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  1. #1
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    Motors for small production machine.

    I'm starting a scratch-build. It will be a dedicated purpose tiny desktop CNC lathe. It will be probably smaller than a HF mini lathe but weigh twice as much. This will not be a hobby machine. It will be putting in serious hours. I want it to be fast, accurate, rigid, robust.

    I am debating about what motors to put on it. I would like to save money where possible. AC servos would be ideal but they're expensive. There are some ridiculously cheap ones on eBay, $150 for 500W motor + drive. I assume they're crap and should be avoided, but thought I would check here and see if anyone has used them and had anything to say.

    Also considering the hybrid stepper w/ encoder feedback option. Never used those, are they any good? Can they hold their own against an AC servo?

    Also considering DC servos. I would have no qualms using DC servos but I can't seem to find any. Where can one buy decent DC servo motors?

    BLDC? I know very little about them other than they seem to have much lower torque specs than the other motor technologies for a given size. I have that notion only after a cursory glance, I could be way off.

    This will be a LinuxCNC machine, and I'm considering using one of the Mesa boards to drive the servos. Does anyone have anything to say about their motor driver boards? 8i20, 7i39, 7i32, 7i54, etc. etc.?

    This will 100% absolutely have closed loop control no matter what motors are chosen.

  2. #2
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Take a look at DMM Technology servos. Inexpensive, well documented, and great tech support. DMM | AC SERVO DRIVE | AC SERVO MOTOR | ROTARY ENCODER I have installed a number of these and been happy with them.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

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    Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Motor size/frame, torque requirement guess, and RPM range would help narrow it down. Desired mechanical resolution would also help.

    Do you require new equipment with warranty and English-speaking support? Used, but brand-name and easily replaceable? New, but sub-optima tech manuals? Used, obsolete, hard to find, but really cheap for the performance?

    Power available? 120VAC, 240VAC, 3Phase?

    Willing to work at servo tuning? Need something quick and dirty to get going? "Closed loop" to the drive, or closed-loop to LinuxCNC with linear scales?

    If you want it 'all-Mesa' then one of their H-bridge boards looks nice, coupled with some Denki BL-Super DC servos would probably be pretty sweet and fairly cheap. AnTek sells toroid DC power supplies up to 160VDC and 1.5kw if you need something to drive the DC servo amps.

    I have no direct experience with the Mesa drives, but the LinuxCNC forum probably has somebody happy to help.

    And there are some great deals on AC servos on Fleabay, but you have to know what your looking for. The trick is to find an amp that can drive just about any motor.

    I've written this elsewhere, but the Allen-Bradley Ultra3000 servo drives are very agnostic - they can drive just about any encoder-equipped AC servo. And they're all over ebay, cheap.

    Jim's suggestion on the DMM's is good - they're OK, I've used them - but for a DIY thing there might be other options available.

    Give some thought to the motor specs and your wishlist and we'll help you narrow it down a bit.

  4. #4
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    Re: Motors for small production machine.

    DMM or Delta AC servos.

    Do not waste time with poorly documented generic servo drives.

    Or steppers - easier.
    7xCNC.com - CNC info for the minilathe (7x10, 7x12, 7x14, 7x16)

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    Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by spumco View Post
    Motor size/frame, torque requirement guess, and RPM range would help narrow it down. Desired mechanical resolution would also help.

    Do you require new equipment with warranty and English-speaking support? Used, but brand-name and easily replaceable? New, but sub-optima tech manuals? Used, obsolete, hard to find, but really cheap for the performance?

    Power available? 120VAC, 240VAC, 3Phase?

    Willing to work at servo tuning? Need something quick and dirty to get going? "Closed loop" to the drive, or closed-loop to LinuxCNC with linear scales?

    If you want it 'all-Mesa' then one of their H-bridge boards looks nice, coupled with some Denki BL-Super DC servos would probably be pretty sweet and fairly cheap. AnTek sells toroid DC power supplies up to 160VDC and 1.5kw if you need something to drive the DC servo amps.

    I have no direct experience with the Mesa drives, but the LinuxCNC forum probably has somebody happy to help.

    And there are some great deals on AC servos on Fleabay, but you have to know what your looking for. The trick is to find an amp that can drive just about any motor.

    I've written this elsewhere, but the Allen-Bradley Ultra3000 servo drives are very agnostic - they can drive just about any encoder-equipped AC servo. And they're all over ebay, cheap.

    Jim's suggestion on the DMM's is good - they're OK, I've used them - but for a DIY thing there might be other options available.

    Give some thought to the motor specs and your wishlist and we'll help you narrow it down a bit.
    Great questions.

    If this works as well as I hope, I'll be building several more copies of it. So I'd like to choose something I can choose again; new, not obsolete or nearing obsolescence.

    Size/frame not critical. I'm designing it from the ground up, so I can design around whatever motors and their dimensions. Small-ish form factor to match the small machine would be cool, but not necessary.

    Speed/torque requirements are unknown, but I think 1Nm/150oz-in and 3000RPM should cover it with plenty to spare.

    Resolution, .001"/.025mm worst case, hopefully better than that.

    Warranty and tech support are not high on the list of priorities.

    I know what you're saying about the AB drives. My mill has an Ultra 3000 for the spindle and (3) Ultra 100s for the axes. The axis motors are: [X] Fanuc red cap, [Y,Z] AD SureServo. The 2.2kW spindle is the only AB motor on the tool. I really like the drives but I don't want to standardize on something used & obsolete when there's a chance I might be selling these a few years down the line.

    What's your opinion on the DMMs? I've looked over their documentation, they seem pretty much what I'm looking for. I would have to get the DYN4s in order to have encoder feedback to the controller. I don't think glass scales will be in the recipe, at least not yet. Motor encoder feedback should suffice.

    I've ordered HGR20 linear rail & carriages, RM1605 ballscrews, but I think I might go with a rack & "zero backlash" dual pinion (if my experiments prove it feasible) for the X axis to be able to tuck the motor under the bed. That part about tucking the motor under the bed probably didn't make much sense. I'm hesitant to try and explain, not because it's top secret or anything, but because it's the kind of thing that requires pictures and they only exist in my head for now. Picture a Swiss lathe; the headstock is what moves for the Z-axis. It slides left and right, and the X-axis/cross slide is mounted directly to the bed. Now take that weird little benchtop Swiss lathe and rotate it so the headstock is up in the air for gravity barfeeder....Unless your imagination is fueled by amphetamines, probably none of that helped at all. I will post 3d model pics when I have them.

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    Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dawson View Post
    Take a look at DMM Technology servos. Inexpensive, well documented, and great tech support. DMM | AC SERVO DRIVE | AC SERVO MOTOR | ROTARY ENCODER I have installed a number of these and been happy with them.
    Thanks! Those look like just what I was asking for.

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    Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by pippin88 View Post
    DMM or Delta AC servos.

    Do not waste time with poorly documented generic servo drives.

    Or steppers - easier.
    Steppers, only if they have encoder feedback to the controller. I've never experienced a stepper machine, all I know is what I see on YouTube videos, and in the videos they're too slow to be production machines. I *think* that's because most people building stepper machines are running them off in open loop off of serial breakout boards, and they have to be run slow because there's no feedback to the controller about missed steps and such. Running slow is the only way to make sure things go as planned. BUT, I *think* if you had some encoder feedback to a real-time controller, you could run a stepper machine just as fast (or nearly as fast) as any other machine. That's why I'm leaving the option on the table.

    Is my understanding correct? Can "hybrid" stepper servos match the performance of other servos?

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    Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Hi,

    BUT, I *think* if you had some encoder feedback to a real-time controller, you could run a stepper machine just as fast (or nearly as fast) as any other machine. That's why I'm leaving the option on the table.
    Closed loop steppers are still steppers....they lose torque the faster you go, a closed loop control does not change that. They have similar speed
    characteristics to open loop steppers of the same size and inductance and same driving voltage. They DO have improved resolution over open loop
    steppers but not really enough to justify the price.

    If you want genuine closed loop performance then get AC servos, they are so much faster and have terrific overload capacity that steppers just
    cannot match.

    I use and recommend Delta servos. I have three 750W B2 series, one braked and they are superb. The B2 series have a 160,000 count per rev encoder and is
    in effect Deltas entry level model. The A2, A3 and B3 are later more expensive models but are well and truly more than I require.

    I bought from this company:

    https://www.fasttobuy.com/Supply-servo-system_c381

    $438USD for a kick-arse 750W servo, drive and cables is good value in my book. They charged me $80USD each for three day DHL shipping from China to New Zealand
    and they got here is 2 days 14 hrs...I got what I paid for.

    Note this same company have their own brand servo/drive called ToAuto, and the prices are genuinely very attractive but I would not recommend them. I have no reason
    to doubt their quality or performance but the manual is in Chinglish and is in places unreadable, but worse there is no set-up and tuning software, you have to program them
    by pushing buttons on the drive like a microwave, which is VERY tedious and error prone. Avoid like the plague.

    While on the subject of set-up and tuning software both Delta and DMM have it, like all the top brand servos. In fact AB can ONLY be programmed with the software and they
    make you bloody well buy it! The Delta software is free but you'll need the cable, I bought a genuine Delta accessory cable for $62USD, that is USB to IEEE1394, but you can get cheaper
    RS232 to IEEE1394 cables as well. Given the ease of programming and tuning I think the cable is mandatory and should be considered part of the purchase. Of course you
    only need the one cable to program and many drives as you've got.

    Just as a matter of interest while the 750W B2's are rated at 3000 rpm they have a max rpm of 5000 rpm using field weakening mode. Real clever piece of control
    that allows you to cheat the back EMF and get your servo to go faster than the voltage normally allows. I'm using that for my G0 rapid traverses, the ballscrews whizz around
    at 5000rpm for 25m/min rapids, and this thing is made of cast iron....fastest machine I've ever had. I'll restrict my G1 cutting moves to rated (3000rpm) or 15m/min.

    Craig

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    Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Delta B3 series don't need a special cable - just mini USB.

    I have a Delta B3 750W servo I'm using as small lathe spindle. Very happy.

    Cost for a BE seemed to be similar to B2 on fastotobuy when I bought.
    7xCNC.com - CNC info for the minilathe (7x10, 7x12, 7x14, 7x16)

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    Re: Motors for small production machine.

    All very good points - good advice here.

    The AB U3k's are still being sold, they're not obsolete - just that they've been out for so long they're available on ebay for $100-$200 (depending on amps).

    And the software is free - you can get Ultraware 1.83 still - and it doesn't need an old version of Windows to run. Nice thing about those is that if you wish to add glass/magnetic scales later, you can run them to the drive for dual-loop without having to do it in LinuxCNC.

    Some Delta's and other higher-end drives also have this feature. Leave all the fiddly stuff to the drives and the controller just tells it where to go. The motion planner is dumb in these cases, but high-end servos & components will get the tool where it needs to go.

    The DMM's are fine, but I'm not in love with the tuning software. And the drives are extremely tall (need a 10" deep enclosure). Minor points, of course. They're easy to get going though.

    I have a Delta servo but I've only fiddled with it, no real experience but it looks nice.

    Most of the 750W servos you find are all in the 3k-5kRPM top end range, so just about everything will work.


    If you're thinking of making more than one, then stick with the DMM's or Delta's for the best price/feature/performance/support compromise.


    As to the machine it self, I get it: Inverted vertical lathe. Great for chip control, not so great for long stuff and no good way to mount a sub spindle or tailstock.

    5C collet-class spindle?

    Have you considered how to manage stock & bar feeding when the stock is moving in X & Z at the same time? While spinning?

    Swiss-ish? Or really Swiss with a stationary bushing?

    Sounds cool. Keep the updates flowing.

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    Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Hi,
    the Delta A2 series certainly has dual loop, and is only about $50 more than the same size B2.

    I would assume that the even later model A3 and B3 have it also, but I don't actually know for sure.

    I do know for sure that the B2 series are EVERY BIT GOOD enough for me.

    Totally agree, let the servo drive close the loop and as you put it, 'do the fiddly stuff' rather than LinuxCNC. I have no doubt LinuxCNC could do it
    but there's no way in hell it can do better the the manufacturers servo drive can do it.

    I have an Allen Bradley U3000 series 1.8kW servo motor as a spindle motor, and I had to buy the software for that, it was only $165NZD, but I couldn't
    find a copy elsewhere. Its overkill for a spindle really but it serves me well.

    Craig

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeavaerage View Post
    Hi,



    Closed loop steppers are still steppers....they lose torque the faster you go, a closed loop control does not change that. They have similar speed
    characteristics to open loop steppers of the same size and inductance and same driving voltage. They DO have improved resolution over open loop
    steppers but not really enough to justify the price.

    If you want genuine closed loop performance then get AC servos, they are so much faster and have terrific overload capacity that steppers just
    cannot match.

    I use and recommend Delta servos. I have three 750W B2 series, one braked and they are superb. The B2 series have a 160,000 count per rev encoder and is
    in effect Deltas entry level model. The A2, A3 and B3 are later more expensive models but are well and truly more than I require.

    I bought from this company:

    https://www.fasttobuy.com/Supply-servo-system_c381

    $438USD for a kick-arse 750W servo, drive and cables is good value in my book. They charged me $80USD each for three day DHL shipping from China to New Zealand
    and they got here is 2 days 14 hrs...I got what I paid for.
    Thanks Craig, good advice on the steppers and now I need to invest as much time researching Delta as what I've put into DMM; That looks like a great option as well.

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    Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by joeavaerage View Post
    Hi,
    the Delta A2 series certainly has dual loop, and is only about $50 more than the same size B2.


    I would assume that the even later model A3 and B3 have it also, but I don't actually know for sure.


    I do know for sure that the B2 series are EVERY BIT GOOD enough for me.


    Totally agree, let the servo drive close the loop and as you put it, 'do the fiddly stuff' rather than LinuxCNC. I have no doubt LinuxCNC could do it
    but there's no way in hell it can do better the the manufacturers servo drive can do it.

    I'll check out the A2; having the option for glass scales in the future will be good.


    The reason why I prefer to have LinuxCNC close the loop is that it can see what all 3 axes are doing. Correct me if I'm wrong (I may very well be), but it's my understanding that having a closed loop back to the controller will enable the controller to limit all axes to whatever axis happens to be the weakest link for a given operation. So if for example (a mill example since I'm more familiar) I set my feed rate limits based on having a milling vice with a 2"x2"x2" aluminum cube in it, and then I put an engine block on the table and x&y can't meet the desired speed, Z will be limited to whatever X&Y can muster. Or maybe it would just fault out with a following error, not sure, never tried. Probably it would fault out. Now I'm not sure why I'm such a firm believer in closing the loop back to the controller. You've caught me with my pants down. I know I have a good reason for this, I just can't remember what it is right now. I need sleep.

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    Re: Motors for small production machine.

    See my previous replies to Craig, half of that was meant for you too, it's just too tedious to quote properly from a phone.
    Quote Originally Posted by spumco View Post
    If you're thinking of making more than one, then stick with the DMM's or Delta's for the best price/feature/performance/support compromise.


    As to the machine it self, I get it: Inverted vertical lathe. Great for chip control, not so great for long stuff and no good way to mount a sub spindle or tailstock.

    5C collet-class spindle?

    Have you considered how to manage stock & bar feeding when the stock is moving in X & Z at the same time? While spinning?

    Swiss-ish? Or really Swiss with a stationary bushing?

    Sounds cool. Keep the updates flowing.
    Really Swiss, with a stationary bushing. No need for tailstock. 5C collet spindle in the next rev probably; for now, 3C. The stock will only be moving in Z; The gangtools will be moving in X. Barfeeder will be a vertical tower that mounts above the headstock. I haven't worked out all the details but it will be a tube with some bearings at regular intervals that swings out or over or both, so you load it from the bottom up, position it over the headstock, and then it feeds from the top down. You will need some high ceiling clearance to run it on a bench as intended. Would look weird and be inconvenient sitting on the floor but that's probably where it will end up. Would be even less convenient to have it horizontal, since the idea is to have many of these side-by-side running at once.

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    Re: Motors for small production machine.

    I should probably clarify post #13. My CNC experience is limited to my 1988 lagunmatic mill, which I have retrofitted to LinuxCNC. The previous owner retrofitted the DC servos and amps to AC servos with AB Ultra100 drives, but left the old Dynapath controller in place. He set the drives up for analog velocity input because that's what the Dynapath system provided. When I did the retrofit a few years ago, based on whatever research I did at the time, I decided that keeping the analog velocity input was the best way to go. So I built my LinuxCNC controller around the Mesa 5i25/7i77 analog velocity output card. My mind is strongly wired for analog velocity commands. Based on information that has leaked from my memory over time, I'm still convinced that's the best, and that's the way that everything gets framed in my brain. If your brain is wired for step/dir pulse outputs then what I said in post 13 probably made no sense. Or maybe it just genuinely made no sense regardless.

    Are analog velocity commands with encoder feedback to the controller, not the best way to go? What kind of control scheme is going on in most production machines? Honest question, I don't know the answer. If there's a better way, I'd like to know and adapt to it, rather than keep doing things the same way because "that's how I've always done it."

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    Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Hi,

    The reason why I prefer to have LinuxCNC close the loop is that it can see what all 3 axes are doing. Correct me if I'm wrong (I may very well be), but it's my understanding that having a closed loop back to the controller will enable the controller to limit all axes to whatever axis happens to be the weakest link for a given operation.
    Sorry to say it but that is old school thinking and went out of fashion over ten years ago.

    The modern paradigm is that each servo drive is responsible for its own motion control and there is NO CENTRAL motion controller. This is called
    'distributed motion control' and there are a number of popular technologies that do it, among the most famous are Ethercat, Profibus and CANOpen..
    The PC then becomes trajectory planner and realtime communication master only.

    All this is because servo drives have been getting ever more intelligent and better as the years go on. Even without introducing distributed motion control
    the AC servos we are talking about are still way WAY smart.

    One of the drives from either of the brands we are talking about (Delta and DMM) accept pulse commands, be it step/direction, CCW/CW etc.
    At all times it has a cumulative record of all the commands that have been issued and so at any instant knows exactly where it is supposed, or commanded to be.
    At any given time it also knows the position of it own rotor and therefore at any given instant knows the error between where it actually is and where its supposed to be,
    called the 'following error'. If that error increases beyond what you program as acceptable following error it will fault out and signal your controller. In a mill you might for
    instance program 20 encoder counts as the max permissible following error, which may equate to 5um say.

    Each servo in the machine will be monitored in the same manner, so that if any one axis deviates by more than 5um all axes will stop.

    Its up to your controller settings to ensure that each of the axis servos can keep up. For instance if the motion controller commands an X axis acceleration
    of 15m/s2 but the servo and axis can at best manage 10m/s2 then naturally the axis will lag the command and will in short order fault
    out 'following error'. You must inform your controller what the servos are capable of. The trajectory planner decides what the axis movements are and will limit
    the X and Y axis accelerations to accommodate the very heavy and slowly accelerating Z axis say.

    In this way its not necessary for the controller to close the loop, the individual drives do that, and signal the controller only if it can't keep up.

    Modern AC servo drives have tuning aids in the setup software, I bet you don't get an oscilloscope view of following error from LinuxCNC, but you do with
    Delta. Likewise you get one or more notch filters with modern servos that allow you to tweak the response in remarkable ways. While I have no doubt you could try
    the same thing in LinuxCNC, but how much of a realtime programming master are you?

    The modern way is to allow the drive to close the loop and take advantage of all the smart stuff the manufacturer provides and you use a modest motion controller.

    You may be interested in this solution:

    https://www.automationtechnologiesin...-3-axis-110vac

    This kit has 3 750W Ethercat servos and drives, Mach4 license and the Interval-Zero and Kingstar runtime licenses all for $2850.
    Note that it does not have a motion control board, it does not need one!!!!

    I mention this solution more as an example of the modern design paradigm than a solution for your consideration....but it may appeal to you.

    Where Ethercat (and other similar strategies) shine is that you can have up to 100 Ethercat slaves on the network. So you could have your mill, joined by a coordinated
    conveyor to a second machine, another coordinated conveyor to a third machine and so on. They can all be controlled by the one Ethercat Master. Each of the servo drives (and other
    Ethercat nodes) are joined together in a daisy chain....gone are the days of a multicore cable to each drive, just a whole bunch of Ethernet jumper cables. Large manufacturing plants
    with many machines benefit particularly with this strategy, simple two and three axis machines can certainly use it but the advantages over conventional solutions are less pronounced.

    Craig

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    Post Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by joeavaerage View Post
    Hi,



    Sorry to say it but that is old school thinking and went out of fashion over ten years ago.

    The modern paradigm is that each servo drive is responsible for its own motion control and there is NO CENTRAL motion controller. This is called
    'distributed motion control' and there are a number of popular technologies that do it, ...
    Ok, well I guess it's time to try something new! Thanks for the info. This little hint combined with the knowledge that the A2 has glass scale feedback, and the fact that two glass scales just happened to spontaneously jump into my shopping cart and pay or themselves with my card, has me leaning a certain direction.

    How ironic is this?

    https://www.cnczone.com/forums/attac...d=456506&stc=1 https://www.cnczone.com/forums/attac...d=456508&stc=1

    Only $4 difference in price?? With shipping the deltas work out to $45 more. Small price to pay for a 10-fold improvement over my stated minimum accuracy.

    Since I'm divorcing myself from the notion of controller closed loop and embracing the idea of distributed motion control, is there a better controller suited to this? Because TBH LinuxCNC is a bit of a pain. I've been eyeing the Centroid Acorn but until a few minutes ago didn't seriously consider it because it doesn’t have encoder feedback. Other than that it seemed like actually a pretty professional system on a hobby budget.

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    Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Hi,
    I spent big dollars to get preloaded ground (C5 rated) 32mm doublenut ballscrews to have a zero backlash solution . Why would I need glass scales?

    I'm presuming that you will go for ground ballscrews, you did state at the top of the post that you wanted an accurate machine and that perforce means
    C5 or better....Sort of makes glass scales redundant.

    At the time I was looking to buy the servos for my new build I was unaware the the A2 series had that dual loop ability. Had I known I might have been tempted
    to get them. In retrospect I'm glad I didn't because I would be looking to get glass scales....just because I bloody well can! My budget has taken a real hammering
    as is.....I don't need more temptations.

    I believe where dual loop really comes into play is in the semiconductor industry where the use of LDVTs and interferometers is common, that's a factor of 50 to100 times
    the resolution and accuracy that I need.

    I think there are really four CNC solutions that offer genuine performance and reliability affordably:
    1) LinuxCNC
    2) Mach4
    3) UCCNC
    4) Centroid Acorn.

    Who cares about encoder feedback? Get over the idea that you need positional feedback.....the controller tells the axis where to go and the drive and servo
    go there in exactly the specified manner, and only ever let you know if for some reason that it can't do as its commanded.

    Mach4, UCCNC and Centroid are all run on Windows PCs are are perforce NOT realtime computing solutions and therefore all their motion controllers
    are known as 'buffered'. There are some implications about that which could be considered disadvantages. LinuxCNC however is run on a Linux distro
    with RealTimeExtensions (RTE) which gives a pretty fair realtime (4us jitter with common PC hardware) performance.

    Any of these solutions will work well, each has their advantages and each their disadvantages, but you would be happy with any of them.

    I use Mach4 and have done for six years and it works well.

    Craig

  19. #19

    Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Can consider whether it is a bearing problem: buy some imported bearings https://www.bearingmodel.com/brand/
    Supply Forever Global Industry Co., Ltd.:https://www.supplyforever.com/

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    Re: Motors for small production machine.

    LinuxCNC can run both open loop (with dumb or smart drives), or closed loop back to LinuxCNC with scales. Yes, it have following error scope features if you have load encoders.

    All of the CNC control software mentioned above will work. LinuxCNC is by far the most powerful of the the bunch, but it can be the most intimidating and fiddly.

    There are some folks on LinuxCNC forum playing around with EtherCat master plugins and I believe there are a number of working systems out in the wild... but like all things LinuxCNC there's no vendor you can call if things go wrong. Support, while excellent on-line, is limited to asking questions on the forums.

    For your use case, UCCNC will not be appropriate. I use it & like it on my mill and three plasma systems, but it has no lathe-specific functions or screenset available. It can, of course, do spindle synchronization, but there's no tool X-offsets or any of the other 'ready-to-run' lathe functions you would expect on a lathe control.

    I think your best bet is to install LinuxCNC (free) and play around with it. Your machine will be oddball enough that you'll probably want a controller with enough customization that you can set it up so it makes sense with your vertical thing.

    Centroid is probably the most polished interface, but you're locked-in to their system. Upgrades are expensive, and it's not really customizable unless you go with the top-tier Oak controller.

    LinuxCNC with an ethernet Mesa card is probably your best bet. Once you get it sorted out with your machine it'll be cut and paste if you build others.

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