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Thread: Simple one axis controllers?

  1. #1
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    Simple one axis controllers?

    Curious if I can trouble the group for a recommendation on a one-axis controller which can be mounted to a machine.

    I am working down the rabbit hole on my router table, having recently built a sturdy base for it. My thoughts now are that my router lift can be replaced with a Z-axis with a stepper motor and it could be operated with a simple controller but I donít know the details of what would be best here. This could be mounted directly to my frame and made independent from the cast table. The current router lift is ok but has a tendency to flex in heavier cuts. I have confidence that I can build a z-axis that will not flex.

    I have preliminary plans to replace the router motor with an ER20 spindle. I use the table all the time and the noise level produced by the router has gotten on my nerves, Iím expecting that going water cooled will provide the quietest spindle, looking at a German brand called Mechatron.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  2. #2
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    So is this router table a CNC router?
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller , WorkBee 1000x750 CNC Router - Mach4 - Windows 10

  3. #3
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    Yes, the controller would make it a CNC machine.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    Yes, the controller would make it a CNC machine.
    Is it safe to assume this Z-axis control is to provide initial, pre-start-of-cut positioning only (i.e for repeatability and ease of setup)? Or, is the long term plan to have coordinated motion between the Z-axis and X-axis??
    Last edited by Malcolm McLeod; 11-26-2020 at 11:41 AM. Reason: clarity, I hope

  5. #5
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    Hi Malcolm, that’s for commenting. Yes, just using this for pre-cut setup. I have been contemplating putting rings on my router bits so that I can have quick accurate positions. For the fence axis I plan to add a DRO but most likely will not add a positioner.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    Hi Malcolm, that’s for commenting. Yes, just using this for pre-cut setup. I have been contemplating putting rings on my router bits so that I can have quick accurate positions. For the fence axis I plan to add a DRO but most likely will not add a positioner.
    The controller and the control software will give you the position readout, no need for a DRO. A normal CNC would have X,Y, and Z all controlled by the software. Is that what your planning or already have?
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller , WorkBee 1000x750 CNC Router - Mach4 - Windows 10

  7. #7
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    I want to control one axis with a controller.
    Last edited by Brian Holcombe; 11-26-2020 at 1:39 PM.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  8. #8
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    This is what it looks like now.

    66187F79-DCF4-49E2-AC04-FE459B56E3BE.jpg

    planning to remove the lift and build out a Z-axis with stepper motor which would need a controller to position things.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  9. #9
    I have built several single-axis control systems, mostly medium-precision placement types of conveying systems, and 3-4 high-precision rotary systems, but only 2-3 multi-axis controls - and they were several years ago. Only one stepper system - - long ago. Technology has probably passed me by on this 'actuation' front, so would rely on others with more current knowledge.

    All mine were centered on a PLC for the logic, SCADA for HMI, and most were relatively high powered (servos). All to say I'd love to help, but probably outside my wheelhouse.

    Link to Automation Direct cut sheet. A reputable supplier (my limited experience with them); midrange prices, good support.

    Link to Rockwell Automation / Allen-Bradley cut sheet for Kinetix family. My bestest buds :: Tech Support on 24/7 speed dial. Our RA Acct Manager can commit suicide by jumping off his wallet. Hide yours!

    Might give you a good picture of what is available in 20 pages or less. And most you may be familiar with from metal cutting world. Hope it is some help.

    Best advice for you or anyone setting sail in this technology maelstrom, look carefully at the HMI. How will you 'see' what is happening? Or, find what you 'want' to happen? Seems like so many folks buy/build some type of CNC tool, but the very last consideration is how they will interface to it for commands, status, alarms, etc. I do a lot of automation systems, and I've got a BIG team of folk next to me to make sure we aren't thrashing around blindly in this regard. It can spell success or failure.

    Oh. And this sounds fun!!
    (..maybe cuz' my budget isn't involved)
    Last edited by Malcolm McLeod; 11-26-2020 at 2:23 PM.

  10. #10
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    To make things simple and affordable, use a standard CNC controller and software, consumer grade. Just use the Z axis and its done. No reinventing the wheel. For a stepper / servo driver and info look here https://www.geckodrive.com/ .

    Software and controller Mach3 or 4, cheap and easy. You might want to consider a servo instead.

    Having worked with AB PLC's, this is a much easier and cheaper route as its off the shelf, And it works.
    Last edited by Bill George; 11-26-2020 at 2:57 PM.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller , WorkBee 1000x750 CNC Router - Mach4 - Windows 10

  11. #11
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    Have you asked Gary for his recommendations? He's about the best person I know for this kind of thing and while he's technically retired now, it may be something he'll comment on.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    I want to control one axis with a controller.
    Are you looking for an "off the shelf" solution, or are you willing to integrate separate components yourself? Do you have a budgetary constraint, and any size limitations for the "controller"? I could envision using a Centroid Acorn controller with their cnc12 control software to control your stepper motor (for moving your "lift" mechanism up and down). This setup would generally interface to a small PC or laptop. What would the "lift" mechanism look like? You mention installing a water cooled spindle, which will generally require a VFD for operation. The VFD could be "stand-alone" using the control buttons, or interfaced to the Centroid Acorn controller so that both RPM and Z-position would be under software control. This option would also allow for software "pre-sets" so you could designate some of the programmable cnc12 console buttons for predetermined Z axis locations and/or spindle speeds. I am personally using the Centroid Acorn/cnc12 on one of my cnc router tables with a 4HP ATC water cooled spindle (NBT30/ER25 collets) and am quite satisfied with the operation.

    David

    https://www.centroidcnc.com/centroid...ontroller.html

    cnc12.jpg
    Last edited by David Buchhauser; 11-27-2020 at 4:25 AM.

  13. #13
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    Thanks gents, appreciate the insights.

    Much of this is new to me so I’m going to digest some of it. I like the idea of using a program and a laptop and adding the spindle rpm function in also.

    im going to do a bit of budget making to see what I should afford this project, putting an arbitrary number on it is not something necessary for my shop as those numbers tend to get tossed out the door when they become inconvenient.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  14. #14
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    I agree with looking at using an available laptop for this and if you're going the spindle route (pardon the pun...), having control over speed there is uber useful. I'm so very thankful that my CNC machine has that. Sometimes only a few RPM change can make a difference in cut quality and burn reduction as it gives you a lot more control over chip load. It will also make your project a whole lot more interesting, too. You might also consider as a future add-on project a feeder so you can maintain a steady feed speed....which is the other piece of the equation around chip load and cut quality. Part of the challenge there is tailoring it to the workpiece sizes you tend to run which "in my observation" are different than what folks who are pushing sticks through a big shaper may be processing.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    Thanks gents, appreciate the insights.

    Much of this is new to me so Iím going to digest some of it. I like the idea of using a program and a laptop and adding the spindle rpm function in also.

    im going to do a bit of budget making to see what I should afford this project, putting an arbitrary number on it is not something necessary for my shop as those numbers tend to get tossed out the door when they become inconvenient.
    Another less expensive approach would be to simply build or buy a small control box to control step, direction, and speed (steps/min) for the stepper motor. If you are familiar with setting the time on some of the digital alarm clocks, they have one button for hours, one for minutes (fast), and one for minutes (slow). This would be the same approach for moving the spindle up or down in conjunction with the digital readout. This scheme would allow for easily positioning the spindle to within 0.001" or better (depending on the accuracy/precision of the digital readout).
    Then use an inexpensive digital readout with the scale mounted to your spindle lift, and the actual readout located in a convenient position. You would need the stepper motor, a single stepper motor electronic drive, and a power supply. Most VFDs come with integral display, buttons for increasing/decreasing rpm, or a knob that can be rotated to increase/decrease rpm. In this scenario, there would be no need for the computer, monitor, mouse/keyboard, or purchasing the $300 plus Centroid Acorn.

    David

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