Open Source Controller with internal THC

10 Nov 2018 19:30 #120413 by islander261
There is no technical reason that a LinuxCNC based hole technology similar to the HT True Hole can't be done. Do you know enough about the plasma cutting process to write a specification? There may be legal issues about how you implement it based on HT's rather extensive patent portfolio. Certainly the name is trademarked and can't be used without permission.

LinuxCNC doesn't care what it is controlling, if you can get the interface specifications then a driver can be written for it. The only problem is that HT may consider the machine interface of their HD plasma power supplies proprietary and make you enter into an NDA to get the information that may prevent you from distributing any source code you develop.

There are several rather extensive threads here about using Ethercat interfaced drives, so yes it can be done. Others are actively working on this for plasma machines by the content of posts in other threads. I think there may be some restrictions about distributing modified driver code but some of that is covered in the treads.

I have already hacked CommandCNC ( it is just a Gscreen configuration no black magic!) to use an internal THC. I don't use CommandCNC because I don't like how somethings where done and find it doesn't work well with my process flow.


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10 Nov 2018 22:18 - 10 Nov 2018 22:19 #120420 by rodw
Managed to find the communication protocol specifications for the Hypertherm XPR machines written in October 2018 and had a bit of a read. These machines have both Ethercat and 115200 baud RS422 interfaces and either can be used to read or set various registers in the device. Each register corresponds with a given setting. RS422 is available on the Mesa smart serial interface UART with the correct firmware.

The XPR cutting system is set up as an EtherCAT® slave device. It is configured to use the CanOpen Over EtherCAT (COE) protocol.
**The XPR cutting system is configured for 1 millisecond cyclic data.

There are status bits for ArcOK, Ohmic sensing etc and the torch voltage is presented to the bus every 2 ms.

I think you'd have to build a CAN open module for the ethercat transport layer as the current opensource ethercat modules seem only to talk to ethercat drives (SOE protocol). I don't think this would be too difficult.
Last edit: 10 Nov 2018 22:19 by rodw.

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11 Nov 2018 00:40 #120432 by rodw

I am set on ethercat as my open source robot controllers use ethercat to control the multiple axis's in real time.And ethercat is the fastest field bus currently available.

What open source system are you using to control your robots?

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11 Nov 2018 01:00 #120433 by thefabricator03
I have Four robots currently, all of them are made by Yakawa motoman,

two use the propietry controls until it fails then I will retrofit them.

The other two are much older and I have been playing around with two controllers,

The first controller is made by Daincube,

Its not exactly open source but it can be configured for any robot configuration.

The second controller I am playing with is made by Mint Robots,

I have not done much with this unit as I am have many projects going on as well as running a busy workshop.

My goal is to come up with a industrial solution that is cheap, I want to build robots that are affordable for small and medium sized workshops,

My robots each when new retailed for $60,000.

Also everything about them is expensive, spare parts, I can even add Modbus communication to my two newest ones as it is not supported,
A ethernet IP card is $3500, Its one hell of a racket.

When I first brough them I needed to use them on a track so I needed to add a external axis, Yaskwawa told me they dont make the additional axis cards anymore so I would need to find a second hand one, This is for a 10 year old robot. Second hand one was $11,000 and I needed two.

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11 Nov 2018 01:09 #120434 by rodw
Interesting. there are a few robots being controlled via Linuxcnc and there is a working simulator for a robot as part of the Linuxcnc distribution and a 3D on screen robot as part of the simulaiton. Try it.

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12 Nov 2018 22:18 - 12 Nov 2018 22:28 #120517 by Grotius

Do you think it would be possible to implement a open source version of Hypertherms true hole technology with linuxcnc?
Also with Linuxcnc do you think it would be possible to use Hypertherms range of high definition plasmas?

First item yes. Second yes.
But do you want to use Hypertherm above 105 amp's?
Above 105 amp's i go to Thermal Dynamics. They have the patented water mist for inox and aluminium.
Also they have boost up inverters. You can put an inverter block of 100 amp's into a Ultracut 100 and have a 200 amp's.
Thermal Dynamic's looks like a satelite from inside. it's a very modern design from inside with water cooled inverter block's.
A Hypertherm looks like a sputnick satelite from inside. ( A sputnick satelite
is the first satelite designed by the russians more than fifty years ago). Also Kjellberg Finsterwalse uses very old component's, like big relais block's or open water drain vessle's inside the inverter. So if you want to start. I prefer to use Thermal Dynamic's above 100 amp's for sure.

As a distributor or OEM'er Thermal Dynamic's has no copy spare part partie's.
Look at, the whole Hyperterm spare part market is fallen down. !!!
They have made a great mistake by allowing a copy market place.

The Trump administration is also very bad for export. I know that as distributor. So i am going to invest more into China.
The Usa with Trump is going to far with extreme contract's i have so sign, etc. So i am almost done with the Trump administration.
Last edit: 12 Nov 2018 22:28 by Grotius.

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12 Nov 2018 22:36 #120519 by thefabricator03
So is the cut quality from Thermal Dynamics on par with Hypertherm?

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14 Nov 2018 00:06 - 14 Nov 2018 00:36 #120640 by Grotius

In fact you could do it better with Thermal Dynamics. But it has all to do with your cutting experience. I have tested a Ultracut for more
then 2 weeks every day. 2 day's inlcuded a Thermal Dynamics professional. So in the end i am convinced. But if you start as newby
with High Defenition, you will scratch your head several times. My experience is much more then a Hyperterm 125.

For High Defenition you could start at 4mm and up. No matter wich material you are using.
The orginal Hypertherm consumables last long. The Thermal Dynamic's consumables are 80% of hypertherm consumables in lifetime.
But that's a thing i will not hide to you. The High Defenition plasma proces, is a very critical process. And to start with, it is not
the best option, then you can fall very deep. So start safe. Start with normal plasma for a few years.

Thermal Dynamics has also a complete touch panel pc. for 7000 dollar. Plug and play and ready for retrofitting an old esab plasma.
Fully integrated with automatic gas console. Next year they have rs485 interface on the small plasma inverters.
So if you want, you can start with it. I can bring you in contact with specialist from Itlaly and Germany they will visit you for training and installing if you would buy a HD system. I think you are capable to do this. They believe me.
I am lost in linuxcnc, because i like it. But for my cashflow, i can better do only commercial things.
Last edit: 14 Nov 2018 00:36 by Grotius.
The following user(s) said Thank You: tommylight

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14 Nov 2018 20:12 - 14 Nov 2018 20:24 #120695 by thefabricator03
I appreciate your insight,

Can you explain to me about the critical nature of Hi Definition cutting?

What is difficult about it?

I have been doing a lot of cutting with my machine,

I generally cut three 3000x1500x what ever thickness sheets a day.

How much more time do you think I need to spend with normal plasma before I can move to High Definition?
Last edit: 14 Nov 2018 20:24 by thefabricator03.

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17 Nov 2018 21:24 - 17 Nov 2018 21:47 #120924 by Grotius
Hi Stefan,

The cutting proces an sich is about 75% expensiver, because of use of primairy and secondairy shield gases, 7 or 8 types of consumables for each cutting proces. Multi pre assamled cutting head's for fast material switching is needed, for amp's and material type. In practical way, there is a lot more to do like the manual gas box. The gas box has multiple input parameter's. They must be set, preflowed etc. So in the end. You must be a very serious candidate to cut High Defenition. Below 4mm
you can better stay on normal plasma.

Thermal Dynamic's Europe will sent High Defenition plasma system's to you. I have arranged that this week with the manager.
You can start with a Ultracut 100 or 200 amp's system if you like.

The most important. It's also compatible with Linuxcnc.
Last edit: 17 Nov 2018 21:47 by Grotius.

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