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5AXISMAKER Support Page

Hardware and Electronics

5axismaker 101

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

 

 

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:

(1) Extruder

(2) B-axis

(3) C-axis;

(4)  Z-axis

(5)  Y-axis

(6) X1-axis

(7) X2-axis;

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.

 

    

XYZ (yellow) sensors set by default as homing and end stops. All sensor target plates to be aligned with centre of yellow sensor switch.

X sensors : two target plates 

Z censors  Z censors

Y sensors : two target bolts

Y censors  Y censors

Z sensors : two target plates

Z censors

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 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.

The code:

G28.1 B0 C0

G92 B0 C0

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 calibration Step 3: Repeat same as step 2 for C axis

Baxis calibration diagram2

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 calibration Step 5:

Run this code to bring BC axis to its calibrated position

Mach3 screen copy

 

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

 

Homing Option1:

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.

Homing Option2:

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.

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.

 

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).

Type of mills: there are square end mills for roughing, pocketing,  ball end mills are great for 5-axis milling (fluid/ curvy geometry, finishing pass) and V-bits for finer detailed areas, engraving.
Flute: Generally Blue foam would work with 2Flute tool, Plastic require to take out larger chips at faster speed thus 1-2Flute, Hardwood will work with 3-4Flute tools.
Coated/Uncoated: For softer materials such as foam uncoated end mills are fine, coated tools are for harder materials and tend to cost more.

 

Software Setup

General Workflow diagram

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

5XM announcment-image

 

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 – v2.2.8, 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

Motor pins

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

CAM Post-processors

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:

Autodesk® Fusion 360™ post-processor

Autodesk® PowerMill post-processor

 

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.

Stock Setup 

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.

PLA filament unlike ABS doesn’t require a heating bed and can be extruded onto a clean sheet of acrylic.