PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?


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Thread: PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

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    Default PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

    I have been sitting on my late (SN12XX) series 1 for many years waiting for life to free up time. It is almost unused as new with BT30 spindle and 4th axis.

    I see many potential upgrades but ask if these are really necessary to get started?
    1) Original steppers vs upgrade(s) vs servo. Is it worth the cost during first years of use.
    2) Mach3 or should I upgrade to?
    3) CAD/CAM upgrade(s). I can use Autocad at work and have access to PTC CREO but am really looking for something at home that is not work dependent to do CAD and CAM.

    I am a Mechanical Engineer with significant experience in controls and Stepper motors, Servomotors, tuning, and some CAD time so don't hold back and be nice. Years ago I worked with CV CAD and am capable of thinking in 3D.

    Or, should I just sell the package and start over? I have Bridgeport(s) etc. and this is a hobby for me not for business. Mostly Aluminum and some smaller steel parts (think gun smithing).

    Thank you,
    Charles

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    Default Re: PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

    1. You can probably live without the steppers.
    2. Upgrading to PathPilot is highly recommended. The software is much improved over Mach3. I believe that Tormach doesn't support Mach3 anymore.
    3. You need to get 3D modeling software and compatible CAM software or a CAM plugin for the modeling software. Fusion 360 can be free. Most importantly the post is well supported for the Tormach machines.



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    Default Re: PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

    I'm pretty much in agreement with Sir John on this.

    My overall recommendation would be to try the machine as it is, it may suit what you want to do just fine with no cash out of pocket. One caveat, if you already have experience with Mach 3, then I would do as I suggested, if not, I would make the switch to pathpilot first, no point in learning Mach 3 then switching.

    YMMV
    Terry



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    Default Re: PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

    I was thinking the same thing but now the questions relative to controller:
    1) Tormach sells a complete controller for $900 which I assume is a basically a desktop PC with the Pathpilot card in it.
    2) For $225 I can buy the Pathpilot software and I assume card. So, would it be an option to install the Pathpilot into my own tower or does that cause additional debuging and support issues?

    Not trying to be cheap but frugal.



    Thank you,
    Charles



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    Default Re: PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

    Do you have a Tormach controller that came with the mill? If you do, I would think it will run pathpilot just fine, but maybe others can weigh in. My machine is a series 2 and it's old controller works fine with pathpilot. I don't know what controllers came with series 1 machines, but I'm sure someone on the group has experience with that. Also, I'm sure if you call tech support they can tell you if your current box will work.

    If it's good then you would need the expansion card and a copy of pathpilot. The price you mentioned tells me you have looked at it on Tormach's website, but make sure you get the correct card. With an older controller you might need the PCI version of the card rather than the PCIe, on the plus side, the PCI version is cheaper.

    All that said, if you don't have a Tormach controller now, plenty of folks on this board have successfully used their own pc's, just installing the card and buying the pathpilot 2.0 usb stick. You can search the board and find lots of threads about pathpilot upgrading and non-Tormach computers, and you can buy the expansion card online also, it's not a proprietary card.

    Terry



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    Default Re: PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

    Just run the thing. Why mess around with upgrades when it probably works just fine? Once you find a need for an upgrade, then do it.



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    Default Re: PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

    I checked with Tormach and they sell the PathPilot controller with the software for $900 new or refurbished at $500. I think that for $500 to get Pathpilot and be able to run Fanuc G code etc. is worth that level of investment over the old Mach3. Please comment if that would be un wise. Oh, BTW, the reason for the new activity is that my son is in Tech school and is starting CNC this semesterr which they are using Fanuc based G-code so I get compatibility with his schooling for the price of a text book or two.

    Now the only question is eventually what CAD/CAM on a reasonable budget for home use.

    THanks again,
    Charles



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    Default Re: PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohemianway View Post

    Now the only question is eventually what CAD/CAM on a reasonable budget for home use.

    THanks again,
    Charles
    Fusion 360, free to hobbyists.

    And learn to use it here https://academy.titansofcnc.com/

    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA


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    Default Re: PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

    Fired it up on the original Mach3 this morning and ran the PCNC logo G-code and all ran great. Thanks for the advice from all I now have the different options to ponder. Most likely I will use it as is until the son's or my use dictates PathPilot. And, other upgrades if the old hardware is problematical but I am betting once we do PathPilot it will be done for a long while.

    Thanks again,
    Charles



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    Default Re: PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

    Glad it's working for you, have fun!

    Terry



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    Default Re: PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

    So I checked the spindle alignment and the x is off by .006 in ten inches. I am going to look in this site but if anyone has a link on proper traming please let me know. The Y is .0002 in 6 inches so good enough.

    THank you,
    Charles



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    Default Re: PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

    Did some looking and I think I am good. Need to check torsion in the mounting and if not adjust the head via removing a pin and the six large bolts.



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    Default Re: PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

    I would start your tram process by using shims under the base..... There is a document somewhere on the internet that explains the process. I'll dig through my files and see if I can locate a copy. It worked really well with my Tormach which is close in age to yours. I had to disassemble my machine for a cross-country move and once re-assembled the tram process worked great. Ha, the machine is better now that what I originally had at the old house.


    Robert



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    Default Re: PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

    Don't shim the base. Check that the z axis is square first. Even the tiniest shim under the column will throw the Z way out.
    Next, make sure the machine is supported correctly. if one corner is floating, it could cause the base to twist and put the Z out.

    If the z is square and the machine leveled correctly, then you can place a shim under edge of the spindle mounting flange. This is how I trammed my novakon. The spindle bore should be loose enough to allow at least a few thou of tilt, and this wont affect the belt.

    wotzBotz


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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ihavenofish View Post
    Don't shim the base. Check that the z axis is square first. Even the tiniest shim under the column will throw the Z way out.
    Next, make sure the machine is supported correctly. if one corner is floating, it could cause the base to twist and put the Z out.

    If the z is square and the machine leveled correctly, then you can place a shim under edge of the spindle mounting flange. This is how I trammed my novakon. The spindle bore should be loose enough to allow at least a few thou of tilt, and this wont affect the belt.
    I have had my spindle in and out many times changing from the normal 5,140 rpm spindle to the high speed 24,000 rpm spindle. The fit between the spindle OD and the casting bore is very good and very long. Don't think you would have much luck with a shim between the flange and casting at least on my 1100 especially with the HS spindle.

    Gary



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    Default Re: PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

    I second what ihavenofish said. Do not shim the base unless you can accurately measure a twist in the base. Here is a link to the process I went through of getting my machine trammed. Now I can use a 3" flycutter with no perceivable step between passes over the entire travel.

    https://www.cnczone.com/forums/torma...ml#post2148678



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    Default Re: PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

    A Tormach owner offers a guess on how the factory sets Y tram. There is logic in his theory.
    He levels the mill in an earlier video


    Anyone who says "It only goes together one way" has no imagination.


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PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?

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PCNC 1100 Series 1 now what?