Will the Novakon NM-135, (KX3) fit on a 24" deep bench? How much space is needed to allow the machine to operate?
Thanks for the help.
We have been looking into the X3 type mills for a while and have settled on the NM-135.
I spoke with John, (the owner of Novakon), and Kai, (their sales rep), today to hash out the details of the order.
Our order is as follows:
1 NM-135 CNC mill
1 CD 100 4 axes controller, (this is their upgrade controller with 4 G203V's)
1 4th axes upgrade with rotary table, (this is going to be awesome)
1 coolant system
1 year warranty
Shipping to our location in Seattle Washington ($700)
The guys were great to talk to and answered all of our questions.
The CD 100 controller comes in a rugged PC case and can be bundled with PC components in the same package. The end user also has the option of adding their own PC components to the controller housing.
The Bob CAM, and Mach3 comes shipped on a thumb drive. I thought that this was a creative idea and gave me a bit of a laugh.
The rotary table is going to open up many doors for us. I can't wait to mess around with it, however I have no idea what I am doing.
These guys are great!
I'll post many pics and vids of the process.
Last edited by TacPyro; 02-17-2009 at 12:13 AM.
Will the Novakon NM-135, (KX3) fit on a 24" deep bench? How much space is needed to allow the machine to operate?
Thanks for the help.
Looking forward to your report and photos. Thanks for posting.
My modified mill has a work envelope of 18 inches by 8 inches by 18 inches.
My flood coolant enclosure is 28 x 48 and there is a little room to spare in the 48.
The Novakon has a little less travel, and NO Y motor sticking out so should fit into these same dimensions. It will have to sit slightly off-center though, due to travel eccentricities. Mine is off-centered to the right.
The mill weighs about 400 pounds, not counting the weight of vise or parts, so the bench will have to be sturdy.
My bench is 24 inches deep, and it's a good sturdy bench. The new lathe will be on the bench as well so that will be quite a bit of weight.
CR, do you have your mill mounted on a stand?
Is your coolant tank mounted under the mill?
I posted a little snippet in one of my other threads with an electricity problem. The problem is that there isn't enough of it and more isn't available, so my question is this: How difficult would it be to build a bank of batteries that would send dc through an inverter to a breaker box to supply supplemental power to the shop. A charger would be switched on after closing hours to power the batteries. Is this possible? Expensive?
So to date, I have been able to wrap my mind around the mechanical actions of a CNC machine, but I still have no idea how the machine interfaces with the computer, how does the machine know where to tool is, how do you program tool paths for four axes with a rotary table? I am really lost with this and a link to a good explanation would be great.
CR, thanks for the tip on Novakon. Those guys are great, and I hope that the mill is just as good.
Does anyone know the quality of their rotary tables?
This does not sound practical to me. My little VMC is powered by two 115V 20A circuits. That's a lot of batteries for a full day's work. Fumes might be excessive. (of course, most of the fumes would be at night.) Hydrogen fumes can be extremely explosive.I posted a little snippet in one of my other threads with an electricity problem. The problem is that there isn't enough of it and more isn't available, so my question is this: How difficult would it be to build a bank of batteries that would send dc through an inverter to a breaker box to supply supplemental power to the shop. A charger would be switched on after closing hours to power the batteries. Is this possible? Expensive?
Have you seen my Basic CNC Primer?So to date, I have been able to wrap my mind around the mechanical actions of a CNC machine, but I still have no idea how the machine interfaces with the computer, how does the machine know where to tool is, how do you program tool paths for four axes with a rotary table? I am really lost with this and a link to a good explanation would be great.
You are Welcome! Glad to be of help. If the RT is anything like the rest of the mill, I'm sure it is of good quality. It needs to be rigid with adjustment for no backlash.CR, thanks for the tip on Novakon. Those guys are great, and I hope that the mill is just as good.
Does anyone know the quality of their rotary tables?
Last edited by Crevice Reamer; 02-18-2009 at 12:47 AM.
i think you need about 32-34" working area for the mill. the base will sit on the 24" bench fine, but the machine will overhang.
my kx1 is 22" deep with a 26" maximum working depth not counting cabling in the back whicn takes up several inches.
CNC BASIC PRIMER:
ACME SCREWS are the standard for most manual mills. They are just a relatively close tolerance screw thread and give fairly high precision and low backlash while the adjustment lasts.
Acme screws and nuts wear quickly. Usually the screw wears most in the middle and less on the ends. After a while, you can't use the ends because it's too tight.
Even relatively cheap ballscrews, which HAVE some backlash, are better because the backlash does not vary so often. Mach3 can compensate for backlash that doesn't keep getting worse
AXES: An axis is a direction of the CNC machine that is controlled by a motor. X axis = Left/Right. Y axis = Forward/Back. Z Axis = Up/Down (or on lathe: Z = Left/Right and X = forward/back.) A,B,C axes are rotary or angular. A is usually the forth axis, and can either rotate perpendicular to the X axis or perpendicular to the Z axis. It is good to have as much travel as possible on these--Especially the Z. (for long tool use)
AXIS SPEED: There are basically two speeds--Cutting and rapid. Both are set in software, typically Mach3 or emc2. Speeds are set in Inch Per Minute of axis movement.
Cutting speed is Feed or F in G code. Rapid speed is the speed the spindle moves from place to place BETWEEN cuts. Feed speed can be set as low as you desire. Rapid speed (Which you really want to be high to cover large areas) is set as high as both the electronics will provide and you are comfortable with. Generally, on a 4 x 8 or larger router, 800 IPM is not unheard of. In metric it would be mm or meters per minute.
BACKLASH: When reversing direction, any handle (Or motor) movement that does not also move the axis (or table or head/quill) is backlash. It is measurable directly by the dial on the handwheel or with a dial indicator. For CNC, backlash must be checked and adjusted often. A large enough backlash may turn a circle into a vague blob.
BALLSCREWS have large threads that allow a ball bearing to roll IN them. The ballscrew nut contains many small steel balls that recirculate inside to reduce friction. The ball nuts can be extremely tight to eliminate backlash--yet still have little friction.
Once ballscrews are installed, manual control may not be possible. Because ballscrews turn so easily, the table or head might not hold a position, but be free to move on its own. So while you COULD install hand cranks on double shaft motors, you might have to constantly lock the gibs on the other axes and it just may not be practical.
Ballscrews come in two types: Rolled and ground. Ground ballscrews are best, but can cost thousands of dollars for just one screw. We small-time automators usually can't afford them.
Rolled ballscrews come in several grades. The better they are for accuracy and low backlash per length, the more they cost. We usually use a medium grade.
If you buy say a six foot length of ballscrew, it needs to first be cut to axis lengths. It is hardened material, so this is usually best done with an abrasive cutting disk.
After they are cut, each end is turned down on a lathe. Because they are hardened, this is difficult to do. One end is usually turned to one diameter to fit a bearing. The other end may be turned to several decreasing diameters to accomodate thrust bearings, threaded for clamp nuts, and turned at the end to fit stepper coupling or pulley.
Once you have determined the LENGTH of the screws you need, there are companies who will make your ballscrews to order.
BALL NUTS: These are basically just enclosures that contain and recirculate the small ball bearings.
PRE-LOADED BALL NUTS: These have been re-loaded with larger balls. This takes up all available wiggle space and help eliminate backlash.
DOUBLE BALL NUTS: Two ball nuts with one tightened against the other to counter backlash. These are even better, but more expensive, and because they are longer, cost a loss of axis travel.
BREAK OUT BOARDS (BOBs): Control software like Mach3 or emc2 uses the many wires in a parallel port (printer) cable to send control from the computer to the drives. Rather than fastening each tiny wire in the cable to its destination, the breakout board accepts the cable plug and then puts each wire on an accessable screw terminal.
CNC: Computer Numeric Control. CNC can do things that you couldn't DREAM of doing manually. Properly programmed CNC can cut a sphere or any other geometric shape. All by combining axis moves to position the cutter in 3D space.
There are three programs involved:
CAD: (Computer Assisted Design) A program to draw plans and maybe 3D objects with.
CAM (Computer Assisted Manufacturing) This program sets up the tool paths for the mill or lathe. It may translate the CAD output to G code.
Control: This software actually runs the mill or lathe or router from the G code. This software comes WITH certain expensive "turnkey" equipment, but usually you have to acquire it seperately.
G CODE: Actually there are many other letters involved also. This is the language that tells the Control program how to direct the machine to make the part.
MACH3 is the hobbiest defacto best computer software for machine control in Windows. It can control either Steppers or Servos. Mach operates by sending out pulses to to the drivers that control the motors. The NUMBER of pulses is limited by the speed of the computer and by an upper limit. 35 to 50 thousand pulses is an average amount.
OR EMC2. EMC2 is a free, open source software CNC program that runs on Linux.
CHATTER: A shudder or shaking of the machine and part when the tool is pushed too hard for conditions. (material density, tool sharpness etc) This is an undesirable in cutting and is avoided by either using a more massive machine, or by using greater care with tool feed and spindle speed.
DIAL INDICATOR: This is used to accurately measure a very small distance and display it on an easily read dial. These are invaluable for setting up work and Tramming the CNC machine.
Stepper drivers are the electronics that translate the pulses from the computer into useable current for the motors. They are fairly expensive and many are easily damaged. Wiring the drive wrong or disconnecting it during use will destroy most drives. You can have a powered driver without a motor connected, But you NEVER want to disconnect a motor while power is applied.
MICROSTEPPING: Some drivers are designed to artificially reduce the distance the motor will turn by electronics. Most motors have full step hardwired at 1.8 degrees and with 200 computer pulses it will complete one revolution. With microstepping set at 10 (Or one tenth) The motor will theoretically take 2000 steps (And computer pulses) to complete a revolution. I say theoretically because microsteps get just a little more vague in size as their number increases. Micro stepping operates at the expense of speed, and promises extremely high accuracy by increasing steps per revolution, but practically 8 or 10 microsteps are the limit. The computer and software can only put out just so many pulses, and the higher the step count, the slower the motor will run, unless the drive has full step morphing.
Generally, the more expensive drives (Like the Gecko G203 or G540 Vampires) offer the best features like overheat protection, micro stepping and speed morphing.
MID BAND RESONANCE DAMPINGl Only in better quality PWM drives like Gecko. Allows motor to run at medium speeds without losing steps.
MICRO STEP TO FULL STEP MORPHING: Only Gecko 203V or G540 and also the Mardus-Kreutz (unipolar micro-stepper drives) and Kreutz-4 and derivatives (K-41DIY) bipolar micro-stepper drives use waveform morphing vs speed. This allows low speed micro stepping and high speed RPMs. Morphing does micro step for smooth low speed accuracy, but jumps to full step speed for high speed rapids.
IDLE CURRENT REDUCTION: Steppers tend to get hottest standing still. Overheat protection may 1. Cut the current down, and/or 2. Put the motor in "sleep" mode after a short wait. Both will drastically reduce heat buildup.
STEPPER MOTORS are designed to move just a tiny bit each time they receive an electrical pulse. They do not operate on straight uninterrupted current as normal motors do. The Torque rating is what you get with the motor at rest. Torque falls off with increase in RPMs. To do any WORK with it, you need to carry much of that torque up to higher RPMs.
It is important to match the motor to the load. You can't just assume that bigger is better. Bigger motors run somewhat slower than smaller motors. A router, more so than a mill, needs high rapid speeds. You will get best performance by wiring the motors in Bipolar Parallel.
STEPPER MOTOR WIRING CONFIGURATIONS: Stepper motors usually have 2 phases and 4 internal coils. Four wire stepper motors have 4 coils inside that are internally wired as either BPP or BPS. Series motors will have four times the inductance in mH, 1/2 the Amperage rating and can tolerate twice the Voltage as Parallel wired motors.
UNIPOLAR (UP 5, 6 or 8 wire motors): Unipolar motors run ONE coil at a time. One coil per phase is powered--which one depends on direction desired. These can be driven by very inexpensive controllers, but are not very efficient and usually deliver low power.
HALF COIL (HC 5, 6 or 8 wire motors. Allows 5 or 6 wire motors to run nearly as fast as if they were wired BPP.
BIPOLAR SERIES (BPS 4, 6 or 8 wire motors): These motors have low-speed TORQUE, but will quickly lose power as they run faster and will stall at relatively slow speeds. Their power goes through first ONE coil of the phase and then the other. (series)
BIPOLAR PARALLEL (BPP 4 or 8 wires): These motors Have good torque and retain more of it higher RPMs than any other type. Their power goes through both coils at once, but separately. (parallel) This is generally considered to be the best wiring method for steppers.
This diagram is for illustration of the above points:
GECKO DRIVES are generally acknowledged as the best. Gecko "Vampire" drives are virtually unkillable.
The new low-cost Gecko G540 board (Accepts up to 50 volt power supply and outputs up to 3.5A each motor) will combine four axes of tiny morphing "Vampire" drives with a breakout board so that all you need to connect is the parallel cable, power wires, and motor cables. CNC conversion is now a LOT easier and less expensive.
SERVO DRIVES that WE can afford, use basically the same pulse system as stepper drives. Actual expensive commercial servo drives use a different, more expensive PID system.
SERVO MOTORS, which are more expensive, do not have the starting torque that steppers have, but they maintain what torque they have into high rpms. They are usually geared down 2 or 3 to 1 to gain starting torque. Even geared down, they can still attain thousands of RPM, so speed is not a problem with pulleys. Servo motors are also equipped to tell the computer (through encoder feedback) exactly where the motor is at any given time so there are no missed steps. Stepper motors can stall and miss steps unbenownst to the operator until the finished part is measured. Servo motors will destroy themselves if stalled or if encoder fails.
CPR: Count Per Revolution.
PPS: Pulse Per Second.
Encoders: These send position and speed feedback to the controller and are rated in CPR. They are quadrature devices that require 4 times the PPS per revolution. For example: An encoder rated at 250 CPR, will require 1000 drive Pulses Per Second.
PID: A Proportional–Integral–derivative controller (PID controller) is a generic control loop feedback mechanism widely used in servo control systems.
Each system has its pros and cons. Steppers used with proper power supplies are reliable, consistent and cost effective--That's why most hobby applications use steppers.
HOME SWITCHES are usually Normally Open, (NO) and are set at one of the limits of travel. When Mach orders a home operation, the axes go to the home switch location, close the switch, and then move slightly back and stop. This gives a reference position for mach to start from and position the tool.
It is sometimes possible, but much more difficult, to combine the upper N.C. limit switch with a N.O. home switch in the same switch. (double throw)
IPM: Inch Per Minute is the speed rating for the X, Y & Z axis motion. Cutting in a mill usually happens below 30 IPM. But rapids (Especially in a router) may need to be as fast as possible.
LIMIT SWITCHES: These are usually Normally Closed (NC) switches that tell mach when an axis has exceeded its limit of travel. On a servo system they will prevent the servo from stalling and burning itself up. On a high speed stepper system they may prevent impact damage to the motor. On a low speed stepper system they are probably not needed as the stepper motor will stall harmlessly. It is almost impossible to limit switch the lower end of Z travel because of varying tool lengths. Mach3 will also allow you to set up "soft limits" that operate independent of any switch.
MGP: Manual Pulse Generator. This allows easy manual CNC axis control without programming. Can be either a hand-wheel or joystick control
NEMA = National Electrical Manufacturers Association. They set the USA electrical standards.
NEMA SIZES: Both steppers and servos may come in different Nema flange sizes.
Nema 23= 2.3 inch flange. Nema 34= 3.4 inch flange etc. We usually use either the smaller Nema 23 or the somewhat larger Nema 34. The torque may overlap between the sizes, but generally the larger motor has an easier time.
For example, a 500 oz Nema 23 stepper motor will be working hard (and getting hotter) to attain the torque at which a 500 oz Nema 34 will be easily cruising. Generally, power is added by extending the length (stack) of the motor.
POWER SUPPLY (PSU): Both types of motors run on DC Voltage. The power supply simply converts ordinary alternating current into smooth DC at a Voltage for CNC motors. Choosing the proper voltage to match drivers/motors is one of the most important decisions needed. You NEVER want to install a switch on the DC side of the power supply.
One power supply, sized to power the lowest Best voltage motor, is all you need. EG: Two 60V motors combined with one 83V motor = Must use 60V or less PSU.
Stepper motors need around 20 times their rated voltage to perform at their best. For example, a motor rated at 2 volts will perform best, without stalling or losing steps, with a 40 volt power supply.
For the EXACT Max/Best power needed for a stepper motor the formula is 32 times the square root of motor inductance in mH. EXAMPLE: A motor with 4 mH inductance would need a 64 Volt PSU. The PSU must be sized for the lowest voltage motor--So a 64 Volt motor combined with an 85V motor would need a 64V PSU. You would then pick the PSU that is at or as closely below 65V.
Series wired motors can run at higher voltages--but there is a cost in speed performance.
AMPERAGE: To determine the PSU amperage required the formula is .67 times total motor amps. EXAMPLE: Amper rating for three 3 Amp motors would be (3+3+3) times .67 = 6 Amp PSU.
PULLEYS are used to increase torque by gearing down the motor RPM. However, stepper motors get weaker as speed increases, (To a limit of 800-1500 RPM depending on PS voltage--up to 20-25 times motor rated voltage if the drivers can handle it.) so most of the gain in torque results in lost speed. That's why most stepper motors are connected direct drive.
QUILL: This is a spindle shaft that allows the tool to be moved up and down separately from the head--Usually by a lever/wheel arrangement as on a drill press. Most dedicated CNC machines do not have a quill, and it is usually removed or locked during a CNC conversion of a manual mill. (Because CNC head moves are adequate and extending a quill lessens the tool rigidity.
RAPIDS: Non-cutter axis moves to get quickly from one point to another. These are cumulative, so if they are slow it slows down the whole job.
The way to get best rapid speeds is to be able to get torque at high RPMs. This is accomplished by matching the motor's best voltage to the power supply voltage. Higher voltage pulses charge the coils more quickly and maintain torque to faster speeds.
The actual motor RPM get will depend on your drivers and power supply. First find the inductance of the motor wired the best way for your driver--Usually Bipolar Parallel. Formula for most efficient motor voltage is 32 times the square root of that inductance.
If you run the motor BPP at that voltage and at full motor amps, and have enough PPS from the computer, you will get the maximum rpm possible. If it is too fast for your liking, you can always slow it down (with no ill effects) in software.
If you run the motor at LESS than that Voltage, and/or with a less efficient driver, you will get proportionately less RPM before stalling and losing steps.
Using the G540 as the controller, (and you should if you can, it's the most bang for the buck) You can operate with a max voltage of 50V. With the G540, you will want motors with best Voltage between 50 and 65V.
RIGIDITY The basic solidness of a CNC machine. A more rigid machine can take deeper cuts without chatter. Heavy machines are usually more rigid than light ones. A more rigid machine is usually more accurate also.
RESOLUTION: The measured (In mm. or inch) amount of accuracy possible in an axis move. This is a combination of number of steps per motor revolution and number of turns per inch of the lead screw. For example: A direct-drive Stepper motor with driver set for full step will take 200 steps for one full revolution. If that revolution turns a ballscrew with 5 turns per inch, then there will be 1000 steps per inch or a resolution of one thousanth of an inch. (.001) If that same motor was turning a 20 turn per inch Acme screw, the resolution would be 4000 steps per inch, or 4 TEN thousanths of an inch. (4 Tenths or .0004) Pulley or gear ratios add to the resolution and you must also factor in any microstepping of the drive.
Bear in mind that there is no free lunch. Computer pulses are limited, and usually Finer resolution comes at the cost of lower Rapid speed.
STEPS PER INCH (SPI): Are used to set up machine software to accurately move the axes. The usually 1.8 degree per step motor will need 200 full steps to turn one revolution. The TPI of the lead screws will determine how many revolutions will move the axes one inch. Multiply this by the number of micro steps and you have the basic step per inch factor. In Metric, this would be steps per mm or steps per meter.
Ideally, this would make the machine actually move the proper amount. But if say a 6 inch move is called for, but the machine moves more or less, you may need to tweak the SPI up or down a little. Mach3 accepts decimal amounts here.
TRAMMING: A process to make all axes of a machine tool perfectly perpendicular to each other. If these axes are not perfectly aligned, then the parts made will be out of intended specification or shape.
WHY HAVE FAST RAPIDS:
There is no maximum limit for IPM. High IPM is a measure of the drive/motor efficiency. Good efficiency equals lower chance of missed steps. It is NOT just about cutting speed--Cutting speed will be influenced by material and force required. Inefficient systems may not be able to provide sufficient force to cut at optimum rates without stalling and missing steps. Many have cursed stepper systems as no good because their inefficient systems lost steps.
FIRST: Understand that YOU can always set the upper limit of your IPM by software control. You can easily slow down an efficient CNC. It is very difficult and often very expensive to SPEED UP an inefficient CNC.
High IPM really saves time when your spindle has to move from one place to another without cutting. Time saved always translates into money saved during production.
If you have lots of time to waste, have no intentions of ever doing any kind of production, will NEVER want anything like an automatic tool changer (or multiple fixtures) and/or are not dealing with a large area to cover like on a router--Then by all means limit your upper rapid speed. But do it in software--NOT by crippling your machine with inefficient components.
[b]WHY A G540 STEPPER DRIVER IS A GREAT VALUE:[b/]
Everybody at first says "Wow that's expensive! Let's look at what a G540 is:
$600: Four junior unkillable G203Vs with built in microstepping to full speed morphing and mid range resonance dampening.
$120+: Optoisolated 4 axis breakout board with spindle speed control, limit and home connections and built in logic power supply.
$200: Worth of time and aggravation wiring up and troubleshooting myriad connections that are already DONE internally with G540.
$015: Motor cable connectors.
Priceless: All this in a tiny package that just requires connection to 2 power supply wires, up to 4 motor cables and one computer parallel cable and it's up and running.
$935+ Total value for only $299.
The only downside is that you need to expend the effort to choose your motors for best power within (Or as close as possible to) the 3.5A, 50V G540 envelope.
Of course, you can do what MANY do and go for a $50 to $100 cheaper solution that may either prove unreliable or turn out to be unsuitable and need to be replaced after awhile--That may NOT be a money saving choice.
I have an NM-135, the mounting base is 19" deep but total depth of the mill is 30" so if your bench isn't against a wall you'll be ok. the drip tray is 34" deep and you're going to need 4' total clearance on the sides for the X travel. The mill should come with the metal stand which isn't too bad but I think I'll make an enclosure eventually.