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Thread: New here - problems, but semi-solved, with ULS M-300

  1. #1

    New here - problems, but semi-solved, with ULS M-300

    Hi Folks,
    I've enjoyed reading many past threads here over the years.
    We recently bought a 2ndhand Universal M-300. It's 14 years old, but the tube is a 2012 model.
    It ran fine for a bit then suddenly started making horrible grinding noises in the Y axis, as if it was a servo fighting to retain its place - except it's a stepper motor.
    It would not home properly, and could not be jogged around the bed properly without the machine convinced you'd reached the limits - yet the lens was still in the middle.
    X was fine - just Y was the problem.
    I eventually found a loose plug on the motherboard and plugged it back in-it looked like an old PC IDE harddrive ribbon cable lead.
    However that did NOT fix the problem.
    Several reboots and suddenly it behaved-for a day.
    The it played up and was no good. Then it came good.
    Touch wood it stays that way - today it has not missed a beat.
    I've been racking my brain to think of reasons -it's not the stepper motor itself-I changed that out for no difference.
    It can;t be the CPU or motherboard... I did re-flash the firmware, and it made no difference.
    If it was the cpu or motherboard or the drive on it, I believe it would not fix itself. It would stay kaput.
    So I'm down to thinking maybe a possibly weak part of one of the 4 wires leafing to the stepper motor.
    Vibrations in use worsen it, and vibrations or a rest, remedies it?

    I still have no idea - except that today it's going fine so far!
    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
    Screenprinting carousel 6x4 and 7x4 ft 1-arm bandit vac table.
    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

  2. #2
    I might add, all is going well, except I've noticed an angle on 10mm acrylic through-cuts, as if the X lens isn't quite perpendicular to the bed.
    They all slope the same way, and if you cut a 6 x 2" oval shape, there's a noticeable little bump at the start/end point which you can feel with your fingernail.
    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
    Screenprinting carousel 6x4 and 7x4 ft 1-arm bandit vac table.
    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

  3. #3
    There is likely a sleeve loose on the split shaft which runs across the x-axis but is the device that keeps the x-axis in the correct plane. Turn the machine off and move the carriage forward and backward. There is probably a sleeve type device on a shaft and it will have set screws in it. I think they need tightening after your align the shaft. The shaft rides on the y axis rails.

    Sorry for my non-technical language.
    Last edited by Mike Null; 09-18-2016 at 11:08 AM.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation
    Evolis Card Printer
    CorelDraw X5

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    3,932
    I think the angle on 10mm is normal its hard to get a 90 all the way thru
    If the Help and advice you received here was of any VALUE to you PLEASE! Become a Contributor
    Rabbit RL_XX_6040-60 watt Laser engraving/cutting machine
    Lasercut 5.3
    CorelDraw X5

    10" Miter Saw with slide
    10" Table Saw
    8" bench mount 5 speed Drill Press
    Dremel, 3x21 Belt Sander


  5. #5
    I currently count 50 stepper motors on my machines, and I've been running machines with steppers for 35 years. Based on my experience, it seems to me your grindy noise is the result of your stepper not knowing what to do...

    Causes: a bad wire, bad connection on either side of a plug connector, a bad stepper driver, or the stepper itself. However, you already know it's not the stepper itself. Probably not the driver either.

    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...mph&highlight=

    ^^^^ this is a link to a thread I posted a few months ago about the Y stepper in my Triumph acting pretty much exactly like yours. (topic says "X" axis, but turned out to be the Y) Watch my video, and notice the noise my machine makes when the stepper becomes "confused". I'm betting yours' sounds much the same (echo's from the machine itself notwithstanding). Read thru to the end, I (with the help of Rich and others on the board) found and detailed the problem and the fix, broken wire in the drag chain.

    I've had a few other motors act like this over the years, the Z stepper on my V3400 cylinder engraver was the lastest, it would do the same thing. That one was one of the spades had worked its way out of one of the incoming plugs enough to make only a 'fragile' connection. Worked great sometimes, but when it didn't, it was screwing up parts by not raising and lowering the spindle correctly...
    Last edited by Kev Williams; 09-18-2016 at 1:06 PM.
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  6. #6
    My Z- axis was making a horrible grinding noise. I adjusted the bolts, tightened the belt when I aligned the table it still made a horrible straining noise when moving. When I reinstalled LaserCut the noise was gone and the table runs smoother.
    So, even though I cannot find a Z-axis adjustment in machine settings, I think the stepper settings were reset. Which make me think that your settings are off for the Y-axis.....??
    Last edited by Joseph Shawa; 09-19-2016 at 11:08 AM.
    Chinese 6040 by NiceCut. Originally 60 Watt upgraded to 150 Watt.....I thought I had pretty much every problem in the book of laser cutting. It turns out that there is a set of books.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Iowa USA
    Posts
    3,259
    On a ULS they use several ribbon cables, my suggestion after 14 years or so I would just replace. Loose connections or plugs would be my next guess. My machine is built like a tank, I do not know how the new ULS machines are fairing.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller, MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Qe60+ Vinyl cutter. Fine Line Automation 4x4 CNC Router- Mach3

  8. #8
    Thanks for the thoughts & suggestions.
    Mike, There's no perceivable slop in the X axis carriage along the gantry, nor the Y axis. I tried that early on to see if any fine tuning was needed.
    The beam just appears to have a lean toward the front of the bed as it cuts all the way around a thicker object.
    If it spread radially in all directions, that could be understandable, but it's not 'symmetrical' like that it has a bias toward the front right on all sides.
    And finding the little 'tit' where a start and end of a cut meet is a bit of a surprise. I get that with the cnc router unless I specify an overlap with it, but I was expecting the laser to be smoother at that particular junction.

    However, I'll recheck - because there should not be a change in angle from the X moving left, to it moveing right as if going round a circle - and there actually is, so I'll recheck for some minute bit of slop. Thanks

    Jospeh, the Z axis stepper on this one is too fast for my liking, so it's unplugged, and we do a manual bed rise-and-fall to home on on the 2" gauge mark. You just pull on the timing belt by hand. I just use Corel Draw, and click 'Print'... then check the former settings loaded for any particular substrate, and click 'OK'.

    Kev- I agree- a bad connection beside a stepper plug connector is the most logical option. Thanks.
    Your machine is quick! But 'yes' the grinding noise was rather similar. The difference was when it happened here, it would happen wven when you tried to manually jog the lens about the bed, and when cutting, it moved not at all - I only got straight lines all on top of each other. Yours loses its place but keeps trying to make its way back.
    It's for that reason I like the servos in out cnc router, and their encoders - it always knows where it is, and after a reset, it can go back to where it left off.
    Plus they're quieter, and quicker than steppers. But with a laser there's no physical load on the steppers, so theoretically no issues there, and a laser might not like the servo's abilities to accelerate and decelerate.

    Anyhow, Our Y axis has remedied itself again, and worked four hours constantly for the last two days without ruining anything! (touch wood!) I have no idea where or how to get into the software driver to alter any settings, as if for instance the stepper was changed for one with 1.8 degrees instead of 0.9 degrees per step. I can do those edits on the router easily, but not the M-300.

    Years ago one of our vinyl plotters started to behave that way, but turning it off for a day, rebooting it a few times, and replacing a printer lead fixed it - though I can't recall which part was actually the cause of the remedy. Having a coffee break always seems to help though!

    Thank you for the link to your trials and tribulations - that also reminds me of our router & me diagnosing the sillies it used to occasionally get.
    IN the end I had 2 sets of cables for everything, and when one lot plays up, I just unplug it, and plug in the adjacent one, and it's good for a fair few more months again.
    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
    Screenprinting carousel 6x4 and 7x4 ft 1-arm bandit vac table.
    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

  9. #9
    Ian

    My memory is a bit vague but my ULS engraved on the diagonal in the x-axis. The shaft remedy solved that issue. My recollection was that the shaft was driven by gears and stepper motor moving the gantry in the Y-axis. There were stops on the front of the machine that you could align the shaft to.

    19 and 20 in the diagram are the items I'm referring to. http://www.engraversnetwork.com/file...LS-Desktop.pdf
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation
    Evolis Card Printer
    CorelDraw X5

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Englewood, CO
    Posts
    479
    Welcome Ian,
    If all else fails, you might try calling ULS support, they should be able to help you diagnose the problem or at leas send you a maintenance manual as a PDF download.
    If that doesn't work, PM me, I think I have a manual I can send you.
    Universal PLS 6.120D 75 watt
    MutiCam Apex CNC 4'x8' w 6 bit TC.
    EnrRoute 6 Pro 3d software.
    Vision 2550 Rotary Engraver.


  11. #11
    Back to your problem being similar to mine-
    In my case, the wire that broke- black wire- was likely a ground wire, making my stepper act nuts. However, I would imagine different wire with the same intermittent issue may cause the stepper to work correctly, or not at all, resulting in the Y axis not moving at all.
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  12. #12
    I wish I'd written up the solution, after I got it going last October, because it just started grinding and groaning in the Y axis again tonight.
    (yesterday, and prior to that it was fine)

    What's also very weird, is that a simple star file to be cut in acrylic I sent to it. The Speeds in Corel were P=30, S=2, PPI=1000, from memory.
    The M300 console showed them as P=0, S=0, PPI=0.

    So as well as the wonky groany Y axis, I'm wondering who stole the control figures from the job?
    I have plugged and replugged the LPT lead, and swapped them out, and rebooted 3 times - to no avail.

    Cooler weather perhaps? It's a shame as I'm in the middle of a bit if desperation to get some stuff done, after getting the nice new replacement tube 3 weeks ago.
    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
    Screenprinting carousel 6x4 and 7x4 ft 1-arm bandit vac table.
    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

  13. #13
    The power settings I solved - it turns out the file in Corel was outlined with an outline that was not the 0.25mm hairline, but was fatter, so it was wanting to try and raster it.

    But the Y axis issues I wish I could solve... and I wish I'd made notes of the last time I fixed it.
    I seem to remember thinking it came good after unplugging and repluggnig all leads everywhere, and also putting the rotary in and running it.

    Last night though, that all made no difference, and what's weird is with rotary plugged in, when I pressed the Z button on the console, the gantry moved to place itself over where the rotary attachment sits, and also started to turn the chuck around by 5 or 7 degrees.
    It should not be doing both things, just one...
    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
    Screenprinting carousel 6x4 and 7x4 ft 1-arm bandit vac table.
    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

  14. #14
    OK,I'm replying so that I know for next time...
    after unplugging & repluggng everything last night - including the motherboard & ram,
    and double-checking continuity on the 4 leads from the mobo to the Y stepper,
    and pushing everything back together, and testing it last night it still failed to operate properly.
    I went to bed at a bit after midnight.

    After saying a prayer, it worked fine this monring! Have faith!
    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
    Screenprinting carousel 6x4 and 7x4 ft 1-arm bandit vac table.
    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Stewart-Koster View Post
    I might add, all is going well, except I've noticed an angle on 10mm acrylic through-cuts, as if the X lens isn't quite perpendicular to the bed.
    They all slope the same way, and if you cut a 6 x 2" oval shape, there's a noticeable little bump at the start/end point which you can feel with your fingernail.
    A mismatch in start and finish points can be two things on the Universal. One, the material moves. That's VERY common with acrylic. As you cut, the cut is releasing stress in the material and you can see the part move to one side of the kerf. If that's happening, that's not machine related. You can test that by vectoring circles (3/4" or so would be fine) at very light powers, just enough to mark some MDF (MDF works great to test this on). If there is a mismatch then you need to replace your bearings. ULS makes a kit that has belts, bearings, and pulleys. It takes about 30 minutes to install it all. Once that's done, that start and finish points will align perfectly.

    For the angled cut, all the same angle, like a parallelogram (that's important to note), then your beam is out of alignment and it's hitting the mirror off center, which hits the lens off center which causing the beam to be at an angle instead of straight. If it's that, then you normally see lines in the X Axis parallel and lines in the Y Axis parallel.
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Trotec Speedy 300 80W, Galvo Fiber Laser 20W
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

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