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Brother HS-300 on the way

Got my tune up tools today. The new(old stock) cooler and wire spool motor arrive Friday. Looks like I'm back on the mill until then, ran out of parts for the wire. Lets see if I remember how to turn it on :P
 

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Just finished testing the edge find and alignment circuits.

Edge find should be 310-350 ohms and mine is triggering at 321.

The alignment circuit is triggering at 105, which is good, it's specifying 100-120 ohms in the book.

Possible I can leave as is for now, I will check and see if there's a VR I can tune for the edge find and/or if cleaning cables for a third time does anything... Worse case, I could always put a VR in the circuit.
 

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USPS just dropped off the new(to me) spool motor (thanks @9warren9 ), first thing I noticed is the bearings on it are nice and tight and my old one is sloppy - I am wondering if it just needs a bearing job as that would probably be enough to mess up the feedback on the motor if it's hanging up. I'll keep it for future rebuild.

Replacement was plug and play, 5-10 min job. Hardest part was just being careful with the larger plug, it was stuck pretty good.
 

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New (to me) chiller did not arrive, says out for delivery but its too late now.. so guessing monday. My rigged up chiller is actually holding up great - I could probably clean it up, straighten the sheet metal and call it good.. but better safe than sorry.

It would mount right on the factory bolts on top of the pump dolly, but I don't want the heat in the shop.
 
If you can't stand the heat...get out of the kitchen

I had plenty of KP early on in my life, I'm over it :)

I like to keep it 72-74 if I can. Air compressor is outside, 20k btu window unit A/C stuck through the wall, and chiller hopefully will stay outside. I MIGHT try to stick it behind the mill and see if it bothers me or not.

Tempted to put newer fans in the wire to cut down on the noise, they are crazy loud.

Running the wire now, will mess with the x/y axis offsets/gain stuff with the decade box later. So far it looks like everything is in factory spec so I guess it's just me, and/or limitations of what it can do.

Procedure is pretty solid now, just put the part down, home the machine, go to start position (X0Y0), load the test square program for the pocket I want to cut, start the program, it will go to the starting hole.

I thread the wire, cut the square, adjust my offsets, & run the program. As long as I don't turn off the machine I can cut the other two pockets with out doing another square, but I usually do just to be safe.

So far my Y had not moved and my X was only off by .00095.

Also I have no idea why but since I messed with it I'm cutting faster?
1st pocket that usually was 3-3.5 hrs is about to drop a slug under 2 hrs(!)

Update: 2hrs 12 minutes, one wire break. Apparently this is due to me leaving 'Auto' off, on the 2nd pocket now, which is normally 4-5hrs. I'm leaving it off 'Auto' for now as well. I see more fine serrations on the rough this way, but not visible after skim.
2nd pocket was just a little under 4. The trade off was having to make a couple skim passes, but I think I can get it down to one skim or at least passable with one skim by leaving the right ammt of stock.

Should be able to save about 2-3 hrs per part. Might be able to knock our 2 a day, if all goes well.
 
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Still making good parts, and faster than the platers can keep up it seems..

Occasional wire break at the lower contact, probably due to the blocked lower contact coolant line, but you'd think being submerged would keep things happy.

Have not rigged up the alarm email/sms gadget just yet. Could use some sleep though, so might try to knock that out soon.
 
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I took small emery file to the lower contact to brush off some white powder (probably from having aluminum in the tank all the time) and last pocket ran no problem, 2hrs 26 minutes, ran so well I did not need a skim. On a new part now running my test square.

Also I unboxed the 'MySpool' notification device and gonna throw some rechargeable AAA's in it shortly and give it a go. I guess I'll tag off the circuit for the red light or if I can't find that, the 'error' light should do just fine. I was hoping for more options, but it's just a simple trigger for one thing. It's a start. I can also log into the security system from home and listen to the shop and hear if it's running. I supposed I could add a camera right on the display/tank. Ultimately I could capture the video signal from the monitor as well, but that's a bit extra, even for me.
 

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Test square done.. I was with in .0001 position even after being off all night, first time that has happened. I have started hitting e-stop before powering down, no idea if that does anything to brake it or even just temp engaging the brakes has cleaned them up.

It seems the more I flog this thing, the tighter it gets. I'm holding much better on rough passes and sometimes can skip the skim if I'm within .002 and no lines to clean up.

Also, going back to the myspool gadget.. it wants 3.5v via 3 AAA, however there appears to be a 24v terminal sitting in the cabinet unused (optional light or something) that I could bump down to 3.5v and then not need batteries. Also, instead of using a circuit to trip the alarm, I could use a photo sensor on the outside of the machine over the red light and this would let me use it on multiple machines.. but eh messy install.

I'll just tuck everything inside and be done with it. Probably will hook up a steady 3.5v psu though.

Update: the 24v terminal is actually the hook up for the optional 'patrol light' - I can put a 24v relay on this to trigger the device :)

I'm sure I can find power to pull for the batteries as well, but they are 'good for 500 messages' so will just throw some rechargeables in there for now.
 

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Ordered some goodies, going to tag off the 24v terminal to the patrol light to a 24v relay which will make the normally open , closed, and trip the device to signal me a text/email. I'll run it on batteries for now.

If I can use the first power relay I will do that, if not then the 1 channel relay should work, I just don't have an enclosure or mount for it.. maybe I need to finally get a 3d printer for this stuff.

1718565235435.png
 
Also, had my 3rd wire break today on the first pocket, tried different nozzle flushing conditions but that does not seem to be the problem.

I am going to run at 4 instead of 3 to speed the wire through a little faster, ultimately I think it's the lower contact flushing situation that is the problem as that is where the breaks are happening after a 'zap' noise. Same thing the upper was doing before I realized it was not getting water. Wish I had an easy fix for the lower brush with out tearing it all down. I can't find where the water is supposed to be coming from or I'd try chasing some wire in there to break up the crud.

First pocket just finished, amazingly I was dead nuts on Y and only off .0002 on X. I left the position offsets alone, adjusted wire offset 1 to 950 and 2 to 500.

Trying to find a good balance with the jets as well so the wire is not tapering, yet still flushing out the crud. A good indicator of that is when I pull the slug, I can see if the there's brown powder at the middle, bottom or not at all. If the flushing pressure is equal, its in the middle, if not at all, then I had good top flushing pressure, but also only top pressure on the wire and it tappers a bit in the rough.

My solution is to leave more material for finish pass. Though if sometimes I get it just right.. I don't need a finish. How I'm doing this, not entirely sure yet :) Trying one thing at a time to find a happy middle ground. I don't mind if it's not perfect as long as I'm in tolerance and not breaking wires, speed is the most important factor atm. Customer wants these asap.
 
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Hmm.. I am realizing I will need more than one wire emd for doing these parts in the future.. the shortest path may be to grab the other qty 2 of the same model (HS-300) that I was previously offered, go through them, make the same fixture and run all 3 at the same time.. still does not get me auto threading or any of the other goodies though, but does triple my production for a very low investment.
 
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Nothing new to report, still running flat out. Have not had time to shut it off to wire up the new gadgets, maybe once get a few more out the door. Was getting wire breaks like crazy yesterday, nothing yet today, same settings. Seems to be almost moody!

I did contact the guy that had the other two HS300's I was offered last year, they are still available so I'm considering. I also found a dirt cheap HS-350(!) it appears not to be submersive though, has plexiglass walls where the doors would go. Still has the fill/run selector for coolant however. Adds U/V axis to the top head and is a different control OS. Almost the same otherwise control panel etc. very similar. Can't seem to find much on it at all online.
 
The random wire breaks (must be random, nothing changes) make me wish I had AWT. I am hoping when I can clear the lower brush jet that helps. I've got another 2 weeks of work backed up before I can really afford to take anything apart.
Would be nice to load more than 1 part at a time too :) This part takes up almost the entire working travel. I can't complain too much. Making really good parts, just slow and have to baby sit.
 
Going to keep my eyes open for a Brother with AWF.. passing on the HS-350 , gave the info to another shop. Might consider the two other HS-300's I think one needs a spool motor (just replaced mine) so maybe that's a common fault point. Running until daylight again then hitting up the platers to see if my last drop is done, might do a partial drop with what I have done, come back and sleep a couple hours then hook up my txt notification goodies, load up a part - slow it down a little and leave it running while I get some zzz.
 
Hi again BadTad:
You wrote:
"still does not get me auto threading "
and
"Going to keep my eyes open for a Brother with AWF"
You have never cursed like you will the first time the autothreader fails, breaks the wire above the upper guide, backfeeds past the powder brake roller and spills the whole goddam spool on the floor.

I say this as a cautionary tale about older autothreaders...as I mentioned I had a Sodick A320 from 1996 and it had a state of the art (for its day) mechanically fed Rube Goldberg contraption on it that would thread successfully maybe 50 % of the time, and only through a wire start hole...not through the kerf.
In 2011, I replaced it with a servomotor fed Chmer machine whose claim to fame at the time was "best autothreader on the market" and it would successfully thread submerged through 4" of material into the kerf...they bragged on that capability with unrestrained enthusiasm, and compared to the "Slow Dick" it truly was revolutionary.

This is to point out that threader technology changed radically, apparently around 2010 or so...I believe pretty much everybody has abandoned the old system by now, so when you go looking for a better machine, please do take this into account if a reliable autothreader is a major part of your wish list.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
 
Hi again BadTad:
You wrote:
"still does not get me auto threading "
and
"Going to keep my eyes open for a Brother with AWF"
You have never cursed like you will the first time the autothreader fails, breaks the wire above the upper guide, backfeeds past the powder brake roller and spills the whole goddam spool on the floor.

I say this as a cautionary tale about older autothreaders...as I mentioned I had a Sodick A320 from 1996 and it had a state of the art (for its day) mechanically fed Rube Goldberg contraption on it that would thread successfully maybe 50 % of the time, and only through a wire start hole...not through the kerf.
In 2011, I replaced it with a servomotor fed Chmer machine whose claim to fame at the time was "best autothreader on the market" and it would successfully thread submerged through 4" of material into the kerf...they bragged on that capability with unrestrained enthusiasm, and compared to the "Slow Dick" it truly was revolutionary.

This is to point out that threader technology changed radically, apparently around 2010 or so...I believe pretty much everybody has abandoned the old system by now, so when you go looking for a better machine, please do take this into account if a reliable autothreader is a major part of your wish list.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
Interesting! I would need to reliably thread and probably retread thru 3-4" thick material on a regular basis.

Mayhaps I shall need to be more picky on my future choices, thank you for your continued input it is most valued.

I just finished my first semi-lights out run. Set everything up for the last pocket, slowed it down a little and set an alarm on my phone. Took off my boots, covered up the window with the yard light and slept on the office couch while it ran.

Woke up just in time to throw a clamp on the slug. Skimmed, pulled the part, cleaned up and just got home around 0700 hrs.

Going to sleep a couple hrs and then get ready for a drop at the platers.
 
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Since Marcus brought up Chmer, I would actually recommend one of those if you ever go on the hunt for a newer used machine. I would normally not recommend them to someone who wasn't super familiar with EDM and not afraid to get their hands dirty, but I think you've shown that you are willing to tackle some crazy projects. They are cheaper and not as plug and play as some of the more expensive machines in terms of developed technology, but their threaders are fairly reliable (post 2008 or so) and they are pretty easy machines to work on. Very much a basic workhorse machine, which sounds like what you need.
 
Hi Waakzaamheid:
Yeah, I'm pretty happy with mine...it's been bulletproof, but it's definitely a Chevy, not a Cadillac.
Mine cost just under a hundred grand, brand spankin' new in 2011 (That's Canadian dollars) and I spent another thirty to get a rotary axis on it.

This thing is built like a tank...big beefy castings and rails and ballscrews.
It was as accurate as I could measure with a granite square and a tenths clock when I got it and would interpolate a hole within a tenth.
It can't quite do that anymore but it's done a lot of work for me, including some moderately fussy work.
So it is a decent to good machine, and I have had very little trouble with it over the 13 years I've had it.

So yeah, you're right...basic workhorse.
But those entertaining and frustrating Chinglish manuals are in a league of their own...I still don't know how to do some things on it, and I've driven it daily for 13 years now.
I feel like the guy with the VCR (remember those?) who cannot figure out how to set the day and time, so it just blinks 12:00 forever.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
 
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Marcus,

I'm very familiar with them. At one point we had around 9(?) of them in the shop. We eventually moved onto standardizing on Fanuc machines. I believe we were actually the first shop to buy one from EDM Network back in 1998 or so.

But yea, those manuals are something else. The corner control is almost useless. I hate how easy it is to drain out the clean tank in bad flushing conditions, especially on the larger machines where I don't think they sized the water tanks large enough. And same as you I'm pretty sure there was stuff in the control that I never figured out. But I've dealt with dumber things on other machines.

Back in the early 2000s they were a hell of a bargain. It seems nowadays the prices have come up to be more equivalent with some of the bigger machine makers. I don't think I would pick one over a new Fanuc or Makino for the same price (the Makino U3 we bought in 2020 cost us 90k). But for a used workhorse machine I think it could be ideal.
 








 
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