Feedback on PCNC 1100


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Thread: Feedback on PCNC 1100

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    Default Feedback on PCNC 1100

    Hi Folks...

    I'm setting up a prototyping shop and...after looking around a bit...have settled on the Tormach PCNC 1100 with the 4'th axis option as a good entry point...

    I'm new to CNC...but am a professional engineer and know my way around CAD pretty good...

    A 5 axis machine would be ideal but the prices are a bit steep...

    Couple of questions...how hard would it be to convert this machine to 5 axis...I have seen a video of a factory demonstrator that was done some time back...but apparently nothing has come of it...

    I have seen two approaches...one is to mount a trunnion table to the 8 inch rotary...with a 6 inch rotary mounted to the trunnion...another might be to use the tilting, motorized 8 inch table and stick a stepper motor where the hand crank goes...?

    I'm wondering if anyone has tried the latter...?

    It seems the trunnion table would be stiffer due to the support from both ends...but this is not a major concern as my work pieces are not that big...and I see a lot of the bigger machines use this method...

    I assume that the machine is able to support the extra axis in terms of electronics...?...I saw on the factory video that they have both the A and C axis on the screen...

    Also I'm wondering if this machine will work with Inventor HSM...which I already have...does that mean I would not need to buy the Spructcam...?

    I am comfortable in the Inventor Pro environment so this would be a plus for me...

    Also not interested in buying used...or getting into any kind of project to refurbish or convert a manual machine...I know there are good values out there...but I need to take the machine out of the box and start learning and cutting...just setting up shop is going to take enough time and effort as it is...

    The fifth axis is not actually an immediate priority...but more of a growth path...thanks in advance to any and all input...

    Regards,

    Flanker...

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    Default Re: Feedback on PCNC 1100

    Can't help with the hardware questions, but since you are using an Autodesk product, check out Fusion 360 (cad/cam product)
    Dave



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    Default Re: Feedback on PCNC 1100

    A few comments from the perspective of a 770 owner:
    There is no room in the control cabinet for a 5th axis stepper driver without a significant rearrangement of contents. I believe that the same is true for the 1100 cabinet

    I don't believe that there are sufficient connections between the control computer and the the control board for a 5th axis. I suppose that you could use a second cable to the Mesa card's other connector.

    The current control software, Pathpilot, does not display a C axis and it would not easily fit on the screen. LinuxCNC, the engine for PP, does support more than 4-axis.

    5-axis CAM is expensive but I'm sure that you already know that!

    I'm certain that others will have great suggestions but my conclusion is that adding 5-axis support is definitely not trivial.



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    Default Re: Feedback on PCNC 1100

    Kstrauss is spot on.
    No room for 5th axis stepper in control cabinet
    no Support in path pilot control software for 5th axis
    Sprutcam would require a custom post processor for the machine even if you could get a 5th axis to work on a tormach
    Working with 3 axis machines can be challenging. Adding and using a 4th axis to the machine and cam system is not trivial either. Looks easy but when you start looking at things from work holding and fixture perspective using a 4th things can get complex to avoid tool collisions and generate usefull tool paths. Cool to see but not easy to use and not a very productive way to machine prototypes. imho more for a specific purpose part or something that cant be done any other way.



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    Default Re: Feedback on PCNC 1100

    I have a series 1 PCNC 1100 that is being updated to the latest version 3 and there *is* room in the control cabinet for a 5th axis driver in the lower left corner of the steel plate in the control cabinet. Since I have not seen the interior of a series 3, I have no idea what the internals of the control cabinet looks like. Also note that the 4th and 5th axes stepper drivers are 2 phase rather than 3 phase like the linear axes, and the rotary axes drivers are also physically *much* smaller that the linear axes drivers. I have in fact been working on building a 5th axis for this mill (via a trunnion table) and I am still using Mach 3 because at this time I have not been able to get sufficient documentation to install an altered version of Path Pilot that could control 5 axes.

    With regards to SprutCAM, the ALL POSTS version readily supports 5 axis continuous machining and that is why I specifically upgraded from the Tormach ONLY POST some time ago. For Mach 3 you will have to add a second parallel port (which I have done) and that also adds a number of convenient inputs and outputs for homing the 4th and 5th axes, controlling stack lights, exact spindle speed feedback, etc.

    My 4th axis is an 8" diameter horizontal/vertical Yuasa and my 5th axis is a horizontal 6" diameter Phase II. I motorized the Yuasa many years ago and have used it a lot. I have a 5 axis screen set up for Mach 3 and the design of the 5th axis allows for continuous rotation of the 4th axis, unlike the Tormach prototype that you likely viewed (the only actual physical constraint being the cabling).

    I have been modeling the mechanical design using a low cost FEM package to arrive at a structure that is sufficiently rigid in all orientations. To achieve maximum torque both my 4th and 5 axes use 2:1 reductions from the stepper drives. The 4th axis reduction is done with a folded drive using a timing belt, while the 5th axis uses a right angle precision bevel gear set. This allows the stepper to easily sit within the trunnion table and remain below the top of the 6" rotary table. The top of the 6" rotary table is at the centerline of the 4th axis rotary table and this arrangement allows for handling a 6" on a side cube and allow full 360 degree rotation of the 4th axis. The 5th axis can actually handle something approaching 15" in diameter and taller than 6" with restricted rotations in the 4th axis. Send me a private email and I can send you more details.

    I suggest that you don't give up due to the comments from those who are uninterested in even having a 5th axis. I am not the only one who is working on or has built a 5th axis for the Tormach PCNC 1100. To be more accurate, the others are only using indexing rather than continuous movements on their 5th axis. If anything, Path Pilot may be what actually restricts you with a new series 3 PCNC 1100. I would readily move from Mach 3 to Path Pilot if there were an actual established path for adding a 5th axis. Thus far, Tormach will not provide sufficient details for an end user to do that type of modification to Path Pilot.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Feedback on PCNC 1100-5axes-jpg  


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    Default Feedback on PCNC 1100

    I think this can be done in pathpilot. The issue software wise will be more than just modifying pathpilot software - more difficult will be the mesa card. There is a secondary port on the card as I recall - but the firmware would need to be modified to direct step/sir signals to it- or even easier just run the 5th off the parallel port with a new cheap breakout board.

    In the .ini file you can tell pathpilot to add another axis pretty easily. In the .hal file you'd need to set all the 5th outputs to the new breakout board/parallel port.



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    Default Re: Feedback on PCNC 1100

    How do you display/set/home the 5-th axis DRO?



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    Default Re: Feedback on PCNC 1100

    Quote Originally Posted by Zetopan View Post
    I have a series 1 PCNC 1100 that is being updated to the latest version 3 and there *is* room in the control cabinet for a 5th axis driver in the lower left corner of the steel plate in the control cabinet. Since I have not seen the interior of a series 3, I have no idea what the internals of the control cabinet looks like. Also note that the 4th and 5th axes stepper drivers are 2 phase rather than 3 phase like the linear axes, and the rotary axes drivers are also physically *much* smaller that the linear axes drivers. I have in fact been working on building a 5th axis for this mill (via a trunnion table) and I am still using Mach 3 because at this time I have not been able to get sufficient documentation to install an altered version of Path Pilot that could control 5 axes.

    With regards to SprutCAM, the ALL POSTS version readily supports 5 axis continuous machining and that is why I specifically upgraded from the Tormach ONLY POST some time ago. For Mach 3 you will have to add a second parallel port (which I have done) and that also adds a number of convenient inputs and outputs for homing the 4th and 5th axes, controlling stack lights, exact spindle speed feedback, etc.

    My 4th axis is an 8" diameter horizontal/vertical Yuasa and my 5th axis is a horizontal 6" diameter Phase II. I motorized the Yuasa many years ago and have used it a lot. I have a 5 axis screen set up for Mach 3 and the design of the 5th axis allows for continuous rotation of the 4th axis, unlike the Tormach prototype that you likely viewed (the only actual physical constraint being the cabling).

    I have been modeling the mechanical design using a low cost FEM package to arrive at a structure that is sufficiently rigid in all orientations. To achieve maximum torque both my 4th and 5 axes use 2:1 reductions from the stepper drives. The 4th axis reduction is done with a folded drive using a timing belt, while the 5th axis uses a right angle precision bevel gear set. This allows the stepper to easily sit within the trunnion table and remain below the top of the 6" rotary table. The top of the 6" rotary table is at the centerline of the 4th axis rotary table and this arrangement allows for handling a 6" on a side cube and allow full 360 degree rotation of the 4th axis. The 5th axis can actually handle something approaching 15" in diameter and taller than 6" with restricted rotations in the 4th axis. Send me a private email and I can send you more details.

    I suggest that you don't give up due to the comments from those who are uninterested in even having a 5th axis. I am not the only one who is working on or has built a 5th axis for the Tormach PCNC 1100. To be more accurate, the others are only using indexing rather than continuous movements on their 5th axis. If anything, Path Pilot may be what actually restricts you with a new series 3 PCNC 1100. I would readily move from Mach 3 to Path Pilot if there were an actual established path for adding a 5th axis. Thus far, Tormach will not provide sufficient details for an end user to do that type of modification to Path Pilot.
    Thanks for the encouragement Zetopan...I will send you a PM to learn more...[as soon as I figure out how to do that...]

    Sounds basically like the basic infrastructure is in place...

    Toyshop...I do have Fusion 360 as part of my package but have not used it...so not really familiar with it...still not clear whether I will need to get sprutcam or not...since I have both HSM and Fusion...even just on the 4-axis machine I intend to start with...

    Also still hoping to hear something on whether that handwheel on the tilting rotary drive table can be replaced with a stepper...

    Regards,

    Flanker...



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    Default Re: Feedback on PCNC 1100

    The comments above are from a daily user of a series 3 machine with a super spacer 4th axis. I Also have a few years of Sprutcam experience. The learning curve on that program is vertical and not easy to use yet alone master! Anybody on this forum disagree?

    I would like to know, how does sprutcam all post automatically drive a 5 axis pcnc? What machine definition / post processor do you use to generate correct g code for a 5 axis machine? From my experience with Sprut many of the functions and settings dont generate g code for the PP driven Tormach machine as it is. I have a large notebook on what works and what does not.

    Don't get me wrong I would love to have a 5th axis and as mentioned even a driven tilting 4th axis would be very useful. I guess that would be considered a 5 axis mill. Imho your not going to be making very many prototypes while your developing a 5 axis Tormach and the time you spend at the workstation using sprutcam to setup 5 axis tool paths. Again imho I could hand you a finished prototype part using 3 or 4 axis machine technics before you finished the 5 axis cam work! Now to use a 5 axis for production work would be another story.

    Just an opinion and looking forward to buying a 5 axis setup for my Tormach!

    A sample of my limited experience with a tormach and sprutcam. Every part was made on my mill and I do this as a hobby


    Edit: Anyone have a link on where I can take a Sprutcam training class on setting up 5 axis tool paths. Dont see this information offered by Sprutcam America or on a youtube video

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Feedback on PCNC 1100-assemblycad4-jpg   Feedback on PCNC 1100-crankcasecam-jpg   Feedback on PCNC 1100-assembly8-jpg  
    Last edited by mountaindew; 01-12-2017 at 12:47 PM.


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    Default Re: Feedback on PCNC 1100

    Very impressive!

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk



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    Default Re: Feedback on PCNC 1100

    Quote Originally Posted by mountaindew View Post
    Edit: Anyone have a link on where I can take a Sprutcam training class on setting up 5 axis tool paths. Dont see this information offered by Sprutcam America or on a youtube video
    Dave Pearson, the SprutCAM reseller in the UK used to offer a support package wherein he would provide individual customer support via phone call and video tutorials. I don't see anything on the web site about that now, but you may want to contact him and check to see if it is still available.



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    Default Re: Feedback on PCNC 1100

    Hi I think the issue (beside mecanic setup of trunnion ) will be to get an propper binary for the 5th axis maybe tormach helps you with that otherwise it is some efford but can be done we do some work here for our machines and then you need to extend the ui of pathpilot


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