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[How do I?] 4th Axis Setup

Discussion in 'CNC IN THE HOME SHOP' started by jbolt, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I also posted this on the CNCZone in the HSM forum but I like this place better so I'm also posting it here.

    Hi All,

    I'm feeling a bit stupid I cannot figure this one out. Google has not been my friend.

    I will soon be setting up a 4th axis rotary head/table (A-axis) on my mill for some parts I have coming up where I need to cut 7 slots around the perimeter along the axis of a tube.

    I'm using Solidworks Student Edition and HSMWorks Premium 2016. There must be a setting or configuration I am missing. In HSMWorks I don't see any drop down options for 4th axis. In my machine setup if I try to enable a rotary axis it does not take. Not sure what I am missing.

    Secondly, on the job setup how should the UCS be orientated if the axis of the tube is parallel to the X-axis?

    Other info:
    3-axis mill
    Mach3

    Thanks,

    Jay
     
  2. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    I'm going to go out on a limb here. I'm thinking I heard a rumor that the 4th axis is disabled in the student version. Next time I hear from my son I'll ask him.

    Since the A axis rotates about the X axis, the UCS would need to be in the normal orientation.

    The workaround on running the A axis is just to manually write the G code to run it. That's what I do because I don't have any software that will generate 4 axis G-code. If the slots you want to cut are all the same, in the main code write the code that increments the A axis, then you can call a subroutine (M98 P xxxx) that cuts the slots.

    The code would look something like this:
    N 100 G0 A 0
    N 110 M98 P 1000
    N 120 G0 A 51.4286 [position in degrees]
    N 130 M98 P 1000
    .
    .
    .
    M30

    [cut slot subroutine]
    N 1000
    G1 X xxxx Y x.xxx
    .
    .
    M99 [return from sub]
    .
    .
     
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  3. countryguy

    countryguy United States Active User Active Member

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    I recently had to learn to write G-code for some things.... was surprised how easy it really was upon getting the hang of it. as a way off-base idea: Hate to drop the Fusion360 thing here but maybe it would do it? Of course, yet another learning adventure.
    Sounds like a cool project! I am dying to play w/ our cnc 4th/ rotary someday.... tis just sitting there yelling my name when I walk by daily. Hearing curse words from him now. . depressing!
     
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  4. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    I think you have to have the full Inventor/HSM package to get 4th axis functionality. Big $$$$$
     
  5. Metal

    Metal United States Active Member Active Member

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    I checked fusion 360 and I have the tool orientation option in the hobby version, so it appears I have A axis functionality.

    I used hsm, but moved to fusion, it gives you a LOT less control over the specifics of the operations, but lets you do more "stuff" overall.
     
  6. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I'm pretty sure the educator edition of Solidworks is full blown, just with an 18 month licence time and no support. I don't think it is a Solidworks issue. HSMWorks is the CAM plug-in (also an education licence) but it the full blown premium version with a 3 year licence.

    All the other 3D tool path routines work fine. Unfortunately the documentation is written for people who know what they are doing. I really like theses programs and I'm fortunate enough to get to use them being a mentor for the high school robotics team. Maybe I should put one of the students on the problem. They are way smarter than me.

    I have other more complex parts that will require indexing I would rather not code by hand for unless it is not possible with what I have.
     
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  7. ChrisMacD

    ChrisMacD United States Swarf Registered Member

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    In the geometry tab is an option called "Tool Orientation". There you can select a face or plane parallel to the face you want to work on.
     
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  8. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I got one piece of the puzzle solved. The use "Axis Substitution" only works if you have inserted an axis into the model. Operator error on my part as usual. This is fine for rotary operations where the Y axis becomes the radial movement and the X & Z move as normal.

    What I need is to index the part and then run a standard contour path for the slots. Still working on that one.

    Part1.png
     
  9. Tony Wells

    Tony Wells United States Vice President Staff Member Administrator

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    That part is going to take a lot of toothpicking, but is a good example of 4th axis work.
     
  10. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    Based on what you said above, I'm curious also. Do I understand correctly that once the geometry created you can't switch back to standard coordinates?
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  11. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    The main issue is lack of documentation for us mere mortals. I guess that's how they sell "training" to further bloat the already outrages cost. :mad:

    I can do the slots in a rotary mode, it just opens the top of the slot by 0.040" which is okay. I may do that if I cannot figure out the other or as Jim suggested, enter the radial moves manually into the g code.

    Here is the part with the radial tool paths for the slots and one with all the mill ops to do the part. A total of 7 milling ops with 2 setups. The main bore and front will be turned on the lathe first with the balance done on the mill.

    part2.png part3.png

    I have some time before I need this part plus I need to finish the stepper motor mount for the rotary table and that will require a lathe which I won't have my new for another week.
     
  12. Tony Wells

    Tony Wells United States Vice President Staff Member Administrator

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    Do the slots need to be parallel walled or are you wanting tapered slots?

    And yes, that's the idea. No documentation so you need their training, but at least in many work environments there are co-workers you can collaborate with.
     
  13. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    It was modeled as parallel but tapered is okay but I still want to figure out if the other is possible with what I have.
     
  14. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Got it!

    In the 2D tool path setup under tool orientation if I select the face of the radius at the end of the slot it will create a tool path perpendicular to the slot. So for indexing I have to create a tool path for each slot.

    Now to see if my post processor will work......

    part4.png
     
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  15. countryguy

    countryguy United States Active User Active Member

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    I just gotta ask- What is the part? Nice work on the 3d work there! Impressive.
     
  16. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Thanks!

    It is part of this assembly.
    JTAC-7000.png
     
  17. countryguy

    countryguy United States Active User Active Member

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    Ahhh..Ouuuuu.... Was this Aluminum or steel? Wait till I show my son that pic. I know he's dying to do something like that. :) really really cool!!!!
     
  18. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    It is mostly aluminum. It is turning out to be an insane amount of work so I hope the results are worth the effort.
     
  19. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    [SOLVED]
    I have the 4th axis up and running. I modeled a test part to verify it is working as it should but the CAM posts is odd.

    I was able to modify the Mach3 post processor to enable the 4th axis. I made a simple test part of three holes drilled around a cylinder so these are just indexing moves. I was able to create a post but I don't understand why it wrote the code the way it did. In Solidworks the WCS is at the center of the cylinder with the rotational axis being X. In HSM Works the tool orientation for each hole is set by selecting the hole. The first drilling op seems to work fine but the other two holes have Y & Z moves it shouldn't.

    This is just a test model. I'm not actually making a part, just cutting air to verify is is working properly.

    The cylinder is 1.5" dia. x 3" long, the hole is 0.25" deep.

    Screen shots of the tool paths.

    Hole #1
    Test01.png


    Hole #2, note the x axis direction changed?
    Test02.png


    Hole #3
    Test03.png

    I have added comments in (blue)

    G-Code:
    (THREE HOLES ON CYLINDER)
    (T68 D=0.248 CR=0. TAPER=118DEG - DRILL)
    G90 G94 G91.1 G40 G49 G17
    G20

    G90

    (DRILL1)
    M5
    M9
    T68 M6
    (6.3MM DRILL)
    S2775 M3
    G54
    G0 A0.
    M9
    G0 X1.5 Y0.
    G43 Z2.1 H68
    Z1.7
    G98 G81 X1.5 Y0. Z1.25 R1.7 F8.5 (all looks good so far except what is the R1.7 for?)
    G80
    Z2.1
    G0 Z2
    G90

    (DRILL2)
    A240.
    M9
    G0 X1.5 Y1.8187 (Y should stay at Y0?)
    G43 Z-1.05 H68 (a negative Z move?)
    Y1.4722 Z-0.85 (???)
    G81 X1.5 Y1.0825 Z-0.625 R1.7 F8.5 (Y??, Z??, R??)
    G80
    Y1.8187 Z-1.05 (Y??, Z??)
    G28 G91 Z0. (Z should be Z2.1)
    G90

    (DRILL3) (Similar to DRILL2)
    A120.
    M9
    G0 X1.5 Y-1.8187
    G43 Z-1.05 H68
    Y-1.4722 Z-0.85
    G81 X1.5 Y-1.0825 Z-0.625 R1.7 F8.5
    G80
    Y-1.8187 Z-1.05

    M9
    G0 Z2
    A0.
    G28 X0. Y0.
    M30

    It seems like the Y & Z are trying to follow the Model WCS vs the tool orientation?
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2016
  20. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I answered my own question. It was a post processor setting.

    Another question. When setting the offsets in Mach3 for the Y and Z where the WCS is in the middle of the rotation axis is there a way to tell Mach3 what the part diameter is or do I just add edge find as normal and subtract for the radius?
     
  21. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    The R1.7 is the Z retract height,

    It looks like it is trying to move the tool around the part, that's why the Y is moving.

    I have no idea what the Y1.4722 Z-0.85 is about.

    In the #2 picture, it looks like the part was rotated 180 around the X axis. Very strange. :cautious:

    Also, the M9's, looks like it is turning the coolant off before drilling.:confused:

    G28 G91 Z0. Go home and move Z to zero? This makes no sense unless there is a tool change.
     
  22. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Thanks Jim,

    I was answering my own question when you were posting. It was a post processor setting that was causing the problem.

    Ah, I though R had something to do with radius. Need to brush up more on my g-code. :rolleyes:

    In the second drilling op when I selected the hole as the tool orientation the CAM program flipped the X axis direction with no way I can find to change it. Once I fixed the post processor it didn't affect the program.

    I had disabled the coolant to dry run the machine.

    The G28 G91 Z0 is a default in the post processor I have. I usually manually edit those out. I need to find where in the post processor that is and change it.
     
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  23. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    I normally find the edge and subtract for the radius. You can look at it from the tool's point of view, looking down from the top. In that view, the part looks like a flat surface. The X,Y positions would be the same as machining a flat part, Z positions would be a function of the part radius. The CAM program should figure that out.
     
  24. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Okay to finish this thread off here is the first successful run on the 4th axis.

    Spiral01.png Spiral02.png
     
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  25. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    Looking good!:encourage:
     
  26. Boswell

    Boswell United States Hobby Machinist since 2010 H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Very Nice !
     
  27. TomS

    TomS Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Cool!! What is it? Test piece?

    Tom S.
     
  28. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Machine handles. :grin:

    handle01.png
     
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