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IndustryArena Forum > Community Club House > International / Regional Forums > Australia, New Zealand Club House > Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up
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  1. #1

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    Question Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up

    Hello
    I have recently purchased an old (but hopefully good) Multicam Series IIS router. Does anyone out there have any documentation for these machines or can point me to any other resources that can help as I get it up and running? I have enquired to Multicam and whilst I'm sure their service would be well worth the quoted fee, the fee is substantial so I'm hoping for a more economical solution.

    I believe the machine runs on Multicam's Toolpath software on an ailing PC running Windows 98. I'm not against putting a different controller in to run it off Mach 4, UCCNC etc but in the first instance I'm hoping to get it going as is and only convert if I can see benefit doing so down the track. So far I have it set in place and have given it a clean, but that's all. At any rate, I'll need to add some outlets to the 3 phase and single phase rings before any exciting stuff can happen.

    I'd describe myself as an enthusiastic novice with just enough knowledge to be dangerous, not enough to do things right. So any level of help and advice will be very much appreciated.
    The machine is in Botany, NSW.

    Thanks very much.
    Ross

  2. #2
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    Re: Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up

    I don't know much about them but the neighbouring business here in Brisbane bought a second multicam 1200x1200 second hand and ended up paying someone to retrofit it with a commercial controller.

    I wish I would have known becasue it would be a very simple retrofit for Linuxcnc and some Mesa cards which should let you retain the servos and controllers for a very reasonable cost.
    Rod Webster
    www.vehiclemods.net.au

  3. #3

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    Re: Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up

    Thanks Rod. I'll file that under 'possible directions' for now.

    Perhaps I should have also asked in my first post: Do I need to use Toolpath with the native electronics? Can I 'just' assign the ports and pins, say in Mach 4 or UCCNC? A while back I built a 4 axis foam cutter using CNCDrive UC100 motion controller (USB connection), UCCNC software on my DELL XPS Windows 10 Home, Leadshine stepper drivers, Nema 23s and suitable BoB. It works well and was fun building, but for this project I'm keen for the learning curve to be confined to learning to use, rather than learning to convert. That Is to say, getting up and running is the first goal before addressing what changes are needed, if any.

    A visual inspection inside the enclosure shows no obvious signs of damage and as far as I'm aware the machine functions well.

    In the meantime I have found a manual online which seems to cover my machine: https://multicam.com.au/images/PDF/Toolpath_Manual.pdf
    I'm reading the PDF now. No doubt more questions to come...

  4. #4

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    Re: Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up

    ...Oh, a couple of extra comments for context.

    I intend to be producing 3D moulds and plugs from models created in Solidworks mainly for fibreglass and carbon fibre parts. Ideally I'm *hoping* to use the integrated CAM in Solidworks to create the tool paths and G-Code. One of the main drivers here is that the tool paths created in this workflow remain parametric to the model which I see will be a huge time saver when doing a new revision of an existing part.

  5. #5

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    Re: Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up

    With some reading under my belt I'm feeling much more comfortable about commissioning and excited to get this machine going.

    In a few weeks I'm set to collect the ancient PC with ToolPath installed from the previous owner including the RS232/USB to RS485 Converter. Apparently the PC has seen better days so I'd like to load ToolPath on a more recent machine however it appears the installer CD has gone MIA.

    Does anyone out there have the Multicam AMC ToolPath installer disk languishing amongst other pre-loved IT items?

  6. #6

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    Re: Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up

    Having learned more today, disappointingly I need to be patient and wait for the PC if I'm to get the machine up and running on ToolPath before getting carried away.

    Here are the reasons why:

    The controller is an older AXYZ Corp AMC0002B. Apparently to run this the PC needs an 'LRC card' installed. The PC needs a motherboard with an '8bit ISA slot' to accept the LRC card and these motherboards are no longer common. So that kills that for now.

    Patience!

    While I wait I thought I'd plan an upgrade if I decide to go that way. robw suggested Linuxcnc and Messa cards. My preferred direction would be to run UNCNC because that is what I'm familiar with from the foam cutter project.

    If anyone has any thoughts on this I'd be most appreciative.

    Some things about the machine:

    X,Y and Z axis steppers are VEXTRA PH296-E4.2B
    Drivers are IM483
    The spindle is a 3.8KW H.S.D. (I suspect it may be a ES950 - KW 3,8-S1/4,5-S6 - ISO30 - ELECTRIC FAN - SHORT NOSE) with an pneumatic release ISO30 tool holder
    The Siemens Micromaster 6SE9221-0DC40

  7. #7
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    Re: Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up

    I had a look at some of those specs you mentioned. The Mesa 7i76e would be perfect for you for the IM483. It features 5 stepgens, 32 inputs, 16 outputs, 2 MPG inputs and a spindle control with encoder input. I have one in Brisbane I might be tempted to part with. PM me. It is an ethernet card and I would pair it with an Odroid H2+ PC with a 15.6" touch screen. I use an industrial quality (non USB) wireless pendant with a wireless receiver hard wired into the 7i76e. I am lost without it. I also have crosshair laser pointer on my table to establish x0,y0 that I would be lost without.
    Ideally you would need a small 2 amp or so 24 volt power supply for field power. A Meanwell DIN rail one would set you back about $40-$50.

    I know the 7i76e very well. I am a plasma guy though so don't know much about spindles.
    Rod Webster
    www.vehiclemods.net.au

  8. #8

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    Re: Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up

    Interesting Rod. Thanks. I'll take a look.
    I'm reading up on CNCDrive's AXBB CNC Controller/BOB Combo at the moment and trying to understand what I/O's I need to accommodate (i.e. what the hell are some of these wires??).

  9. #9
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    Re: Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up

    Just a bit more. The 7i76e can use PNP inputs natively (But you can use NPN with a pull up resistor). There is a 7i76eD which is designed for retrofits that require NPN inputs so you can use what IO is there. The 7i76e like most mesa cards has 2 x 24 pin headers that are pin compatible to a standard BOB. These are not fully protected like the io pins on the board. But there is a whole family of Mesa boards that plug into those headers for specific purposes. Then there is an additional family of boards that connect via RS422 via what Mesa call smart serial. This mean that the expansion with Mesa is almost infinite.

    eg. You could plug in 2 x 7i76 boards into the 7i76e and have something like 15 stepgens, 96 outputs and 48 outputs. Then you could add more I/O via smart serial.

    But thats just the hardware, we have not even touched on the ability to add multiple spindles and to write custom components that are then treated as if they are part of the core motion control loop. For example, I recently wrote a component to trigger 8 seperate downdraft zones on a plasma table for fume control (could be handy for routing?).
    Another one is where I wrote a component to use the boost feature of stepper drivers from Lam Technologies. This means that when the motors are not working hard (eg. when accelerating), I set an output to tell the current to the motors is reduced. This substantially improves overall performance and prevents drives from overheating when we ask them to do things that are not normally possible. (like accellerating at 0.8 G for example). There are not many generic CNC environments that allow that sort of extensibility.
    Rod Webster
    www.vehiclemods.net.au

  10. #10

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    Re: Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up

    Thanks again Rod. That's a lot of expandability for sure!

    Today's little task was simply to power up the single phase circuits and jog the x, y, z with the pendant as well as connecting air to see if the tool release/positive pressure to the spindle is working. All works beautifully, except that the ISO30 tool holder is stuck fast so getting that to let go is something to look forward to tomorrow. I'm hoping a bit of persuasion with a wedge will do it.

    There are still a few mysterious wires and breakout PCBs in the control box, but it's slowly starting to give up it's secrets.

    Next up, 3 phase to the frequency inverter to see how the spindle bearings sound.

  11. #11
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    Re: Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up

    Hi Ross good luck with the Multicam.
    Years ago I worked at a signage company that had one of those and it was a good machine
    Never ever liked the Muticam software though so Im a bit biased and agree with rodw.
    Because of its age in inflexibility, you would be better just binning the proprietary muticam kit and putting in modern control software and hardware of your choice.

    Gully
    Striving for medeocrity..and achieving high scores!

  12. #12

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    Re: Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up

    Thanks Gully
    Your current build is very impressive. Good luck with it!
    What motion controller and software will you be using?

  13. #13

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    Re: Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up

    By the way...today's job of removing the 'stuck' tool holder was a simple fix - pop a new gauge on the regulator to replace the broken one and dial up the air pressure to the required 7bar. Magic.

  14. #14
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    Re: Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up

    Thanks Ross
    Its great you got the tool holder sorted that easily.
    Will be following along to see how it turns out for you

    For my build, hardware wise, plan is to retire my Joe's and strip the Gecko drivers and Homann breakout board from it . Will also probably upgrade the PC and drive the lot via a smooth stepper
    Software to run it will be Mach 3 again as I already have it
    I use Rhino 3D to produce all my 3D files and process them via Cut3d and or Vcarve Pro to make G code. This has worked well for me.

    Gully
    Striving for medeocrity..and achieving high scores!

  15. #15

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    Re: Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up

    It should only be another week or so till I have the PC running Toolpath for this machine. In the meantime I started trying to understand what's in the controller cabinet. I've sketched out most of the hardware and how it connects. For the exercise I have also started connecting things up (in sketch form) to a CNCdrive AXBB_E controller. Whether I use a CNCdrive controller or something else, such as a Mesa like Robw suggests, is a decision down the track.

    Below are two sketches. The first is the current cabinet. The second is the beginnings of the conversion. I'm stuck on two points though.

    My first issue is the e-stops and home sensors. On the machine there are three home sensors (Balluff BES M08MI-PSC20B-BV03) and two mechanical e-stops. The e-stops are NO as are the sensors (PNP NO). These all seem to be wired together, I expect in parallel, and connect to a seperate PCB, which then connects to the main control board via 4 yellow wires. I'm stuck wondering whether I need the PCB and if so, what inputs on the AXBB_E I use, or whether I discard the PCB and connect the home sensors in series and connect straight to the AXBB_E and connect the e-stops together and directly to the AXBB_E potentially swap out the NO e-stops for NC, which I understand is better practice than NO.

    My second head scratcher is the spindle control and tool release circuit. This also connect to the existing control board via a relay/amplifier board. From what I can tell the machine is currently set up such that changing the spindle speed is done via the interface directly on the Siemens Micromaster 6SE9221-0DC40. Switching the spindle on and off appears to be via toggle switches on the gantry and also via the controlling PC. In both instances it seems there are ON/OFF/Auto are the switch positions. The issue for me here is that the existing AXYZ board is powered by 12Vdc and the spindle control and tool release seem to require 24Vdc, I assume hence the need for the relay/amplifier. The AXBB_E can be powered by 12 to 24 Vdc (and also needs a 5Vdc). If I power it with 24 Vdc, I'm wondering whether I need the relay/amplifier. If I keep the relay board I don't know what outputs on the AXBB_E I would need to use.

    Any thoughts? Thanks!

  16. #16

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    Re: Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up

    I realise in my last post the jpegs are pretty much illegible. Perhaps some pdfs will be better...

  17. #17
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    Re: Multicam (AUSTRALIA) Series IIs router - Help needed setting up

    Well following along with the Linuxcnc solution with a Mesa card from what I can see from this manual
    https://www.vfds.com/manuals/siemens...ter-manual.pdf

    Your NO PNP home sensors will be compatible with linuxcnc and Mesa out of the box. Each physicial pin has two pins in the software. One is a -not signal which is the inverse of the other. So it does not matter if its NO or NC, you choose the internal pin to suit your application. You would tell Linuxcnc you have a shared home/limit switch. This will be your minimum limit. After homing, you would use a home_offset to move the axis off the limit switch at the completion of homing. Then it will act as a limit switch so if its hit after homing all motion will cease. In a perfect world, you would add a max limit at the maximum axis travel but its not mandatory. (Limit switches should sit outside the normal work envelope but before hard limits so they need to be considered as an Oh Sh*t switch that should never be triggered - but protect from a crash into hard limits.) Prox sensors should follow common wire colours for +24v, -24v, Output (google them). I would wire each of these sensor outputs directly to a mesa input and bypass the circuit board.

    Normally estops would be NC and wired in series so if one is triggered or a wire breaks, the estop chain goes open circuit, motion is stopped and power is removed from the motors. The purists would have that chain wired to a safety relay external to the motion controller (I bought a couple recently at $250 each!). Its not well documented but Linuxcnc has a software component called estop-latch which allows you to build your estop chain in software. I use that on my plasma machine and it works well.

    So now to your VFD for the spindle. I would set it to analog control as described in the manual above and use a 0-10 volt signal to control spindle speed.

    So all in all, with stepper motors all round and a 0-10 volt spindle control, a Mesa 7i76e is all you need. Just keep your motors, stepper drivers, switches and sensors and VFD and throw the rest out.
    Rod Webster
    www.vehiclemods.net.au

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