Just took the upgrade plunge

I have purchased the Gecko 540 and the smooth stepper (Ethernet) board.
My plan is to set up Mach3 and these two to have better run-time and I will be able to get the rotary axis later.
My next task is to do as much forum research as possible on those of you out there that have already upgraded or are using the same hardware.
I will have 4 TB6600 modules left over. hmm what to do with them after I upgrade?



this helped me a bunch

Ask me if you have specific questions. It is pretty straightforward and logical once you know how it all connects, but figuring it out for the first time took me a couple of hours and headaches too.

I started by connecting through an old pc with parallel port, so I could minimize variables. Then added the smoothstepper. That helped for me as well.

building a new machine will have to wait. :confused: Sadly I will not have the money for a while.

I might be I interested in your tb6600s, depending on what you want out of them.

I orginally payed 47bux but I would be willing to shave off a few.
I also have the inventables boards that were used with the arduino. The GRBL ones.
(not the X-controller)

The 540 arrived with the smooth stepper
Now I just need to figure out how to hook it up.

As I said, shoot if you have specific questions.

The guides I posted earlier should be very helpful.

pro tip: buy mach3 if you haven’t already. I used an (older) pirated version before but for the ESS plugin to work, it needs to connect to the latest version of Mach3, which you’ll have to buy. It took me a while to figure that out since the software doesn’t really help you :-). but that was one of the hurdles for me.

It’s lifetime and not that expensive, you’ll never regret it anyways.

I am struggling with the Estop switch.
I have it hooked up correctly however when I hit the switch the software (Mach3) does not respond. If I trigger pin 1 on the gecko board it does respond.
Not sure why.
I can however get the x axis to jog.
I do not have all the motors hooked up just yet.
Going to have to see what pin the gecko board is triggering when I use the Estop.
I did follow the info on the site posted and read all the docs.

I think I have figured out how this is supposed to work.
I have 3 of the limit switches to the and the pin 1 will be used for an alarm of some sort later.
Now all I have left is the probe and the spindle control.

pro as in proficient yes :slight_smile:

Finished wiring and have everything working.
Now I just need to tune it.
The motor tuning is strange but I think I have the system going good.
I need to figure out how to get the jog set up to go faster when I hit the shift key and jog.
Anyone have any good video or web links for this in conjunction with the same motors I have?
I have stock X-carve motors.
Also should I get Mach4 or go with Mach3?

Mach3 is much better documented, more stable and more than powerful enough for what us hobbyists need.
That seemed to be the general concensus when I researched this last year.

Jogging is at full speed (as defined by axis velocity setting in tuning window) so I’m not really sure what you need the shift for. All i can say is I don’t use or need it.

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I like to jog the gantry for moving it out of the way and bring it close to the home position. otherwise it takes too long for it to home.
could be my settings however. I am not sure.

I jog mine to get it close as well to speed things up before I home and it flies just by hitting the jog keys. I bet it is your settings that is keeping it going slow while jogging. (Mach3 as well)

You can force it to jog slowly by entering a value on the feedrate DRO. What is the value in yours? Just change the value to what you want to jog at.

I have purchased Mach3.
Pretty happy with it so far.
The smooth stepper board is working fine.
I was getting an error where it would time out or fail as the communication was interrupted.
I have narrowed this down to my laptop being the issue. It has 2 video cards in it.
When its not turned on the nice nvidia board is not used. It can be forced on and then I can see the job as it cuts. I really do not need to watch the job unless I am troubleshooting. So I turned off the display tool path and that seemed to fix it. It has not error-ed out yet.
Now I just need to fine tune things. Still learning how to work with the motor tuning section.
I also need to calibrate. Need to find a good precision ruler and get it.

are you using a gecko g540 too?

Just so you know, if you upgrade to GRBL v1.1 it changes jogging (at least in UGCS) to use the new jogging command which does take feed rate into consideration.

Personally, I like that I can adjust how quickly it jogs.

Good to know. However I am not using GRBL anymore.

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Here are some images and explanations.
1st off. This is not my final solution. I am looking around for a cheap enclosure. Once I locate a good one everything will be rewired and done professionally.

Here I am showing the temporary placement of the Gecko G540 and the Ethernet smooth stepper. (Its not hooked up so I can get images of it) Each of the axis was soldered into a DB9 connector and a resistor 2.8k was used between 2 pins that is outlined in the documentation.

Here is another view. The fan is there cause the Gecko G540 gets pretty warm and it stays cooler with it. I will be mounting it later once I have a enclosure.

Here you can see the other side. The foil tape was to cover the power wires I added so I could use them for the TB6600 when I was using those drivers. I use 3 of the 4 sets for powering the Gecko G540, the fan, and the switch for the IOT. I am using a resistor divider for the voltage to be about 5.5 volts. It works well and the resistors do not get warm.
The limit switches are as follows: Pin 1 through pin 3 are Switch X,Y,Z and pin 4 is for the Probe for zeroing out the axis. I do not have anything hooked up to pins 5,6,7,8,9 at this time. Pins 7-9 are for VFD spindles. pin 10 is for the E-Stop switch. (I still need to order one) Pins 11 and 12 are power and ground.

I will add more images on the software setup once I get out there and do some screen shots.
This was a temporary setup for testing and as I mentioned earlier It will be wired up much better and look more professional once I get an enclosure.


Update on my rig:
Here are 2 more images of my system.
The first image is my modified dust collection system. It used to be one of those vaccums for carpet cleaning. I took off the top and made a larger hole and put a tube that the motor sits on.
The second is a picture of my system running a job. The plastic mount I 3d printed and it works perfectly.