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Nick Andraka
03-15-2019, 10:15 PM
Found an Epilog Radius, supposed to be 35W, runs.
Not an ideal machine, size is good, wattage is marginal.
This is for hobby use and daughter doing some light "work".

For 1200-1500 I figure it could get us a machine to figure out what (if anything)we want.

Anything I should be aware of??

Nick

Nick Andraka
03-16-2019, 9:00 PM
Well, picked it up. $1200, the seller was very nce and ran some files on it, the tube appears to have good strength, though I have no way to measure it.
It vector cuts and etches great, but I bought it knowing there is an issue with raster etching.

The thing is a tank.

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Nick Andraka
03-16-2019, 9:05 PM
So on to the problem.
It vector cuts fine, straight, circles, etc. The Tube appears to have plenty of power.
He was up front and said it developed a problem when etching in raster.
Below are the results of raster etching 2 black squares.
The 1st is at a higher speed, the 2nd he slowed it down.
At 1st I thought maybe an issue with the carriage or steppers/servos?
But after slowing it down it still has issues, but NO issues in vector circles.
Thinking this may be a main board or driver issue?? he said it just appear occasionally then all the time, which sounds more mechanical?

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Nick Andraka
03-16-2019, 9:09 PM
So, I need to pick up a dedicated computer for this,,
On Epilogs web site: On the spec page for the Radius, it says win 95/98
On the driver download page it says Win 95/98,,, then XP/7 32 bit.

Will a 32 bit win 7 machine run this engraver?

Also, I can not find a data tag (Model/ser #) anywhere on this machine.

Nick

Joe Pelonio
03-17-2019, 10:28 AM
Another issue is that the interface is parallel printer port, not many computers still have one of those. I don’t know for sure but based on my older Legend 24tt I wouldn’t expect it to work with anything above XP. As for the engraving problem, look at the encoder strip under the rail cover. If it’s like my Legend, that needs to be cleaned with a cotton swab and alcohol, or may need replacing (mine was just $13 from Epilog last year). If you call them Epilog is pretty good about helping diagnose problems even on old used machines, the only question is whether they still have the parts.

Gary Hair
03-17-2019, 11:00 AM
Joe is right on the money with the encoder strip needing cleaning. My GCC had encoders on the stepper shaft and when they got dirty they would do exactly what yours is doing. The fact that he said it progressively got worse confirms that - he probably cut a lot of wood or something the produced a lot of smoke, and the encoder just got worse and worse. Clean it up and you'll probably solve the problem!

Kev Williams
03-17-2019, 1:57 PM
since I've owned Gary's encoder-stripped GCC for a few years now, I agree with the encoder problem! I had engraving 'walking', not to the extent of your Epy but bad enough-
here's the encoder disc & pickup still on the servo-
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and a close-up,
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-pretty grungy- the encoder reads the hash marks, but doesn't do so well reading the crud IN the hash marks! ;)

After cleaning, the hash marks are nearly invisible to the naked eye-
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as you can see, it's only about 1/2-dollar size, that's a lot of hash marks!

--yours works essentially the same except instead of a disk, your machine uses a long strip along the X gantry...

As to running the machine, there's still plenty of Win7 machines with parallel and serial ports, and as long as they have a driver that says it'll work with win7 you should have no problem. Or, if it's going to be a dedicated computer, think about picking up an XP computer. One thing I've found about XP's, with a fresh install, kept off the internet and with absolutely NO updates or service packs installed, they are blazingly fast machines. How many programs will load and work on them, that I don't know! ;)

The LS100 laser I just got last October, because it's driver isn't compatible with my LS900's driver, I run it from a Dell Optiplex 760 that came with Vista but now runs XP pro, and it runs faster than any of my win7 machines, even my win7 64 Enterprise that should stomp the XP, but doesn't...

Nick Andraka
03-17-2019, 3:02 PM
This machine is very dirty, taking it down and cleaning now.
It does not have an encoder strip on the X or two Y rails, they must have encoder discs on the steppers/servos,, Are they steppers or servos?

On Epilogs web site, On the "driver page" just for the radius it has a driver for "XP/2000/Vista/7,, 32 bit only" and a driver for "95/98/ME"
I will call Epilog support and verify that the machine will work with a Win7 machine with Par port.

I found refurbished Dell Optiplex 780 core 2 duo 3000 160G HD, 4096mb ram,, with keyboard, mouse, 19" LCD display (and showing a Par port in the picture of the machine) for $114 shipped,, as soon as I confirm with Epilog I will order one.
Only issue is if I keep this off line and strictly as a engraver driver,, I will need to use an older version of AI on it. Will an AI file from newer versions of AI be backwards compatible?

Hoping when all said and done, I will have an up and running 24x18, 30w US built system for under 1500.00 incl computer and exhaust.

Dumb question,,, Why do people get rid of these older machines, they are tanks. Even if you have to regas/repair the laser, all new belts/bearings/steppers/optics,, You could rebuild one for around 4K,, cheaper than 18K for a new one?

Bruce Volden
03-17-2019, 3:04 PM
Also check the contrast reader the encoder strip runs in. I have had my get fuzz balls in there.

Bruce

Nick Andraka
03-17-2019, 3:45 PM
Definitely no encoder strips on the rails, there is also no encoder disc on the servo/stepper, unless it is internal, built into the motor.
I did get a box of parts, including the old "X" Belt and motor. I thought he said they were replaced, by his partner, not an Epilog tech.

here is a picture of the carriage and a picture of the spare X motor.

It may be just me, but manually pushing the lens assembly on the X rail, it does feel like it slightly binds here and there, not always in the same spot.

I will finish cleaning it, and may remove the X motor, small belt, and carriage belt. see if the lens rolls smoothly, then re-assemble 1 piece at a time to see if any component binds.

Then I will have to wait till the drive win7 computer arrives and run it through it's paces.

Nick

Nick Andraka
03-17-2019, 3:49 PM
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Jerome Stanek
03-17-2019, 3:52 PM
You could run a windows XP in virtual mode or maybe load the drivers through the xp compatibility mode.

Joe Pelonio
03-17-2019, 9:08 PM
That’s ribbon cable running across the x axis can also do this, try reversing it (only uses a few of the wires). If that fixes it, order a new one. You do have an encoder strip, perhaps it’s under a cover? I found a post by Peck Sedona who used to be the Epilog tech from 2006 in which someone with a Radius complained of your problem. He had the guy clean the encoder strip and that fixed it. He also said to use soap and water, though I haven’t had any problems using alcohol.

Nick Andraka
03-17-2019, 10:41 PM
Joe,
Do you have a link to that thread?
There is definitely no encoder strip on the X axis bar. There are no wires at all running to the lens or anything else moving up and down the X axis bar.
The ribbon cable on the left side y axis does control the X axis motor.

There is an enclosed optical encoder on the back of the X motor, it is non serviceable.

Nick

Kev Williams
03-18-2019, 2:59 AM
YOU HAVE A DISC encoder like mine, it's under the black plastic cover on your servo-stepper, the black cover is to keep the dirt out- ha ha... ;)

The XP-Vista-7 driver should work, just make sure they're 32bit versions-

The binding you feel is kinda normal for servo motors, but may be guck on the rails that you'll hopefully get clean-

Why do people get rid of the 'tanks'? Usually lack of electronics parts availability...

Nick Andraka
03-18-2019, 6:44 AM
Kev,
while it looks like the motor/encoder is no longer available, the encoder is widely available ($40-60).
The encoder is really not serviceable, The old X motor/encoder was in a parts box, It took the old encoder apart but damaged the optical disc. having it apart, I don't think there is any way to get it apart once installed without a high likely hood of damaging the disc.

There is a silicon dust cover available for that model encoder from the manufacture.
I wonder how many $500.00 motor/encoder assemblies were swapped out do to a dirty encoder? That a dust cover could have prevented.
I am guessing that is why they went to an "encoder strip",, serviceability.




YOU HAVE A DISC encoder like mine, it's under the black plastic cover on your servo-stepper, the black cover is to keep the dirt out- ha ha... ;)

The XP-Vista-7 driver should work, just make sure they're 32bit versions-

The binding you feel is kinda normal for servo motors, but may be guck on the rails that you'll hopefully get clean-

Why do people get rid of the 'tanks'? Usually lack of electronics parts availability...

Keith Downing
03-19-2019, 11:00 AM
Nick, you hit the nail on the head with why a lot of those machines went in dumpsters or storage rooms. Epilog (finally) quit supporting them a couple or 5 years ago, and doesn't carry any parts. They can't even look up the serial numbers any more sadly.

So, when ANYTHING breaks, you're either done or searching what few machines are out there for parts. That makes it hard to justify putting any money into things like a tube recharge or a power supply repair.

My suggestion, if you're committed to the Radius try to locate another one and buy it for parts. Otherwise you're pouring time/money into a sinking ship. Though I will say the manual and support documents are still floating around the internet. I may even have some for that machine, I'll have to look.

As for the computer question, you can get any windows 32 machine (so anything up to windows 7) and the driver will work. Also, they make usb to serial printer port cables now; so no issue there either.

Nick Andraka
03-19-2019, 5:20 PM
Keith,
Thanks for the lowdown.
Even though the tube is labeled 2002,, it appears to be strong.
I plan to use this machine for 6 months or so to see if a laser fits in the mix, and if it does I will pursue a modern machine.
If it does not, I only have $1200.00 in it (so far) and should be able to get that back out of it.
It does work fine except the problem with skewing a raster image in the "X" axis. This "appears" to be a problem with the optical encoder on the X motor.

I did talk to epilog tech support. They do have the motors (299.00).
I cross referenced the encoder, Digi-key and a few others have them $45-60,, so I replace that and see what it does.
Picked up a Dell win7 32 bit computer with a built in Par port, $100.00 incl 20" LCD, key board, Mouse, etc, that will be here Friday.

Hard to believe a 17 year old tube is still going,, but it is.
I will keep you updated.

Joe Pelonio
03-19-2019, 9:29 PM
Joe,
Do you have a link to that thread?
There is definitely no encoder strip on the X axis bar. There are no wires at all running to the lens or anything else moving up and down the X axis bar.
The ribbon cable on the left side y axis does control the X axis motor.

There is an enclosed optical encoder on the back of the X motor, it is non serviceable.

Nick
Sorry Nick, links to other forums are not allowed by the terms of service.

Nick Andraka
03-19-2019, 10:01 PM
Got it, I though it was on tis forum.


Sorry Nick, links to other forums are not allowed by the terms of service.

Nick Andraka
03-19-2019, 10:18 PM
After reading Andrews thread from last year I realize my Epilog Radius was very jerking while moving the X and Y with the "jog" wheel on the control panel.
I would power the machine on and the X and Y would go to the "home" position in the rear left corner.
With the red pointer on, I would jog the X and Y to the front right corner using the wheel on the control panel,,
I would then hit the "stop" button which returns the lens to the home position. Except the home position moves each time I do this, typically and inch or more from where home was last time.
So the machine is loosing track of where it really is. This leads me to believe the encoders are loosing track of the motion.
This could be why the "jerks" when jogging with the control panel,,

I guess I will order an encoder for the X from Digikey and check the motor brushes and bearings while I have it out.
The Y motor is another story, I'll pull it and try to get some #s off of it and see if the encoder can be disassembled and cleaned.

It looks like the previous owner has changed out the X motor/encoder assembly twice already, looks like they are good for 3-5 years in a production environment.

Keith Downing
03-20-2019, 2:29 PM
Keith,

Hard to believe a 17 year old tube is still going,, but it is.
I will keep you updated.

Nick, just so you've got all the info; the tubes can be recharged/rebuilt. While it is not technically impossible the original tube is still running in its original form after 17 years; it's much more likely that while the tube is the "same", it has at least been re-gassed if not rebuilt. Nothing wrong with that, both of my older Epilogs have had the tubes repaired; just thought you should know it's likely.

Also, I do have the basic manual for the Radius in PDF. Though I don't have any of the service instructions I thought I might. If you'd like the manual, send me a private message with your email address.

Good luck!

Nick Andraka
03-20-2019, 4:06 PM
Keith,
I have the Users manual PDF, thanks for the offer.
Yeah, good change it was re-gassed.

Shame about Epilog not supporting this (parts wise), this thing is a tank.

Nick

Nick Andraka
03-20-2019, 11:06 PM
Made some progress while waiting for the win7 computer.
I knew the not returning to home, or home on the X axis would change everytime you sent it back to home. It would typ move 1/2" - 1"
I pulled the Y motor, as if I could not clean it up and make it stop jerking in the jog, the machine is toast.
The Y motor bearings felt fine, I removed the Opto encoder, it was clean as a whistle, so I remounted it.

Same jerking motion when jogging with the wheel on the control panel,, then it hit me: I had the same jerking in the X and Y when jogging with the wheel,,, the control wheel is bad!

So I turned my attention to the X motor and removed it to give it the close up exam.
Once I had it out I saw that it was a very new motor unit,,,,, But the set screw on the cog pully was never set, the drive pulley was loose on the motor shaft.
Tightened it up and put it back in,, the machine "homes" to the same exact spot everytime now.

Computer should be here tomorrow, fingers crossed.

Nick

Nick Andraka
03-21-2019, 9:42 PM
More progress,
The bargain win 7 computer/monitor came, got it set up and loaded the epilog radius printer driver.
Loaded Adobe Illustrator free trial,, but wont let me use it because I dont have that machine hooked to the internet.

Opened MS "Paint" and made a few boxes and circles,, they rastered beautifully,, so the machine is fixed!!

I then loaded "Inkscape" via a thumb drive,, it printed all the boxes and circles in raster, even when I selected vector only in the print driver preferences.

But anyhow,, the Engraver seems to be repaired, the $90 computer works fine and communicates with the engraver via the parallel port fine. lots of hurdles jumped today.

Happy with my investment so far, now I need to brush up on how the vector drawing and printer driver relate to each other and control the outcome.

Nick

Nick Andraka
04-20-2019, 7:49 PM
Well,
Everything is all set up, just waiting on a fitting for air assist tube.

Framed out 2 short walls, separate circuits for laser, exhaust fan/compressor, and computer.
The 8" fan is mounted outside and pulls good (8" Fan > 2' of 6" > 6" ell > 5" 45deg > 5' of 5" > 5" ell > 5' of 5" > 1' of 4" flex)




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