A Crazy concept theory for small business or hobby machinist to cnc at a new level.

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    Default A Crazy concept theory for small business or hobby machinist to cnc at a new level.

    Hi my name is Steve Ryan
    I'm a disabled auto mechanic with way too much time to think.
    After years owning my own business and seeing the cost of equipment rise, labor rise, the need to do more with less the only way to survive.
    I see waste and counter productivity everywhere.
    Would you shove a 20 foot long one foot square piece of material in the door of a machining center to make 4 inch doodads.
    No you would saw the material first.
    The plastic injection molding business down the street from me has 15 machining centers making any kind of plastic doodad you wish to purchase the mold to make from fishing lures to cooking pot handles.
    The cost is not in plastic, It is in the making of the mold. And the customer has to pay for that first. How do you compete with country's that will subsidize their manufactures cost and include the mold if you let them manufacture the product with employees that cannot spell cnc.
    Here is how I would attack that issue. I have to have that machining center to be precision, but I certainly don't need 15 of them turning chunks of material into parts.
    I'd purchase 20 zx45 type mills and cnc convert all of them for less than one machining center. They would be the band saws of my shop. ripping away the material that is in the way of my machining center creating a precision part.
    The zx45's are throw a ways doing 95 percent of the work and in a few hours can be replaced for $2400.00 dollars.
    Unbolt the retrofit and slide a new machine under it. sell it before it's worn out to a hobbyist.
    A few fixtures to maintain precision and your banging out way more molds and competitive.
    Now you buy another machining center and 20 more zx45s and your somebody who is making the guy down the street from me look silly for wasting all of his money making a machining center company rich. And Call their service when it stops...
    Ya I know Imagine NASA's shock when they located in the south with hillbillies like me.
    So enough with the rant here is the idea for more cnc machine for less. I'll use my new Centroid Acorn retrofit for example.

    https://centroidcncforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=3068
    https://centroidcncforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=3464
    I have built a few machines and have used a few different controller cards, breakout boards and usb parallel port emulators.
    Mach3 on a lathe is a bit fussy for the threading say the least so I went with Acorn. My Gosh the heavens opened up a real spindle encoder 8000 pulses per revolution, closed loop steppers with way more power, flood coolant automatic tool measurement. lights bells whistles then a tool turret....ohhhhh
    woops, I'm out of inputs and outputs. 8 of each. Plan B I'm going to make the tool changer work and work right with what I have. but what about an air chuck, bar feeder,
    probe to check part before cutoff hell i wanted this thing to make me coffee. Disney is located in Florida too.
    So I know I'm at this boards limits and ya they are coming out with an add on I/O board but is there another way.
    Well acorn owns my pc when running and its caput for more options so how do you get more things done? Acorn can't do more but it has one feature in code that is the answer. Acorn can turn on an output from a program..ya I know duuuhhhh Acorn can use dwell on an output. turn on output one for 20 seconds etc.
    But can acorn call another program with an entire new set of motors and I/O to run a sub program. no not by itself you buy the bigger card if you want the real lathe.
    I'm cheap and as I said I have nothing to do all day but drink coffee and think.
    Ok get ready to laugh because you have seen these little attempts at cnc with these but the answer is Arduino
    Arduino has I/O and the ability to run small programs. turn things off and on (watch the videos these guys love to play with led's . 2 hours of programing and $25 in electronics to do something you could do with a AA battery)
    Here is how this works Acorn won't talk to an Arduino in a conventional way. usb what ever it is not built into Acorn, but acorn will pulse an output with dwell
    daaaaaaash dot dot dot dot daaaaaaaash. Arduino is listening and hears a dash longer than one second that means a request is coming in. 4 dots then a long dash. longer than a second again that ends the request
    That's a 4 and request 4 means output pin 13 relay.
    Pin 13 relay is connected to an old pc running mach3 or any other program that can use remote control buttons. pin 13 activates a remote cycle start for the mach3 program that now has a entire new set of things to do to complete your process.
    mach3 is done and rewinds it's code but just before ending it outputs a signal that acorn receives on an input, time to go back to work acorn.
    acorn outputs dash dot dot dot dash. Hay wake up Arduino, that's a tool change code. Arduino sends back ok to input
    arduino knows this is a tool change so it waits for the number, 5 dots or pulses you get it tool 5.
    Arduino starts dc motor turning turret watching pulses pass position 1 or from last location until it stops at 5, locks turret and sends output to Acorn ok go back to work
    There is so much more this can do if you see the logic behind what I am saying. chuck locks bar feeders tail stocks and all with simple code moving in micro seconds.
    add another board,use your imagination.
    That old machine that seemed way to expensive to retrofit or repair should look a lot different now.
    These cnc controllers and tiny micro controllers have no idea how big a machine they are running. they just send out tiny little 3.3 or 5v signals and could be running a freight train.
    Steve

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    Last edited by jumps4; 09-27-2019 at 01:49 AM. Reason: lots of typo's


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    Default Re: A Crazy concept theory for small business or hobby machinist to cnc at a new leve

    I really enjoy seeing novel ideas and the evidence that people think things through.I admit to having a couple of Arduinos and learning more about them is on my "to do" list.You are a long way ahead of me.I look forward to seeing future developments.



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    Default Re: A Crazy concept theory for small business or hobby machinist to cnc at a new leve

    I have little chance of doing the code for this without a lot of reading.
    I was hoping you or someone else knew how to code so i could prove my point.
    That chip sitting in the middle of your motherboard does not know if it is controlling something next to it or on mars. It just does as asked.
    Everything I said about the way to communicate across two different systems can be done using the Arduino.
    And having multiple boards preforming their own set of functions will work very well and fast.
    Do You know 2 different controllers can run the same motor, but not at the same time of course. Simple diodes on each set of leads stops feed back.
    The second pc needs pc one's x to move it can move it. 2 motors can run off of the same signal driving in opposite directions instead of two drivers taking up all that I/O on a plasma table or router axis.
    The torch height control does not need to be running from the same program that needs it to work. It can be a stand alone program. Tool changer programs with multiple motors and sensors don't need to be run from inside the program that requested the move, they just need to know you want a tool, what tool and then send back mission accomplished. that means the original program only gives up one output and one input for a tool changer.
    Your cell phone could have flown the moon missions. The F4 phantom fighter jet in Vietnam had tube electronics for its radar systems and radios. If you told me when I graduated that everyone will be walking around on the phone all day, all night, or even typing a message when they are holding a phone. I would have probably thought that was stupid.
    What makes an idea good for small business is one that gets the most out ,for the least expense. More bang for your buck.
    In the Arduino forum they would probably not see my concept and be rude. You can't get people to help very often. what is in it for ME they ask.
    The cnc crowd thinks a $12 chip is not the answer. Ya gotta buy A $50,000 dollar control to do that! People from different fields cant see the need to join forces. Their trains of thought don't cross..
    Steve

    I said I used to be a mechanic not a typist, and there is smoke coming out of my spell checker



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    Default Re: A Crazy concept theory for small business or hobby machinist to cnc at a new leve

    So back to my problem and adding an 8 position tool changer. I can have a stepper motor rotate the axis in degrees. Tool 1 is 0 degrees tool 2 is 45 etc. But my tool changer does not use a pawl it uses a sprag one way clutch. If the stepper misses any steps and there is no sensor to tell Acorn I'm in the correct position then I'm building an accident waiting to happen.
    So before i go to far into what I want to try I need a few basic answer to questions about cnc macro, plc programming . I don't know what I really need an answer to since I have no idea how to program or write a macro. If that is what I even need.
    The first question I ask a cnc software designer in a forum is

    " I just need to know if i can send a series of pulses out on a output pin?
    Can someone answer that question
    Steve"

    I'm building my Arduino theory and I need this answer before ever trying to learn how to do this.

    the first answer was from an engineer or designer. I was impress by the knowledge he possessed about code computer communication
    well you read...

    "Hi Steve,
    The problem is lack of I/O on the Acorn. My choice is to use the "bit bang" method. It would require 2 outputs from the Acorn. One output would act as a "clock" line and the other output would act as a "data" line. To know when a valid command was being sent, you would have to use a self-designed protocol, such as sending 3 clocks with the data line low and then three clocks with the data line high. That would tell the Arduino that the next 3 clocks would define which of eight tools to position (4 clocks would allow up to 16 tools, 5 clocks would allow up to 32 tools).

    Using simple binary, tool one would be 000 (binary starts counting at zero). Tool two would be 100. Tool three would be 010. Tool 4 would be 110. Five would be 001. Six would be 101. Seven would be 011. Eight would be 111. Note that the pattern sends the Least Significant Bit (LSB) first and the Most Significant Bit (MSB) last. The Acorn would set the data bit's output for the LSB, then toggle the clock output On/Off, set the middle data bit's output, then toggle the clock output On/Off, set the MSB data bit's output, and toggle the clock output On/Off.

    You could use an interrupt on the Arduino to catch clock pulses or you could just poll the clock input pin and grab the data pin's state when the clock pin becomes active. The Acorn's relay outputs will bounce because they are mechanical. It would be necessary to write a "debounce" routine that checks the state of the clock line after about 50 msec. If the second reading matches the first reading, then the signal can be assumed to be valid. If the two reading are different, then a third reading would be necessary after another 50 msecs. The dwell time in the G-code would need to be at least 200 msecs for both On and Off levels.

    The disappointing thing is that Modbus communications are available for both the Arduino and for the Beagle board on the Acorn. The Beagle is used as a PLC, so if Centroidcnc added Modbus to the Acorn, simple Modbus TCP/IP software could give the Acorn the capability to drive thousands of I/O lines. Modbus is easily available and has been in use since 1978. It is the protocol that industry uses to automate factories. I work as a consultant to oil refineries that use PLCs to open/close values, checks flow rates, monitor temperatures, turn pumps on/off and a lot of other things. Almost all of that is done via Modbus. "

    IF YOU didn't read all of that that's OK
    My question needed a yes or no and I did not get my answer. He does not know my theory and all of this is what I cannot do.. but all good stuff I'm learning how things work..
    some time passes and I study a few more ideas But I'm back. I still need one answer.


    "Thanks for your reply
    After your reply in my tool changer post I purchased 2 Arduino's. A uno and a nano to learn on.
    my question is: can acorn output a series of analog pulses from the tool change macro to represent each tool?
    Example: long pulse beginning of message, 6 short pulses (tool 6 ) long pulse end of message
    Arduino picks up the message and moves turret to gray logic or 2 sensor home and pulse per tool. then sends a turret ready signal back to acorn on an input pin to show the move has finished.
    arduino can drive the turret through relays.
    Steve

    I confess i have no idea how to program any of this but before i rack my brain trying I'd like to know if you think this will work.

    Thanks for your time
    Steve"

    The answer:

    "Hi Steve,

    Arduino analog inputs are 0-5V. The Acorn can generate 0-10V, so you would need to add the necessary voltage handler - which could just be a resistor divider network. Using two 1,000 ohm resistors in series with one end connected to the Acorn's AC output, the other end connected to GND and the mid-point between the two resistors connected to the Arduino's analog in pin would give you about 5V max from a 10V signal. Normally, I would use analog in because of it's voltage levels. For instance, 0.25V might be tool 1, 0.50V might be tool 2, etc. Even when using an analog input, I would still use a digital output from the Acorn to signal the Arduino that a tool change has been requested, and a digital output from the Arduino to the Acorn to signal when the tool change has completed.

    Analog signals are noise prone. A digital signal is more tolerant. Low is usually between 0 and 0.7 volts. High is usually between 2.75V and 5.0 volts in a standard Arduino TTL level system.

    me:
    "can I pulse an output pin? "

    "Hi Steve,
    What you're describing is asynchronous serial communications, such as was used between serial modems, computers and terminals (RS-232). An asynchronous protocol depends on both ends of the communication agreeing on the rate (baud rate) and the protocol (start bits, stop bits, parity). In the old days, the DCE (data communications equipment - computer or modems) would start a message by sending the start bit, sending the data bits and ending with the stop bit(s). The DTE (date terminal equipment - terminals) would sense the start bit, wait for half the time determined by the baud rate, and recheck the start bit. If it was still valid, the DTE would use the mid-point of each data bit (depending on the baud rate) to collect the data.

    Because the Acorn and the Arduino would NOT necessarily be using the same clock rate, using a data line and a clock line allows for synchronous protocol, which means that the data line is set On or Off, then the clock line is turned On. In a noise resistant system, the receiver (Arduino in this case) would turn on an acknowledge signal to tell the Acorn that it had received the data bit. The Acorn would turn off the clock signal and then the Arduino would turn off its acknowledge signal. At that point the Acorn would turn On/Off the next bit and repeat the clock sequence.

    The drawback to all of this is that several lines of I/O are required. The new 16-bit I/O board would make things easier. Even better would be if the Acorn started using Modbus TCP. The Acorn has plenty of internal "tags - data points" that Modbus uses.

    But, we use what we have and we find a way around the limitations of what we have."


    ME...
    "

    I have asked this question 5 times of several people and nobody will answer me

    i see in a tool change macro i can turn on a output to work a solenoid or anything i need.
    can i add a dwell to the output time to shut it off after say 1 seconds or whatever i set?
    then repeat that as many times as i want to repeat that cycle
    on off on off on off = tool 3
    hear is my reason why.
    Arduino can recognize inputs from a button as Morse code, so then it should be able to count the pulses and denote between short and long without a clock or baud rate. then say if input = 3 times high then rotate until turret input equals gray logic for tool 3. or home input plus count pulses to three (2 sensors) correct?
    I'm no programmer so please don't laugh at me lol
    here is what got me thinking this
    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=ar ... ORM=VRDGAR
    Steve

    "Hi Steve,
    I'm afraid that I have gotten far enough into G-Code to answer your question. Mostly I just build interfaces so that everything works together. Since I don't have a CNC controlled router, mill or lathe, I haven't done much G-code work except to run simple commands to exercise the motors on the test bench"




    So the answer was I have no idea....



    OK if you watches the video it was on Morse code and Arduino so you may wonder how I got here
    ( Or your thinking this "guy is an idiot")

    I got my answer, Acorn can Pulse an output.

    but the professor told me they can't understand each other, so i have a new problem.
    My answer, no 2 people or the same person can send Morse code exactly the same speed every time, we are talking microseconds. .
    But Arduino hobbyist have perfected this over the years and the computer can display the words they are sending and even reply in Morse code,
    Bingo finally my method of Arduino understanding the pulses.

    Yaaaa that was really over thinking this problem.
    Arduino only needs to know if a pulse is longer than the short pulse. long pulse start of message. short number of pulses are the program to run. long pulse end of message Scotty.

    is there anyone who can write macros and Arduino code interested in the project?
    I really don't want to ask the professor how to write code...
    Steve

    Last edited by jumps4; 09-27-2019 at 02:06 PM.


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    Default Re: A Crazy concept theory for small business or hobby machinist to cnc at a new leve

    there is code that allows Arduino to send commands to a pc like a keyboard through ethernet or wireless.
    you can remotely run a program from Arduino.
    and windows can still record and run keystroke macro's
    so there is a high probability the acorn board cnc12 software and a mach3 breakout board program running through usb, can be running on the same pc and communicating through Arduino.


    "This is a pretty simple solution that should work for opening most any application and any other action that can be triggered by a shortcut key. If you need to accomplish actions that aren't already controllable with a shortcut key you might want to check out EventGhost. If you need to control your computer from a greater distance than USB will easily allow then you can also send commands to EventGhost through a network using Ethernet or WiFi from a Arduino"

    And

    "Windows Macros. With xStarter, you can record macros working in all programs and objects within the Microsoft Windows environment. You can create or record macros to automate repetitive tasks, e.g., insert text, enter your passwords, launch shortcuts, drag and drop windows objects, simulate clicks on menu items, buttons and links, etc."



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    Default Re: A Crazy concept theory for small business or hobby machinist to cnc at a new leve

    Why make this so complicated for a tool changer, treat it like a 4th axis. Just use the Acorn 4th axis and a closed loop stepper. Use a prox sensor to set the tool changer home position.

    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA


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    Default Re: A Crazy concept theory for small business or hobby machinist to cnc at a new leve

    Hi Jim
    I have followed you for years and we have even chatted a few times.
    The tool changer is not the point it is the example.
    what if you want to add more automation instead of more employees
    do you cast away everything you have now.
    the point is a way to build upon what you already own.
    Steve



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    Default Re: A Crazy concept theory for small business or hobby machinist to cnc at a new leve

    Quote Originally Posted by jumps4 View Post
    Hi Jim
    I have followed you for years and we have even chatted a few times.
    The tool changer is not the point it is the example.
    what if you want to add more automation instead of more employees
    do you cast away everything you have now.
    the point is a way to build upon what you already own.
    Steve

    Ahh, I missed that point. No, you would not cast away everything, you would add automation to what you have if practical. So then it's just a matter of figuring out how to do it with the least pain.

    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA


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    Default Re: A Crazy concept theory for small business or hobby machinist to cnc at a new leve

    Quote Originally Posted by jumps4 View Post
    Hi Jim
    I have followed you for years and we have even chatted a few times.
    The tool changer is not the point it is the example.
    what if you want to add more automation instead of more employees
    do you cast away everything you have now.
    the point is a way to build upon what you already own.
    Steve
    The Acorn already has a Tool changer that can be used that uses one of the spare axes for a lathe they have more than one option

    Attached Files Attached Files
    Mactec54


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    Default Re: A Crazy concept theory for small business or hobby machinist to cnc at a new leve

    yes I'm working with the gray logic ones but my first attempt they gave me the wrong wiring diagram for the single output they suggested I try.
    I'm getting a gray logic encoder that will do away with all of the 5v to 24v electronics I was using.
    the problem is in their control of the turret the motor stays on at low voltage to hold force against the pawl.
    my turret uses a sprag and the motor needs to reverse just enough to load a spring then shut off.
    that means I have to learn how to do the code changes needed.
    I think it may just be adding a dwell on the reverse output.
    I have never done any macro or plc changes.
    Steve



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A Crazy concept theory for small business or hobby machinist to cnc at a new level.

A Crazy concept theory for small business or hobby machinist to cnc at a new level.

A Crazy concept theory for small business or hobby machinist to cnc at a new level.