Slaving a CNC Axis in Mach3 with an Apollo 3

Summary of videoThis 4-minute video is a great tutorial on how to slave an axis in Mach 3 with our  Apollo III motion controller.

Video Transcript:

0:07 Today I am going to be showing you how to slave an axis in Mach3 with an Apollo III motion controller from MachMotion. It's not uncommon for larger machines like Plasmas, waterjets, or routers to have two motors on the gantry to move it back and forth. So this is how to set up that second motor so it copies the first one so you don't have to command, say, an X and an A simultaneously to get what you want. So I am going to set up the X axis to run to control the X and the A axis so you only have to control the X. So, right now, when I move the X axis, just the X axis moves. So to slave an axis, the first step is to go to config and then slave axis. So here, we are going to slave the A axis to the X, so we'll check that, and then we hit okay. That gives us this message, "We have to restart Mach3." 

1:09 So, I hit okay. Close Mach3, end session. If you have the new HiCON plugin version 1.34.9 or later, then you're done at this point and your axis are slaved. If you have an earlier version, then you have to do this next step. So the next step, if necessary, is to come to config and then config plugins, and click on the config for the HiCON plugin. Then go to the tab for your slave axis. So in this case, it's the A axis. You'll need to change the index to the number of the axis that you are slaving it to. So, in this case, we're slaving it to the x, so the index number is here, X is 0, so we'll change the index to 0, normally, it's a 3. It's already changed here, because I am using the new plugin. But you would, just from the drop down, select 0, hit save config, and then hit okay.

2:10 So then we’ll clear that, and clear the reset. So now, you won't see any difference on the screen here, only the X axis is going to change because effectively, all you did was add an additional motor to the X axis. But now when we hit X positive, the A and the X are going to move here. So the last thing here, and this applies to both plugins versions. Go to config and homing/limits. As you noticed a second ago, both the motors were moving in the same direction and depending on your mechanics, you might not want them to, so the A, for example, could be reversed from the way it should be going even though it's moving the same amount as the X. 

2:57 So, to change that, you just hit the reversed checkbox here and that will change the direction of the A axis so it matches with your mechanics. So you see now the A is going the opposite direction of the X. The very last thing here is to go to config. We’re back at homing/limits and for your system, you might be able to jog it back and forth. Everything would be working great, but then when you go to home it, it might go catty corner because the A is trying to home the opposite direction of the X. To change that, you can use configure the home negative checkboxes so that they both move the same way.

3:40 One other consideration is if you're going to home the gantry axis with limit switches on both sides, or if you're just going to home it off of the limit switch on the master axis, so like the X axis. To change that, go to config, and then general config and here on the third column—about in the middle—we've got this home slave with master axis. If you do not have a limit switch on the A axis, and you just want to home it with the X, check this. Otherwise you'll set it up like you would normally any other axis and ports and pins. I hope you found this video informative. If you would like to learn more about us, you can visit us at MachMotion.com, and watch our other videos.