Effer, a spare parts story.

Discussion in 'CNC machining projects' started by BattyZ, Jun 21, 2021.

  1. BattyZ

    BattyZ Silver Banner Member

    Smaller update: tried several different ways to get the new-to-me compax3 drives to work with the PacSci servos that have resolvers. Between different encoders, phaking out the motor temp, and trying to get around the digital hall effect sensors the drives were not happy. After some machining jobs left the shop I decided to pony up and get some OG pac sci drives....and their cables!


    If you are familiar with these drives... you will notice I have no option card in them, which is needed for setting the drives up. Fleabay to the rescue again. Actually found one on best-offer that was missing a hyphen in the part number so it was getting any looks! Struck a deal.

    The connectors for the cables are military spec(Amphenol brand). My father-in-law, who worked on tanks in Germany for the US back in the day, immediately recognized them. I thought that was kinda cool.

    Now to find a PC with Windows 97(3.1) to load the software....
    FishbonzWV and Tops like this.
  2. FishbonzWV

    FishbonzWV Silver Banner Member

    Good find on the drivers and cables.
    Ask your f-i-l if he worked on the M551 Sheridans. I did, they had many cannon plug connectors.

    Edit: What controller did you get?
    I found an instruction manual for a 400 series controller.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2022
  3. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    So BZ, I have a bunch of upgrades planned for my CNC Router. I'm going to stay with a router as opposed to spindle but have a Super PiD controller for more speed range, and will up the HP and collet size to 1/2". I have (20mm) linear rails for all axis, and plan some general stiffening. Going to stay with the rack an pinion drive on X & Y, and change from the high lead acme screw on the Z to a double lead 16mm ball screw. I want to increase the Z travel (from 4" stroke to at least 10") and envelope (So will have to raise the gantry) and am vasilating a little over whether I make the Z rails and z-plate stationary as shown in the picture below or instead make them traveling with the bearings stationary.

    The majority of my machining has been foam, but of late much more hard plastics and some aluminum. I figure you were up and down this road a few times and know which route you took but here's the way I see it. Anything thoughts you (or anyone else) can add?

    Stationary Rails and Z-Plate
    1. Less traveling mass on the Z for my diminutive Nema 21 steppers to move but the new lead screw has 5x shallower pitch so should have plenty of torque at the cost of some speed.
    2. The height under gantry can equal depth of cut.I can get 8-10" long 1/2"D bits for foam cutting that would use full envelope so in that instance could actually cut full height under gantry. It might suffer in stiffme=nes at the top of the Z-travel but the only thing I would ever machine at that depth would be foam, so no sweat.
    3. Howver, the majority of my bits are of course much less, say 1-2" cutting height, so I'd either have to make a machining platform, or build in provisions to raise the table surface for most other cutting. The Z would probably be most stiff if I did so but what a PITA.
    4. Dont need a cable carrirer for the stepper and limit switch but still probably do for the spindle power cord and rpm sensor (but maybe not).

    Traveling Rails and Z-Plate
    1. Slightly more traveling mass due to traveling rails and Z-plate
    2. Definitely needs cable carrier, which is no big deal.
    3. Seems like it would be less stiff at full extension but could accomodate any cutter length without adjusting work suface height and that is quite versatile.
    4. You could still use a machining platform or adjustable table height for added rigidity for cutting harder materials at (more) shallow depths.
    5. You can only cut about be about half of the height under gantry because of cutter stick out at full retraction without crazy high/compromising position of the stationary bearings and extra long rails.

    I'll be adding some significant weight to traveling gantry that moves in the Y, but that is powered by two steppers and R&Ps so figure I'll be fine there.


  4. BattyZ

    BattyZ Silver Banner Member

    I didn't ask about models but showed in the plugs and he said he dealt with them every day!

    I went with 900 series controllers. I was able to find manuals online but thank you!
  5. BattyZ

    BattyZ Silver Banner Member

    If we are being honest. I mainly went with that AMB Spindle for the "quick change" tool-changing method and the replaceable brushes...and the 4 bolt-hole solid mount with dowels. You will really like being able to run bigger tools!

    Static Rails vs Static Bearings
    With static rails, you will have to compensate for reach with tooling. (or a base as you mentioned) Long-reach tooling has more flex than linear rails do. However, if you came up with something like a Pierson pallet system for a base this would be the way to go. My Fadal 4020 is like this. Big ole cast iron casting cantilevers the spindle center out some 212-14 inches to get half of the 20-inch travel.

    I went the static bearing route so I could move up and clear things. I can also rotate my head 90 to clear....so maybe this is a moot point? I thought at the time that if I needed more stiffness I could move the bearings further apart or even add more bearings and lengthen the linear rails because I really don't care how tall it is. (Effer has to stand tall and proud to have a chance against his 5-ton shopmates!) You could set up your lowest bearings a few inches above the lowest part of your gantry to sneak in some room for tool height. My first VMC, Hitachi Seiki VM40H has static bearings and drops the "z plate" assembly (a massive casting). Whatever I have for tool-height I lose in travel though. Have snapped a few tools this way. lol

    I would like to say make up an epoxy granite base with high side walls to perch your actual machine on (static bearing Z axis) but by the time you upgrade everything you might be looking at basically a new machine!
  6. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    I had to search that one. Pretty cool, prices start at more than I have into my machine, but I think I could make one for my level of use for invested time and some inexpensive pneumatic components.......darn you! For now it might just be an elevated platform, but I was thinking the platform would have aluminum surface, moat around the perimeter and return line, and add some misting/cutting fluid capability. My fluid system a 2.5 gal weed sprayer that crapped out. It gets filled and presururized. Makes a hulluva mess though and not great for open router, but for small bits a .023 mig nozzel, adds lube but not much flow, but still can make the difference for gummy castings.
    I would love a tool changer. I'd also much rather have a real ER series collet and spindle, but to get 1/2" shank capability all the ER20 equipped import spindles are 3HP+ and 12kg+.
    Still on the fence. Seems like most people choose the stationary rails but even though it's nice capability to have I'll almost never use a 8" long bit, would never own more than a couple of them, and wouldn't use them on anything but foam. 4" of cutting height is probably enough for 95%+ of my work (famous last words). The other issue with traveling rails/Z-plate is part clearance to the Z axis/plate and spindle structure with a short bit.
    This is the dilema, where to stop. Upgrades are a ball rolling down hill. I have $400 into the PiD and all motion and envelope upgrades; maybe $2500 into the machine. Beside the hardware there's the stepper, the controller...................You can polish a turd all day long and at the end of the day, all you have is a shiney turd.....at some point it's better off to sell it and buy up or know your limitations........maybe some day.

    I had to go back through the thread but is the Effer work envelop still 35x15x8?

  7. BattyZ

    BattyZ Silver Banner Member

    This was my intent. I know you could come up with a nice reliable low-buck option. Unless your foam machining needs to hold .0003 repeatability! Yes, this is the correct amount of zeroes.

    I get this feeling. Maybe the best option is the one that will be easiest to manufacture and get you up and going? Keep you from sliding down the hill(slope) too much. lol
  8. BattyZ

    BattyZ Silver Banner Member

    Been a minute since I measured but I think 33X22X10-20ish(depending on setup and 3/5 axis)
  9. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    Yah I figured, but darn you anyway:)
    Really not much difference in effort. Pretty classic jack of all trades master of none machine trade off. I'll confess, I'm leaning toward traveling rails and Z plate just because of versatility. The majority of what I do doesn't require (high) rigidity so if I need to add some additional set up time to accomodate that it's probably the right trade. Still a little ways from launching the project though so still time to noodle it. My wife has honey-do's but I'm resisting.......but resistance is futile!

  10. BattyZ

    BattyZ Silver Banner Member

    We will all be excited to see the progress. Speaking of...

    The option card came in a handful of weeks ago. Seems to work as it should which is a relief. Installed Windows 95 on a virtual machine on my main laptop. It is a bit of a rain dance to get port forwarding to connect but I can talk to the option card. I BELIEVE I have one drive setup for step/direction correctly. As dumb as it sounds I haven't been able to test it out. Machining jobs have kept me at my other 2 machines. Though, currently working with a client on a project in which I will need Effer to be back up. Might be just the push we need!
  11. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    Thanks for the replies. I'll start a new thread when it gets underway. Good luck with Effer.

  12. BattyZ

    BattyZ Silver Banner Member

    You actually reminded me that I had an update. I hope I could shed some light on the subject for you.
  13. BattyZ

    BattyZ Silver Banner Member

    So it looks like the Compax3 drives I picked up may not be the right match for PacSci servos, hence the PacSci drives. Not wanting the Parker brand Compax3 drives to go to waste, started looking at some Parker brand servos and cables from the Fleabay. Found some, though they are "customs." I would go into details but essentially after 2 afternoons of struggling ended up with this:


    These work! HAve a better wiring/terminal solution on its way. Not near the punch of the PacSci servos but they are slightly stronger than all-in-one Chinese servos...annnd they are twice as fast! 6krpm constant vs 3k. SO, we can double up on reduction and get mo powa. Which is what we're after in the first place. These are also industrial servos/drives with nice features like autotune! Drives are smart and can handle their own homing procedures so could free up some inputs on the controller if necessary.

    My end goal is still to use the PacSci setup. These will serve as an acceptable backup. Could also use these to run some 4th axis harmonic drive setups I am working on for my big CNCs too.
    Tops likes this.
  14. BattyZ

    BattyZ Silver Banner Member


    What we have here: The oldest pentium processor mother board combo running the oldest version of windows 2000nt. The pacsci servo software up and running. More importantly, talking directly to the drive over a direct (no usb buffers/coverters!) db9 cable. Most importantly, the drive is talking back! Able to upload/download and as you maybe able to see, reporting back encoder position in real time.

    Feels like we kicked down one of the bigger doors holding up progress!
    FishbonzWV and Tops like this.
  15. BattyZ

    BattyZ Silver Banner Member

    Been a couple months but made some progress last night!

    20230711_185045.jpg 20230711_185051.jpg

    This drive/servo fully powers up. I can setup the drives for velocith mode or step/direction and command them via the program/serial cable. Next step is too send signals from the Kflop controller. With success from that it will be time to start getting them mounted.

    Tobho Mott and Tops like this.
  16. Tops

    Tops Silver Banner Member

    It's alive! :)
  17. Melterskelter

    Melterskelter Gold Banner Member

    Error---wrong thread
  18. BattyZ

    BattyZ Silver Banner Member

    Welded steel and Makita power tools?! You are the right thread!
    Tops likes this.
  19. BattyZ

    BattyZ Silver Banner Member

    Struggled a bit with real-world inputs to the drive. Both the Kflop controller and the 90's PacSci drives are smarter than I give them credit for!

    I also needed to learn about internally biased differential inputs.


    Currently, they are running step/direction in a standalone fashion. Both the drives and controller can also run CCW/CW and quadrature. Which is crazy given the age difference and just the age of PacSci equipment.

    Why would I need to run anything other than step/direction? Speed.


    This page walks through it nicely. In short: CCW/CW is faster than Step/Direction. Quadrature is the fastest of all three. So that's what I might do now that the wiring has been sorted.

    Currently working on mounting the first servo to the Z axis. Then the other 2. All for the linear axis. I would imagine I will have to revisit my post processor once Effer is moving on all 5 again.

    Worth mentioning; The drives have 2 inputs. 1 that stops only CW motion and the other that stops only CCW motion. Have thought about using these as hard limits but I really think I want this to be a soft stop or estop situation for the controller. Still cool though.
    Tops likes this.

Share This Page