• We want to encourage those of you who ENJOY our site and find it USEFUL to DONATE and UPGRADE your membership from active member to donating or premium membership. If you want to know the differences in membership benefits, please visit THIS PAGE:

    https://www.hobby-machinist.com/premium/

    Donating memberships start at just $10 per year. These memberships are in fact donations that help pay our costs, and keep our site running!
    Thank you for your donation, God Bless You
  • June Project of the Month (Click "x" at right to dismiss)
[4]

Rf45 clone to cnc help please

[3]
[10] Like what you see?
Click here to donate to this forum and upgrade your account!

Chophead69

Swarf
Registered Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
20
Likes
1
#1
Hello everyone, i own a rf45 clone. My mill is currently setup as a cnc mill....
So why then am i asking for help?
Its a cnc master mill...
For those who dont know about these mills i wont bore you so i will just say i agree with every owner before me who swapped out the cnc master stuff and went to mach3.
My mill has 1200oz nema 34's on the x,y and z. The x and y are ball screws while the z is driven by the spindle not the column so its not as accurate but for now i will leave it till another time.
I brought the mill used but it looks new! The owner had a item he tried to prototype and was sold by cnc masters on how easy it was to use...lol... he quickly learned after spending 7grand that was not the case. So it sat for awhile.
At the time i was on the line to buy that exact mill when i found the ad on Craigslist lucky me i thought and for a third of a new one i had a cnc mill. I had to buy a older lap top to download the cnc masters software and i set it up as if it was new. The software required vista o.s. i think. Well i have it running but it wants to stop and not restart. Plus other issues with the software just frustrates me.
I have used mach3 before and i can engrave and do all the things i need to much easier then using this system. Plus cnc masters wanted 600 bucks just to talk with me because i didnt buy the mill new or i could upgrade for 3grand with lifetime help....
So guys i need help please !

I need to know what parts i need to buy to hook my nema 34's up to a new power supply
Help understanding how to make mach3 work with a new windows computer, usb?or another connection system? What parts connect the steppers?
I have a vfd so i want to still control my motor speed and starting/stopping by the program
I was told the steppers are wired as gecko and to replace the power supply because its not strong enough to begin with.
These things will help me to get started so i am asking for help and please understand i am new to the cnc building world but i do have machining background. I am hoping to find someone with experience with the rf45 clone and the nema34s please. No offense but i understand the requirements differ from different size steppers and all.
Thank you guys for reading my horror story.
 

JimDawson

Global Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2014
Messages
6,734
Likes
4,937
#2
upload_2017-1-23_20-12-19.png :grin:

OK, having said that it sounds like the motors and machine are good. With those motors you will want to use a 70-80 volt, 10 - 20 amp power supply, and that means using stepper drives that have an operating voltage of 80V.

Gecko are some of the most used systems, and there is a lot of support for them. There are also a number of other systems that operate via USB or ethernet that will work with Mach3. I would not buy an integrated system where the drives are on board the controller. You just need to do a little research into what will work best for your application. One question, does your machine use encoders? I wasn't able to find an answer to that on the CNCmasters website.

This should be an easy and straightforward upgrade. You already have all of the mechanics and switches so it's just a matter of wiring it up and configuring Mach3.

You will get a lot of help here, a number of members have set up RF45 clones for CNC.
 

Attachments

Chophead69

Swarf
Registered Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
20
Likes
1
#3
Thanks for ur help! I believe (and i could be wrong?) Encoders are on servos? But either way those are located on the end of the steppers right? If they are then no i dont. Also my steppers are dual shaft which is another reasone i want to keep them.
So as of now the two things i definitely need to buy is a power supply and a way to connect the drives to talk with my computer right?
Do i need to replace my stepper drives?
What is the part i need that uses the usb or either net cable?
Is that called a smoothstepper? Do i need a breakout board?
 

JimDawson

Global Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2014
Messages
6,734
Likes
4,937
#4
Thanks for ur help! I believe (and i could be wrong?) Encoders are on servos? But either way those are located on the end of the steppers right?
Yes and no. I don't want to confuse things too much, but a stepper with an encoder could be a servo or a hybrid stepper. It's really a matter of terminology and system configuration. But it sounds like that is not an issue here so it widens the possibilities for hardware. Encoders could be located on the end of the steppers, or somewhere else. On the leadscrew or even a linear scale on the table is still an encoder.

So as of now the two things i definitely need to buy is a power supply and a way to connect the drives to talk with my computer right?
Yup;)

Do i need to replace my stepper drives?
Maybe not, can you supply some data on them? Model or something?

What is the part i need that uses the usb or either net cable?
Is that called a smoothstepper? Do i need a breakout board?
SmoothStepper is a brand of breakout board. You need a breakout board that will accept a USB or ethernet connection that is compatible with Mach3
 

JimDawson

Global Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2014
Messages
6,734
Likes
4,937
#5
I should ask, what is your budget? That will dictate the hardware. In general, the higher end stuff is more flexible in options and performance.
 

jbolt

Active User
H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2013
Messages
1,379
Likes
1,294
#6
Welcome to the forum!

There are plenty of us here who have RF45 conversions so we have been through this.

SmoothStepper is a motion controller. You still need a breakout board and if you want to control the spindle with Mach3 you will need a spindle control board.

SmoothStepper comes in either USB or Ethernet interface. Most recommend the Ethernet version, myself included. There is also the UC-100 USB based motion controller that is about half the cost of the ESS but I had too many USB faults and moved away from it.

On my PM-932 CNC conversion I am using the PMDX-126 breakout board (BoB), PMDX-107 spindle control board and Ethernet SmoothStepper (ESS). The ESS & spindle board mount to the BoB so it makes a nice compact installation.

If you have Gecko Drives what model are they? Some models are only good for up to 3.5 amps and others up to 8 amps.

The 1200 in/oz steppers are fine for the configuration but if you decide to move the Z axis to drive the head it would be too small to direct drive and would require some reduction. A lot of us here on this forum who are driving the head are using 4200 in/oz 42 Nema size steppers to direct drive.

If you can post some pictures of your electronics and the stepper specs it would help us give you some suggestions.
 

Chophead69

Swarf
Registered Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
20
Likes
1
#7
Ok guys thanks so much!
I know there isnt any encoders on the lead screw.
As far as info on the drives and steppers there is no stickers or info on the drives or steppers. Cnc masters took that off. There is one video on YouTube where a guy with the same controller modified his to run mach3 and that is where i was able to find out the little i know.
Budget? Lol... shoestring, but the mill is a i gonna make this work or die trying! I am into this for a lil more then i wanted but still less then a new one.
Jbolt do i need to know what drives i have for sure before i can order the pmdx-126 and pmdx-107? I dont know how to figure if these are true geko again going by the youtube video where the guy says they are.
I realized guys are using the head instead of the spindle but at this point i only want to replace the needed electronics to run it. The quality of the ballscrews and mounts are something else i will change later because of the way they did them.
And i will open the control up and take some pics and figure out how to post them.


A little background about me.....
I own a jet (bridgeport clone) mill with x powerfeed and dro pros readout. A darshin 13x lathe with quick change tool post, mig and tig welders plus tubing bender with a hydraulic conversion i made,drill press,grinder and a new msc carbide grinder i just picked up. I have been in machine work and welding for over 20 yrs. I have built a few motorcycles and cars. And from time to time i even have a paying job. My son is 13 and helps me every time i turn on the power so he is getting a education other then playing video games lol. I put everything i make right back into my shop with hopes of one day never punching a time card again. I would like a haas mini mill one day soon and the cnc masters rf45 clone is supposed to be my production mill for parts i wanna make and sell but at this point i am way to angry to turn it on. So i appreciate eneryones help. Also i am located in central pa so if anyone close by ever needs anything like tooling or help please let me know.
 

Davd Flowers

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
60
Likes
25
#8
I think i know this mill....lonely thing sitting on a table in the back of his garage....
Put a deposit on it the first time it was on c/l. The owner returned it after deciding not to sell. Saw it back on c/l again not too long ago...
 

Chophead69

Swarf
Registered Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
20
Likes
1
#9
I did have it on cl maybe last year but i never had anyone put a deposit on it. Matter of fact i thought maybe you mite know me but i thought about it and never had a phone call if memory is correct. Nope i am wrong. One phone call and that guy wanted to buy the control box. But hey if you were here what kind of car is living in my driveway with a tree growing threw the front bumper ? Lol. Plus when i make a deal i dont back out. The guy i brought it from lived in Pennsylvania as well and he had it on c.l. which is how i brought it. He was above philly about 1hr and half maybe 2? Lived in a really rich neighborhood. Does that ring a bell?
 

Davd Flowers

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
60
Likes
25
#10
Did the guy have a couple of motorcyles in his garage and have an address that didnt show up on gps?? LOL
 

Davd Flowers

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
60
Likes
25
#11
Im pretty certain its the same mill. It was over 2 years ago it was first on c/l thats when I tried to buy it but the seller got wind of it haveing upgraded electronics and running usb and backed out. Then not too awfully long ago I saw it back on CL with the same picture that I saw from the original ad. I had already purchased a g0704 and converted it at that point.
I had spend a fair amount of time researching and found out that no it was not a usb machine and would not work without changing the BOB..
 

Chophead69

Swarf
Registered Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
20
Likes
1
#12
My mill has a usb cable connecting to the computer and i never took a deposit from anyone. The guy i got it from also had bikes in his garage. All of my bikes are harleys and quads.
 

Chophead69

Swarf
Registered Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
20
Likes
1
#13
It would be same time frame i brought it. And when i 1st went to see it the guy gave me a address that was around the corner frm his house. Not trying to be rude but a strange little guy? I thinkhe wore glasses?
 

Chophead69

Swarf
Registered Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
20
Likes
1
#14
Plus my address comes up on gps and always have. I am guessing its the guy who had it before me?
 

Davd Flowers

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
60
Likes
25
#15
It would be same time frame i brought it. And when i 1st went to see it the guy gave me a address that was around the corner frm his house. Not trying to be rude but a strange little guy? I thinkhe wore glasses?
Yep, thats the guy who was selling it to me. Its a small world :)
 

jbolt

Active User
H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2013
Messages
1,379
Likes
1,294
#16
Ok guys thanks so much!
I know there isnt any encoders on the lead screw.
As far as info on the drives and steppers there is no stickers or info on the drives or steppers. Cnc masters took that off. There is one video on YouTube where a guy with the same controller modified his to run mach3 and that is where i was able to find out the little i know.
Budget? Lol... shoestring, but the mill is a i gonna make this work or die trying! I am into this for a lil more then i wanted but still less then a new one.
Jbolt do i need to know what drives i have for sure before i can order the pmdx-126 and pmdx-107? I dont know how to figure if these are true geko again going by the youtube video where the guy says they are.
I realized guys are using the head instead of the spindle but at this point i only want to replace the needed electronics to run it. The quality of the ballscrews and mounts are something else i will change later because of the way they did them.
And i will open the control up and take some pics and figure out how to post them.


A little background about me.....
I own a jet (bridgeport clone) mill with x powerfeed and dro pros readout. A darshin 13x lathe with quick change tool post, mig and tig welders plus tubing bender with a hydraulic conversion i made,drill press,grinder and a new msc carbide grinder i just picked up. I have been in machine work and welding for over 20 yrs. I have built a few motorcycles and cars. And from time to time i even have a paying job. My son is 13 and helps me every time i turn on the power so he is getting a education other then playing video games lol. I put everything i make right back into my shop with hopes of one day never punching a time card again. I would like a haas mini mill one day soon and the cnc masters rf45 clone is supposed to be my production mill for parts i wanna make and sell but at this point i am way to angry to turn it on. So i appreciate eneryones help. Also i am located in central pa so if anyone close by ever needs anything like tooling or help please let me know.

The Bob, motion controller and spindle control will work with any Mach3 system but there is probably going to be some rewiring of the motors if the factory control system is proprietary. If you have Gecko drives they are easy to identify. They sell many OEM versions without covers or labels. Power supply(s) will depend on drives and stepper specs.

Is there a link to the youtube vid?
 

jbolt

Active User
H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2013
Messages
1,379
Likes
1,294
#17
I found the video.

In the video he says they are not Geckos, just wired like geckos. Not sure what that means. It looks like he had to solder leads onto the driver boards for the step & direction signals. The motors have a plug so you should not have to modify that. He's running a 60v transformer for the stepper power. I would be inclined to go higher voltage if the drives will handle it. Motor specs will determine the amps needed. You can also get toroidal power supplies with multiple voltage outputs for other voltages to power the Bob & motion controller.
 

Chophead69

Swarf
Registered Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
20
Likes
1
#18
Yes thats the video i was talking about. I didnt get home till now so thank u for posting it. Jbolt i appreciate what u posted and without sounding like a complete idiot lol i dont understand any of what u said. If i need to buy drivers i can still keep my steppers right? Or can i figure out how to use them? Davd Flowers lives a few hrs away but i am frm that area so i am beggin him lol to help me build the same mill he was going to buy. After talkin to davd its sad because the original seller backed out of their deal to sell to me at a higher price. I am not upset i paid more i am however mad the guy broke their deal.
How do you figure out how to wire the drives? I believe cnc masters simple took any stickers or id marks off the box because another guy told me he blew his drive and order one but i cant remember what he said. This mill has sat to long and its time to make get my mill going and i am glad to have you guys trying.
Today i was going to post pictures but i was out trying to bid on overflow work. The one shop is willing to send me some production but its alot of radius and pocket work.not really tight tolerances so it perfect for my mill. I do eventually plan on eithet replacing the spindle lead screw with a external ballscrew or do the column. Can i buy the power supply big enough to power a big stepper for the column, or use a separate column stepper power supply?
 

Chophead69

Swarf
Registered Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
20
Likes
1
#20
And a windows 7 32 bit computer plus a breakout board with parallel port and cable?
Am i right in this thinking? This would be the more expensive way tho right?
 

Davd Flowers

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
60
Likes
25
#21
I think i would just try to get up and running with what you have first and see how it works.
I have a c10 board i could wire it up to and make sure that the drivers and steppers are good, but you would need to use a c11 to tie the vfd into..
Or grab one of those stepper pulse generators to test them first.
Once you know it will run, then start making changes to things that need a boost.
Or just gut the case and start from scratch, but then your talking about droping another $1500. Into it...
 

Chophead69

Swarf
Registered Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Messages
20
Likes
1
#22
Ok thanks Davd. I am tryin to learn lol. So c10 is for steppers,C11 controls vfd. Got ya
 

Davd Flowers

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
60
Likes
25
#23
C10 is a bob, but won't have an analog output for the vfd.
The c11 bob has the output for vfd.
Both boards will run the steppers.
Just need to test what it has, then decide how to move forward so your not throwing money away.
 
[6]
[5] [7]
Top