply i did'nt get it all i got was my post



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    I run a ProtoTrak MX2 on my Alliant mill and I also run a ProtoTrak QuickCell 3 axis. Southwestern Industries programming software leaves some to be desired especially on the 3 axis. The MX2 I have never had a problem with but then again it is just a 2 axis. Offline programming did not happen with the 3 axis. We got the software but then after repeated attempts to get it to work, the Southwestern rep informed us the offline programming that they supplied would only work with an old DOS based computer WTH is with that??? How many people still have a computer laying around with Windows 3.1? So for some things on the three axis I will program with an older version of SmartCam, but usually just find it just as quick to draw something up in DeltaCad, and manually program it in to the three axis. This usually saves time over trying to tweak the numbers with SmartCam. Prototrak reads in .0005 but most Cad programs draw in .0001 or less, so I believe there is an overlap conflicy between how a Cad program is converted to how the 3 axis reads it. Hence tweaking numbers. I had a simple program on time profiling in "Z". 3 block. A straight angled line uo to a radius and back down to a straight angled line. Then it was looped with 999 repeats. Simple, simple, simple. Halfway thru the program it decided instead of running a clockwise arc, that it would run a full counterclockwise circle. Hell of a crash. I talked to Southwestern and they informed me that it had too many blocks in it, yet it will loop 999 times They put the same program into their machine and it would work. The next year they discontinued the QuickCell because of too many issues. Southwwestern really did not help at all with programming issues and after talking to them I kind of got the impression that some of their programmers were not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But enough for my rant. As far as the MX2, I have never had a problem with any size of program with it, and it will loop just fine either by manually programming or programming from a Cad program.



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    Hi,
    Has anyone got a copyof the Prototrak MX3 programming, operating and care manual that they would sell or copy and sell the copy?

    I have the mx2 manual but have the mx3 controller fitted on an ACER milling machine and cannot figure out some things on mx3
    Best Regards
    John O Regan



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    Smile MX3

    Hi John Have you had any luck finding manual? I run a TRAK-DPM bed mill with MX3, maybe I can help with your problem. Proto Trak does'nt have a very informative manual in regards to programing, just the basic terminology& some example programing and operation instructions.



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    I run a Proto Trak AGE2 and have had no probelms with it at all. I know very little about conventional CNC being a Diamond Machinst by trade, but I went from knowing zero about this machine to cutting metal in a day.

    I design in ACAD, export to Dolphin and CAM in that then transfer to the Proto Trak thingy.

    I love deadlines- I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.


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    Hi Gary, and Every One

    I hope I can explain my problems without getting everyone including myself confused.!!
    I am trying to make the valve rocker mounting pillars for a mid 1920's Blackburne engine, (I am going to try and attach some pictures as well).


    I am programming directly with the prototrak soft keys.
    I selected, prog, frame then arc, X and Y begin, Z rapid, Z begin,
    X,Y and Z end. all straight forward,
    Then X and Y centers (of the arc).
    The MX2 manual says;
    "In ARC events when X and Y center are programmed incrementally,
    they are referenced from X End and Y End respecttively." ??????

    in my case the center is, X=0.0 ABS, Y=0.0 ABS.

    Then it looks for Z center, WHERE THE HELL IS THAT???

    When the next event is continue mill, a straight line tangental to the ARC, (NOT directly X or Y directions) I used the Maths Help to find the reference points for the tangent.
    (First of all it kept telling me that this ARC was not possible with the points given).

    If I want to mill the top surface of a block say 4X3 that is clamped proud in the vice,
    How do I ask MX3 to do this?
    The Mill option only has two reference points
    I tried asking it to do a pocket larger than the block, say 4 1/2 X 3 1/2
    and entered the tool data as 1.5in dia (slabmill), however it started moving in very small square patterns each getting slightly bigger!
    It seemed to be ignoring the inputted tool diamater??

    I wound up squaring the blocks using the power feed, All very time consuming!!!

    Thanks for reading through this and I hope you will be able to point me in the right direction!

    Best Regards
    John O Regan

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -blackburne-rocker-drawing-2-jpg   -copy-dscn2260-jpg  


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    Here some pictures of the parts that I am replicating.
    The rocker pillar is threaded into the cylinder head and then fixed with the locknut.
    I do not have to make the rockers themselves as I have been promised a NOS pair,
    These are only two components in a seemingly never ending list of parts to make during the restoration of my 1925 Chater Lea "Super Sports"

    Another Question, What would be the best material to make the pivot spindles from?
    The new old rockers have needle bearings for the pivots.

    Regards
    John

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -p3100055-jpg   -p3100056-jpg   -p3100058-jpg   -p3100059-jpg  



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    Hi John Are you makeing the part with the threaded stud on it? If so how are you going to do the stud? Oh by the way I have a MX3 programing operating& care manual I can send to you



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    Hi Gary,
    If you look at the photos again you will see that when I machined the blocks I used the DRO to find and drill the centers at at each end, I can now mount between centers in the lathe and turn down and thread the pillar. it is very unusual 1/2 in X 24tpi, then machine out the center portion where the Rocker fits.
    I will post some more pics when I get that far,
    If you send me a private email we can sort out the details of the manual

    chaterlea25@gmail.com

    Regards
    John



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    HI Gary,
    I want to "THANK YOU" on CNC Zone for your time and effort of sending me the MX3 manual. Your costs will be in the post Tomorrow 3/3/08

    I will post some more pictures of the parts when they are finished, I had a message on Saturday that the rockers are on the way to me.
    Regards
    John



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