5AXISMAKER Support Page
Hardware and Electronics
Unpack the unit from its crate. 5axismaker to be connected to electronics box and computer. Have Mach3 ready installed, instal firmware, go through mach3 setup described below. Setup sensor end stops. Adjust and prepare stock. Generate G-code in CAM. Start milling your first draft project (we make draft models in a softer foam and then switch to a more dense material).
5axismaker 5xm400 diagram
Axis directions and BC head offsets
i- For tool length see Tool Changer Section
Electronics Box Overview (please ensure to switch the power off prior to any cable input)
Cables on the 5axismaker (cables 2,3,10 to be adjusted based on required length defined by number of head turns, project geometry , cables 1, 8, 9, 15 can be zipped to cables chain if not used for 3d printing)
Axis stepper motors:
Tools and sensors:
(8) Thermocouple + Heater for extruder
(9) Extruder fan
(10) Sensors BC
(1.1) Sensors XY
(1.2) Sensors XY
(1.3) Sensors Z
(1.5) Touchprobe + pins for custom tool
Cables on the electronics box:
To connect 5axismaker to electronics box connect motor cables 1-7, top DB9 cable (only if 3d printing), extruder power button to be switched on only during 3d printing, Ethernet or USB to be connected to the computer. Spindle dial to be turned far left during start.
Power cord: IEC cable for US, UK, EU socket and is supplied based on country of destination.
Unpack the unit from its crate, clean all linear guides, rails and racks with a clean cotton cloth, lubricate those parts with a low viscosity oil and apply regularly depending on your workflow.
5axismaker has been designed in modules for easy maintenance and repair. Each motor module is connected with a bolt on one side and a spring on the other side. To change the motor module untie the spring and black bolt for each motor module. In case of a repair emergency each module can be replaced with an exact same module in minutes and original module can be sent back for a repair without having to send the whole machine.
All stepper motor modules are tensioned to the rails with springs to prevent machine from missing steps and avoid backlash or destroying itself. Spring suspension mechanism and built in sensors prevent the machine from running into itself. Should the machine run into stock it should activate the spring suspension mechanism and disengage the motor for you to then start where you left of.
Run BC-axis Calibration routine, produce BC homing script, home all 5axis to bring machine to zero point.
BC Homing Script/ BC calibration Step 1:
Connect 5axismaker to Mach3. Reference B and C axis to B,C sensors by entering a manual G-code input on Mach3, this manual code should move each axis to the sensor and make this position zero.
G28.1 B0 C0
G92 B0 C0
BC Homing Script/ BC calibration Step 2: Align B axis
Use a Dial Test Indicator placed against front face of the BC head to test parallelism of B axis to Y axis. By jogging machine in Y-axis move the surface of the head against Dial Test Indicator and adjust B-axis until DTI doesn’t show any deviation.
BC Homing Script/ BC calibration Step 3: Repeat same as step 2 for C axis
BC Homing Script/ BC calibration Step 4:
Copy coordinates of B & C axis shown in Mach3 to the following code (replace xxx with copied coordinates). Type in the code or save the code as a separate file. This is your BC homing script file that should work each time to position B,C to zero.
G28.1 B0 C0 – this brings B and C axis to it’s sensors
G92 B0 C0 – sets current position as zero point
G0 Bxxx Cxxx – move B,C axis from sensor position to calibrated zero position
G92 B0 C0 – this sets calibrated position as a zero position
BC Homing Script/ BC calibration Step 5:
Run this code to bring BC axis to its calibrated position
BC Homing Script/ BC calibration Step 6:
Now that we can set B,C axis to zero we can as well set all 5axis to zero. There are two ways to zero position, first option might be more accurate if the stock moves or job is done in parts.
*Prior to homing routine check direction of each axis, based on directions diagram. Check sensors, jog each axis to the sensor and check if those are activated once reach sensor plates
1. Run BC homing script to set B, C axis to zero.
2. Home XYZ axis, either click “XYZ zero” button in MACH3 or input G28.1 X0 Y0 Z0 in MACH3 code window (brings XYZ axis to sensors) then type G92 X0 Y0 Z0 to set those coordinates as zero. Zero coordinates are set in the far left lower corner of the machine. Stock to be placed approximately in the centre of working volume, measure XYZ coordinates from zero point to either corner of the stock (top left) and input those three coordinates in your drawing space. Move 3d model to measured point in digital modelling space. Now stock in digital modelling space is placed exactly as in the physical space inside the machine.
1.Run BC homing script to set B, C axis to zero.
2. Jog machine to any corner of the stock and type G92 X0 Y0 Z0 to set the position as zero. (In this case chosen corner of the stock should be at zero coordinated in 3d modelling space.)
*first option is a more precise way to setup zero point.
There is a setting in Mach3 to calibrate any of the axis. Essentially this exercise allows to setup a distance for the axis to run, which can be physically measured and input the results back into Mach3 until the axis is calibrated.
One of the examples for axis calibration would be to calibrate A-axis, i.e. axis dedicated to extruder.
Open Mach3 Settings (Alt6) and press Set Steps per Unit
Select A axis, then click OK
Input number of units, in this instance we have Mach3 set to Metric mm, input 100mm which will represent 100mm of filament which will run through the extruder (the longer the distance the more accurate the reading will be), press OK (machine would run the distance, once it stops measure the filament and input the distance in Mach3 window, press OK. Repeat if necessary.
10K or 15K rpm spindle, ER11 collet:
Turn speed dial to its left, turn of electronics prior to switching the cables. Changing either of two red cables changes direction of the spindle.
Every tool has an indexical lip, each time tool is changed it is indexed back to it’s position, this feature has been designed instead of having an expensive automatic changer and allows to have a few milling heads with pre-set bits and swap those around without any additional setup.
Tool length diagram
Tool Length 1: Fusion360, MasterCAM, SolidCAM, Powermill
Tool Length 2: 5xMonkey
ER11 collet fits a variety of tools in both metric and imperial sizes.
There are carbide end mills, HSS end mills – HSS mills are generally sharper (great for sharp looking foam models). Carbide is more wear resistant and are used for more general purpose. Router bits can be used as well for projects such as timber milling (1/4in shank + collet).
CAM: Most of CAM packages can be used to generate g-code.We offer free 1 year full commercial license for Fusion360 (3+2 indexical milling solution), also we use our in-house made g-code generator 5xMonkey (5-axis simultaneous milling).
MACH3: to be purchased with an official vendor Mach3 is a really versatile CNC controller and reads g-code from various 3-axis, 5-axis CAM packages, 3d printing slicer g-code.
For 5xMonkey follow the link
For Fusion360 basic tutorials follow the link Fusion360 Tutorials
5axismaker Mach3 Profile Setup
Mach3 is a really versatile CNC controller and reads g-code from various 3-axis, 5-axis CAM packages, 3d printing slicer g-code.
1) Install Controller firmware drivers. To install drivers connect electronics box to your computer via USB, switch on electronics box and load/run PLCM.exe file; choose PLCM-E3 – v2.2.10, check next to “configure network card automatically”. Complete installation
2) Open Mach3. Setup 6axis screenset instead of default 4-axis. For 6axis screen of Mach3 please follow the link Mach3 screensets and choose 6AXIS Screen (*6axis set file to be copied directly into Mach3 folder and “UT Buttons” folder to be moved to (C:)\Mach3\Bitmaps\MillBitmaps folder in Mach3 directory)
3) Load 5axismaker profile in Mach3. All 5axismaker profile settings are described in screenshots below. 5axismaker profile to be dropped directly into Mach3 folder. Your Mach3 folder is located in the Mach3 directory.
4) Run Mach3 and choose 5axismaker profile. Mach3 is ready to run the machine. All other info on Mach3 can be found in Mach3 Full Manual
5) Try manually to jog the machine with your keyboard, to do so setup up your hotkeys for each axis (Config-> System Hotkeys)
*blue 6axis screen below
Mach3 5axismaker.xml profile setup
In Plugin Control select PLCM control, and choose PLCM-E3 in drop down menu
Config> Ports and Pins > Motor pins
*Toggle Dir LowActive field to change axis direction
Config > Ports and Pins > Input Signals
Config > Ports and Pins > Output Signal
Motor Tuning and Setup
*Use Velocity to adjust machine’ maximum speed.
A-axis is an Extruder Motor
Homing/ Soft Limits/ Sensor settings
Each CAM package requires a post-processor made specifically for 5axismaker to take a full advantage of 5-axis capability.
List of post-processors for 5axismaker:
Fusion360 post-processor installation guide
1. Go to Preferences (PC top right corner – under your profile – Preferences/MAC top left corner – Fusion360 – Preferences ) and under General settings go to CAM and make sure to Enable Cloud Libraries.
2. Download here 5axismaker post-processor file and manually upload it to your Fusion360 list of posts:
Change Fusion360 workspace to CAM
PC: select a ready toolpath and under post-process tab choose Personal Posts – upload 5axismaker post from your downloads folder.
MAC: Go to A360Drive – sign in, under A360 View and Manage your Projects – Assets Folder – CAMPosts Folder – Upload your 5axismaker post processor file from your computer. Back to Fusion360 window – under Post-process My Cloud Posts choose 5axismaker.cps
Stock and Fixtures
There are ways of fixing the stock, vacuum tables, special clamps, etc.
We like to keep things versatile, one of the ways of fixing stock is to use additional aluminium profiles and fix them to the machine’ frame while the machining vice is fixed on top of the profiles. This setup can also be adjusted to vertical profiles.
Another option is to fix plywood/ timbers blocks/timber profiles to a plywood bed (or an aluminium plate with pre-drilled holes for fixtures). We can supply additional aluminium frames for stock fixing free of charge at the time of order.
There are ways to enclose your machine, and it would really depend on the level of dust and noise one wants to avoid. We advise to source parts locally.
Full enclosure example:
T-slotted aluminium framing system: 20mm or 30mm Bosch Rexroth (Europe)/ 80/20 Inc (USA)
Mounting rim to hold perspex in the profile slots
Polycarbonate/ plexiglass sheets 2-3mm
Internal corner brackets
Each enclosure would have 1-2 doors with hinges
It’s also possible to fix 4off 3mm perspex panes directly onto machine’s frame.
Left, right and back panel: fixed to the frame with 4off t-nuts M6 slot 10mm, cap head or similar M6 16mm long bolts, M6 washers outer diam min 20mm.
Front panel: 4each t-nut M6 slot 10mm, M6 12mm long grub screw (regular steel not stainless), 2mm thick magnets (recessed in the perspex)