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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited by Moderator)
Hey folks, I first apologize if this has been discussed before, but I have a significant problem that is just beyond my skill level. Second, I apologize for the length of this post as without the proper description, it won't make true sense. I would appreciate any comments toward finding a solution.

Basic parameters. I'm running an AvidCNC 48x96 with an independent Lenovo PC. I work with Vectic Aspire v11 and use a separate computer for design and place the g-code file (with the proper post processor) to a thumb drive and load that onto the Lenovo with the Mach 4 to drive the CNC.

I downloaded one of the project files, the Vectric Buffalo Nickel Bank, made no modifications to the file (other than inserting the correct bit feeds and speeds) and cut it with the following toolpaths, 1) 3D roughing .25 endmill, then 1/8 inch tapered ball nose, then a 1/16 tapered ball nose for rest machining (handled by Aspire). Both heads and tails of the nickel are cut from one board in the same toolpath on a board that I have planed to the proper thickness, so I know that there are no discrepancies in material thickness.

The first cut of the tapered ball nose, using an offset toolpath. into the toolpath, for whatever reason, the Z-height changed, mid toolpath, leaving a pronounced difference. Even though I knew it was incorrect, I used the touch-plate to zero the next smaller ball nose and it cut the depth properly but it looks horrible since the z height was off.

So, I thought that maybe this was associated with the offset toolpath and switched to a raster toolpath. Well, same issue occurred. I don't think that this is an issue with the actual model as hundreds of those have been cut and I don't know of any complaints about the model on that forum. Any suggestion or advice would be appreciated.

Would you folks think that this is a Mach4 issue, machine issue, or an Aspire issue?
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David - Machinist in wood
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I don't use Aspire but to get the obvious question out of the way first; did you use the same point on the work piece to set Z zero? I ask because at least once I have set Z zero for a second bit but accidentally chose a place that had already been lowered by the first bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't use Aspire but to get the obvious question out of the way first; did you use the same point on the work piece to set Z zero? I ask because at least once I have set Z zero for a second bit but accidentally chose a place that had already been lowered by the first bit.
Yes, I have a touch plate and use the exact same point on that touch plate to set each bit. Interesting thing is that the z-axis seems to change somewhere in the first 1/2 of the cut.

Mike
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No, haven't tried to do an "air" cutting as the toolpath takes about 2 hours to run. For whatever reason, the Z-axis is adding height in the middle of the toolpath. See the photos below. I am cutting a flat pocket right now to see if it will replicate without a 3-d model. Shortly, I will run a small 3-d in a pocket to see what it will do.
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i have had some trouble with intricate work being inconsistent, started using digital caliper in multiple places around my blank wood, 10 or 15 thousandths variance makes a big
difference on a cut of only .005 i make Shure to zero at thinnest area or from the deck..
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Okay, issue is identified. There was an update to Mach4 that corrected this problem. I reached out to Avid and there was an issue with the original Mach4, so I updated and cut and it is perfect. I really think it was an issue with a interface between Mach4 and Windows. Personally, I use a MACbook Pro and just in my opinion, Windows is the worst program ever stolen from IBM. It's pretty bad.

I want to thank everyone for trying to help me. It was a great outpouring of help and suggestions.

Mike
 
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