Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hot Wire CNC Foam Cutter Electronics


There are two software packages that will run the machine
1 Mach3 - www.machsupport.com
2 DevFoam and 

For Mach3
Mach3 is available at http://www.machsupport.com/
The free version of Mach3 will control the machine, but is limited
to 1000 lines of g code.

Download Mach3 and install.
Click here to download the XML file that has all the information
to run the foam cutter Copy the XML file into the Mach3 folder
and start Mach3 - Or you can follow the instructions below to
setup Mach3. Run Mach3 software and follow these screen shots
to setup the software

Click on the image for a large view
From the Config menu, select "Ports and Pins"
the select "motor outputs" - follow the screen shot above to set up
the 4 pins (each pulse and direction)
If one or more of your motors are turning "the wrong way" you can reverse it
by clicking once in the "DirLowActive" - if it was red, change it to green
If it was green, click on it to turn it to red

Next, select from the Config menu, "Ports and Pins" but this time
select "Input Signals" and set the EStop to active low - as shown below

Now select "Output Signals" and set output #1 to pin 16
This will enable the 4 axis on the board - see image below

The next step is to set the "steps per inch" for the board
The ACME screw and Lead Screw on these machines is 3/8-12
This means the screw will turn 12 times in order for the carriage
to advance 1 inch.
Stepper motors are 200 steps per turn - so this means, that the
combination of the lead screw and the motors will give you 200*12=2400
steps per inch. To make things a bit more complicated, the board has the ability
to drive the motors in microsteps - microstepping means that for each pulse
the computer the motor will advance a part of a step.
The board can be configured for
full step - 2400 steps per inch
Half step - 4800 steps per inch
1/4 step - 9600 steps per inch
1/8 step - 19200

For best results use full step or half step
From the Config menu select "motor Tuning, then select the X axis
Set the steps per - to 4800 and the velocity to 22
Make sure to click on the "Save axis settings" button
If you do not click on the save axis settings and move to the next step
the changes you made will not be saved
Select the Y axis, Z axis and the A axis and enter the same values as are in the X axis

Hot Keys
The next step is to set the hot keys
Hot keys are keyboard keys that have special functions.
Since this board will control 4 axis (two for the left side and two for the right side)
we will need a total of 8 keyboard keys to control the machine
We would use the up/down/left/right arrow keys on the right side of the keyboard
these 4 will control the right side of the machine
For the left side of the machine we will use the D A W and Z keys on the left side of the keyboard
From the config menu, select "system Hot Keys" and then follow the instructions on the screen
By default, the right side of the machine is already setup, the left side of the machine will need
to be setup
Follow the steps in the image below

At this point you should be able to control all 4 axis

Click on the Reset button and test the 4 axis.

Foamworks setup

Download and install Foamworks from this link http://www.foamwork.net/