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Techno-Isel Router - new controller??

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Meta Key

Swarf
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#1
Hello,

I have this old Techno-Isel router that I got about 20 years ago. I put maybe 100 hours on the thing for a very specific project (which paid for the machine) and then threw a tarp over it and rolled it into a corner where it has sat all these years. Now, I finally have time to fool around with the thing and have a few projects in mind.

But, while the machine itself is in unbelievably great shape, I have very little hope for the controller. It came with MasterCam 3.mumble and the Techno MAC-100 controller. I got along OK with MasterCam and still have the *floppies* and dongle but I don't have anything that will read the floppies. And, hey, it's ancient..

The Techno CAM stuff seemed like a house of cards and I didn't think much of it. There are hand written notes about how to slow down the PC enough to allow the CAM software to run and that was back in the days of WinXP! Also, I connected up the MAC-100 yesterday and fired everything up and the router made a few movements -- with no software running. And, it wasn't going home, just making random movements. Weird..

I'm liking the looks of the router itself, I had mounted it on a really nice roll-around rack and it's pretty pristine for it's age. (Wish I looked as good as I did 20 years ago!) It's about 29-1/2" by 29-1/2".

I'm thinking I'd like to resurrect the machine and scrap the controller and software. I'd need to come up to speed on options for a controller and CAM software and am hoping someone can make some suggestions to get me jump started. In all the documentation I have, I don't see anything that specifies the motion control motors. Not sure what I have here. Anyone know about these motors? Stepper? Servo??

BTW, I've been using a version of Rhinoceros (pretty old, but I like it) for modeling but could also abandon that. I'm sure there must be better alternatives these days.

Pics below.....

Thank you for reading and any advice you can offer!
MetaKey
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JimDawson

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#2
I can't find any specs on that motor. One reference I found suggested it is a servo, but that is not confirmed. I would repower the machine with modern motors and drives. Kind of looks like a NEMA 34 size motor, but you would have to pull the motor and measure the mounting to confirm. Then it a matter of deciding on servos or steppers. Depends on how much you want to spend. Steppers are cheap on Ebay, better options might be ClearPath or Dynomotion motors & drives.

For simple CAM software I like CamBam. Fusion 360 would be an option also. For a controller, Mach3 is a possibility as is Centroid Acorn.
 

Meta Key

Swarf
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#3
I'm reading through the documentation and I see that the pin-outs for the DB-9 connectors show:
Pin 1 - Input
Pin 2 - Phase 2
Pin 3 - Phase 2
Pin 4 - Phase 1
Pin 5 - Phase 1
Pin 6 - Ground

And, that the motor driver cards are set up for 3.5 amps per phase and Half Step.

So, from that, I'm suspecting that these are 4-wire stepper motors.

But, what about the "Input" on Pin 1 and Ground on Pin 6? Could those be connected to a limit switch for the home position?

I'm curious why you suggest replacing the motors? I'm in favor of replacing the controller and entire software stack but why the motors?

Thanks!
MetaKey
 

JimDawson

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OK, that confirms they are steppers. So if the step & direction inputs to the drives are accessible and are standard 5 volt then no need for new motors and drives. All of the controller step & direction outputs that I have seen are 5 volt.

I have no idea what the Input and Gnd are for on the plug. Never seen that on a stepper before.
 

Meta Key

Swarf
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#5
The drives are circuit boards inside the MAC100 and I don't want to fool around trying to reuse them. So, I'll need a controller like the Acorn and motor drives for all 3 axis. That seems do-able..

I'll put an ohm meter on the mystery Input and Ground pins and test my "home" position hypothesis.

Thank you for the suggestions - I read a bunch of the material on the Centroid site and will check out the rest over the next few days. Good stuff and a nice jump start to the effort.

Thanks!
MetaKey
 

Meta Key

Swarf
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#6
Finally got out an Ohm meter and tested my theory about Pins 1 (Input) and 6 (Ground) on the motor drive cables. Sure enough, they are connected to a "home" switch. They are normally open and close about two turns from the end of the ball screw and only at the home position. They do NOT close at the far end so are, apparently, not limit switches, just home indicators.

MetaKey
 
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