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Question #: 14331

Question: How should I control a plasma torch, spindle and a laser on my CNC machine?

Current Solution

It will depend on how you configure the machine to use the Laser and plasma. Is the laser on a separate gantry? That will determine the way you will connect the laser control system or if you use a typical CNC controller. The plasma will need inputs of THC on, THC up, THC down and outputs to trigger the plasma torch. I recommend the Pokeys57CNC for the plasma and you can also fire the laser with it, but you will not be able to do engraving with the laser unless you use a laser controller. If you use a laser controller, you will need to either build circuitry to switch the digital signals from which controller you will be using, or if you have the laser on a separate gantry, you can use a traditional laser controller connected to the stepper motor drivers on that gantry.

Users response:
I was planing on using same gantry, and installing plasma and laser module on z axis along the side with current router. Perhaps if it’s needed installing another z axis on current z axis. So that when I use plasma, router z will be homed and plasma z axis will be able to utilize thc.

When you say “If you use a laser controller, you will need to either build circuitry to switch the digital signals from which controller you will be using,”
If i install laser controller, pokeys and router motion card, do you mean all ( axis and router/laser/plasma) signals or just the one that controls router/laser/plasma?
I was wondering if I could jump (parallel connect) axis signals from card to card without ?
Also do you prefer ethernet card or usb?
I really do appreciate your help :) thanx again.

Buildyourcnc response:
Not a problem at all.

Remember that with all of that weight on the z-axis, you will not be able to do efficient raster style engraving.

By putting the laser on another gantry, say at the far end of the table, then you would be able to use a laser controller that controls its own stepper motors and the nozzle can have fast swing motion for engraving. With the laser on the z-axis of the spindle (like see on the greenBull), you will only be able to do vector motions for the laser.

You can also have a CNC interface and laser controller controlling the same stepper motor drivers, but you will need a few tri-state buffer chips where you can use a toggle switch for which controller has control of the drivers.

Respond:

Other Possible Solutions to this Question

  • I HAVE YOUR MACH3 USB BOB, DO YOU GUYS SELL A TORCH CONTROL RELAY CAN WIRE UP TO TURN MY PLASMA ON AND OFF HOW WOULD WIFE THAT TOO THIS BOB?

    We do have a relay board that words like a standard relay.

    Here is the URL of the relay board that we offer:

    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-breakout-Relays-relay-board-250V-12A-5V

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    I HAVE YOUR MACH3 USB BOB, DO YOU GUYS SELL A TORCH CONTROL RELAY CAN WIRE UP TO TURN MY PLASMA ON AND OFF HOW WOULD WIFE THAT TOO THIS BOB?

  • I have your mach3 USB BoB, do you guys sell a torch control relay I can wire up to turn my plasma torch on and off and how I would wife that too this BoB?
  • how do I connect my spindle to mach3 so mach3 can control it

    It is not necessary to connect the spindle VFD (Variable Frequency Drive also called an Inverter) to the computer or CNC motion electronics. The VFD can be controlled independently using the control panel on the VFD. The control panel has the ability to control all aspects of the spindle including Speed, Torque, limits, etc. However, you can connect the VFD to the computer so the CNC control program can control the spindle during the CNC Machine operation. You will need to connect the VFD to the computer via a serial conection (in this case, it is the RS-485 protocol).

    The following are instructions on how to connect the VFD to Mach3 via this RS-485 serial connection.

    The first thing you will need is the dynamic link library to pair with mach3 called the Huanyang VFD Mach3 PlugIn. You can find this file at the mach3 support forum here: http://www.machsupport.com/forum/index.php/topic,14182.0.html

    You will also need to download the Microsoft .net 3.5 framework and install it: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=21

    Follow the pdf that comes with the library file, but here is a synopsis of what you need to do (I also added a lot more information that may be useful during this process as the manual does not cover the main connections that need to be done):

    You will need to program your VFD so that it knows how to communicate with mach3 and the computer (go into the programming mode of the VFD and change these parameters):
    - PD001 - value 2 - Enables with communication aspect of the VFD
    - PD002 - value 2 - Enables frequency control from the communcations port
    - PD163 - value 1 - VFD address
    - PD164 - value 1 - Baud rate of 9600 (speed of the communication)
    - PD165 - value 3 - 8N1 RTU - 8 bits (that's the size of the word that gets communicated), N (No parity or no error checking) and 1 (1 stop bit)

    Copy the dll file to the PlugIns folder of mach3.

    Connect the RX and TX lines to your computer. There are a couple ways you can do this, but the recommended way would be to use an FTDI USB device which converts a USB to a serial com port. The device will have Rx and Tx connectors to connect to the VFD terminals with the same labels. This method is recommended since serial ports are not as common in computers these days.

    Next, you will need to configure mach3 to use the plugin library. Start mach3 and click on Menu -> config ->Config Plugins. Enable the new plugin by clicking on the red cross on the left column next to the plug in. Restart mach3 after doing this.

    No you need to configure mach3 to use the HuanyangVFD plugin. Go to the ports & pins configuration and select the spindle setup tab. Make sure that the Disable Spindle Relays checkbox is unchecked. We don't want mach3 to output a signal for a relay since the spindle will start up and turn off within the VFD and not from an external relay.

    Next, go to the HuanyangVFD settings by clicking on Menu -> plugin control -> HuanyangVFD. Set the parameters to the same settings you put into the VFD programming. The com port will be shown as new hardward when you plug in the USB FTDI device. A little bubble will be displayed at the bottom right where it will notify you that a new device is being installed (be patient while windows assigns a com port). Alternatively, you can use the windows device manager to see which port was set for the new USB FTDI device). You may need to restart mach3 several times until you get the correct information displayed in the PD001 and PD002 fields. When the com port is correct and the other parameters, like baud and VFD address is the same as you entered in the programming, then the PD001 and PD002 will show the number 2, otherwise, a 99 will appear which means that communication was not successful.

    You can now control the on/off and RPM of the spindle using the RS485 communication between mach3 and the VFD.

    Additional Information:
    The question was how to connect the spindle to the redfy. I did not receive a VFD.
    I have the redFly system and a 2.2kW Spindle - 110V how do i connect the spindle?

    Additional Information:
    If you received a spindle without a VFD, please contact us asap. Our spindle will not work without a VFD.

    Additional Information:
    Hi, how is this setup in mach4?

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    how do I connect my spindle to mach3 so mach3 can control it

  • I need my spindle and cnc electronics repaired. How can I fix it?

    Yes, you can send your electronics to us for repair, or retrofit to work with either Mach3, Mach4 or LinuxCNC. You can send us an email at customerService@buildyourcnc.com to set up your appointment.

    Some of the types of CNC electronics we will consider.

    - We will work on electronics from other manufacturers as long as you are ok with the Mach3, Mach4 or LinuxCNC control software for your CNC machine or CNC router.

    - We will repair or retrofit used CNC electronics.

    - Some customers find that electronics are overwhelming to put together so we will finish these electronics wiring and assembly for you.

    The cost for these includes labor cost for the time it takes to finish the CNC electronics repair or retrofit and for any parts that need to be replaced or added.

    Here is an example of CNC electronics that we worked on for a customer:



    This is the type of response that you can expect to receive after the CNC electronics are repaired or retrofitted to work under Mach3, Mach4 or LinuxCNC. You can see the entire work, which also shows the time involved. We also show what we were able to accomplish at the beginning of the video.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    I need my spindle and cnc electronics repaired. How can I fix it?

  • How should I wire the 2.2kw spindle and vfd?

    You can find the wiring diagram for the 2.2kW spindle and, follow through instructions here.
    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/spindle-inverter-2!2kw-spindle-novfd#prettyPhoto/8/

    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:
    wiring diagram at spindle top


    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:
    Can you please provide settings for a 110v 2.2 spindle vfd

    Additional Information:
    Can you please provide settings for a 110v 2.2 spindle vfd

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    How should I wire the 2.2kw spindle and vfd?

  • ok I Build my CNC machine table and now need a complete set for motor and software how you can help me

    Yes, I will need to know more specifics of the machine so I can recommend the correct electronics.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    ok I Build my CNC machine table and now need a complete set for motor and software how you can help me

  • What tolerance can I expect from your largest cnc machine and the laser cutter? Also, what depth can I get on the z axis?

    The largest CNC machine we make at this time (12/04/2015) is the GreenBull 6'x12' model. This model has 2 options for Z-axis travel.

    The short-z option has a total Z travel of 5.75 inches. From that you would subtract the length of the end mill used and the thickness of the spoil board to determine the maximum material thickness. (Example: If the end mill extends 1.25" from the collet and the spoil board is .75", then the material could be up to 5.75 - 1.25 - 0.75 = 3.75 inches in thickness). This is good for most sheet-type materials.

    The long-z option, used mainly for large 3D carvings, requires a custom frame and allows for up to 36" of travel.

    The tolerance of our machines, like any machine, depends on several variables. The major variables include the manufacturing tolerance, the type of machine control used, the precision of assembly, the thoroughness of maintenance, and the initial and ongoing calibration of the machine. Because we sell kits only most of these variables are outside our control. Therefore, we are hesitant to guarantee a certain level of tolerance for an end user. However, in our experience, tolerances of .001" are readily achievable with our machines.

    Additional Information:

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    What tolerance can I expect from your largest cnc machine and the laser cutter? Also, what depth can I get on the z axis?

  • My cnc electronics does not turn on with my spindle. How can I fix it?

    Yes, you can send your electronics to us for repair, or retrofit to work with either Mach3, Mach4 or LinuxCNC. You can send us an email at customerService@buildyourcnc.com to set up your appointment.

    Some of the types of CNC electronics we will consider.

    - We will work on electronics from other manufacturers as long as you are ok with the Mach3, Mach4 or LinuxCNC control software for your CNC machine or CNC router.

    - We will repair or retrofit used CNC electronics.

    - Some customers find that electronics are overwhelming to put together so we will finish these electronics wiring and assembly for you.

    The cost for these includes labor cost for the time it takes to finish the CNC electronics repair or retrofit and for any parts that need to be replaced or added.

    Here is an example of CNC electronics that we worked on for a customer:



    This is the type of response that you can expect to receive after the CNC electronics are repaired or retrofitted to work under Mach3, Mach4 or LinuxCNC. You can see the entire work, which also shows the time involved. We also show what we were able to accomplish at the beginning of the video.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    My cnc electronics does not turn on with my spindle. How can I fix it?

  • HOW TO CONTROL MY 2.2 KW SPINDLE VIA MACH3

    You can go to our instructions on for the breakout board here: http://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-parallel-breakout-relay to get the information on turning the spindle on and off from the computer and mach3. Alternatively, you can connect the computer using RS485 serial to the inverter and send control commands that way.

    Additional Information:
    HOW TO CONTROL MY 2.2 KW SPINDLE VIA MACH3 usb

    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:
    How should I wire the Mach3 card (red, 4 axis) and the vfd (Yl620-a)?

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    HOW TO CONTROL MY 2.2 KW SPINDLE VIA MACH3

  • How can I make LinuxCNC control a spindle?

    LinuxCNC has excellent documents; however, I would like to offer our help in case you don't understand the information on that page. So, please use this FAQ (Question #: 13233) to state your questions by submitting additional information below.

    The LinuxCNC spindle control page is found here: http://linuxcnc.org/docs/html/examples/spindle.html

    Additional Information:
    After reading the LinuxCNC page my first questions would be can the spindle be controlled by PWM signal? Also, what pin on the parallel port would I set to Spindle Enable and FRW?

    Additional Information:
    To connect your computer to the VFD, use a USB to RS-485 interface. RS-485 is just a serial interface protocol that uses standard 0 to +5 voltage TTL signal levels for communication (as opposed to RS-232 which uses -12v and +12 for signal level changes).

    Get a high quality interface to reduce any issues during the process. The VFD should have two terminals labeled RS+ and RS-. The USB to RS-485 adapter should have this labeled on it as well so the connections should be relatively straight forward.

    In the VFD parameters:
    PD001: 2 to accept RS485 commands
    PD002: 2 to accept frequency comands
    PD163: 1 to RS485 slave address:1
    PD164: 1 RS485 baud rate 9600
    PD165: 3 8bit, no parity, 1 stop bit

    Make sure LinuxCNC is also set accordingly:

    The PIN14 and PIN16 in the stepconf wizard should be set to unused because you don't want LinuxCNC to be outputting unnecessary signals.

    In the options step of the stepconf wizard:
    - Check the Include Halui user interface component.
    - Check the Include custom PyVCP GUI panel.
    - Check Spindle speed display

    You will want to edit the custom.hal text file located in the folder that was created from the stepconf wizard. Add these following lines:
    loadusr -Wn vfd hy_vfd -n vfd -d /dev/ttyUSB0 -p none -r 9600
    net spindle-cmd-rpm-abs => vfd.speed-command
    net spindle-cw motion.spindle-forward => vfd.spindle-forward
    net spindle-ccw motion.spindle-reverse => vfd.spindle-reverse
    net on motion.spindle-on => vfd.spindle-on

    The dev folder in linux is typically used for interfacing devices and peripherals to the computer as these devices are communicated by simple memory addresses and these files are linked directly to these addresses.

    Under the custom_postgui.hal file, change this line:

    from: sets spindle-at-speed true
    to: net spindle-at-speed => cfd.spindle_at_speed

    and add the line:

    setp vfd.enable 1

    When you start LinuxCNC, you will a spindle section with the reverse and forward buttons, a stop button and - and + buttons. Use these buttons to conform that the spindle is functioning properly. The spindle speed indicator in LinuxCNC will show the spindle speed and you can confirm that this is equal to the speed indicated on the VFD.


    Credit for this helpful information goes to:


    Additional information was also added by us to provide a better understanding.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    How can I make LinuxCNC control a spindle?

  • Are the linear slide bearings good quality? Should I expect all 30 to be equal in quality and use them to produce a very accurate CNC machine?

    Which linear slide bearings are you referring?

    The ones that come in the pack of 24 or 30

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Are the linear slide bearings good quality? Should I expect all 30 to be equal in quality and use them to produce a very accurate CNC machine?

  • Can anti-freeze be used as a coolant for your 40W laser tube? I live where winter temperatures are below freezing and my CNC machine is in my unheated garage.

    Using Anti-Freeze in the cooling system with either our spindle or our laser tubes will not have any problems and we recommend using a small amount in locations where temperature is freezing or below.
    Although we do not recommend using an entire gallon of anti-freeze rather just a small quantity with tap water will be sufficient.

    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:
    All last winter, the temperature was below freezing and sometimes below zero. I used 100% antifreeze for the spindle coolant. Worked great !! All the spindle needs is any type of coolant flowing through it to take the heat away. I use three gallons of antifreeze in a tub with a fish-tank pump to push the antifreeze through. 100% antifreeze works great in cold or hot winter.

    Additional Information:
    Excellent tip. Thank you for this correction. So it is OK to use antifreeze solely as a cooling method.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Can anti-freeze be used as a coolant for your 40W laser tube? I live where winter temperatures are below freezing and my CNC machine is in my unheated garage.

  • I need to replace the on board computer of my laser engraving machine

    What model laser cutter and engraver do you have? What is the model number of the laser controller within the laser cutter and engraver?

    Additional Information:
    VLS660 ULS machine

    Additional Information:
    VLS660 ULS machine

    Additional Information:
    replace CPU on a ULS VLS660 laser Machine

    Additional Information:
    replace CPU on a ULS VLS660 laser Machine

    Additional Information:
    VLS660

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    I need to replace the on board computer of my laser engraving machine

  • What kind of wire should I use between the invertor and the spindle?

    The type of wire that should be used between the spindle and the VFD (Variable Frequency Driver also called the inverter) should be of stranded type and we use between 18 and 16 AWG.

    The total current is divided among the three coil wires, therefor a wire gauge of 16 should be sufficient.

    Currently we use 20AWG 4 conductor.

    Additional Information:

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    What kind of wire should I use between the invertor and the spindle?

  • Do you have a diagram on how to connect the vfd so the CNC controller box can turn the spindle on and off whenever i start a job?

    The following videos are helpful when connecting the VFD to a pokeys57CNC controller; however, there is useful information on the external terminals of the VFD and how to connect the VFD to any controller using a relay. Additionally, the videos have useful information on how to program the VFD.

    Start and stop for spindle
    https://youtu.be/0SLFuM4tzuU

    Speed control:
    https://youtu.be/pA69t1ZLY2s

    The following video uses the Mach3 usb controller to control a spindle.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Do you have a diagram on how to connect the vfd so the CNC controller box can turn the spindle on and off whenever i start a job?

  • How should I connect the limit switches to my laser controller?

    If you are using the AWC708 or equivalent laser controller, the limit switches will connect between the EL input terminal and the GND terminal in normally open (NO) connection. Most limit switches can be connected as NO, or normally closed (NC).

    For instance, a limit switch for the X- limit will be connected from the ELX- terminal to the NO connection of the limit switch, then a connection from the GND terminal on the laser controller to the COM connection to the same limit switch.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    How should I connect the limit switches to my laser controller?

  • HOW COMPLEX IS YOUR KIT TO ASSEMBLE, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY - HARD IT SETUP CONTROL THE LASER WITH MACH3?

    The blackTooth Laser cutter and Engraver can be built in a weekend. Take a look at the build instructions and try to determine if you feel you have sufficient capability to put together the laser system.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    HOW COMPLEX IS YOUR KIT TO ASSEMBLE, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY - HARD IT SETUP CONTROL THE LASER WITH MACH3?

  • Can you custimize the 2'x4' CNC Machine Kit (blackToe v4.1) w/ 2.2kW Spindle into a 2'x3' Machine Kit?

    Yes, that is not a problem at all. Give us a call.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Can you custimize the 2'x4' CNC Machine Kit (blackToe v4.1) w/ 2.2kW Spindle into a 2'x3' Machine Kit?

  • SHOULD I SELECT THE GREENBULL OR BLACKFOOT CNC MACHINE?

    The greenBull can range is routing width sizes of 5 feet and 6 feet. The blackFoot has a 4 foot routing width.

    Previous Solution:
    The greenBull machine has a sturdier gantry than the blackFoot, so you can be more agressive with the cutting feedrate (cutting speed). The blackFoot is also a good machine, but it all comes down to the speed at which you want to produce the fabrication

    The spindle is also highly recommended for it's quietness and easier cleanup (no fan blowing the dust in the air)

    Additional Information:



    Additional Information:

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    SHOULD I SELECT THE GREENBULL OR BLACKFOOT CNC MACHINE?

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