Plasma Build | Machine Testing

by Pertneer on March 25th, 2011

Since I recently got this machine actually moving I have been putting it through some tests. The other day I create a G-code program to move the table throughout its travel in various directions to make sure it worked as expected and returned to its previous position.

Since the table is driven by stepper motors instead of servos loosing steps is always a concern. This is generally contributed with pushing the machine to fast resulting is the stepper motors loosing there count. Not sure why, but is does happen.

After tuning the motors in Mach 3 to suitable settings I proceeded with the testing. I started with the table at around a travel speed of 600 in/min but was not happy with the sound the table was making. It sounded like it was struggling to make the moves this fast. So I slowed it down to 450 in/min. Still a respectable speed for a rapid move. This sounded a lot better and leaves some room for improvement.

This video shows the path I programmed in and the speed in which it travels.


I have this movement repeat 20 times then checked the Machine Position. During the first test the machine started to stall on the Y-axis. this had be concerned to say the least. Upon inspection I found that one of the pulleys had come loose. Someone forgot to tighten it. So I checked the rest of the pulleys and Spur gears. I am not going to say how many were loose. Lets just say it took awhile to fix. Then I ran the program twice returning to the program home. I then returned the machine to Program zero, Copied the Machine coordinates and re-homed the machine. I then returned to the Program zero and again checked the Machine Position. They matched to the fourth decimal place. I was satisfied with the repeatability and the steppers were not loosing any steps from traveling to fast. Now I need to move on to checking the accuracy of the machine. This will be a later update.

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