MechMate CNC Router Forum

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-   -   Mechmate "Junior", table and gantry welded - Portland,OR (

KenC Thu 28 January 2010 19:46

Krash, good progree, you will get there in no time.

on the EMC2 front, have a look here

you will have the motors singing in no time.

kahn Thu 03 June 2010 15:56

Serveral months since update? Did you give up?

JasonC Sat 24 September 2011 11:20

You sound like me. I feel your pain!


Sherman McCoy Mon 07 April 2014 17:25

After a 4 year hiatus, I'm back at it
OK, well, marriage, a child, and 4 years in the Gulf earning a salary made for an unavoidable interruption in my project. It sounds like I won't qualify for the longest build, but I still have time.

I dragged everything out of storage and have moved it to my shop and am in the middle of yet another round of parts shopping*. The first thing I noticed(now that its not stored in the living room of my apartment) is how small the table is. Then on closer inspection, I see RUST!. Should have painted more before I left. I'll have pics and an update on progress soon now that I'm gainfully unemployed.

*How does anybody do a 3 week build? I've probably spent three weeks of my life just ordering parts! Just snatched 5ft of cable chain off E-bay...:)

darren salyer Mon 07 April 2014 19:45

Welcome back, Krasch!!

sailfl Mon 07 April 2014 21:27


It is not how long it takes to build the machine but how well it cuts when you get done that matters.

Hang in there, you will get it done and after looking at the bridge you built, I have a feeling that it will be a well built machine.

Good luck!

Sherman McCoy Wed 23 April 2014 10:29

The quick and dirty router mount
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I'm making great progress although my pace would have me fired if I worked at a flat rate. With so many items to work on, it's hard to focus on any one. I'm working on individual components and trying to get one completed. With that in mind, I'm tackling the z-slide. I finished tapping the holes, mounted the rack, made an extra long bracket for the compression spring(must have ordered the wrong length), and am making a temporary router bracket out of box tubing and hose clamps. I would have made something prettier on the milling machine I just bought, but it is DOA at the moment, so I may actually make that my first Mechmate project like some others have done.

I took the opportunity to try riv-nuts for the cable chain mounts, rather than use self tapping screws. It probably wouldn't working for heavier loads, but 5/16" nuts seem pretty solid. I mounted the brackets for 5' of cable chain on the gantry(seems a little long), and need to find some more for the table.

HomeMadeCnc Wed 23 April 2014 10:49

Looking good, keep going. This machine will change your life.

Sherman McCoy Thu 24 April 2014 21:26

Whipping out a CNC Control Box like I new what I was doing
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The mechanical part of the machine is coming together and I'm confident I can get that part done. That forces me to take another run at the only insurmountable hurdle in my life - the control box. The two components that cause me the biggest problem currently are the contactor and the SSR to the router. Worst case, if I can get confidence the contactor is sorted, I could just toss the SSR and plug the router into 115v AC and be done with it.

Using the Americas 115v single phase Drawing 10 70 115 that I hope is still active, I've elimininated all the non-essential parts, and I come up with my "real world" version of what I think it should be (seen below) relying substantially on help getting it wired this far from a friend who is an Electrical Engineer. We actually plugged it in and the contactor makes a loud clicking noise like its switching something. Still the contactor is mystifying due to the fact it has a lot more contacts with different identifiers than the MM schematic indicates, and is way more complicated than an average person(me) can comprehend.

The router SSR looks somewhat more intuitive - it sure has fewer places to put wires. My guess is that the L1 wire from the router attaches to Output contact #1 and then I jam another wire into the L1(T1?) port on the Contactor and run it to Output contact #2 on the SSR. The low voltage Inputs go to the BOB? a pushbutton?

Reading posts from others for months has brought me no closer to a solution, neither has the official literature. If anybody wants to share their wisdom, or at least point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it.

rcboats1 Fri 25 April 2014 00:23

Metalhead Mike made a video of the correct way to connect the contactor. Check with him to see if he will share it with you. I know it helped me understand how it works.

Sherman McCoy Fri 25 April 2014 02:21

A picture in plain English
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Thanks Kelly for the heads up. I've found some videos on You Tube, but none that go into enough detail. I'll PM Mike.

I just found a decent picture explanation of SSR's: which solves that issue. The picture shows that the signal comes from the BOB as I suspected. On my PMDX-122, it looks like the J7 pinout.

Sherman McCoy Mon 12 May 2014 17:49

Terminal Blocks
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I broke a tap on the x-rail rack, and decided to shift gears while I wait for the tap extractor to arrive in the mail. I've been studying what i could find online about terminal blocks, and it looks like it could be the subject of a whole tutorial. Using these efficiently, I avoid having to jam multiple wires into one terminal - a serious no-no I'm told.I do this by taking one wire from the PS and connecting 4 terminal blocks with a "jumper". I then run a wire to each gecko. I used the same approach for wiring the gecko ground terminal.

By perusing the IMO terminal block catalog, I also found a more elegant way to incorporate fuses using a fuse block terminal. This removes clutter that comes from using a floating fuse connector or non-din rail alternative.

dbinokc Mon 12 May 2014 21:32

I used the DIN fuse blocks on my machine as well. They are quite nice. There are also earth grounding terminal blocks. I found these at
Can save having to run earth ground wires all over the control panel.

MetalHead Tue 13 May 2014 05:26

Video 19.95 plus shipping. It shows how to get the latch circuit to work and explains how the coil works.

smreish Tue 13 May 2014 08:54 is my source for all those wonderful things!

Sherman McCoy Tue 13 May 2014 10:27

Isn't it time for a complete Control Box Tutorial?
Thanks Mike, I admire your entrepreneurial spirit. I think what would be revolutionary is if you did a complete start-to-finish tutorial on how to build a control box. I have built several PC's using a tutorial and was very satisfied I understood what I was doing. 4 years into reading posts on MechMate I'm still not there yet.

I am almost finished with what "I think" is the correct approach, but I don't yet have the enthusiasm to flip the switch and potentially witness several thousand dollars of expensive electronics get fried because I miswired some 115v connection. A few hours spent creating a decent $100 tutorial might increase the number of Mechmates completed from 118 into 1018 Mechmates,or maybe ten thousand and eighteen.

Sherman McCoy Tue 27 May 2014 13:09

Kitchen Table project now actually on Kitchen Table
Nobody in my family is eating until I get this figured. I have questions:

1) I'm connecting the control signal for the SSR to the router. The control signal side of the SSR says it needs to be connected to 12VDC (+ and -). The PMDX 122 User's manual lists J7 as the "Relay Contact Connector" and has THREE pins-

Clearly, none of these match the SSR, but this is the Relay Contact Connector. I have no confidence in this, but I'm pretty sure the SSR is a normally closed connection, so I guess I could attach the wires to a and b, but have no idea which way.

Alternatively, J8, which is identified as a "control output connector" HAS SIX pins-
a)gnd - connected to PSU gnd
b)+12v - connected to PSU +12v
f)+5v (says it can be an output for external sensor power OR an imput)

A random schematic I printed several years ago from the MM site indicates I should use pin f)"+5v" and e)"pin 14" for the "+" and "-" terminals respectively on the SSR. Is that possible?

Next, we have the jumpers. Since I'm using Gecko 203V's, I'm told in the PMDX 122 handbook to focus on JP1,JP2,JP3, and JP5. How I have set them:

JP1: set to jump 1 to 2(+5v to 2-9com) to power the Geckos.
JP2: set to jump 1 to 2(always to 2-9 enable) since I am not using e-stops, charge pump, or fault circuits
JP3: This one I don't really understand. I jumped 1 to 2(not e-stop/fault to Output enabled) because I want to ignore the charge pump.
JP5: set to jump 1 to 2(out to dir) because I think the data buffers are output from the PC, and the other options have a warning attached.

I think I'm OK here, but the PMDX manual is written in Greek, so a heads up if I made an error would be great.

pblackburn Tue 27 May 2014 18:06

They have the manual in english on their site

Sherman McCoy Tue 27 May 2014 18:21

Thanks Pete. by "Greek", I meant the PMDX-122 manual I have is unintelligible. Since you were kind enough to respond, I looked at your build thread and noticed you used a PMDX-126. It looks like your control output connector(J8 on the PMDX 122) is J6. Did you use that to connect the Solid State Relay for the router? If so, did you use pin #1(+5v) and #3(parallel port pin 14) for your connection? An answer would solve one of my problems.

pblackburn Tue 27 May 2014 18:32

I know what you meant. I had to pick a little. Sorry, I know it can be frustrating. I used a different setup than the one supplied on the prints. Give me a minute send you a PM

Sherman McCoy Tue 27 May 2014 20:32

No worries. I'm just trying to make some sawdust before I have to get a job again and move things back into storage for another 4 years.

I've clearly made an error on my jumpers. I saw one of Gerald's threads on jumper settings and he clearly indicates that for Gecko 203V's I need to move JP1 down so I can jump 2 to 3(pin2-9 to gnd), which makes sense since I already have juice from the PSU. I ignored the footnote and mistakenly followed the image in the thread which is only for 202's.

Sherman McCoy Thu 29 May 2014 09:04

Thank God for PMDX customer support!
I got a quick response from PMDX support regarding the proper pinout for the router.

"You can connect either the pin 14 or pin 16 logic signal output to the "+"
terminal of the SSR and GND to the "-" of the SSR."

So J8 it is! I'm moving the ball down the field!

Sherman McCoy Thu 29 May 2014 15:22

Going Blind looking at Circuit Diagrams
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This is what It looks like so far. My concern now is that I need some more adroitly placed fuses although I'm not sure where. I'm also a little scared about grounding after reading the Power Mains thread in the Archives. If anybody sees obvious flaws, please let me know.

Tokamak Thu 29 May 2014 16:00


Your router more that likely has 2 wires coming out of it. One is Hot (L1) and one is Neutral (Ret). You show one wire from the SSR and one wire to ground. NOT correct. The SSR supplies the power to the router and the other wire returns to the Neutral to complete the circuit.


pblackburn Thu 29 May 2014 16:25

The image is a little hard on the eyes?

Fusing is up to the builder and designer

This appears to be 120VAC wiring based on the connection of the power supply connections.

The color of the wiring diagram should follow NEC and NFPA color standards.

A start stop station is preferred to engage a main line contactor but is not required. It removes the arcing from the disconnect switch and puts it to the contactor tips where it is preferred to happen.

You should have a fuse block between the disconnect and your contactor.

The contactor you have looks like a 16A IEC contactor. The contact tips on an IEC are really small. If you have problems later on with excess current draw from arcing on the contact tips and an increase in heat on the tips (over 90C), purchase a CU40 to replace it. It will drastically improve the life of the contactor.

If you fuse before any transformer, make sure it is a time delay supplemental fuse not an instant acting as the inrush to the transformer will blow the instant acting fuses.

A fuse for the DC supply to the drives before the drive distribution block. I would not recommend fusing before the individual drives but if you do, fuse each Axis not each Drive. One for X and B, one for Y and one for Z. DC will tend to pull down when problems occur. Shorting can occur and take out the fuse but it is rare. Most machines I have worked on only fuse the DC output and not the individual branch circuits.

A fuse or supplemental circuit breaker for the router would be a nice addition to stop a dead short from tripping your mains.

The router should be a 3 wire device. Where is the neutral?

Sherman McCoy Thu 29 May 2014 23:49

Wow! Thanks Pete and John for the response. I'll get on those suggestions. I plain forgot to draw the Neutral wire from the router to the contactor. I'll update things and see if I can improve the drawing for clarity for a final evaluation.

Sherman McCoy Sun 08 June 2014 18:25

Well, that was fun.
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I finally gathered the courage to throw the switch on my router control panel and smoke immediately started flowing from the area where the green wires(arrow in photo) connect to the rectifier. I'm assuming I will need a new PSU, but am not exactly sure why this happened.

pblackburn Sun 08 June 2014 18:38

Trapping the smoke can be difficult....

This is a 120V connected power supply?

pblackburn Sun 08 June 2014 18:42

A good rule of thumb on wiring. Don't wire everything up and test all at one time but rather do in sections.

dbinokc Sun 08 June 2014 20:08

It is a good idea to to verify all voltages with a multimeter before hooking up anything to a power supply for the first time. There is no way of knowing what could be there until it is verified with a multimeter.

A new PSU may not be necessary. However you may need to replace the bridge rectifier. The big power supply is a pretty basic. Just a transformer, bridge rectifier and filtering caps.

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