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  1. #1
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    What machine controller should I use?

    I am considering replacing the Mazak controller on my Impulse 30 with an aftermarket controller. The Mazak controller does everything I need except has very limited memory. Not enough memory to do any 3D profiled parts. I am also finding that this Mazak controller is an orphan and there is no information about it anywhere. And there is the problem I posted where it does mystery stuff which has made me lose trust in it! https://www.cnczone.com/forums/g-cod...=1#post2403026. Also some of the modern features like probing and tool height setter would be nice.

    I don't want a PC based machine controller. I would be OK with a PC based user interface. All I have really been able to find that seems like it would be capable and affordable is a Centroid controller.

    I think the machine has AC servos and has a servo driven spindle.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions for suitable controllers and what I need to know about a retrofit?

  2. #2
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    Re: What machine controller should I use?

    Linuxcnc is often used for retrofits like that. I'm no expert with retrofits, but thats the way I would go because it has such a range of available hardware.
    Rod Webster
    www.vehiclemods.net.au

  3. #3
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    Re: What machine controller should I use?

    You might consider a grblHAL based system. Before you say "grbl?? yuck". the new 32 bit version of grbl, grblHAL is very capable, breaks a lot of the 8-bit grbl limitations and has been modeled on the Linux CNC feature set (canned cycles for example). All machine control is done on the controller itself and uses a PC to feed GCodes to it. There are several breakout boards that are low cost. Total cost for a controller would be around $65 and no SW license fees. From the github readme page:
    grblHAL is a no-compromise, high performance, low cost alternative to parallel-port-based motion control for CNC milling based on the Arduino version of grbl. It is mainly aimed at ARM processors (or other 32-bit MCUs) with ample amounts of RAM and flash (compared to AVR 328p) and requires a hardware driver to be functional. Currently drivers are available for 13 different processors all of which share the same core.
    GrblHAL github site
    Breakout Board for the Teensy 4.1 (600 MHz, 1 M memory)

  4. #4
    Community Moderator Al_The_Man's Avatar
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    Re: What machine controller should I use?

    You may run into a problem using the existing servo's they generally use the Mitsubishi servo's and drives, the controller itself is a modified version of a Mitsubishi control and made proprietary to Mazak.
    One system that uses PC MMI and motion card is gallil based Camsoft, also Dynomotion looks a promising system.
    Both of the above can utilize simple, cheaply available analogue drives such as A-M-C, Copley etc.
    Centroid is also very good.
    CNC, Mechatronics Integration and Custom Machine Design

    “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
    Albert E.

  5. #5
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    Re: What machine controller should I use?

    Thanks everyone for your feedback. I had completely discounted Linux CNC, Mach 3/4 or any open source type solution. Ideally I would like a professional level control so steered away from the types of control normally used on CNC routers and the like. I will do some further reading on the suggestions made.

  6. #6
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    Re: What machine controller should I use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Al_The_Man View Post
    You may run into a problem using the existing servo's they generally use the Mitsubishi servo's and drives, the controller itself is a modified version of a Mitsubishi control and made proprietary to Mazak.
    This machine has large dedicated Mazak labelled PCBs (about 14x14"). One to drive the X,Y,Z servos, another is the main control board. It does not have a rack of servo drivers. As i understand some other Mazaks of a similar generation had Mitsubishi electronics. The spindle driver has two dedicated Mazak PCBs as well.

  7. #7
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    Re: What machine controller should I use?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashes-man View Post
    Thanks everyone for your feedback. I had completely discounted Linux CNC, Mach 3/4 or any open source type solution. Ideally I would like a professional level control so steered away from the types of control normally used on CNC routers and the like. I will do some further reading on the suggestions made.
    Centroid is probably the only one that would be a good fit, but you will have your work cut out if you want to use any of the Mazak drives Etc.
    Mactec54

  8. #8
    Community Moderator Al_The_Man's Avatar
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    Re: What machine controller should I use?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashes-man View Post
    As i understand some other Mazaks of a similar generation had Mitsubishi electronics. The spindle driver has two dedicated Mazak PCBs as well.
    I ran into problems when I needed to change the ladder on Mazak's, as a Mitsubishi retro-fitter I found it frustrating with the locked up features of Mazak.
    The Galil based stuff I implemented came close to a commercial supplied unit, they have very powerful in-slot cards for up to 8 axis motion, electronic gearing included.
    Al.
    CNC, Mechatronics Integration and Custom Machine Design

    “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
    Albert E.

  9. #9
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    Re: What machine controller should I use?

    Out of interest, how does one go about changing the ladder logic on a controller? I have a book from factory showing all the logic. I also have a big list of system parameters in a book but cant see how to view them on the controller to make sure they haven't been changed over the life of the machine.

  10. #10
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    Re: What machine controller should I use?

    There are some Mitsubishi interfaces for Linuxcnc
    http://yurtaev.com/

    But I do know a retrofitter in New Zealand who just replaces the servos with one that are a bit more friendly that only cost him about $200 each and runs up linuxcnc. He does some high end mold manufacture with good accuracy.
    Rod Webster
    www.vehiclemods.net.au

  11. #11
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    Re: What machine controller should I use?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashes-man View Post
    Out of interest, how does one go about changing the ladder logic on a controller?
    ...mouse trap logic

  12. #12
    Community Moderator Al_The_Man's Avatar
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    Re: What machine controller should I use?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashes-man View Post
    Out of interest, how does one go about changing the ladder logic on a controller? I have a book from factory showing all the logic. I also have a big list of system parameters in a book but cant see how to view them on the controller to make sure they haven't been changed over the life of the machine.
    Every machine is different, particularly difficult on a Mazak, I used to have the key strokes to get in to view it at least, but long gone now,
    Al.
    CNC, Mechatronics Integration and Custom Machine Design

    “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
    Albert E.

  13. #13
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    Re: What machine controller should I use?

    Quote Originally Posted by rodw View Post
    There are some Mitsubishi interfaces for Linuxcnc
    http://yurtaev.com/

    But I do know a retrofitter in New Zealand who just replaces the servos with one that are a bit more friendly that only cost him about $200 each and runs up linuxcnc. He does some high end mold manufacture with good accuracy.
    Would you mind sharing contact details, I would love to have a chat to him about options.

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