Thinking of updating my cnc need advice

dhagen

dhagen
I have a cnc about 24 x 24 from Nextwave automation that uses a Porter Cable router. It has a controller box that directly drives the stepper motors. The stepper motors are nema 23, 1.3 amps I believe because there are no mfg labels on the motors. I have a PC dedicated to running the software that communicates with the controller box. The box and associated software is no longer supported, my cnc machine is acting flaky moving and cutting where ts is not suppose to.

I been looking at my options to replace what I have with better and supported stuff. I have not had to dived into technology that makes the cnc works, but I need to learn. The Masso looks very interesting to me and would love to get rid of the PC.

I found out I need drivers to run the motors and have no idea how to pick the ones I need that are both capable and affordable. The ones I have looked at so far run from $30 to $400 and I don t have the technical knowledge yet to decide what I need.

Also, will the Masso handle large g-code files in the 7 to 10mb size.

I am assuming other then a power-supply, the Masso and 3 driver modules is all the significant CNC hardware I would need, I have keyboard, mouse etc.

My other option I am considering is Mach 4 with a PMDX 350, but this still has a PC.. I prefer the Masso, but not sure how much more I need to spend to make it work..



Any advice would be helpful
 

machinedude

machinedude
if you want a decent stepper drive that does not break the bank and is of good quality gecko makes a decent drive for steppers.


mach 4 is expensive in my opinion. they have good support and have been around for a long time but they have upped the price compared to the mach 3 days quite a bit.

this is my first masso build so I have not had much experience past bench testing. but some things I have seen with masso that need to be fixed or added are the backlash comp needs fixed they need cutter comp added unless I overlooked it somewhere and they need to get something for ridged tapping for the mill version.

one other option you might want to look into would be a centroid acorn? centroid has been around for a long time and has a rather large forum. I was up between the masso and a centroid acorn when I started my build. I ended up with a masso but the centroid has the basics nailed down well but is not quite as large in the sense of the amount of things you can control with it and you need a PC to run with it. centroid had it's own processor on the board so the computer is not in total control but is still needed.

if you would need to replace the actual stepper motors automation direct has a good selection of sizes at a good price. I have used the motors a few times but never messed around with their brand of drives, they are a good company to deal with as far as getting parts quickly and have excellent customer service.
 

clover

clover
@dhagen

As @machinedude has suggested the Gecko drives are a good option and for the steppers you have the G540 is a good choice. Reliable, efficient, easily interfaced to Masso, 4 drivers in the one small package, well regarded in the CNC community and relatively inexpensive (especially if you are in the US). Many Masso users have them - me included.

If your Nextwave unit does not have them will also need Homing switches. Masso have them albeit fairly expensive, however you are not tied to this brand.

I have never run files this large on my Masso so I will leave that for another to answer. One comment however, large files may take a long time to load on Masso. Good luck, Patrick
 

testyourdesign

testyourdesign
@dhagen

If I were to do it all again I would skip the steppers and buy Teknic Clearpath Servos. Their servo motors have the servo drives built directly into the motor housing and they have very good software to calibrate the motors and drives based on the ball screw torque and overall stiffness it measures using test cycles on your specific machine. Having the drives built right into the motor really simplifies the build and space needed for the controls.

As with most DIY type CNC controllers Masso has its limitations because it is a relatively new product that is still in development. Nonetheless I feel that this it is a very capable controller that has benefited from constant software improvement from the manufacturer which is based directly from user input in this forum. For my application this has been a very good experience but for some they struggle to get past the integration phase just like many Mach3 users have struggled in the past.

Its important to note that one of the limitations that may affect your work is the current inability to run really large files. Masso have made many software improvements over the last year that have allowed larger files work properly but at this time its not really suited for large 3d carving or 3d milling programs. Personally I keep most of my larger programs to less than 50,000 lines of G-Code and have been able to run them on my Masso controlled 3 Axis Milling Machine without trouble. There are many ways to reduce the files sizes that I can share if you have interest but generally when files get to large I usually just split them up into separate programs so that I can progressively complete my projects without any issues.

Hope this helps.

Cheers, Stephen Brown
 

dhagen

dhagen
Quote from clover on May 30, 2019, 2:15 am

@dhagen

As @machinedude has suggested the Gecko drives are a good option and for the steppers you have the G540 is a good choice. Reliable, efficient, easily interfaced to Masso, 4 drivers in the one small package, well regarded in the CNC community and relatively inexpensive (especially if you are in the US). Many Masso users have them - me included.

If your Nextwave unit does not have them will also need Homing switches. Masso have them albeit fairly expensive, however you are not tied to this brand.

I have never run files this large on my Masso so I will leave that for another to answer. One comment however, large files may take a long time to load on Masso. Good luck, Patrick

Thanks for the advice, much appreciated... I am thinking of getting the G540, but not sure the best method of connecting it to the Masso? Can I use a simple DB25 break board and just run discrete wires to the Masso? I attached a photo of something I am thinking of using. Has anyone documented how to connect these two things together?
 

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clover

clover
@dhagen

Connecting things together can often be a problem. I was able to use a special cable made by an Australian company but they seem to have discontinued making this bit of kit, pity! The breakout connector you show above is one way to make connections albeit bulky.

If you have soldering skills it's pretty simple to make up a cable, see the diagram here although you won't need the A axis connection except for the green wire running to Pin 25 of the D25 connector.

If your Masso and your G540 are in close proximity you could use a length of 25 way flat cable and a D25 IDC (insulated displacement connector), pretty simple to put together with just a benchtop vice. The only problem with this is that the conductors in the flat cable are rather thin and could break with vibration although there are ways around the problem.

Another option would be to purchase a D25 male cable that has all the conductors - cut off one end and use the 7 relevant wires to terminate into your Masso while ignoring the other redundant wires. Again the wires size can be a bit delicate.

A question - what is the arrangement of your CNC? Does it have dual Y axis steppers? The G540 has 4 drivers to suite this situation but you may have to allow for this in wiring your cable. I hope this answers some of your queries. Get back to the forum if you have any more queries, Cheers, Patrick
 

machinedude

machinedude
Quote from clover on May 31, 2019, 8:32 am

@dhagen

Another option would be to purchase a D25 male cable that has all the conductors - cut off one end and use the 7 relevant wires to terminate into your Masso while ignoring the other redundant wires. Again the wires size can be a bit delicate.

if you go this route I would suggest finding a cable where the wires are color coded so identification is much easier. here is a link to one and a pdf can be found on the site as well but I will attach one here too.

 

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