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View Full Version : Mod-kini: Swapping Mach3 for Flashcut



mechie
11-29-2012, 03:28 PM
Apparently I am the first person to try and install Flashcut on the Mikini. I've had enough problems with Mach3 and the Smooth Stepper when running longer programs or helical cuts to pull the trigger and shell out close to $1900 and counting to go this route. I've been working with Phil at Mikini and with folks at Flashcut to make sure the db25 pinouts match to connect the Flashcut module to the Mikini main board.
Anyway, I will post details as I go if anyone else is interested.

mcphill
12-03-2012, 01:43 PM
What are your plans for the spindle? Will/can/must you move to a new spindle controller?

MichaelHenry
12-03-2012, 02:37 PM
Apparently I am the first person to try and install Flashcut on the Mikini. I've had enough problems with Mach3 and the Smooth Stepper when running longer programs or helical cuts to pull the trigger and shell out close to $1900 and counting to go this route. I've been working with Phil at Mikini and with folks at Flashcut to make sure the db25 pinouts match to connect the Flashcut module to the Mikini main board.
Anyway, I will post details as I go if anyone else is interested.

Were the problems you had with the SmoothStepper and Mach3 due to Mach3 in a generic sense or to the way it was implemented on the Mikini?

I'm thinking of installing a SmoothStepper to obtain additional I/O on a competing Mach3 system and am wondering if major problems await.

Mike

mechie
12-03-2012, 03:45 PM
The main board on the Mikini does not relay spindle position to external connections, e.g. Mach 3 or the Flashcut system. To read RPM and position directly in Flashcut, Phil suggested I would have to find an simple encoder or an inductive pickup on the the motor's phases, or tie in to the motor's Hall effect sensors with a low impedance sensing input. The easiest thing to do would be to tie into the Hall effect sensors. I will have to contact Flashcut to see if that's possible.

Since I never use the manual mode except to find the tables x and y limits, I am considering using a new motor controller and driving it through Flashcut. My spindle sometimes halts with very little load, and sometimes with no load at all (if I am letting the spindle run for 20 minutes to warm up the bearings) If I had an aftermarket controller I could at least see what the problem was or re-tune it. http://www.pmdcorp.com/downloads/ION-Digital-Drive-Motion-Control-Datasheet-PMD-062311.pdf makes a controller that looks appropriate, although I would have to also buy a DC power supply on Ebay (they're like $1000 if you get a new one elseware). I don't know yet what the controller itself costs. I have also heard the Kollmorgen S700 line of controllers might work. If anyone else finds another 3hp BLDC controller that can use Hall effect sensors and runns on single phase 220VAC please let me know; they are reaally hard to find on the web in my experience.

As far as the Smoothstepper question, my machine will not run without the Smoothstepper; the steppers jumped when turning the mill off or switching to manual mode if I bypassed the Smoothstepper. There is a another thread (I think it's titled VFD replacement?) that says the problems with the Smoothstepper stem from the Mikini's built in PC. That may be true ( I have no idea), and using an external PC may solve the problem for a lot cheaper than the Flashcut route, I just don't want to buy a desktop (I've heard laptops aren't good with Mach) and then find out that wasn't the problem.

slowtwitch
12-03-2012, 07:46 PM
If anyone else finds another 3hp BLDC controller that can use Hall effect sensors and runns on single phase 220VAC please let me know; they are reaally hard to find on the web in my experience.


I bought an Electrocraft 1300 on Ebay. I think I paid about $90.00. The specs are here......

ElectroCraft : CompletePowerâ„¢ Drives (http://www.electrocraft.com/products/drives/ACE1000/)

When I can get some time , I'll give it a go :)

mechie
12-03-2012, 11:47 PM
:p Awesome,

Thanks

mechie
12-13-2012, 05:25 PM
It looks like Electrocraft, Advanced Motion Control, Elmo Motion Control (no, not the Muppet), and Copely's Xenus are possible drive candidates. Kollmorgen may be too, but I never got a quote from them. I'm going with Electrocraft's ACE 1300 series because its I/O's look the most compatible with Flashcut's 5V TTL logic (versus Advanced Motion Control's 24V logic) The drives seem to be about $1000 new, but you may be able to find a used one on Ebay for a lot cheaper.

I may put in forced air cooling for the motor to handle more amps. I don't want to overdrive the motor to the point it puts excessive strain on the mill's bearings and linear rails, but the OEM motor controller gives up pretty easily now.

mechie
01-14-2013, 04:58 PM
I just got the controller and it's a little too big to fit in the cabinet, so I will attach it to the back of the machine and guard it from coolant spray and little people who want to see what 320VDC feels like. I will post my results if there is still interest.

slowtwitch
01-14-2013, 05:13 PM
I just got the controller and it's a little too big to fit in the cabinet, so I will attach it to the back of the machine and guard it from coolant spray and little people who want to see what 320VDC feels like. I will post my results if there is still interest.

mechie, it sounds great!!! I'm definitely interested.