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Thread: Stinger II 48x48 in motion

  1. #16
    Richard,
    I have a CAMaster MC4848 running Mach3 and I feel exactly like you. I even asked Joey in Memphis if I should consider switching to WINCNC. I’m really sorry I didn’t go that way when I bought the machine but then you know hind sight. I agree that there are a lot of people out there running Mach3 but no discussion on our home forum like WINCNC.
    Mark

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Johnston View Post
    Richard,
    I have a CAMaster MC4848 running Mach3 and I feel exactly like you. I even asked Joey in Memphis if I should consider switching to WINCNC. I’m really sorry I didn’t go that way when I bought the machine but then you know hind sight. I agree that there are a lot of people out there running Mach3 but no discussion on our home forum like WINCNC.
    Mark
    I know WinCNC was more expensive than Mach3 but you only buy it once, plus there seems a lot more advantages for example; being able to work on my computer while cutting a file, Crossloop and forum help.

    Mick
    Hardware:
    CAMaster 508 ATC + Recoil
    2013 Trotec Speedy 100, 60 watt, rotary attachment, vector grid.
    Software:
    CoralDraw - Aspire 9 - EnRoute

    Custom Architectural Signage
    Mick Martin Woodworking

  3. #18
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    Jan 2007
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    239
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Johnston View Post
    Richard,
    I have a CAMaster MC4848 running Mach3 and I feel exactly like you. I even asked Joey in Memphis if I should consider switching to WINCNC. I’m really sorry I didn’t go that way when I bought the machine but then you know hind sight. I agree that there are a lot of people out there running Mach3 but no discussion on our home forum like WINCNC.
    Mark
    Mark,

    I'm with you. It just seemed like a lot to spend ($1000) for WINCNC if you didn't plan on using the computer simultaneously for other functions.

    I guess that one solution to the lack of info problem is just for us to be more communicative about our use of Mach3 with the Camaster units. I know that it is possible to also create custom control windows in Mach3, although perhaps more arduous than in WinCNC. I am looking into that in more detail.

    Frankly, one of the issues is just that CAMaster is trying to catch up on the documentation issues. My unit came with no documentation whatsoever other than the generic docs for Mach3 (which I actually had to download). Until they have setup docs and other information to send with the machines, we are going to be pretty dependent on the forums and other experts for help. For example, I purchased the z-pad and received absolutely no information on how to use it, controls in Mach3, etc. I am essentially completely on trial and error mode, which is fun but seems a bit unecessary for a machine of this cost. At any rate, I'm sure they will catch up soon and documentation will improve. This is a big issue if they plan to ship a lot of Stinger I models with Mach3 to non professional woodworkers who don't have a lot of CNC experience.

    Does anyone currently have a z-pad that uses Mach3 who could provide some guidance?

    Richard

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Link View Post
    Mark,

    I'm with you. It just seemed like a lot to spend ($1000) for WINCNC if you didn't plan on using the computer simultaneously for other functions.

    I guess that one solution to the lack of info problem is just for us to be more communicative about our use of Mach3 with the Camaster units. I know that it is possible to also create custom control windows in Mach3, although perhaps more arduous than in WinCNC. I am looking into that in more detail.

    Frankly, one of the issues is just that CAMaster is trying to catch up on the documentation issues. My unit came with no documentation whatsoever other than the generic docs for Mach3 (which I actually had to download). Until they have setup docs and other information to send with the machines, we are going to be pretty dependent on the forums and other experts for help. For example, I purchased the z-pad and received absolutely no information on how to use it, controls in Mach3, etc. I am essentially completely on trial and error mode, which is fun but seems a bit unecessary for a machine of this cost. At any rate, I'm sure they will catch up soon and documentation will improve. This is a big issue if they plan to ship a lot of Stinger I models with Mach3 to non professional woodworkers who don't have a lot of CNC experience.

    Does anyone currently have a z-pad that uses Mach3 who could provide some guidance?

    Richard
    Don't be afraid of mach3. It's a great program. I am sure it is frustrating for you since there are not too many others using it on your other support forums, but cnczone.com and the machsupport website can help out as well as here on the creek. custom screen sets are available and fairly easy to make with some patience.

    Here is a thread on CNCzone that you will have to copy and paste into your browser (no direct links) http://cnczone.com/forums/mach_wizar...ification.html
    this thread details how to use a pin on your breakout board to trigger a Z zero script as well as a centering script. There are also a few other scripts and screen sets out there from "BigTex" on that forum that detail the touch plate as well. To use the script as shown on the site, you can either make a few buttons on your screen or you can use the "MachBlue" +probe screenset. The easiest is to use the MachBlue screens.

    Please ask questions if you need some help....
    Last edited by Rob Wright; 10-18-2010 at 4:28 PM. Reason: removed link
    oops ....1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 - yup all there, whew!

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Wright View Post
    Don't be afraid of mach3. It's a great program. I am sure it is frustrating for you since there are not too many others using it on your other support forums, but cnczone.com and the machsupport website can help out as well as here on the creek. custom screen sets are available and fairly easy to make with some patience.

    Here is a thread on CNCzone that you will have to copy and paste into your browser (no direct links) http://cnczone.com/forums/mach_wizar...ification.html
    this thread details how to use a pin on your breakout board to trigger a Z zero script as well as a centering script. There are also a few other scripts and screen sets out there from "BigTex" on that forum that detail the touch plate as well. To use the script as shown on the site, you can either make a few buttons on your screen or you can use the "MachBlue" +probe screenset. The easiest is to use the MachBlue screens.

    Please ask questions if you need some help....
    Excellent, Rob. That's a great help. I recognize that our issue is more about support for one platform (WinCNC) and not the other (Mach3) from the company. I clearly need to expand my information gathering to CNCzone and the Mach3 forum. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Richard

  6. #21
    bob is right, as much as it appears wincnc has a large support footprint mach is much larger!! wincnc has a couple of functions that as a commercial user i prefer yet mach is well capable of the job. where wincnc is concerned camasters forum is one of the strongest if not the only forum for wincnc, most other cnc manufacturers have yet to wake up to the potential of forum support. you guys with mach are not shorted by any strect of the imagination. it is more that mach is just new to camaster.

  7. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by james mcgrew View Post
    bob is right, as much as it appears wincnc has a large support footprint mach is much larger!! wincnc has a couple of functions that as a commercial user i prefer yet mach is well capable of the job. where wincnc is concerned camasters forum is one of the strongest if not the only forum for wincnc, most other cnc manufacturers have yet to wake up to the potential of forum support. you guys with mach are not shorted by any strect of the imagination. it is more that mach is just new to camaster.
    Rob,
    Thanks for the link. I know there’s tons of information on Mach3 available and I intend to use it as time goes on.

    James,
    I agree with what you are saying about Mach3.
    My own personal opinion is that there should be a set of instructions that accompany the machine when it’s shipped to take new users through setting up the machine. Installing a spoil board and creating a program in Aspire or whatever other program they purchased with the machine to run a surfacing of the spoil board. This should include instructions on several options of attaching the material to cut to the spoil board, i.e. screws, vacuum, hold down clamps etc.
    It would also be very helpful to have a small job as a sample included so one could run the job with instructions on how to create toolpaths and what to expect in Mach3. How to load your toolpaths, zero out your X and Y and where it should be for the sample etc. How to set Z zero using the Z-pad supplied with most machines.
    My experience is that I like to take my time and go through examples and learn slowly.
    You were very willing to let me and others look at your machine through cross loop and go through a training session and I thank you for that but it’s my opinion that it’s good to go slow and do things step by step, I learn faster that way.
    Please don’t think that I’m upset with CAMaster in any way, I think it’s a great machine and a great group of guys to work with and I would buy it again. I think CAMaster is very busy right now and have set their priorities to shipping machines. I know what I’m suggesting will take time to setup and implement however I think in the long run it would be time well spent.

    Richard,

    The following write up is one that I did after running my first job on my CAMaster. It may make no since to you at all, I really only did it for me to use as I continued to use and learn my machine. If it can help a little I’m happy to send it, if it doesn’t then just discard.

    First Mach3 setup and carving job.
    Open Mach3 program (click on Icon on screen). Make sure the “Jog ON/OFF Ctrl-Alt-J” button located in the tool information box is in the on position; it should be highlighted in green. You can click on the bar with your mouse or use the Ctrl-Alt-J keys to toggle it on and off. Make sure your “Reset” button on the Mach3 screen is not blinking and not telling you to press reset.
    You can now move the router side to side and front to back on the table using the four arrow keys on the key board, called Jogging. You can move the router up and down towards the table using the “page up” and “page down” keys on the keyboard. This will allow you to position the router bit where ever you want to start your job, basically the home position once set. I’m now assuming you have your project board placed on the table securely and have a mark on it where you want your zero X, Y and Z to be located. Now plug in your auto zeroing tool in the front of the control box and place it under the bit you’ve placed in the router. Press the “Auto Tool Zero” bar and your router should move slowly down towards the zeroing tool plate until it just touches the plate and then it will stop. I keep my mouse on the stop key ready to press it in case the auto zeroing tool didn’t work but thankfully mine worked every time. Now on the Mach3 screen press “Zero X” and “Zero Y” keys to set the start position in the program to zero don’t change the “Zero Z” since you’ve already set it to zero. Now remove your auto zeroing tool and your ready to load your tool path program into Mach3.
    Load the tool path program you’re going to run into Mach3 by pressing the “Load G-Code” bar on the Mach3 screen (located on the left side of the screen across from the “Cycle Start” key). This will open a dialog box on your screen using the default "GCode" file to be displayed. This file is where I located my Gcode (toolpaths) created in Aspire. I’m using another computer to run Aspire on so I copied the toolpaths from Aspire to a USB drive and took it to my shop and copied the file from the USB drive to the Gcode file located in my Mach3 library. Locate the program (Gcode) you want to run on your CNC and click on it to transfer it to the Mach3 screen. You will now see the Gcode in the window on your Mach3 screen ready to execute. The third line in my Gcode is a M03 code which turns on the router automatically. Note- I didn’t have this M03 code in the Gcode the first time I tried to run a program and the router moved very quickly and down into the wood and promptly broke my first router bit. Also make sure you’re router switch is turned in the on position so this M03 code will work.
    Press the “cycle Start” key or the Alt-S to start the Gcode running and hopefully start carving your first project successfully.

    I hope this helps.
    Mark

  8. #23
    Richard,
    I do have a stinger table top with the mach 3. My thoughts are the same about the winc program but I'm gonna work with what I have. I couldnt justify the extra expense for winc at this time. The z pad tool stop is rather simple after you master it the first time. What I do to set the z is get the x and y where I want it to be at and set that at 0,0. Then lower the z to about 3/4" or so off of the material to be cut then slide the aluminum plate under the bit and on top off the material (not spoilboard) and hit the auto zero button. If I remember correctly it is on the first tab in mach 3. I don't recall the title i think maybe it is program something. If you look to the right of the big red reset button there is another button that says auto tool zero. Hit that and the bit should slowly lower to the point it makes contact with the alum. plate. Once it hits the plate it will raise up and your z is set.

  9. #24
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    Thanks for the input on using the Z-pad in Mach3. It works very well to zero the z-axis to your workpiece.

    I also like the idea of setting the z soft limit by placing the pad on the spoilboard although I don't see a way to do this using the generic Mach3 interface. I think the major issue for Mach3 is just that the interface is pretty clunky and cluttered for a beginner working with a 3-axis router. There are a lot of unused functions and missing information that leads the uninitiated off on a wild goose chase. Obviously, this is a powerful software tool that can be used with every CNC device under the sun so the generic interface is going to be messy. I imagine that WinCNC is similar but that CAMaster has taken the time to generate a simplified front end screen for it. This doesn't seem to be too hard to do in Mach3. Just need to use the machine for a while to determine what really needs to be in the minimalistic interface.

    With respect to the "Touchtop" function in WinCNC: Is there a program script that is associated with that button that someone might be able to send me? I'd like to modify it to incorporate it into Mach3, if possible.

    I think, at the end of the day, it would be nice to have three functions for touchpads in the Stinger Mach3 screen:

    1. Z-height zero (already exists)
    2. Spoilboard height for setting the -Z soft limit.
    3. An x-y centering routine much like the one presented in the CNCzone link using a copper cylinder with a crosshair.

    At any rate, it might be worth starting to make a wishlist for functions to incorporate into the front end MACH3 screen for the Stinger and Stinger II. Should this just mimic the one for WinCNC? Any suggestions for included functions would be helpful.

    Richard
    Last edited by Richard Link; 10-19-2010 at 10:20 AM.

  10. #25
    You guys might want to try the Aqua screen I made. It doesn't have all the stuff you'd probably never use on a router. And it looks a lot better, imo.

    You can download it from the Mach website in the screen download section.

  11. #26
    gerry now that is a good looking screen !!

    jim
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Richard,

    In time Aaron Koehl is going to create a program for the Super Z Zero tool that has been available for ShopBot machines for a long time. I own one and I use it frequently.

    The Super Z Zero tool has a round hole so the CNC Router can automatically find the origin of any spot on your table. It also is able to set your top of material and includes several other programs to do various other functions which I rarely use. The program that runs this tool is separate from the CNC software so it doesn't matter which control software you are using.

    No doubt Aaron could add more features for this tool if requested but it will take some time given his scholastic schedule right now. Here is the link to the Super Z Zero web site.

    http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/SuperZero/
    .
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 10-24-2010 at 8:29 AM.

  13. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Link View Post

    With respect to the "Touchtop" function in WinCNC: Is there a program script that is associated with that button that someone might be able to send me? I'd like to modify it to incorporate it into Mach3, if possible.

    I think, at the end of the day, it would be nice to have three functions for touchpads in the Stinger Mach3 screen:

    1. Z-height zero (already exists)
    2. Spoilboard height for setting the -Z soft limit.
    3. An x-y centering routine much like the one presented in the CNCzone link using a copper cylinder with a crosshair.
    Here is a video I made a few years ago of a couple of handy items implemented within in Mach3.

    Greg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oc-9gTFj-y4

  14. #29
    yep that is how mine works!

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