PieceMaker Online Help - 2100 Series Machine Z-Axis Setup

2100-Series Machine Z-Axis Set-Up:
1.0   Place a 16" piece of the round material to be cut in the chuck and tighten it up.  Rotate A-axis rapidly and confirm that the set-up stub is true in the chuck, not wobbling.   Carefully set the front V-Support such that it lightly contacts the material but does not force it up.  Lower the material clamp such that the material stays in is snug down onto the front V-Support. 
2.0   Jog the torch down to the Hypertherm recommended clearance for the consumables and material being cut.  For most handrail applications this is 0.080"- 0.100".  Use a known gauge block.  Also read the section on Torch Distance.
3.0   F1-Setup  F1-Part  F1-Next Axis (repeat as necessary) until Z-Axis is displayed.  
4.0   Now enter ½ of the material's known diameter.  For example, 1-1/4 pipe has an O.D. of 1.660.  Half of this is 0.830.  If you are cutting 1-1/2 pipe it has an O.D. of 1.900, enter 0.950 into the field.  Press ENTER.  Now enter "1" in the tool field, (99.9% of the time these machines use only Tool #1).  Hit ENTER again.  Now press F10-Set.  Observe that the Z-axis DRO now reads the appropriate 0.830 or 0.950.  Also, at the tope right of the screen, near the Job Name, should display T1 H1 (Tool 1 Height Offset 1).  If not try again.  In later versions of software you can use the data field as a calculator.  If you enter 1.66/2 "Enter" the field will calculate the answer (0.830) as expected.
5.0   The Y-axis center is setup mechanically.  There is no CNC setup for the Y-axis on the 2100- series machines.

2400-Series Machines Part Set-Up:
On the 2400-series, there are up to five steps to perform, any time an operator wants to change material profile/size:
1.0.  Lift Caps 
2.0.  Lift Height setups
3.0.  Front Material Support Puck (Adjust the Adjustable Puck or swap Puck)
4.0.  Z-Height/Torch-Height
5.0.  Gripper Jaws
See each feature/function for detailed instructions.

This process is just like the 2100- series machines with the simplification that the height of the material is always controlled by the front carrier bearings in the puck.  The Y-axis needs to be zeroed on the center of the A-U axis assembly.  At a technical level, these values would never need adjusting because the center of the A-U axis assembly never changes.  At a practical level we check and adjust them because the material is never perfect and the machine, specifically the torch, regularly gets inadvertently hit and knocked out of location.  Setting up the Y-axis zero uses the same keystrokes as the Z-axis process but select the Y-axis instead of the Z in the final step.  There are multiple ways to find the center of the material including just doing an eyeball job on round material.  Using the torch body as an edge finder and following the procedures in chapter 4 of the Centroid manual is another.  When cutting square, rectangular, channel and, angle-iron, and flat bar, the Y-axis centering process becomes more critical.

Piece:  A singular part number to be manufactured.  If programmed in PieceMaker it only exists in a parametric form in the database.  Another way of saying this is that the piece only has the critical characteristics as entered in the PieceMaker fields saved.  There is no G-Code associated with a Piece prior to pressing the Quick Code button or processing the Batch.  With the highest priority, Pieces should be created with Flat Cut 90s on End 2.  In second priority, 90-degree copes should be placed on End 2.  Later, this practice will help with material utilization.

Printing Head:  Some of our machines are equipped with a printing head.  In most cases this is a self-contained Dot-Peening device.   There is a group of custom G- and M-codes that controls this device.  PieceMaker has an option checkbox in the Batch window that becomes visible when a default directory is set in the Database tab of the Parameters menu.  Blanking the default directory field will remove the option checkbox from the Batch window.  SigmaTube has a control set up for it that is visible during the post process event.

Slaved Axis "U":  Most of the 2400-series machines are equipped with a driven front support puck.  This axis is called "U".  During most operations A-axis and U-axis are slaved together.  Meaning Axis-U will follow exactly the moves of axis-A without specific calls on each line of G-Code.  This slaving action is usually enabled inside the homing file after the home sequence is complete.  Slaving remains enabled through power cycles but there is no way of tracking axis motion during a power off state, therefore slaving is first turned off in the Home file, then the homing sequence takes place and then slaving is re-enabled.  Slaving enable is done with "G10 P64 R64".  Enabling and disabling slaving can be done from MDI with "G10 P64 R0".  With slaving disabled the spindle speed + and -  keys jog the U-axis independent of A-axis.

Torch Distance:  This is the distance from the copper nozzle of the torch to the material surface.  It is considered part of the torch during Z-axis set up and programming.  The recommended values can be found in the Hypertherm manual specific to your unit.  This manual is shipped with the machine, and there is often a link on the machine's desktop, it likely can be found in the typical windows documents directory and always available on the Hypertherm Website.  Experience tells us that 0.080"-0.100" (loose fitting on a nickel) is a pretty good setting.  Note that the flame tip is the actual bottom of the tool--not the copper nozzle.

Tool Setup:  Sometimes also called TLO.  This subject is discussed at length in Chapter 5 of the Centroid Manual.  However, for all practical purposes we do not use this feature and thus all the TLO values are zero (0.000).  The exception is for 2100-series machines with scribes.  In this case TLO 200 is used to differentiate the height between the torch and the height of the extended scribe.  

Weep Holes:  A common name for vent holes placed in welded structures that will be hot-dip galvanized.  These vent holes keep sealed chambers from exploding and let the zinc solution coat the inside of the structure.  Every shop has their own ideas when placing these vent holes.  The basic tool will put a hole wherever desired.  We also developed an automatic recognition system for handrail mid-rails both straight and on pitch.  When either of these two types of pieces are recognized in the Create Piece window a check box appears below the Rotational Offset field.  When checked the software will automatically place weep holes in the Piece definition according to the customer's preferences defined under the Weep Hole Defaults on the Features page.

Work Coordinate Systems:  (WCS#xx)  This section is a recommended standard such that EMI's tech support group might more quickly recognize certain issues and help customers get back into production more quickly.  The standard machine comes with G54-G59 such that if you want to experiment or organize work in some unusual way you can start with G56 and work up from there.  The Centroid Manual indicates that G54 is equivalent to E1 and G55=E2 and so forth for the first 6 WCSs.  After that it continues as per the specifics in the manual.  Generally, we use the "G" version though at the time of this writing we are considering the potential value in the differential visibility of using the "E" notations.

G54:  On a TPC, G54 is used for round work coming out of PieceMaker.  There are two distinct ways to set the X-axis part zero.  Sometimes, G54 is zeroed with the chuck at the negative limit of travel or nearest the torch and not changed during operation.  That means as the machine processes the material down to the Stub Length the DRO will be reading 0.000, even though there may be 10 inches of actual material left in the chuck.  The 2nd way to set the X-axis part zero is to jog the carriage all the way to the torch end and measure from the face of the chuck to the centerline of the torch nozzle.  Setting this value in the X-axis registry now gives you a frame of reference from the torch.  This value is required for ROP operations and must be entered into PieceMaker as the Stub Length.
Y-zero is the center of the material as it is ultimately referenced off the CR-A, a fixed point.  Z-zero is the center of the material as it is ultimately referenced off the CR-A, a fixed point.  A-zero is often set such that the jaws are vertical so that in case of an air pressure loss or unintentional jaw opening the material does not fall from the open gripper, but just sits on the lower jaw.  U-zero usually has some useful correlation to A-zero although their respective offsets from machine zero may be different due to tooling and mechanical assembly differences.

G55:  On a TPC the G55 WCS and above is often used for square, rectangular, angle iron, C-channel, and flat stock.   The X-value is often being reset by G92 calls from each piece or processed group as they have their own localized zero.  SigmaTube and possibly the other CAM packages put out only Absolute coordinates.  Y-zero is the center of the material as it is ultimately referenced off the CR-A, a fixed point.  Z-zero is the center of the material as it is ultimately referenced off the CR-A, a fixed point.  A-zero is set such that the jaws hold one face of the material horizontal, parallel with the Y-axis.  U-zero usually matches A-zero though their respective offsets from machine zero will be different.

G56:  On a TPC G56 is sometimes used for all material but in a manual kind of mode.  The X-value is usually fixed and referenced with the Stub Length included.  Different than G54 when the machine is sitting at the negative end of travel the X-value will display the stub length.  Indeed, anywhere along the machine's travel the X-value displayed is the actual length of material in the machine.  When used in conjunction with custom Cut-Off Macros or Subroutines the machine can be used as a somewhat automated saw.  This mode of operation is sometimes used to cut good pieces that include the Stub Length Material that might otherwise be scrapped.

Part Height Setup:  Also called Z-zero setup, or torch set-up.  This topic is related to the Work Coordinate System explanation.  In every case, except perhaps when cutting flat stock, Z-zero is CR-A.  It is important to grasp that while the surface height is changing for different material profiles, once set, the Z-zero value should not change for any material being rotated because obviously CR-A does not change.  The control as programmed from PieceMaker and SigmaTube accommodates the material diameter both real and effective as in the case of square and rectangular shapes.  Note that the machine position is set with the radius not the diameter.  Similarly, when the machine is programmed conversationally with PieceMaker diameters are used in the fields, but note, the G-Code comes out in radii.  Please note that when the Material Front Support is a V-block that the center height of the material requires a non-linear adjustment from CR-A.  In practice, the center of the material on 2100series machines and the torch height is something that needs to be watched and often is simply adjusted on every material diameter/size change over.  It only takes a minute and accounts for other real-world conditions.

Quick Code:  The Quick Code button on the Modify/Create Piece page is a short cut for creating G-Code for a single piece.  The button creates the Batch and G-Code with the Piece name as a Batch name and a "-QC" appended to it.  The Quick Code button does single pieces only and does not include an Auto-Load Sequence.  It uses the default feed rate parameter value (named Between Cut Rate in Parameter window).
 
ROP:  Reverse Order Processing.  This feature reverses the batch layout such that the end of the last piece still in the chuck and the length of material that historically was wasted as the stub length now can be used as a finished end on a piece that has a 90F programed as End 2 (provided the customer is willing to use the stock material's factory end).  Additionally, this pushes all the unused material on a length to the front of the stick.  There are three (3) triggers that enable this feature.  The first is a variable in the machine parameters section of PieceMaker and defined lower in this section.  The second is setting the ROP check box in the batch window.  Thirdly, setting the Auto-Load check box to true.  The variable value can be an integer between (as seen in the manual under user variables) between 29000 and 31999.  This value will appear in the G-Code as part of the load routine.  A value of zero (0) turns off the function.  Don't change this unless you are really getting serious about creating some special functions.  Current machines leave the factory set at 29000.  Depending on your batching needs and preferences you may turn it on and off.
In order to use the ROP feature you need to set the X-Value in the G54 WCS in the following way.  First jog the carriage all the way to the front of the machine then measure the distance from the appropriate hard stop in the chuck jaws to the torch center.  That value is then entered into PieceMaker as the "Stub Length".  When done correctly it would follow that the length of material in the machine after a straight cut off would match the DRO.  Said another way, when correctly done the end of the pipe that you cannot actually get to would be 0.0 on the DRO if you could get to it.  On machines with torches that adjust in the X-axis it would be correct to set the torch position to the smallest appropriate value for the material being processed and a convenient value to measure since the accuracy of this measurement is precisely the accuracy of the last piece cut when using the ROP feature.  Pay attention to where the material seats in the jaws.  Depending on purchased options the actual seat position may change with material diameter.  The measurement, the G54 offset, and the PieceMaker parameter "Stub Length" need to match for ROP to work.  Currently ROP only works at an all-or-nothing level in the batches.  If you want it on for any Stick it will be on for all the Sticks in that Batch.  For this reason, some operators just go through the process with only single stick Batches.  Sometimes this simplified approach pays other dividends as well.  When creating batches, one will notice that pieces with a 90F on the 2nd end appear in dark green and in later versions have a gear beside them.  For ROP to work the last piece on every stick in the batch obviously needs to be dark green, and have no features within the Stub Length

SIMUH:  Something is messed up here.

Z-Zero Setup:  see Part Height Setup