2001 Camtech Routermaster Z7 Retro Fit
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  1. #1
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    Default 2001 Camtech Routermaster Z7 Retro Fit

    Hello,

    I bought a Camtech Routermaster Z7 several years ago, not knowing if it worked. I had the machine up an running at one time but now the monitor stays black. This old computer has to go! I'd like to update the machine so that it will run on current software. Long story short, I was told a couple years ago that Bob Campbell designed a "black box" (controller, I assume). But his website (and email) are not working now.

    I've had a couple "professionals" charge me for the advice of "You can't fix this machine, just buy a new one". I'm not a genius but this machine worked before so I know it can work again. If I can't update it then I at least want to get it working again from the old software on a more reliable computer. If I can completely rebuild and renew this machine I would be very happy!!!

    There's so much info out there, I don't even know where to start since this machine is so old. Any advice on what to do(or not do), how to do it, where to go(or not to go) would be most appreciated. Thanks so much!!!

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    First some details.

    Servos or steppers?

    Proprietary control or separate PC?

    If PC then what OS did it boot to?

    Name of controlling software?

    What drives does it use?

    The more details you give the easier to help.

    Retro fitters need the details.

    Ed.

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    Hi Ed,

    Thanks for the quick response. I don't know the answers to most of those questions. I'm pretty sure the operating system is Win98. There are two programs that run the machine. One is WINCNC (g-code?) and the other is TPCWin (toolpathing), which run on a desktop PC.

    I designed a "wireframe" drawing in CorelDraw and put the file on a floppy disc. Then I put the floppy into the desktop, organized the cut in TPCWin then sent the cut to WINCNC. The machine has a motor controller, I had to set the router speed before I started the cut.

    The computer is old and has a serial cable that connects the PC to the control box.

    I hope that helps! -Thanks!

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    I think you are looking for Gary Campbell, he is active on at least several forums, Sawmill Creek and the Centroid forum. He does a lot of Centroid conversions now as well as another that I'm not familiar with.

    I would suggest you investigate either Centroid Acorn if you have steppers, or can use steppers, and Centroid Oak if you have servos. Your machine is 20 years old, so you might need/want to replace the axis motors as 20 year old stuff is going to be at the end of it's useful life anyway.

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    Need pics of servo and drive name plates. Pics tell a lot. Was it accurate when it ran? There are ways to get it going. Does it have a tool changer?
    The "industrial PC" in my Weeke point to point crapped out. Stiles wanted $14,000.00 for a new "industrial PC". And long lead time to fix it. I took the hard drive from the dead PC and put it in and old Dell desktop. Put the PC into the enclosure, plugged in the serial port, back in business.

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    Brian,
    Thanks for the info, I'll check out Gary Campbell and Centriod.

    Scruffy887,
    I thought about getting a hard drive enclosure with a usb connection so I could use a more up to date (and reliable) computer, just not sure if there would be any problems with the old hard drive (and Win98) communicating with the new computer's components. Otherwise, I was thinking of doing the same thing you did. I'm going to get pics and try to look up the motors online to see if they're stepper or servo. No tool changer. I'd eventually like to sell this machine so I'll probably have to get all new hardware and software anyway. And new drive motors as Brian suggested. I just wanted to make sure it worked before I invested in that. I did have it up and running, then it sat for 2 years. I cut 3 or 4 small things and it seemed accurate but I'm new to this stuff so I might not know what inaccurate is.

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    Entry level AXYZ machine made in Canada. Open loop DC steppers would be my guess. Used by sign shops.

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    That's right. AXYZ bought Camtech several years ago. It has been a challenge getting info on this machine because they want to sell a new one. I did manage to get a couple documents though. Instructions on using the software and motor controller. And yes, I bought it from a sign shop intending to build signs myself. They do rebuilds but said this one is too old. I can do the work if I can just get the right parts, the RIGHT parts. Which I'm not confident doing. Once I confirm whether the motors are steppers or servos I'll check out Centroid. Do you have any advice before I contact them? Thanks so much for your help!

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    Servos are almost certainly open loop DC stepper servos. Have no fear. Look on the centroid site. They have a control that has direct connection (I think) to DC servos. My caution is that a closed loop encoder may be required with that retro. Do not know.
    It is also possible to buy the Centroid Acorn, Oak, or ??? and buy servo motors and power supplies from Amazon. I have played with these. These parts are very cost effective for a router.
    If the iron is good, decide if you want to make it make money for you. Or find a marina that needs a heavy mooring weight.

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    LOL, thanks again for all your help. I'll call Centroid and see what they say.

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    DC motors with brushes are servo motors, with some sort of tachometer or resolver feedback for closed loop operation. Steppers are steppers... they have no feedback loops (generally, although they now have hybrid steppers with closed loop feedback.

    As old as this machine is, I'd bet on steppers. You just need to read a label and see if they are Nema 34 or whatever and you can size appropriate steppers and go from there. With Acorn, I think you'd be looking at about $2k total with computer, steppers, drives and such. More money if you go Oak and servos and more money again if you go to All in One DC Servos system. That's what I have on my CNC mill that I retrofitted. I run stepper system on my CNC router, although I may upgrade to Acorn from the crap UCCNC software it uses now.

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    Brian, I still haven't been able to get the pics of the motors. The machine is in a different location. What's the difference in the 3 options you listed? I've messaged Centriod but the more I know when I talk to them the better. The $2k you mentioned doesn't include the controller does it? I was expecting more like $5,000 just for the controller (whatever that comes with), then the cost of the motors and new software. -Thanks

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    Centroid recently changed their fees, so I'm not up on all of it, but here is a web page that lists some of the differences and prices: CENTROID CNC controls,CNC Milling Machines,CNC Lathes,CNC Routers,5 Axis CNC Cylinder Head Porting Machines,CNC Retrofits. Digitizing, Automatic Tool Changers, Probes, CNC Rotary Tables, Conversational Programming, Auto Tool Measurement.

    With Acorn or Oak, you have to have axis drives, so that adds cost, with Allin1DC the unit comes with 3 axis drives, which on a router might not be enough as they usually use two motors for the Y axis. You can add extra drives for that and a fourth axis is necessary, but it's not cheap.

    You will still need a new computer to run the software and control the machine. I used a Lenovo Tiny PC and a 22" ELO touch screen, and added a keyboard with a track pad and a wireless MPG. Works fantastic and brought my old 1992 milling machine back to current capabilities and reliable operation.

    Talk to the folks at Centroid, they have a lot of experience and can help you find the right options.

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    Thanks Brian, Centroid has already responded to me, I just have to get to the machine to get photos of the motors. You and Scruffy887 have been a huge help! Thank you both so much!!!

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    I just did a centroid retrofit also and was very happy with that. I used the allinonedc. I may try masso at some point in the future but I like the centroid interface.


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