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Thread: Finally got my ATC set up and running on my CNC

  1. #1

    Finally got my ATC set up and running on my CNC

    I've spent a good time trying to figure out macros and settings and after much help from a forum, I have my CNC running an ATC spindle controlled by Centroid Acorn. Can't wait to get back to using it for work again. It's been a huge learning experience and believe me I had zero experience when I started this. It was frustrating work at times but rewarding.

    Can you imagine how long it would take to do this file with manual tool changes? Here's a video of it in operation.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0c5StkFUWc&t=84s

  2. #2
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    Very slick setup Bobby. It makes my Camaster "fast tool change" look Neander!
    Last edited by Bruce Page; 01-18-2020 at 1:29 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Nice work Bobby!! That's one awesome machine. I hope to get mine running one of these days as well.
    David

  4. #4
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    I would positively love that, Bobby! Nice job on the implementation.
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    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
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    That's pretty slick, congratulations on getting it to work. That would be a major challenge for me.

  6. #6
    Thanks for the comments. David and I have spent many nights discussing the macros and how to implement this. The people at Centroid were a major help. I'm not sure what time a tool change took doing it manually. I know that I'd be waiting at the machine for a bit to stop so I could change it and that kept me from doing other things. I never timed it but I would guess a tool change took me around 4 minutes from strat to cutting. Now it will be under 20 seconds total. I know that I have gotten lazy on some files where I could have done a better job by using more tools but ran it with fewer just to make it easier. This should allow me to use better tool management as well as being faster. The average things that I make run 1- 1.5 hours. I probably spent 20-30 minutes of that waiting for the tool change. That is 20-30 minutes of time that I can be finishing something else.

    I gave up about 4" of the Y travel to instal the tool rack this way so I can no longer cut full sheets of plywood but since I rarely do that anyway, I will gladly give up the bit of travel for the convenience. I already have plans for the future to make a sliding tool rack and reclaim that 4" as I become more knowledgeable with the software.

    Keith, believe me this was a major challenge for me. I know virtually zero about writing macros. If I can do it anyone can if you have some good guidance.

  7. #7
    Nicely done, most rack tool changers move terribly slow, which I don't understand. I have Centroid on my CNC mill and it has no tool changer and it couldn't be implemented because of the tool can only be changed when the spindle is all the way up. Looking at acquiring a 4x8 router myself and adapt this style of changer.

    A couple of comments, and I don't know what you have been through, but it seems you should drop a little lower in Z over the rack, looks like the tools drop a bit, and they get sucked up when changing, maybe Z-.05" or so would help. In your code, I don't think you need G49Z0 and the M25, the M25 will cancel the Z offset and raise the spindle to the top, at least that is what I do. Might want to take out the return to G54 X0 Y0 too as that's going to eat up some time over a lot of tool changes.
    Brian Lamb
    Lamb Tool Works, Custom tools for woodworkers
    Equipment: Felder KF700 and AD741, Milltronics CNC Mill, Universal Laser X-600

  8. #8
    Thanks Brian. I think you are right about the Z height. I haven't figured out what to use to make it move to the rack without the G54Z0. I will look at the macro and see what I can do to improve it. This is just the first time I had it actually operating and making tool changes. I definitely appreciate the feedback.

  9. #9
    Well, I just went and caught up a bit on the Centroid forum, and you first posted on the 11th and here you have it running on the 18th, that's amazing! Good job! In your macro you should be able to go from where ever on the table to the tool in the spindles rack position directly, then to the called for next tools rack position, and then it seems you are already coming back into the program and going to the next called position to machine. I think it would be just eliminate the G54X0Y0 that must be in there somewhere.

    I could be wrong on the G49Z0 to cancel any tool offset, but I think all you need is the M25, that's what I use and modified my post to output in my G-code. The M25 sends the spindle up to home position (quill in my case), then you rapid to the pot, and call up the macro which should have your distance from home to the Z depth required to drop/grab the tool.

    Obviously you have smarter guys than me on the Centroid forum, so they probably have better input.
    Brian Lamb
    Lamb Tool Works, Custom tools for woodworkers
    Equipment: Felder KF700 and AD741, Milltronics CNC Mill, Universal Laser X-600

  10. #10
    Its been much longer than a week. I've been working on this for a couple of months trying to figure out the macros.

    I don't have a G49 in my macro. I'll bre looking at it trying to make it better.

  11. #11
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    very nice. I have played around with a lot of Macros and I dont envy what you had to do to get that setup though Im sure you learned a ton in the process which is very advantageous.

    I recently kicked around the idea of adding a second rack to our machine (10 pos now at the back in X) and thought of a small 6 pos rack in Y along the X0 and have since scrapped it due to the complexity.

    Fast tool changes are imperative with fixed rack machines. When I first fired ours up it was scary but now it seems like a snail.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby milam View Post
    Thanks Brian. I think you are right about the Z height. I haven't figured out what to use to make it move to the rack without the G54Z0. I will look at the macro and see what I can do to improve it. This is just the first time I had it actually operating and making tool changes. I definitely appreciate the feedback.

    I am most definitely wrong but I think the reason for this sort of approach to the rack is because the tool offset doesnt take into consideration the tool diameter. Which means if you came into the rack diagonally with a tool in the spindle there is a serious crash potential.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  13. #13
    I re-watched his video and I was trying to read the code posted on the screen, he is cancelling any cutter diameter compensation with a line that says G49 H0 M25, which cancels tool length offset (G49), any cutter diameter compensation (H0) and then sends it to Z home (M25). I did see (I think) a G90 X0 Y0 in the code, that might be what is sending it to home before each tool change. I don't know what software Bobby is using for g-code, but it might be a setting in his post processor there that is causing the move to 0,0 and not anything to do with the macro.

    I noticed that after his tool change he is dropping in Z before he starts off across the table, I would stay at Z home and wait until I got into position before going Z minus... safer in case you have any clamps in the way. Again, that might be a post processor thing.

    I learned G-code back in the late 70's and we did everything with a pencil and paper. I don't do that any longer of course, but I have a real thing for all sorts of extra moves and monkey motion, which almost all software seems to spit out today.
    Brian Lamb
    Lamb Tool Works, Custom tools for woodworkers
    Equipment: Felder KF700 and AD741, Milltronics CNC Mill, Universal Laser X-600

  14. #14
    Good point Mark. Originally the file after clamping a tool, the z would lower to move back into the cutting gcode which with a long tool could cut into the rack or I worried about crashing into another tool leaving at an extreme angle. I added to it so that after the clamping, it raised the Z then it stepped out 1.5" to clear the rack before going back to doing what the gcode called for. I am working right now to make a dust shoe docking station. The shoe will be a magnetic 2 piece and will slide into the dock, the Z will raise which will seperate the dust shoe, do the tool changes then go back and grab the shoe and slide it back out of the station. I saw someone else on the Centroid forum that made one and thought that was a good idea now so as to not have to deal with pneumatic system. Once I figure the dock out and mount it I am going to have to edit the macro again to put those movements in. So, this is going to be an ongoing process and I have much more to learn.

    In the mean time, I need to find more money to order more tool holders.

    Mark, the beauty of Centroid is that they have sample macros for different types of tool racks already made up. I didn't have to start off from scratch. I just had to learn what everything meant then edit things with my coordinates and put in or take out commands. I could never have done this from scratch on my own.

  15. #15
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    I agree on all points. All the wasted steps get pretty irritating. I have several in my post I have never had the time to wring out. But on the flip side Im always cautious as I know they are there for the rare event/instance I dont foresee.

    Thankfully Im rarely in an instance where a few wasted moves are critical to profitability but its definitely nice to get rid of them when you can.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

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