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Thread: DIY ATC

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  1. #1
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    DIY ATC

    I don't have a 440 but there are some interesting tips/considerations for the design of an ATC for any Tormach at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dK3I27DcQj8

  2. #2
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    Re: DIY ATC

    Quote Originally Posted by kstrauss View Post
    I don't have a 440 but there are some interesting tips/considerations for the design of an ATC for any Tormach
    I like his wireless probe mod
    Also the probe routines for machine verification look to be useful. Be nice to log over time what or how your machine changes and performs

  3. #3

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    Re: DIY ATC

    Overall it looks like a very nice build. I've been toying with the idea of putting one together myself but have lacked the motivation until recently. I ended up buying the digital download of his design to use as a reference but I'm going with a different approach on the electronics.

    After some heavy digging, it appears Tormach uses what is effectively a customized pyboard for the ATC controller. I picked up one to play with and I have successfully uploaded the ATC firmware and gotten it to respond to the appropriate serial commands from my PC. Upon further digging, it looks like I need a discrete USB to serial interface to get it to talk to my mill so I placed an order yesterday for just such a chip. I'm expecting that to arrive wednesday so by the end of the week I should hopefully have some results to speak of but if I'm successful, I should be able to directly replicate the original ATC controller's function and interface making it a true plug and play setup. I should even be able to make it work without any additional .rules files. If successful, I believe my machine will be so convinced of the authenticity of the controller that it will support the built in firmware update function of pathpilot.

  4. #4
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    Re: DIY ATC

    Intriguing! Do you mean one of the pyBoards from https://store.micropython.org/ ? If so, which are you using?

  5. #5
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    Re: DIY ATC

    Quote Originally Posted by soofle616 View Post
    ...I should even be able to make it work without any additional .rules files. If successful, I believe my machine will be so convinced of the authenticity of the controller that it will support the built in firmware update function of pathpilot...
    I've been using FT232Rs for my USB interfaces and they can easily be programmed for compatibility with the Tormach rules. Whatever kind you use, just make sure you get original parts and not Chinese clones
    While using the original Tormach firmware sounds cool but I still wouldn't want to have a Tormach update installed automatically unless I was actually using an original Tormach ATC. I'd rather keep control of the compatibility of my own firmware with my own hardware. After all, the firmware isn't particularly challenging.
    I have a box of ATC parts beside me right now, just waiting to appear at the top of my priority list. I have a feeling this thread will help move it up a little...
    Step

  6. #6

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    Re: DIY ATC

    Quote Originally Posted by kstrauss View Post
    Intriguing! Do you mean one of the pyBoards from https://store.micropython.org/ ? If so, which are you using?
    The very same, though I got mine from Sparkfun. I have a V1.1 pyboard. From what I can tell, it's the same cpu as the tormach controller.

    Quote Originally Posted by TurboStep View Post
    I've been using FT232Rs for my USB interfaces and they can easily be programmed for compatibility with the Tormach rules. Whatever kind you use, just make sure you get original parts and not Chinese clones
    While using the original Tormach firmware sounds cool but I still wouldn't want to have a Tormach update installed automatically unless I was actually using an original Tormach ATC. I'd rather keep control of the compatibility of my own firmware with my own hardware. After all, the firmware isn't particularly challenging.
    I have a box of ATC parts beside me right now, just waiting to appear at the top of my priority list. I have a feeling this thread will help move it up a little...
    Step
    I'll be using a CP2104 breakout from Adafruit so I'm fairly confident it will work properly, they've always been good to me. Again, sticking with parts that are directly compatible with the original hardware but also, the .rules seem to describe the ATC controller symlink as being identified based on the device serial number. In this case it must start with CP210 which I assume this breakout board will. If not, I have the device customization utility from the manufacturer that should allow me to change the chip serial number to whatever I need.
    I get what you're saying about possible hardware/software issues after a firmware update. The only real concern I have about that is the stepper used by tormach. It appears the real atc uses a separate stepper driver very similar if not identical to what they use for axis motion. Not sure yet if it's a bipolar or three phase but I have spares of both between my servo upgrade and playing around with building a 4th axis. I have seen a reference to a geared motor though which concerns me slightly with respect to the scaling done by the atc firmware. I'm hoping I can get a part number or any other information on that so I can replicate that part of the mechanics. If so, everything else should be pretty basic. Sensors and solenoids aren't going to behave differently due to a software change so it's really just making sure i don't need to correct the rotation scaling after an update. Worst case, there is a response from the ATC (or more appropriately, a lack of response) that tells the machine controller NOT to push an update due to board incompatibility so if I have to customize the firmware at all, I can ensure that response is sent to a firmware version check.

  7. #7
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    Re: DIY ATC

    Quote Originally Posted by TurboStep View Post
    I've been using FT232Rs for my USB interfaces and they can easily be programmed for compatibility with the Tormach rules. Whatever kind you use, just make sure you get original parts and not Chinese clones
    While using the original Tormach firmware sounds cool but I still wouldn't want to have a Tormach update installed automatically unless I was actually using an original Tormach ATC. I'd rather keep control of the compatibility of my own firmware with my own hardware. After all, the firmware isn't particularly challenging.
    I have a box of ATC parts beside me right now, just waiting to appear at the top of my priority list. I have a feeling this thread will help move it up a little...
    Step
    Hi will you by any chance be parting with the code for the FT232R :drowning:

  8. #8

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    Re: DIY ATC

    Not to 'step' on any toes but there shouldn't be any code for the FT232R. It's a simple USB to serial bridge device that is ready to use out of the box. If you want to set it so that it provides the VID/PID info the machine controller is expecting for various peripherals, there is a utility program you can download that will allow you to change those values: https://ftdichip.com/wp-content/uplo...st-utility.pdf

  9. #9

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    Re: DIY ATC

    Success! With the CP2104 chip in place (and reprogrammed to provide the appropriate product description for the .rules file) everything lit right up. Of course nothing actually functioned since the pyboard is not currently connected to any sensors or solenoids but the machine recognized it as an ATC, saw that the firmware was out of date, and successfully updated the firmware.

    After some further review I have found that two of the input pins required by the firmware are NOT available on the pyboard due to some of the extra components that come on the board so my original plan is now faced with a decision. Either I move forward with the pyboard and remap those two inputs to different pins, or build a custom board for the STM chip that breaks out everything I need. Option 1 is by far the easier path but means automatic firmware updates going forward will be a no go as I would have to remap those two pins each time. Option 2 is quite a bit more work but still doable and provides forwards compatibility. Either way, first major hurdle has been overcome. Onward and upward!

  10. #10
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    Re: DIY ATC

    Personally, I wouldn't use the Tormach firmware, but instead write my own firmware, and just happily accept and swallow the "firmware update" (updating my version number to report appropriately.)
    There may be some licensing issues with the Tormach firmware -- they may have some clause that says you may only run it on hardware you bought from them. I doubt the tool changer firmware is covered by the GPL.

  11. #11
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    Re: DIY ATC

    Quote Originally Posted by soofle616 View Post
    Not to 'step' on any toes but there shouldn't be any code for the FT232R. It's a simple USB to serial bridge device that is ready to use out of the box. If you want to set it so that it provides the VID/PID info the machine controller is expecting for various peripherals, there is a utility program you can download that will allow you to change those values: https://ftdichip.com/wp-content/uplo...st-utility.pdf
    I have purchased the fusion file from David (youtube) and started to build the ATC with 12 tools for the 1100 S3

    This might take me some time

    Attachment 461366

  12. #12

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    Re: DIY ATC

    I bought the files as well. Mostly to use as a point of reference since I do plan on making things a bit more specific to my needs and wants. Good luck on your build!

  13. #13
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    Re: DIY ATC

    Quote Originally Posted by soofle616 View Post
    I bought the files as well. Mostly to use as a point of reference since I do plan on making things a bit more specific to my needs and wants. Good luck on your build!
    Thanks for the encouragement, I need it :cheers:

    Would this be the correct board

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MicroPyth...E/373518051994

  14. #14

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    Re: DIY ATC

    That's the one. I bought mine without the pins because I wanted them pointing in the other direction but that's just personal preference.

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