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IndustryArena Forum > Machine Controllers Software and Solutions > FlashCut CNC > looking to upgrade steppers & drivers.
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  1. #1
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    looking to upgrade steppers & drivers.

    I'm running a 5x10 torch mate 8020 table and want more speed for cutting thinner gauge and I want to add a z axis as a router. My current setup is a flashcut 501a with a separate motor driver box that has applied motion 2035 drivers that are maxed out @ 2 amps running 262 oz nema 23 steppers. The sutup works great cutting thicker material but stalls @ higher feed rates.
    I'm wanting to keep the 501a and software and only change the stepper driver box and steppers, the new flash cut setup is all built into one box it appears to use applied motion str-8 drivers with a 501a inside also. Would it be better to stay with nema 23 steppers or go with bigger 34's? My setup uses rack and pinion and belt reduction.

  2. #2
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    Re: looking to upgrade steppers & drivers.

    modelaratrod

    You have a number choices which mostly depend on your ability to do the integration your self. I was in your position last summer with my TM2 table. I ended up converting it to dual stepper drive on the X axis with new motors in a configuration similar to a TM3 table. Open your driver box and make sure that the drivers are set to maximum output (mine weren't) as a first step. Also check your tables mechanical assembly, these tables require constant adjustment to keep them running true and tight. I kept the old driver box (same as your's) and used higher powered steppers so effectively had about 320 oz/in of holding power with the original driver box. You didn't mention which table configuration you have. If you have the TM2 configuration I highly recommend making the changes I did as a minimum. I can post photos if you want. I am not sure that any of the TM 8020 based tables will be ridged enough for serious router work. First replace your stepper motors with 4 stack ones to get more drive power on the X for plasma only and Y if trying to use a router. I used ones from Automation Technologies. For a turnkey upgrade buy a system from CandCNC, you won't need the ethercut option or their torch height control if you want to keep using the TM (Flashcut) software and box. The next choice in complexity is to buy a Geko 540 based stepper driver box and some new steppers and do the integration your self, this should increase available torque and speed by about 1.5 at a minimum.

    John

  3. #3
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    It's a TM2 and it would be great to see your upgrades you made to yours.

    My drivers are turned up and maxed out at 2 amps so I can't run any bigger steppers unless I upgrade the drivers.

    I'm planning on using the current setup to cnc a grizzly mill so my TM2 will be plasma and light routing in plywood and plexiglass.

  4. #4
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    Re: looking to upgrade steppers & drivers.

    modelaratrod

    The design of the TM2 X drive is really crap as anyone that own's one knows, cheap to build but high wear/short life. My excuse is I bought mine second hand and knew nothing about CNC plasma cutting when I bought it. The only saving grace was that I only paid about 10 cents on the dollar compared to list including 5,000lbs of steel sheet. The racks and stepper are in the worst location for getting covered with slag and debris from cutting. So along with needing more speed I decided that the racks needed to be moved to the outside of the the 8020 frame like the TM3. At first I agonized over copying the older belt reduction TM3s and then found two 5:1 23 frame gear reducers on Ebay for a good price and bought them. Life got really good when I figured out that with the exception of two holes the parts for both sides are the same. The main plates are plain old cold rolled .25" thick 1018 plate. The gear box and motor mount to a .5" 6061 T6 plate that bolts to slots in the first plate for adjustment. Sorry I didn't take photos of the parts before assembly as I did this in my busy season. The cable chain supports where also lengthened and mounted to the inside of the 8020 frame. The extra brackets in the first photo are part of the water tray supports. Parts sources:

    Ebay Gear reducers, 8020 hardware
    Amazon New 24 tooth 24 pitch spur gears (makes drive math easy)
    Automationtechnologies Stepper motors
    Mouser Connectors to match existing ones
    McMaster Carr Cam follower bearing

    The only bad is that I lost about .0005" resolution per step with the combination of gear ratio and larger spur gear. This is not a big deal for the garden art that I make. I still don't run my table real fast but now I get almost double the acceleration from stock, which is good for all the curves in my work. I think that I can find sketches of the parts if you want.

    John

  5. #5
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    Re: looking to upgrade steppers & drivers.

    I don't see how you can deal with flashcut, I tried getting some basic information from them since fabtech with not much luck, email and calling I never got a salesmen to call me back about either turnkey mill or retrofitting my mill and CNC router/plasma table
    4x8 CNC plasma table W/ CandCNC PlaspakIII DTHC, Hypertherm Powermax 1000Gs
    12x36 Lathe, 2hp Alliant 1/12 TMV Mill, Miller 351 water-cooled TIg, various little stuff

  6. #6
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    Re: looking to upgrade steppers & drivers.

    ttm

    I don't deal with Flashcut at all! They will not support equipment purchased through Torchmate. I got a quote on a new system once because I had no idea what the parts cost and about fell out of my chair when it came. They also sell through Grizzly Industrial for the common small systems now. I have actually found their software quite simple and good, I am running the TM3 software which is an older version. I knew nothing about CNC or plasma cutting when I got my system (used) and was able to get up and running with very little help from TM, the manuals are generic but complete. The TM email support has been pretty good if you ask the correct question, the guys there aren't mind readers and I did ask newby questions that weren't relevant to the real problem some times.

    John

  7. #7
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    Re: looking to upgrade steppers & drivers.

    Islander how did you configure the two motor x axis? two motors, two driver cards with one motor rotating in the opposite direction?

    Also why did you pick 5:1 for gear reduction? as opposed to 10:1 etc...

  8. #8
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    Re: looking to upgrade steppers & drivers.

    Here's some progress pics. Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9
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    Re: looking to upgrade steppers & drivers.

    Quote Originally Posted by islander261 View Post
    modelaratrod


    The only bad is that I lost about .0005" resolution per step with the combination of gear ratio and larger spur gear. This is not a big deal for the garden art that I make. I still don't run my table real fast but now I get almost double the acceleration from stock, which is good for all the curves in my work. I think that I can find sketches of the parts if you want.

    John
    did you figure out why you lost resolution? and do you recall the user on ebay for the gear boxes? I got my new controller and am looking to go gear box 10:1 with my dual gantry drive servo's on my plasma, and im probably just going to use CandCNC for the router build too I already have 4 extra 850 ox servo motors, and they sure are customer friendly, (I had been thinking of going with a complete conversion from someone)
    4x8 CNC plasma table W/ CandCNC PlaspakIII DTHC, Hypertherm Powermax 1000Gs
    12x36 Lathe, 2hp Alliant 1/12 TMV Mill, Miller 351 water-cooled TIg, various little stuff

  10. #10
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    Re: looking to upgrade steppers & drivers.

    modelaratrod

    Your setup looks nice! I wish I had found right angle gearboxes at a good price. The straight ones I used are OK on cable carrier side but really stick out on the other side.

    ttm

    I don't remember the ebay vendors I bought the gearboxes from. I do remember I bought them from two different vendors.

    The lost resolution is just a mechanical fact from the gear ratio and pinion size. It is the difference in distance covered by one step of your stepper motor. If I built a table with what I know now I will use the CandCNC controller.

    John

  11. #11
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    Re: looking to upgrade steppers & drivers.

    Thanks for all your help islander.

  12. #12
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    Re: looking to upgrade steppers & drivers.

    New power supply just showed up. Is big! lol

    Click image for larger version. 

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