|Type||Precix Wood CNC|
|Arrival date||Mar 26th, 2020|
|Certification||Must complete Basic CNC Wood Router course|
|Label||1.0" 1.5" 2.0"|
Training and Documentation
The Precix PC uses Mach3 to control the CNC. It also has a Makerspace licensed version of VCarve Pro installed which you can use in conjunction with the Client you are going to install as per the instructions below.
Members must complete the Basic CNC Wood Router course to use this tool.
Note: You can install and run VCarve Pro Makerspace Client Edition on your home PC or Laptop. This allows you to create VCarve files that you can then bring in to Protospace and create G-Code files on the licensed workstations in the space.
The current version on the classroom computer is 11.014 as of June 2022.
Mach3 has an optimized, custom screen set installed, although if you wish, you can change it back to the traditional screen. Just remember to return it to the custom set when you are finished.
Links to HOW TO Videos:
- MACH Support YouTube Channel
- "MACH3 Has Never Looked This Good." Video explaining our Mach3 Custom Interface that is installed on the Precix PC
Hold down method
The hold-down table has a grid of threaded T-Nuts that can/should be used to hold down your material. If you wish to make your own sacrificial / holding system, simply prepare to fasten it down to this grid pattern. Use the 1/4-20 screws (or bolts if you are gentle).
The spacing of the threaded nuts is 4.861" (123.63mm) on both the X and also Y axis. Wtf is that spacing? Why not a nice round English or Metric spacing? Well, that is the spacing of the T-channels in the underlying bed. Get used to it and make your templates.
The T-Nuts can be damaged by either over-tightening them, or by pulling them off vertical. Please be smart and not too aggressive.
Quick start guide for running a job
1) Power on the machine (black box under the table by the PC) and run Mach3. The controller may take a couple minutes to boot up.
2) Disable the soft E-stop. If it doesn’t clear, check the mechanical E-stops
3) Click Reference All so the machine can figure out where it is. If the machine doesn’t move, check that it’s not at any limit switches. Push it towards center a little and try again
4) Set up your workpiece
5) Install your tool
6) Zero the Z axis using a piece of paper and ‘INCR” jog mode, or Z-PROBE. If using Z probe, first check probe speeds and distances in the probing screen. **Mach3 starts in INCH mode but the probe settings are whatever the last person left them at** Make sure you change the tool number to 99 before probing. Change the tool number to 1 or 0 after probing.
** Make sure you set the Z zero to the correct surface, usually the top or bottom of your job**
7) Move the machine to the XY datum, 0, or ‘home’ position of your job
8) Zero the X and Y axes
9) If your job is metric, issue command G21 in the MDI: box. G21 should then show up in the MODE: line next to the E-stop button
10) Load your g-code. It should show your job in the display. Check the file at ncviewer.com if it doesn’t look right. You might have to recreate it
11) Check the min/max values to see if they are reasonable. (inch/mm)
12) Attach the dust boot and turn on the dust collector.
13) Turn on SINGLE LINE mode if it’s your first time or you’re unsure. Clicking RUN (green play icon) will run one line of code. After several lines the spindle should be spinning and have made it’s first move. If everything seems ok, turn off SINGLE LINE mode
14) Click RUN.
Bed size: 5'(1.524m) x 10'(3.048m) x 11"(0.2794m)
Axis Orientation: Y is the long one.
Max spindle RPM: 18000RPM (spindle is a AT/MT1073-140 from HSD mechatronics)
Max feed rate: 750inch/min
Tool holder type: ER25 collets, we have 1/8", 1/4",3/8",1/2" (as of 05.11.2021)
Automatic tool changer: No
File units: Default units are imperial. you may switch to metric using gcode commands, it is recommended that you export imperial code.
File type accepted: .tap, .gcode, .txt
Machine control software suite: Mach3 skinned with physics anonymous Mach pack
Will do 3 axis moves?:Yes
Hold down method: Screws, nails, clamps(must make these). Vacuum table in the future.
Note that the hold-down table has a grid of threaded T-Nuts that can/should be used to hold down your material. If you wish to make your own sacrificial / holding system, simply prepare to fasten it down to this grid pattern. The spacing of the threaded nuts is 4.861" (123.63mm) on both the X and also Y axis. Wtf is that spacing? Why not a nice round English or Metric spacing? Well, that is the spacing of the T-channels in the underlying bed. Get used to it and make your templates.
Dust collection?: Yes, separate from main dust collector
Probing: plate style. Plate is 1/4" (as of 06.01.2021) thick.
Suitable stock materials: Wood, plastics, foams, other.
Unsuitable stock materials: Zero metal, metal alloy, or metal composites are to be cut on this machine
Cut a new dust boot
The Precix CNC was originally pitched by Scott Y. on Feb 7th, 2020. It's purchase for the spaced was voted on during the Feb 20th, 2020 meeting.
The machine arrived at Protospace on Mar 26th, 2020.
Over the summer the machine was idle due to the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic.
During this time Members Connor G. , Danny P. and Zachary J. started to work though the machine and evaluate it's condition and begin it's acceptance work. This work is documented on the admin google group post "CNC router planning/build thread", authored by Zachary J.
Going though the machine it was found that the X and Y motors were both burned out and had to be replaced. The encoders on all axis were replaced and the motor drivers were also all replaced. The controller computer, and interface cards were also replaced at this time due to poor/wanting/or no documentation on parts or interfaces.
On May 8th 2021 the CNC made it's first official project, a 4' x 5' art piece that is hanging somewhere in Protospace (can you find it?).
The controller was changed in Aug due to the Galil DMC-1803 card not wanting to register in the system. We have moved to a Smoothstep board with a C25XP integrated card mounted to it.
Motion config (As of Aug 29/21) is as follows