So, a year in to my CNC apprenticeship...

nightowl4933

Nightowl4933
Hi,

I'm based in the UK (north Wiltshire, to be precise) and I'm a retired fire officer, with an urge to get into CNC machining as a hobby.

I cut my teeth on a Shapeoko 3 XXL machine, but after a year feel I now need a change of direction and have looked long and hard at alternatives - which has led me here.

I'm looking at the 1m2 3DTEK Heavymill with the Masso 3G and Gecko G540 controllers, but I have concerns over belt-driven systems, or a German manufacturer with igus dryspin threaded lead screw drive system that uses UCCNC.

I have spent (literally) hours watching Peter's videos about the Masso 3G and how to use it - and I really like the whole ethos behind it, especially it's functionality, flexibility, capability, (apparent) simplicity and the fact you can "go back" in the g-code if you break a cutter, but here is my quandary: Am I too hung up on a belt-drive system?

I appreciate everyone on here is (probably) a Masso user, and I'm happy for you to try and sell it to me, but I need to be clear about belt driven systems...

Thank you :)
 

breezy

Arie
Staff member
@nightowl4933

3DTek Heavy Mill uses a different belt drive system to the Shapeoko. Where as the Shapeoko has the X & Y axis belt fixed at each end of the axis and tensioned over the drive motor with two idler pullers, on the Heavy Mill the belt is fixed to the gantry in the case of the Y & B axis and to the spindle carriage for the X axis and the drive motors are mounted at one end of the axis and idler pulley at the other forming a looped belt.

It is quite robust and can move the X & Y axis at fast speeds. I had max speed set at 15000mm/m and acceleration at 300mm/s/s and the worst case backlash was 0.14mm.
I did have the max speed higher but felt it was fast enough at those settings. Was able to calibrate the X&Y to less than half a mm in 1000mm and auto squaring to 0.0001 degrees.

If you do go with the Heavy Mill from 3DTek UK ensure you order the 48V PS for the Gecko, that was how Ben designed it here in Australia and is the reason that I got the max speeds out of the Heavy Mill. Also upgrade the limit switches to proximity sensors, it is too easy to bend the actuating arms of the limit switches when you are setting up homing if you have the homing speed too fast.

But if you go with the German system just order it without the electronics and get the electronics from 3DTek. I don't how you go with custom fees now that Brexit has occurred.

Regards,

Arie.
 

nightowl4933

Nightowl4933
Hi Arie,

Thanks for your response.

Belt tensioning was an issue with the Shapeoko because of the design and the way in which they're secured, leading to a number of quite successful 3d-printed tensioners, which are quite effective, but I never got to go down that route.

It sounds to me using the Masso and belt combination may be better for my purposes (timber cutting, although I want to delve into using a laser, in due course) rather than UCCNC and lead screws.

I take on board the 48V PS for the Gecko G450, so will make sure I get that, but 3DTEK don't seem to offer proximity switches (unless that's the standard, now) so will need to source them elsewhere.

It's still looking good for the 3DTEK!

Thanks again, Arie
 

breezy

Arie
Staff member
@nightowl4933

Think 3DTek still use the switches, you'll need to source sensors from elsewhere. https://www.masso.com.au/product/masso-homing-sensor/
Look at this section of the MASSO documentation. https://docs.masso.com.au/quick-start-guides/setup-masso-mill#9PSTETPCWQ

I set up the sensors at each end of the axis, but that required me to wire two sensors into one input for hard limit alarms. In hindsight I should have mounted the sensors on the gantry and carriage with adjustable trigger points at each end of the axis. Which I did on my cheap test rig.

Regards,

Arie.
 

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nightowl4933

Nightowl4933
So, I've asked the questions of 3DTek, but I wasn't over-impressed with the answers.

To such an extent, I probably won't be buying a 3DTek machine in the UK. The only thing going for it is the Masso and Gecko control system, but the rest? Meh!

I think I'm going to struggle finding a good quality machine - within budget - using this control system. Which is a real shame! I spent a lot of hours watching Peter's videos!

It was a nice idea, while it lasted. I would prefer a machine with this control system, but I'm not going to build my own.

Maybe the Stepcraft will be a better fit for me, after all.

Thanks for your help though, Arie
 
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