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Mach4 Plasma Users Guide



1. Main Screen Plasma Functions

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  • Torch Height Control Toggle - This switch will turn on or off all THC functionality (Z-axis height will be modulated by the Torch Height Controller to achieve the Target Voltage when toggle is "On").

  • Torch Toggle - This switch will turn the torch on or off.

  • THC Up Indicator Light - This indicator will be illuminated when the Torch Height Controller is commanding positive Z-axis motion.

  • THC Down Indicator Light - This indicator will be illuminated when the Torch Height Controller is commanding negative Z-axis motion.

  • THC Inhibited Indicator Light - This indicator will be illuminated when THC motion is currently being inhibited by one or more anti-dive settingsanti-dive settings.

  • Actual Tip Voltage - This read out will display the current arc voltage during plasma cutting.

  • Target Tip Voltage - This read out will display the target tip voltage manually set by the user or set by the G-Code program. This is the voltage THC motion will modulate Z-axis height to achieve. New target values may be typed into this box or adjusted with the "+" or "-" arrow.

  • Current Pierces - This readout will display the number of "torch on" events that have been initiated since the count was last reset.

  • Pierces Limit - This readout will display the desired pierce limit. When "Current Pierces" is equal to the "Pierces Limit" value the indicator light will be illuminated. New values may be typed into this box. The primary function of this limit is for consumable life tracking.

  • Reset Pierce Counter - This button resets the Current Pierce count. When used for consumable life tracking this button should be pressed after a consumable change.



2. THC Anti-Dive Functions

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This menu can be accessed by selecting the "THC Anti-Dive" tab (bottom left of Mach4 interface). Anti-dive settings are used to handle exception cases during THC movement, i.e. cutting over voids, cutting into corners, leading out of interior profiles etc.

  • Time Delay Anti-Dive - Time Delay anti-dive will pause THC motion for a specified amount of time after a plasma arc is initiated.

    • Time Delay Anti-Dive Toggle - This switch will enable or disable Time Delay anti-dive functionality. When disabled there will be no delay in THC response after arc initiation.

    • Delay After Arc OK Time Setting - This value specifies the amount of time (in seconds) to delay THC functionality after the Arc OK signal is received from the plasma supply. New values may be typed directly into this box.

    • Time Delay Anti-Dive Inhibiting THC Indicator Light - This indicator will be illuminated if Time Delay anti-dive is currently inhibiting THC motion.

  • M62/M63 Anti-Dive - M62/M63 anti-dive turns THC functionality on when a M62P4 is executed and off when a M63P4 is executed. These M codes can be generated by your CAM software. (Using Sheetcam with the AvidCNC post processor is recommended)

    • M62/M63 Anti-Dive Inhibiting TCH Indicator Light - This indicator will be illuminated if M62/M63 anti-dive is currently inhibiting THC motion.
  • Velocity Based Anti-Dive - Velocity Based anti-dive will prevent THC motion when the actual X-Y velocity of the machine is less than the specified percentage of the current commanded feedrate.

    • Velocity Based Anti-Dive Toggle - This switch will enable or disable Velocity Based anti-dive functionality. When disabled THC motion will be allowed at any machine velocity.

    • % of Commanded Feedrate Setting - This value specifies the percentage of the commanded feedrate the machine must achieve to enable THC motion. New values may be typed directly into this box.

    • Velocity Based Anti-Dive Inhibiting THC Indicated Light - This indicated will be illuminated if Velocity Based anti-dive is currently inhibiting THC motion.

  • Voltage Based Anti-Dive - Voltage Based anti-dive will prevent THC motion when the actual voltage and target voltage are too dissimilar.

    • Voltage Based Anti-Dive Toggle - This Switch will enable or disable Voltage Based anti-dive functionality.

    • ms of ATV (Avg Tip Volts) buffer - This value specifies the number of milliseconds which will be used for the tip volt rolling average calculation. 800 milliseconds is the maximum value. As this value is increased the number of recorded tip volt values which will be used for the rolling average is increased, which will make the average slower to respond to tip volt variation. 800 is the recommended setting. New values may be typed directly into this box.

    • % change in ATV that activates Voltage-Based Anti-Dive - This value specifies the percent difference between the rolling average (ATV) voltage and the most recent actual tip voltage which will engage Voltage Based anti-dive. New values may be typed directly into this box.

    • % THC Response when Voltage-Based Anti-Dive is Active - This value specifies the percent of full THC motion velocity allowed when Velocity Based anti-dive is inhibiting THC motion. Setting this value to 0 will disable THC motion when Voltage-Based anti-dive is active. The recommended setting is 0. New values may be typed directly into this box.

    • Disable THC if ATV is XXXX V Above Target Tip Volts - This value specifies an upper limit for the difference between ATV and target tip voltage. If the rolling average voltage is greater than this value plus the target tip voltage the THC motion will be inhibited. New values may be typed directly into this box.

    • Disable THC if ATV is XXXX V Below Target Tip Volts - This value specifies an lower limit for the difference between ATV and target tip voltage. If the rolling average voltage is less than the target tip voltage minus this value the THC motion will be inhibited. New values may be typed directly into this box.

  • Save as Default Anti-Dive Settings Button - This button will save the current THC anti-dive settings as set in the Mach4 main screen interface as the default THC settings. When Mach4 is closed and reopened these default THC anti-dive settings will be loaded. If you adjust the THC settings and do not save them as the default, they will return to the saved defaults on restart.

  • Restore Default Anti-Dive Settings Button - This button will change the current THC anti-dive settings to the saved default settings.



3. Logging and Diagnostics

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This menu can be accessed by selecting the "Diagnostics" tab (bottom left of Mach4 interface). The indicator lights on the left are generic to the Mach4 Avid CNC screenset and are described in more detail in the Mach4 Users GuideMach4 Users Guide.

TMC3in1 Status - The TMC3in1 is the hardware responsible for all Torch Height Control functionality. The indicator lights in this section will display the current status of the TMC3in1 hardware.

  • Active Communications - This indicator will be illuminated when the TMC3in1 hardware and the TMC3in1 Mach4 plugin are communicating correctly.

  • No Communications - This indicator will be illuminated when the TMC3in1 hardware is not currently communicating with the TMC3in1 Mach4 plugin. This will be the case when mach4 is in a Disabled state.

  • Updating Firmware - This indicator will be illuminated when the TMC3in1 is going through a firmware update. While this indicator is on, the TMC3in1 cannot output THC movement commands and programs should not be executed.

THC Logging - The TMC3in1 plugin is capable of creating a CSV format log file which will record the status of the TMC3in1 hardware during cutting operations. This can be useful for diagnostics purposes if any issues arise. It can be challenging to interpret all variables present during cutting operations as the duration of the various anti-dive states and THC motion commands may be very short. This allows for analysis post operation, either with Excel type software or with the THC Log AnalyzerTHC Log Analyzer software.

  • THC Logging Toggle - This switch enables or disables logging functionality. When the logging is enabled, a new log file will be created when Mach4 is put into an "enabled" state. The file is completed and saved to the TMC3in1 folder (C:\Mach4Hobby\TMC3in1) when Mach4 is then put into the "disabled" state. In order to log a plasma operation it is recommended you turn THC Logging on, mark the log file, enable Mach4, and press cycle start. Then upon completion of the GCode program, mark the log file again and disable to save the log file.

  • Mark Log File Button - This button creates a marker at the current time in the active log file (Mach4 must be in the "enabled state") which can help to locate the current cut or moment during a cut in an otherwise large log file.