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  1. #1
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    Fanuc series 21-M

    Picking up a mill on Monday and has the above control. Everything seems to work but being new to cnc’s I would need help when it comes to loading my programs into this control. Anything thing else I need to buy in addition to my BobCad V28? Will not be running anything large or complex right now I have a lot of learning to do right now.

    Thanks
    Craig


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  2. #2

    Re: Fanuc series 21-M

    Even though I've been running BobCAD 20 for two decades now, I never used the software to talk to my machines. I think I can but I never tried.

    I suggest dnc4u software. It's very reasonably priced, has a great user interface, is configurable for any machine or control out there, has a built in editor and other bells and whistles you might find handy. Also it can drip feed programs if someday your programs get bigger and cause you to run out of memory on the machine.

    I'm going to assume you ave an RS232 interface with a DB25 connector on your machine. Typical stuff.

    Unless you're running a very old computer, you'll likely want to use a USB output on your computer. Get a Trip-Lite USB to Serial Convertor. Again reasonably priced. And finally you'll need a DB9-DB25 patch cable. They can be found in many places and wired for typical Fanuc controls.

    Off the top of my head the RS232 settings are 7 Data Bits - 1 or 2 Stop Bits - 4800 or 9600 Baud - XON-XOFF software or Hardware control. I've used both. The dnc4u software has a lot of this info also.

    Go to https://cnc-specialty-store.com/rs232-cables - It's sister website is machinetoolhelp.com

    These websites have a wealth of information about machines and controls. You can also get everything I mentioned above. Bookmark them for sure as they will come in very handy over the years. Just know I have zero affiliation with these folks. It's simply a good place to go for things including information.

    I don't know if you'll find the software and hardware devices "reasonably priced" or not. If not I can only warn you now, you're getting into one of the most expensive hobbies or businesses out there. Prepare yourself to spend some money far beyond what you just spent on your machine. You don't have to do it all at once, especially while you're learning, but eventually the costs will add up. Just sayin... Though perhaps you've been a manual machinist for years. Then you already know what I'm talking about.

    Good luck with it. You're going to love what a CNC machine tool can do for you. I always say if you can think it and draw it, you can make it.

  3. #3
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    Fanuc series 21-M

    That’s the information I was looking for, yes the port is a rs232 db25 my computer is an HP with windows 7 I’ll get the software and cable purchased. I really appreciate the help!!

    Craig


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  4. #4
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    Re: Fanuc series 21-M

    What’s preferable, the DNC4U software to communicate direct from the PC or something like the titan DNC control box and use a thumb drive for the files? The price is about the same.


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  5. #5

    Re: Fanuc series 21-M

    Not familiar with the Titan box. I have a couple computers in my shop that are connected via ethernet to the main computer in the office, and each directly connected to the machines with the outfit I spoke about earlier. (One Trip-Lite and path cable for each machine) You can certainly bring your programs out to the shop on a thumb drive and access them thru the dnc4u software, (I access any folder I want on my etherent through the dnc4u software) but I like having all my programs in one place and one place only. That way I have only one copy and won't get caught someday loading an obsolete or incorrect version of a program. CNC file management is sort of a big deal. All my computers are also connected vie Remote Desktop. That way if needed I can operate BobCAD out on the shop floor even though it's on the office computer. Plus if you're running more then one machine off of a single dnc4u license, you'll need to access the dnc4u through Remote Desktop. Meaning technically my 3 machines are all connected to the one computer with dnc4u on it. I use long distance USB cables going out to each machine. If you have just the one, you could bring all your programs and dnc4u out to the shop in a laptop.

    Before I set up my ethernet I use to bringing files out to the shop on floppies. Keeping track of what and where the latest and best version of a program eventually became a nightmare. That's when I converted to one copy only on the main computer in the office.

    You might be able to test run the dnc4u. Don't recall if they offer that option.

  6. #6
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    Re: Fanuc series 21-M

    They do offer 60 day full function. After reading everything about it, looks to be the way to go and it’s not all that expensive


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  7. #7
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    Re: Fanuc series 21-M





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  8. #8

    Re: Fanuc series 21-M

    Aaahh... it's one of those carousel kind of machines. Sweet! Looking good. Especially that green Machine Ready light. Now soon as you get the communications hooked up, first thing is to back up the parameters and take screen shots of all the Diagnostic and Keep Relay screens. I hope you got all the manuals with the machine too. You can find all of the Fanuc Manuals for free on the internet.

    I taught myself how to program mostly using Peter Smids CNC Programming Book. It's a lot easier to understand then some of the Fanuc books and even the ones supplied by the manufacturer. I'd look for the Second Edition or Third if there is one. I think the First Edition had some typos and small bits of incorrect information here and there. Nothing that ever caused me trouble but you never know.

    Good luck on your CNC adventure. Should keep you interested for a long long time. I have an idea you're going to be making some airplane parts or accessories. :-)

  9. #9
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    Re: Fanuc series 21-M

    Dear Craig,

    You appear to have bought a very beautiful machine! Looking at the control panel it appears to have not run much and seems very new! All stickers and labels are also in great condition! Where did you manage to find this machine?

    I had purchased a Miyano TSV35 (slightly larger, but older than your machine- it was with the Fanuc 0M- a 1991 model machine). I am using the machine as a daily workhorse and its working quite well. My machine was completely run down. We changed all the linear guides, refurbished the ball screws, changed the controller to a Siemens 808D (now we are changing it to 808D Advanced), changed the headstock to one which we made at home and installed a 30,000 RPM spindle.

    The Fanuc 21M control is good and you could run programs through DNC or transfer them to the machine memory and run from the internal memory. I am doing this with a Fanuc 12M in my factory.

    I would suggest buying an old laptop with Serial port (Try out a Dell D630 - these are easily available for cheap) as the USB to Serial converters sometimes misbehave. I guess I had my fair share of bad little converters because of which I decided to stick to computers with inbuilt serial ports.

    I hope you have received all your manuals with the machine. The machine is easy to use and a good machine in my opnion. Happy chip making!

  10. #10
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    Re: Fanuc series 21-M

    Well that’s 2 replies about manuals! That’s one thing I did not get but have the seller searching for them since I can’t find anything for just the 21-M.

    Machine has a total of just 980 hours on it. I’m sure I’ll have lots of questions about it since this is my first cnc machine.

    I do have a computer with the old printer port hookup, just waiting for my cable then I’ll get the DNC4U program. There are still many old programs still in memory that I have tried to run without luck, can’t get anywhere with zero return or start ready light


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  11. #11
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    Re: Fanuc series 21-M

    Dear Craig,

    I could scan my Miyano's manuals and share them with you. The operator panel is almost the same as yours. Most of the functions would be the same, and wiring diagrams would be a bit different but you should be able to relate to them. I think mechanical diagrams are common for both our machines (with the different part numbers mentioned) if i remember correctly.

    980 hours! Thats like an exhibition piece!

    All Fanuc controls are fairly standardised. The 21M was also a famous control- I'll share links once I find them. You could search for 15M, 0M etc for understanding the basics- the basic functionality for all of these are very similar.

    What I normally do when I purchase a used machine is to take a backup of everything- control parameters, compensation tables, data tables, PLC (if possible), programs which the previous company had (these help us understand if there are any special M codes for the respective machines). This saves us in the event of any failure on the controller in future.

    Best of luck!

  12. #12
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    Re: Fanuc series 21-M

    The guy hasn’t looked for them yet, I threw some cash his way if he finds them so he’s looking Tuesday, if nothing turns up anything you can scan would be great I’ll let you know.
    Thanks


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  13. #13

    Re: Fanuc series 21-M

    You likely won't find any Fanuc Manuals for the 21 alone. It will always be associated with the 16-18 and 20 models as they share much of the same architecture. Oddly enough Fanuc controls get more sophisticated the lower the number. Like 11 and 15 being higher order then the ones just mentioned. Don't worry though, you will be hard pressed to run into any shortcomings on your control. Fanuc is famous for lacking memory space for programs especially on older machines. That's about the worst of it. The OM control which is the basic model has out sold all other versions from what I know, and still it is very capable. I have the O on one of my machines and two 18 machines.

    Miyano will be your best source for the machine. Fanuc sells the control to Miyano. It's mostly up to them to integrate it into the machine. I sure hope the seller comes up with the original manuals. They are practically priceless. If you do start digging into Fanuc Manuals, which will definitely have useful info in them, understand that there are many options available from Fanuc that might get talked about. You won't have them all that's for sure. Each is purchased separately or in an original package. Like the other person said, you might garner useful information from some of the G and M codes in the programs left over on the control. Many are common. Some are not.

    Do your servo drives have battery backup? If so you have Absolute Encoders on the machine and generally won't have to Zero Return the machine each time you turn it on. If no batteries, then you will have Incremental Encoders and will have to Zero Return each time. If so, with all the axis positioned at least a couple inches away from their max travel, turn on the Zero Return Button, put the Rapid Override on 50% and hit the Z+ Y+ and then X+ buttons. You may have to hold them in until Zero Return is reached. Some machine are one touch. Some have to hold it in. All depends on how the machine is set up. (Parameter change) Speaking of batteries. Unless the seller swore he just replaced them, I would change out all the batteries for new. You do this with the POWER ON. You can be in E-Stop if you like. The Control will definitely have a memory backup battery, The Servos may or may not depending on what I said above. Some machines have battery packs mounted on doors. Many have special batteries mounted right in the Servo Drives and Control. Seriously... change them soon, and every year after.

    Until you know what's going on, I'd be very cautious about running programs left on the machine. You won't know if the Tool Offsets are set or the Work offsets. The machine may just run off the ends and over travel or do any number of things that appear uncontrolled. A program without matching Tool and Work Offsets is of little value until you at least understand how to enter some meaningful generic ones. If you really must, you could enter in negative numbers into all the tool offsets that equal roughly one quarter to one half the Z axis travel distance. Then in your Work Offsets G54-G59, you could enter negative X and Y values that are equal to roughly half your X and Y max travel distances. Leave all the Z settings at zero. This may not keep you from over-traveling, but you're likely not going to crash anything. Run this without tools, or at least use short ones or holders without any tools in them.

    This might be getting ahead of the game, but here is a link to about the only Youtube video worth watching explaining how the Fanuc Control operates and how it is integrated into your machine. You might not need it now, but it will be handy to have bookmarked some day. Especially if you ever get your manuals.

    CNC Maintenance Training: Fanuc PMC - CNC Areas of Responsibility.wmv - YouTube

    Running an old computer straight into the machine is a fine way to go. If you go the other USB route, the Trip-Lite Serial to USB convertor will not give you any trouble at all. It's the only one of the type I would recommend though.

    Hope some of this helps, and is not too much of a good thing.

  14. #14
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    Re: Fanuc series 21-M

    Awesome information, right now I’m just soaking it up like a sponge. I’m not making any hasty moves just slowly getting my bearings with all this that is new to me.


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  15. #15
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    Re: Fanuc series 21-M

    I tried the zero return per the above. The z axis drew up quickly then slowed as it was moving up but then I got an overtravel alarm 35 in the tool/alarm no. Window I cleared it but y and z did not work, I presume because of the alarm?

    Z did stop at the exact position lined up with the tool changer.

    At least I got to see something move automatically lol


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  16. #16
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    Re: Fanuc series 21-M

    The batteries for the encoders? In this picture it shows 2 spots but nothing there so do I assume this doesn’t have them?





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  17. #17

    Re: Fanuc series 21-M

    So you're saying that X did Zero Return? (Nothing said about X axis)

    Yes no batteries or they would be plugged into CX5X where the little brown plastic thing is. Your control WILL have a battery somewhere. That's the most important one to change on any machine.

    Back up a little from the Servo Amp pictures you took so we can see the whole thing. Also their part numbers (A06B-xxxx-xxxx) Also how about another shot or two of the control panel's bottom two panels. They may come in handy sometime if I'm trying to help you past a problem or something.

    Yes this machine will need to be zero returned each time you turn it on. My OM is like that too. No big deal. As you noticed, each axis will travel at a Rapid Rate until it hits the first Deceleration Dog. From there it will slow until it falls off the back end of that Dog and then start counting the Grid and stop at Home. The Grid Shift amount held in parameter 1850 in concert with the Dog controls where the machine stops. There is really no reason they would need changing. That's one of the good things about Incremental Machines. The Servos don't use batteries so they can't loose their home position. It's set semi-mechanically using Trip Dogs and Grid Shift.

    A heads up - whenever you get a Servo or Spindle Alarm of some kind, (Not sure if overtravel alarms are part of this) you might get a number and brief description on the screen, but there may also be a number that shows up on the actual amplifier inside the main cabinet. That number can be helpful too. It will be a Fanuc Alarm number where you can Google it. The one on your monitor screen will likely be a Miyano alarm number. You may get lucky Google-ing it but one never knows. That's why it is so important to have the manuals.

    Not sure why it's not Zero Returning Properly. Did you just have to hit the plus button(s) once or hold them in? You can Zero Return the axis in any order. If you do overtravel and get an alarm, you can go into Handle or Jog Mode and simply move the axis axis back in the opposite direction and then hit Reset which should clear the Overtravel. Remember on your machine, get into the habit of moving all the axis at least a couple-few inches away from home position, even to middle of travel if you want. After turning the machine on, you don't want to try and Zero Return with the axis already on top of the Trip Dogs.

    As a last resort, if you're consistently getting an overtravel on all axis when trying to Zero Return, turn on the Fanuc control while holding in P and Cancel (CAN) together until the control comes up. Very important. DO NOT HOLD ANY OTHER KEYS. Then try your Zero Return again. Maybe slow the Rapid Rate down to the 25% setting if you have one. P and Cancel will clear some things in the control and allow the Home Position Zero Return stuff to be reset. There are other key combinations that will clear about everything on the control, that's why it's important to not mess that up.

    It will be great when you get it up and Zero Returned. Then you'll know it's ready for action and can forget about all this technical nonsense and just start concentrating on learning to program it. Hopefully it has no serious underlying problems.

  18. #18
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    Re: Fanuc series 21-M

    Here are all the pics of what I have. I did the can+p and everything went to zero and the 3 indicated lights came on!!! Yea!!

    I got a start ready also so I’m slower getting there with your help.











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  19. #19
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    Re: Fanuc series 21-M

    I set the override to 25 but after that worked I tried 50 and that also worked just really fast.


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  20. #20

    Re: Fanuc series 21-M

    Wow look at all those green lights! Nice. That sure is one nice clean machine. You'll get used to the 100% Rapid someday. Good luck on the programming. Let me know if you get stuck on anything.

    Before I go.

    If you want to start the spindle, go to MDI mode and type in say S3000 M3 ; (EOB) INSERT, then hit the green Start button. You can start with the Spindle Override set at 50% and warm it up from there. If you want to change the speed while it's running you can just MDI another S command with EOB. Then hit the green start button again. Remember every line (Block as they're called) has to end with the semicolon. (EOB) (End Of Block) Watch the buffer area on the screen as you type (lower left) When in MDI you use INSERT to add what you've typed into the program. If you want to add something into an existing line also use INSERT. If you want to change something, put the curser under it or highlight it as it were, type in what you want to change and use ALTER. DELETE of course does just what you think it will. To stop the spindle you can probably just hit Reset.

    If you want to call up a Program, go into EDIT mode, hit PROGRAM and then type in the program number preceded by an O, like O7140 for instance, and hit the DOWN ARROW. Don't mess with any 9000 series programs if you find them. They're special. Likely the control won't let you change them anyway. Turning on the SINGLE BLOCK button allows you to activate one line at a time in the program which helps you keep control of things, especially the first time you run a new program. You'll have to be in MEMORY (MEM) mode to actually run the program.

    Your Tool offsets will be on one of the pages accessed by the OFFSET button. If you don't see it at first, hit the Page Down button. Once you get to that page you hit the WORK soft keys (the keys directly under the screen) to find your Work Offsets. (G54-G59 etc,) This is the area of the control where you tell the machine where the physical position in space that your work Zero Reference point is. You'll mostly use G54.

    Last thing. On your POSition- ALL screen, you'll have Relative, Absolute and Machine Coordinates (Position). Machine Coordinates is the most important set of numbers you need to concern yourself with. The others are more show then go. After your Zero Return they should all be at Zero. Everything this machine needs to know about tool lengths and work positions RELATE DIRECTLY to the Machine Coordinates numbers above all others. If you're entering an offset amount of any kind into the control, it better be something you're getting off of the Machine Coordinates screen and no others. Those numbers always show the true machine position relative to Machine Zero under all circumstances and cannot be altered from that. You cannot say that about any others. Just keep that in mind.

    Okay... enough already. Good luck with it.

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