The Supra X-Carve CNC Project

The Supra X-Carve Mach 4 CNC Spindle / Laser & MPG Project

We are building this post to share the details and process of creating our own CNC Build. I share this build with a very good friend John, with his help, I created a getter done attitude and a pretty organized layout to the over all project, I was the student and he was the teacher on the electronics and a few electrical concerns I was ignorant of, mixed with  my old school career in the machining trade, turned out a well running CNC controller with Mach 4, a software of this age.  

I am putting this post together at my free time speed so stop back from time to time to keep up on the updates. I’ll be adding and or exchanging photos and wiring diagrams, then add a few videos covering areas that I feel need more sharing on and filling in the text needed to bring it all together. Thank you, Keith   

Here is an updated block diagram of our system, similar to the original one John created to help me get started in the right direction.

I was given an assortment of components, in trade for some machine work, to build or help build my own CNC controller, that’s how it all started! LOL, which after looking into / research, what I needed to accompany these items, I found some outdated and others no benefit. I decided on Mach 4 software after my google search from the used Warp 9 USS usb smoothstepper lead me to their website;  I also decided the better option was the ESS Ethernet smoothstepper, for my liking, I also like the looks of the Leadshine MX4660 to drive the motors and be a breakout board for control, relay, switches, probe and power needs. A hunch that I needed more breakout capabilities I also picked up a newer C10 breakout board, rather than using  the older unit I had in the collection, both would have worked, to run the laser and later wanting to add the MPG. In the end, we used the high speed water cooled spindle, the VFD, the same X, Y and Z motors and axis drive hardware, from the original collection of components.

Note: there are a lot of other choices and we are just sharing the path we took. 

After or about the same time I was waiting for my new components to arrive in the mail John made up the first block diagram as he researched the items I was planning to use.

I have enjoyed helping Keith upgrade his X-Carve. The original X-Carve control box was replaced with Mach4 CNC software and an MX4660 stepper driver. An Ethernet SmoothStepper interfaces the Mach4 software running on a PC to the MX4660 and a C10R10 parallel port breakout board.

The spindle motor was replaced with a water cooled 800 watt KL-800 CNC spindle motor and a VFD ( variable frequency drive).

In addition to 4 axes of stepper drive the MX4660 has 12 volt IO (Inputs and Outputs) for limit switches and general use. The MX4660 also controls the VFD.

The C10R10 board has 5 volt IO which was used for LASER PWM (pulse width modulation). Later an MPG (manual pulse generator) was added for manually positioning the X, Y and Z axes.

The documentation for the equipment  was often frustratingly incomplete and in some cases actually incorrect. Keith and I had to spend time experimenting to verify our guesses as to how it really worked. Our wiring diagrams were created before construction started and updated when changes or corrections were made. This made sure the final drawings represent what we built.

I have seen too many projects where wiring was done from the equipment’s typical application drawings and a few pencil scratches on paper. Later when repairs or changes are needed nobody knows for sure what they have.

Turn Wright Machine Works is about 1200 miles from my house so we communicated by email and phone. Most of the time Keith actually did the wiring as I suggested. (Inside joke) There was the occasional misunderstanding. The final result is good and we both learned along the way.

The Panel Arrangement 

The Power Panel

The Controller Panel

Here are the main up to date drawings for this project.