2017-05-19

Alibre is back!!!

History

Back in 2010 I started 3D printing (later also CNC machining) and needed a CAD package.
I got myself a licence of Alibre Design Xpress. The small hobbyist version of Alibre Design.
Later this became the Alibrea Design Personal Edition (PE).

In 2013 it was renamed to Alibre-Geomagic Design V2013 because 3D Systeme aquired Alibre and I changed into a larger, more fully featured version of it.

In 2015 I got V17=V2015. That was the last update anyone got. 3D Systems had added support for their 3D printers and 3D scanners including a very cool Mesh-to-Solid conversion that works very well with very large meshes.

Then there was silence. 
Nothing happened for 2 years. Not even bug fixes.

The good news!

Some ex-Alibre employees have created a company called Alibre LLC and are reached an agreement with 3D Systems to get sale, support and development of Geomagic back into their hands.

...let's stay tuned.

Links:

2017-05-02

Filament sensor broke off

Looks like there was a knot in the filament and the pulling forces broke off the arm with two of the three "ultimate filament sensor" s on my modified Ultimaker II extended.
It houses the load cell to meassure filament pulling force and the encoder to meassure filament odimetry.
Both where not enabled at that time and thus didn't pause the print as soon as forces exceeded the allowed range.


2017-04-30

ATC: parts for my CNC arrived

Project history

  1. After evaluating my choices in  back in February
  2. I decided on what ATC system to get for my CNC mill in March. (posting contains MACH3 software references)
  3. Now the Usovo parts for my CNC finally arrived.
  4. next: mounting spindle and cables
  5. Defining M06 tool change macro
  6. Next project: designing a chain link tool library

Too late to install them during the easter holidays but they arrived.

PROBLEM!!! - update: Solution in progress
The water-pump Usovo has shipped in the WZW105 kit,
does not fit the spindle and tubes they included. It has fittings for much larger tubes.
I may find out what thread they use and find fitting to fix this however it may mean that the water pump is not strong enough to push water (and more importantly: small air bubbles) through the smaller tubes.

Update: It'2 now 2 weeks with no answer from Usovo regarding both issues.

Update: I got an answer. The water pump fitting where an honnest mistake and apparently I got 5 SK15 tool holders for the ring system, not for this system and a single, DIFFERENTLY LOOKING SK15 holders also for the ring system. I'm making an adapter to use the top-system, pneumatic tool magazine with tool holders designed for the ring system.

References

I already have the Usovo Manual in German and English.
I also found this document with meassurements (page 9) for the tool magazines

Positions:
tool #1 X=0 Y=565 Z=0
tool #1 X=0 Y=530 Z=0
tool #1 X=0 Y=495 Z=0
tool #1 X=0 Y=460 Z=0
tool #1 X=0 Y=425 Z=0
tool #1 X=0 Y=390 Z=0
tool sensor X=18 Y=585 Z=0

Photos

Since there are so few detail photos of them
(especially of the backside and inside of the control box)
I made some photos for everyone who considers the same upgrade.

Photos - Unboxing

 

Photos - main box


 













Photos - Power supply 

Photos - water pump


 








Because the pump has no mounting holes, I designed a simple mount for it:



Photos - spindle and mount











2017-04-28

Hand strap for my GH4 and GH5 cages

Project history

  1. designing+prototype cages for GH5, GH4, GH4+battery grip and GH4+YAGH.
  2. add hand strap
  3. next step: machine cages from Aluminium
  4. Next project: unknown

Hand strap

Last month I started designing my own cages for GH5, GH4, GH4+battery grip and GH4+YAGH.
I am considering these cages to be finished and a carbon fiber prototype of the GH5 cage is currently in the first of 2 field trials.

However one thing bothered me all the time.
I did not find a good way to add a leather wrist strap.
This is a feature I enjoyed on my previous (chinese) cages.

Now it hit me.
All this time I wanted to add holes for the strap at the top and bottom. However at the bottom the mounting screws where not allowing for enough space.
However the GHx bodies do have attachment points for a strap already.
So I just designed a small modification to the bottom of the cages and will test it next week.


Test: PASSED



The modified GH4 cage design has been printed and it works very welll.
I'll do the same modification to the GH5 cage design...

GH5: DONE



More jaws for the 4th axis chuck on the CNC

Design intent

This is my 4th axis.
A "K11, 100mm, 3 jaw chuck".
I already made a custom steady-rest for it but still, the existing jaws are not very good at gripping soft, cylindrical blanks to mill.
So I want to have either cylindrical chuck-jaws or base jaws that I can bolt any kind of custom jaw-geometry onto.

Existing hardware

Thanks to Jeremy Parton on Google+, who pointed me to this website ,
I know that:
  • K11 is grouped into K11 (1 jaw), K11A (3 centering jaws) and K11C (3 independend jaws)
  • meaning we have K11A here
  • K11A are ISO3442 standard clutches.
 K11 100mm is defined as
  • D1=72mm
  • D2=84mm (diameter between mounting-bolt center-points)
  • D3=22mm  (shaft diameter)
  • H=74.5mm (thickness of chuck with jaws)
  • H1=55mm (thickness of chuck)
  • H2=n/a
  • h=3.5mm
  • Z-d=3-M8 (bolts mounting the chuck to the face plate)
(Without a copy of the DIN/ISO3442 standard, I found this catalog of chucks and jaws containing a reference drawing. It shows where these measurements apply.)

Options considered

I'm currently investigating these 95mm jaws for turning machines.
The  chuck they come with is not compatible because it uses a thread to attach to the shaft.
This doesn't work when changing direction. So I need to use them with the existing chuck.

This chinese seller seems to sell K11-100mm chucks and the chucks I want. So he should be able to answer if they fit together.

What I actually did
In the end I now meassured the existing jaws and created a parametric CAD design.
The single design has 3 configurations for labeled Jaw #1, #2 and #3 .
After getting a single Jaw #2 to fit properly....

...I'm now printing Jaw #1 and #3

2017-04-02

4th axis improvements to the YOOCNC 6040Z+S80 CNC

Why?

I want to be able to machine larger diamter parts on the 4th axis of my 6040Z-S80 machine.
Because the space below the gantry was limited to about 110mm, the original plan was to machine larger side-plates that hold the gantry higher.

However that would mean making the entire machine less rigid.

What?

Closer inspection shows a much better path.
The bed of the machine consists of 4 plates, each 120mm in width.
They can be removed individually.
The 4th axis (a chinese build 100mm K11 chuck on a 50:1 harmonic drive) needs 110mm of width and has the center of rotation at 65mm above ground.



...

Without the T-slot plate it sits a -20mm and thus the center of rotation is at 55mm. Perfect.



I can mount it to the t-slot plates on the left and right.
The edge of one of them makes sure it is perfectly square and parallel to the X axis.


The only problem are the chucks.
They extend beyond the 100mm circle.
So I will have to cut slots into the T-slot plates left and right of it.
...
Luckily the traperoidal spindle that drives the Y-axis gantry has enough clearance to not collide witgh the chucks.
Mounting some plastic foil onto the t-slot sides will prevent them and the bearings to get covered in dust and shavings.




 This is what is looks from below the bed.

2017-03-21

I finally ordered an ATC spindle

Project history

  1. Evaluating my choices in  back in February
  2. Decided on what ATC system to get in March. 
  3. The Usovo spindle and parts finally arrived in April
  4. Mounting spindle and cables in May
  5. Defining M06 tool change macro
  6. Next project: designing a chain link tool library



For my CNC mill, I always wanted an automatic tool changer.
I was comparing options for ages now and evaluating in detail how to attach the Omron version to my MACH3 using RS485.

Now I made my purchase.


I ordered the Usovo WZW105 kit and not the Mechatron ATC spindle.
Why?

It's enough for my needs.
The update is much less complex because it's an all-in-one package.
It's much cheaper and I can't justify the expense.
  • The Mechatron option is about 5000€ while the Usovo is about 3000€.
  • The USOVO comes with a control unit with all pneumatic, inverter and solenoid valve parts included. Thus the upgrade is a much simpler process.
  • The USOVO comes with a really cool, pneumatically operated, tool magazine. Dust proof with a tool height  probe build in.
  • The more expensive Usovo SK15 tool holders (59€) compared to Chinese SK20 (28€) don't make up that price difference.
  • With the Mechatron I could use tools up to 16mm while SK15-ER11 is limited to my currence 8mm. That's good enough for me. It only makes a difference for the surface finish when milling flat surfaces and I hardly ever do that. The stiffness of the machine limits that already.
  • Calculating a number of Feed rated and tool deflections, the higher RPM make the Usovo +15% faster then my current spindle and the Mecatron +20% faster. 15% is enough for me.
  • The Usovo option has a bit more runout but it's within perfectly acceptable limits for the type of work I do on the machine and the tool lengthes I use.

Update:

Aparently with USOVO you can not use one version of the SK15 tool holders in the other tool magazine. Up to now I was under the impression that the 59eur tool holders would fit both kinds.
So I adapt my plan to get both tool holders.



The 6 position regular tool library with pneumatic cover and tool height sensor for the 6 most commonly used tools.


Next to it the 5 position ring-holder. This one is capable of holding my 3D touch probe.
Then add an extension to the pneumatic cover of the 6 position tool holder to also protect the tools in the 5 position holder from dust.

Later design an automatic, chain operated tool library using ring holders.

Update 2:

The spindle is waiting for me at home and I'll unbox it this weekend.
Festo air pressure fittings and adaptors needed to attach it to my workshop compressor are already on their way.

home switches

I need home switches for X, Y and Z on our machine.
Because the tool magazine is at a fixed location on the machine and I need to know how to get there.

The difference between Machine and work part -coordinates (and thus work part offsets) will be a concern from now on.

Software

Apparently you need to add a Visual Basic macro to MACH3 to handle the "M06 T" macro.
Here in an introduction to MACH3 scripting that specifically handles tool-change:

It seems to explain all or many relevant aspects in enough details for a software developer to understand. You need to replace the existing (empty) M06_start macro with a newly written one and in the crowded Mach3 setting dialog switch from "ignore tool change" to "auto tool change".

I made some notes:
Relevant tools and documentation:
Relevant system DROs
  • (System DRO list)
  • 0-5 - current location (we want this restored after a tool change)
  • 18 - current feed rate (we want this restored after a tool change)

Relevant OEM DROs
  • OEM DRO list 
  • 1200 - tool change location X (not used by default)
  • 1201 - tool change location Y (not used by default)
  • 1202 - tool change location Z (not used by default)
  • ...
  • 83, 84, 85,...88 - current location (we want to return there after a tool change)
  • 836 - current tool length
Relevant G-Code
  • G53 - move in absolute machine coordinates (G0 or G1 must be active and the current feed rate is used) so using "G00 G53 ... F300" is a better idea
  • G31 Z-10.0 F20 - you should already know this. Move at 20mm/min to Z-10 until the PROBE-input is triggered. Store position in DRO 2000,2001,2002
Relevant VB code
  • Code("...") - executed G-Code
  • GetOEMDRO(1200) - get the value of the DRO 1200
  • SetOEMDRO(1200, 0) - set the value of DRO 1200 to 0.00 
  • SetDRO(0, 0) - zero the X position (system DRO 0 = fixture offset set to value 0)
  • "X " & "1200" - concatenate the strings into "X 1200" 
  • ";" at line-endings should NOT be there
  • "While isMoving" + "Wend" - wait for move to be completed
  • "Response=MsgBox("okay?", 1) + "If (Response = 1) Then ..."  ask a yes/no question 
  • CurrentFeed = GetOemDRO(818) 'Get the current feedrate to return to later
    CurrentAbsInc = GetOemLED(48) 'Get the current G90/G91 state
    CurrentGmode = GetOemDRO(819) 'Get the current G0/G1 state
  • If CurrentAbsInc = 0 Then 'if G91 was in effect before then return to it
    Code "G91"
    End If
    If CurrentGMode = 0 Then 'if G0 was in effect before then return to it
    Code "G0"

future

After getting this to work, I'm really tempted to design my own carrousel tool magezin.

Links