CONTROL OF NEW HERMES EP MODULE FOR VANGUARD ENGRAVERS WITH MACH 3 VIA COMMON CHINESE MACH 3 INTERFACE BOARD PARALLEL PORT BREAKOUT BOARD (henceforth referred to as bob, below) AVAILABLE ON EBAY ( the green one with 27 screw terminals and 5 white 4 conductor headers, I paid $10.29 for item # 310702269807, see below ) NOTE THIS SCHEME WORKED FOR ME, YOUR MACHINE MAY BE DIFFERENT OR MAY BE DAMAGED BY FOLLOWING THESE INSTRUCTIONS, PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK you will also no longer be able to use Hermes fonts or software. Mach 3 has a few fonts, Deskengrave: http://www.deskam.com/deskengrave.html has some, and you may find Inkscape https://inkscape.org/en/ useful.
Note from what I can tell this board will only work properly with BOTH its USB port getting power (just connect it to the host pc's USB port) AND 12vdc supplied to the board as well (supplied from the PSU inside the EP module). The jumper next to the bob spindle solenoid should remain in place to enable spindle relay control (pin 17)
Inside EP module remove motherboard, serial card, and IO board. Cut the IO board J2 plug end off of the 20 conductor ribbon cable from the stepper motor driver board. We will number this cable's conductors from 1 to 20 starting at the red conductor #1. Separate each conductor for about 3 & strip 1/4 off of all wires EXCEPT 3,7,10,14,15,17,18,20 which are not used.
Cut the blue and black wires from the power supply connector that was attached to the motherboard. This will be 12vdc power supply for spindle solenoid and breakout board. Verify blue wire is neg, screw to GND on bob terminal (below the pair of N.O. relay output terminals labeled in Chinese on the back). Run a jumper from this ground to one of the bob Chinese lettered relay output terminals. Attach the (+) black wire you cut from that PSU connector to the +12-24v (in) terminal on the bob right below the GND you just attached.
Cut the connector off of the OEM spindle switch. Find the 2 of the 3 available wires that the switch closes when pushed in. Attach one to the as yet unused bob spindle relay terminal. Cut the plug off of the solid state relay in the bottom of the cabinet that controls the spindle motor and attach the existing (-) wire from that ss relay to the other spindle button wire. The other wire from the ss relay also goes to the bob +12-24v (in). The spindle will now be operated via the on screen mach 3 control IF you have the red spindle button depressed on the EP control cabinet, and you can turn off with either the button OR on screen control.
Cut the connector off of the blue reset button and put an E STOP label on it. One wire from that button to the bob p10, one to GND terminal below p15 on the bob. Thats your emergency stop.
Back to the ribbon cable. Attach as follows:
ribbon cable conductor # bob pin #
1 enable p14
2 x step p2
4 x limit p12 (used as home x)
5 y step p4
6 y limit p13(used as home y)
8 z step p6
9 z limit p15(used as home z)
11 z dir p7
12 y dir p5
13 x dir p3
16 +5v p16
19 limit common limit switch common ground terminal on bob, not numbered
Cut a panel to cover the EP control touch pad, no longer used. Build a bracket for the bob- make an angle bracket, with one leg 1-1/2 computer card slots high and the other leg sized to fit the bob. Attach this bracket to one of the pc card slot block off plates, then mount the bob with machine screws using some plastic tubing as standoffs aligned so the ports stick out of the next higher slot in the back of the EP control. You may need a strut to stabilize this bracket or it will move when plugging cables in.
XML file for mach: this setup is for a vanguard 3400 table with 24x 15y 2z CM envelope, NOTE you may need to check or uncheck the active high setting for y home as my machine has an aftermarket switch there, make it the same as x on your machine:
view.xml file for EP module for Mach3
download xml file via ftp
additional useful info:
stepper motor wires (this info necessary only if you will not be using the bob above or the original stepper drives)
axis: A=white/orange A#=white/yellow B=white/grey
Y axis: A=brown A#=orange B=white/blue B#=white/red
Z axis: A=blue A#=white/red/black B=red B#=white/red
Long drive belt 86 x 1/8 available from McMaster Carr, # 9462t55 will probably work. If your belt is stretched you can cut it with a razor and bond it using a soldering iron, just heat the ends and press them together. Leave some extra length so you can practice the first time.
More info on the board here:
To start: verify USB and parallel cables are connected to EP control and table power and data connector from table are in, turn on PC, load Mach 3, turn on EP control power button and depress spindle button. Test blue estop button. Spindle should turn on with the Mach on screen button. On Mach diagnostics page touch home switches to test. Home the machine carefully to be sure it stops and backs off the home switches. Set and verify soft limits and make sure the soft limits button is highlighted in mach when running. There are no separate limit switches on this machine but you can double duty the homes as limits too and then add some for the opposite end of each axis travel if desired.
You've now rescued your engraver for <$20. You can probably run this unit with a Smoothstepper if you need to use a USB port to control it rather than a parallel port. Please do not reproduce these instructions without permission, firstname.lastname@example.org
LOOSEN MICROMETER THUMBSCREW, TURN MICROMETER HEAD ALL THE WAY IN (UP), THEN OUT TO 1ST ZERO, THEN OUT 2 MORE TURNS TO ZERO EACH TIME (ITS .025 PER FULL TURN) LOCK THUMBSCREW.
TAKE A CUTTER, LOOSEN ITS SLEEVE SETSCREW WITH SPLINE WRENCH, INSERT IN SPINDLE, SCREW CUTTER TOP RETAINER IN (LEFT HAND THREAD) CUTTER TIP THEN PUSHED THRU JUST SHORT OF FLUSH WITH LOWER SPINDLE END, RUN THE SPINDLE DOWN (MORE -Z) TILL THE SPINDLE MICROMETER NOSE CONE IS ABOUT .003 OVER THE MATERIAL (JOG DOWN TO A SHIM) THEN PUSH THE CUTTER THROUGH TO TOUCH THE SHIM ALSO. NOW TIGHTEN SETSCREW IN CUTTER TOP RETAINER SLEEVE.
NOW LOOSEN THE MICROMETER LOCK, AND TURN THE MICROMETER SO THE CUTTER PROTRUDES ABOUT .012 (FOR GRAVOPLY) OR WHAT YOU NEED TO RUN THE JOB. THE SPINDLE NOSE WILL FLOAT ON THE MATERIAL WHEN CUTTING, AND THATS HOW FINAL CUT DEPTH IS ADJUSTED. ATTACH A VAC TO THE HOSE FITTING ON THE SPINDLE. The spindle is spring loaded to stay in contact with the material. Diamond drag gravers can also be used without running the spindle. All cutters are 11/64 dia x about 6-1/2 long
Stick this over the original EP control touchpad:
TO TURN ON:
*VERIFY BOTH THE USB AND PARALLEL CABLES FROM THE PC ARE CONNECTED TO THIS EP CONTROL MODULE.
* TURN ON PC WAIT FOR IT TO BOOT, OPEN HERMES ICON (MACH3) ON WINDOWS DESKTOP. PRESS POWER BUTTON ON EP CONTROL MODULE. DEPRESS SPINDLE BUTTON TO ENABLE SPINDLE.
DO NOT CONNECT THIS WINDOWS XP SP3 MACHINE TO THE INTERNET -POOR SECURITY. LOAD DATA VIA FLASH DRIVES.
*WORK UNITS ARE IN CM ; X 24 CM x Y 12 CM x Z 2 CM
*Z DOWN IS -Z, Y TOWARD YOU IS -Y, X RIGHT IS +X
*TURN ON SPINDLE WITH ON SCREEN BUTTON IN MACH 3 (ONLY WORKS WITH SPINDLE BUTTON DEPRESSED ON EP CONTROL BOX)
*HOME THE MACHINE: HIT REF ALL HOME.
*THERE ARE NO LIMIT SWITCHES. MAKE SURE SOFT LIMITS ARE DEFINED IN MACH 3 HOMING AND LIMITS AND MAKE SURE THE SOFT LIMITS BUTTON IS ILLUMINATED IN MACH 3 WHEN RUNNING G CODE. REGEN TOOLPATH PRIOR TO RUN & VERIFY YOUR TOOLPATH IS INSIDE THE SOFT LIMITS.
*TURN OFF: TURN OFF EP MODULE, CLOSE G CODE IN MACH3, CLOSE MACH3, SHUT DOWN PC, TURN OFF MONITOR.