Hey guys! I have a second Z-axis that I am controlling by setting my machine configurations to Spindle/Plasma, with my second Z-axis that has a dedicated laser being controlled by the “plasma” settings. The problem arises when I try and enable some G-code on this setting. I immediately get an error code that states:
“TMC3in1 did not have active communications while trying to Cycle Start G-code.”
It makes sense because I don’t have Torch Height Control, because I don’t actually have a plasma cutter. I have tried so many things to disable this “communication” so that it is no longer in my way but I obviously have not been successful and I am hoping someone with more experience can help me out here. I have already gone into the ESS Configuration setting and have disabled the THC settings but that didn’t work. I have also made sure that I do not have any macros in my profile setup for the THC or plasma cutter. Obviously something custom and specific to the laser would be preferable and I do plan to get there eventually, but I’m just stating out getting to know the inner workings of this software and really just want to make the laser work with the settings that are currently being offered. Any help?!?
If this were my build I would probably setup two Mach4 profiles - one for router with Z#1 motor as Z-axis then another one for laser with Z#2 motor as Z.
It should be as simple as copying the existing profile to a new profile with a name like ‘AvidLaser’, making one or two settings changes in Mach4, and then a new shortcut icon on the desktop. Need to use the router? Launch ‘Avid CNC Mach4’. Need to use laser? Launch ‘Avid CNC Laser Mach4’. No mucking around with the Plasma screenset and THC confusion.
@davidcnc that’s actually a great idea! lol omgosh it seems so simple now that you mention it lol. Do you by chance know how to dedicate the second Z-axis I have for my second profile, the “avidlaser” one? I feel like it will want me to automatically use the first one I have my spindle on. thanks again for that great idea!
Well, that all being hypothetical, hopefully someone else with more Mach4 Kung Fu can step in and make settings recommendations. Assuming the router Z is connected to the ‘Z’ motor port and the second Z with the laser is connected to the ‘A’ motor port, you’d need to change the mapping so the ‘Z’ is actually controlling the ‘A’ in the laser profile.
that makes sense!! Well, i’ll be on the lookout for more instruction if anyone else had any further advise but, in the meantime i’m gonna give it a go and see if I can map that connection correctly! Thanks again @davidcnc
That code is in the screenset for the Cycle Start Gcode button. It thinks you are using a cutter type “plasma head” so it is checking for comunication to the TMC3in1 and fails because you don’t have one (or aren’t using it). I’m not too familiar with the 2 Z stage setup, so I don’t know how much editing you would need to do to get this to work. If you’ve done any screenset editing you can easily disable this check, but you might find something later also need fixing.
Have you contacted AVID support to see if they have a different configuratiion of the screen for your particular situation?
I have a dual process machine so I actually have one of those and it ain’t for a laser. It’s to control torch height. It’s a high speed analog sensor (+ processor) for keeping your torch the correct distance from the stock.
Hi @jjneeb and @subnoize ! Thanks for the advice! So I did realize that I didn’t have the correct screen set at all. I guess when I was creating my laser profile, I didn’t select the Laser screen set and must have accidentally went with the original screen set for Avid which showed all of the Plasma settings instead. I did make the switch and I am going to try one more time to see if this edit disabled the TMC3in1 check since I really don’t need it… because I’m running a laser and really just need a way to use my second Z axis.
In the meantime, I had to put this on hold while I cut some regular stuff on my spindle and now I’m getting this horrible sound coming from my CNC… grrrr! It sounds like its not jogging correctly through the X, Y or Z axis. I had to stop the current Gcode it was running to troubleshoot this. It was actually cutting fine at first and then towards the end this started to happen so it must have been something small (data setting wise) that cascaded until it was noticeable to me. Maybe the spindle or motor settings (food for thought)? It sounds bad. It sounds like its clunking while jogging, like something isn’t moving the way its supposed to. Since its happening with all axis I’m pretty sure its a software thing and not my actual CNC. My current ideas are to check the ESS Configuration Settings and worst case scenario delete the profile I made and start all over with my backup using my original Mach4 and ESS update. I’m hoping its not the new Mach4 update I made that’s causing this. Let me know if you guys have any thoughts, I’m all ears to hear! =)
Well, its not so much that you don’t have a laser screenset, its that you have a machine that has two Z axis’s. When you configure the system, then somehow it knows that one of those is for a spindle, and one is for the plasma. You are using the one for plasma for your laser, so however the system knows that you are using that Z axis and not the other is setting the cutter type to “plasma” and causing that error. That code is built into the standard AVID screenset. It would be very easy to remove that particular check, but I don’t know too much about the dual Z setup, so I don’t know if there are other things you would have to modify as well to get by the system thinking it is a plasma cutter. Thats why I suggested talking to AVID tech support because they probably have done this for others as well.
Just wondering if you figured out your dual Z-axis laser config fix. I was giving it some thought and I think what you want to do is access the Output Signals tab, remove the A-Step and A-Dir from where they are (set them to blank) and apply them to where the corresponding Z-Step and Z-Dir entries are. I think that’s Motor2. I have not tested this because I don’t have a second Z but I think it’s a logical approach for your secondary Mach4 profile. If you apply that and can jog second Z with PageUp/PageDn then I think that’s it.