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  1. #1
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    Apr 2007
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    Any DeskCNC users?

    Hi There All,

    I'm new to the Forum, have just completed the conversion of my Step-Four CNC Foam Cutter, as well as my Step-Four CNC Router, to DeskCNC driver boards. I just got fed-up with using the old DOS software. Purchasing the new software was'nt an option either, those Austrians want an arm and a leg for the new Windows X-pert software!!

    I'm struggling with the DeskCNC software, as the documentation or user manual is not the same as the software I'm using. The "Fred" guy at IM Services is'nt very helpfull either.

    I've done a quick interim conversion, both machines are running fine with Xylotec cards. I ran the foam cutter with FoamWorks, and the router with KCam. I prefer going for the USB setup, using the DeskCNC boards.

    If there are any Ozzies out there using DeskCNC? I would appreciate it if we could communicate, to get my setup running.

    Regards,

    Francois

  2. #2
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    Nov 2005
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    I have 3 machines using Desk CNC, with few problems..(mostley problems I have created or not understood the instructions)So outline your problems and lets see if we can help. Note: I have recieved a lot of help from Fred at IM service, not always instantley, but never wrong..Did you buy the Desk CNC system from IM Service ?

    Adobe (old as dirt)

  3. #3
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    Hi There Adobe,

    Thanks for the words of hope. Yes, I also bought 3 Gen-II controllers, all directly from IM Services. I'll prepare a reply, outlining all the problems I've been faced with. All I want to be able to do, is route out plywood parts, for my model aircraft.

    Just to check, my installed software is v2.0.1.108, is that the "latest and greatest"? What is the latest operating manual available, with instructions on how to route out parts? The trouble already starts here for me, as the selections are Pocket, Contour or Drill. My CAM glossary is not up to speed yet. I figured out it should be Pocketing.

    Any way I could be able to use the DeskCNC card, with other CAM software, ie get another post processor to run it from say Flashcut software?

    Regards,

    Francois

  4. #4
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    Nov 2005
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    Good. just outline them one at a time, we will answer as many as possible...There are several other Desk CNC users on the CNC Zone that I'm sure can answer questions .

    Most of the Desk CNC "problems" are getting the right initial set up,I think that before I got the 1st one to work, I had at least 5 different setups, after finally reading the instructions and making diagrams that I could understand, then the next two were a breeze. ( I'm a total computor "KLUTZ", so I had to learn every new term..a neighbor did donate some time and he suffered thru my lack of knowledge, and slowley I began to understand the system..)

    I do not know much about the foam cutter, so start with the router 1st, then we can go to the foam cutter later.

    Adobe ( old as dirt)

  5. #5
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    Hassles with the files

    Hi There Adobe,

    I'm trying to cut an extremely simple part. I've drawn it in TurboCAD. I've saved it as a .dxf. When I open the DeskCNC application, I can jog all 3 my axis, no hassles. I open the .dxf file with DeskCNC, go to Select All, go to Toolpath, select Contour, enter 2 as the Contour Depth, hit Contour, back to Toolpath, select Run Machine, save the file as a .dnc, it goes to Machine Mode, I confirm the file is loaded, I can see the G-code in the bottom. I cancel the E-Stop by hitting Reset, all the controls now active. I hit Go, it starts up, jogs the router to the first entry, lowers the Z-Axis, but when it has to start cutting, it hits some or other Limit, stops the program execution. The message on the bottom left says "Limit Switch Hit". I have no limit switches installed.

    I have attached my CAD file, as well as the cut file. I have renamed the .dnc file to .doc, to be able to attach it. Please rename back to .dnc, before trying it out. The error happens when going from line 10 to line 11.

    Does the same with other files, right after lowering the z-axis, or when hitting the first corner, it hits a limit switch. When the cut starts as a straight line, it will cut to the first change of direction, then hit this invisible limit.

    Please check if you can find anything wrong.

    Regards,

    Francois
    Attached Files Attached Files

  6. #6
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    Nov 2005
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    Well, lets try this first: Go to set up,machine set up and then Desk CNC set up.
    There are two areas you need to look at 1) Machine Sizes..Even though you have no "limit switches ( mechanical) Desk CNC will limit the axis to the amount you have posted and saved..Increase the sizes to the XYZ axis you have on your machine( make sure you save and get out of Desk CNC, then restart).
    2) Have you checked the MM box on the same page ? When I downloaded your CAD , it showed up in my CAD as MM..So I assume the you are dealing in meters rather than inches ? If your 1st move was say 108.00 ( in MM) and your Desk CNC is dealing in Inches, we can see that would be way over the limits of most machines.

    Await you reply

    Adobe (old as dirt)

  7. #7
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    Hi There Adobe

    Thanks for trying to help me out here.

    Metric is selected, and the axis have been set larger than my drawing part. The part is placed perfectly on the work surface size of DeskCNC. I had a fleeting thought that my Z values were possibly wrong, eg min was set to 0, and max to 75, so I changed that to min -75, and max as 75, no difference, same limit switch hit. I changed all the 3 axis to min -1000, max +1000, still same hassle.

    I have no limit switches wired up, do you think it neccesary to hardwire the limit switch pin on the I/O connector down to a ground, when not in use?

    Regards,

    Francois

  8. #8
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    Success, at last !!

    Hi There Adobe,

    I did what goes against my logic, and that was to uninstall it all. I wiped the DeskCNC directory from my PC, and installed the file DeskCNC v2_0_1_99.Exe all over again. When checking the version, once installed, it showed up as version 2.0.1.108, Firmware 2.24. I set up the Machine Axis and Steps/mm only, as well as Disabled the E-stop Terminal. I loaded the SAME .dnc file as before, I had it saved in a different location, and low and behold, the thing worked !! Afterwards, I went and checked every seingle set-up page, all are exactly the same values, selections, names, ALL THE SAME as before, but now it works !!

    Thanks for your help, it gave me hope to at least sit in front of the PC, and figure it all out.

    Where do I set the tool plunge speed, mine takes ages to plunge into the work surface. My jog and contour speeds are fine, it takes a day and a half to plunge the 5mm down into the workpiece.

    A last question, what is your latest version software and firmware? If the startup screen shows the firmware as 2.24, is that what is loaded into the controller, or is that what is in the software? Does one have to manually force the controller to update, to get the latest version of firmware loaded into the controller?

    Regards,

    Francois

  9. #9
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    "Tool plunge speed" = Z axis..reset maximum velocity ( Steps Per
    second) in the machine set up, axis section.Increase slowley untill you have a comfortable plunge..do not forget to "save" and turn off Desk CNC on every change

    On the motion control card, input I/0 set of terminals,have you installed an I/O cycle start switch ? This switch allows you to "force" the controller to accept new firmware.I will follow this up in the next post, as the wires also involves the E stop wiring, but need to know how you wired the I/O terminals.I think this is the key to the original problem.

    Adobe (old as dirt)

  10. #10
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    Hi There Adobe,

    I have not wired anything to the Input I/O connector. The only connections I have, is the 12V supply, the 3 axis step and directions, and the Ouput I/O CW, to a solid state relay. I have an E-stop switch installed in my housing, I'm about to wire that up today.

    Now that the card is working, I've discovered other areas of "attention". How do I get the DeskCNC software to automatically insert an M03 command in the beginning of the created g-code file? I now have to edit the file in Notepad, insert the M03 just before the tool plunges, insert the M05 after the last tool raise, and remove the automatically inserted M02 and M05 from the end.

    Can I edit the code directly from a DeskCNC page, or must the code be edited with another application.

    What is the difference between selecting Post Processor ISO G-Code or ISO Post Processor Non-Modal? I'm currently using Non-Modal.

    I have edited a .dxf drawing with TurboCAD, now it seems the lines did not connect, for I get a green line on importing it to DeskCNC, ie an open boundry. I've tried to use the select open, declare as boundry function, but it does not turn the selection to red, as the other closed boundries are. As you know, it then does not select them to be machined, when creating the toolpath. Any help there, other than having to redraw it in TurboCAD?

    Regards,

    Francois

  11. #11
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    Nov 2005
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    In most instances, I use my CAD/CAM program to insert the Macros, ie M03 and MO2, and other M commands. so I never have to insert them in Desk CNC.If I do a short program at the machine, I use note pad, then export to Desk CNC..To be truthful, most of my crashes, near misses and screwed up parts have been due to my trying to short cut and program at the machine. I have found by using the CAD/CAM program correctly, I eliminate crashes, near misses and cut good accurate parts.

    That means that your last question re:an open boundry, I just do not know how that works, as all my G code is already done when I export to Desk CNC from Vector 11, my CAD/CAM program.This includes any dfx drawings from other sources, as my Vista OS system always imports to Vector, so if there are any incomplete lines ,or confusing lines it is real simple to correct before generating a G code.

    I have chosen ISO G code, as Desk CNC uses iso-G code.

    Try faxing or E mailing Fred at IM, he can answer your questions re; an open boundry. He is a busy person but has always answered my questions ( and I have has some real new-be type dumb questions !).

    Glad you are making progress, and you will begin to see just how good Desk CNC is ..Your way ahead of where I was at this point,and seems you have got a good handle on it..Hey show some pictures of your work !

    Adobe (old as dirt)

  12. #12
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    Hi There Adobe,

    I've finished with the Limit, Home and Tool Setter switches on my Router. I have limit switches on both sides of all 3 axis, all in series with the E-stop switch. I have 3 dedicated Home switches, set 3mm away from the limit switch, on one end of each axis, wired to the 3 Home inputs. I have the Tool Setter Switch on the X0Y0 position, wired to the Limit input. All works fine, the machine does a dead stop, when it hits the limits. It goes to the home switched when a home command is given, does the fast, and then slow test, then homes to 0 on each axis. Thus, all functional.

    My question is regarding the Z-axis values. My Z-axis is set up so the value counts up when it raises up, counts down when it lowers. I have my Z-axis home on the fully retracted (up) position, so as not to hit something when it jogs. After a home command, it waits there at full up, the coordinate set to 0. This is OK for the X and Y, but I want the Z-axis to then lower to a preset value, and then set the coordinate value to 0. How do I do that. I know, in the Z homing script, after finding the home switch, and setting the coordinate value to 0, I can add a G0 Z- command, to make it go to the position I want. When it then lowers, the position counter unfortunately follows, and goes negative. Once at the lower Z position required, how do I then get the Z display to reset to 0 ?

    I want this, to be able to place my workpiece on the table, run the home script, have the Z-axis lower the cutter to a new preset 0. I can then simply load my cut file, and execute. No need to jog it down, then manually zero the Z axis, and only then start the cut.

    Regards,

    Francois

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