Spindle and rotary axis additions

@mollysaynavong mollysaynavongSienci Moderator
I luck up on this comment that fits my very same dilemma. The rotary axis and while I can find so many solutions in various venues for various other brands, when I come to the SIENCI website(because I decide the Longmill will be my equipment), I see ZERO when it comes to the 4th axis! …and that ties into the software that drives the machine from the CAM to the Sender to the Controller Interface code, and the type controller that is used(I think ARDUINO? for the Longmill?, but which, what power, what compatibility, what flexibility?, is an upgraded version needed?) I am rather set on acquiring Vectric ASPIRE(don’t know if it even will accommodate a 4th axis?)
Can you line me up with a 4th axis solution? now, ON THE Longmill MK2! I cannot wait on maybes or in the works type responses unless there is a strongly determined near ETA!
If you check the Carvera CNC, there is a minuscule 4th rotary axis… useless to me, so I cannot go with the Carvera… I need a full width device with at least an 18" capacity.
I believe the standard under $500 unit that is posted all over the Internet is the(a) solution… will it work with the MK2? with what other pieces(software/controller, etc?)
I need a precise roadmap specifically for the Longmill MK2! Am I asking for too much?

I am not with Sienci so this is not an official response but I wanted to let you know that I am able to use a rotary with my LongMill MK1. The kind of rotary for a laser not for the router. While not officially supported I was able to disconnect my X axis and use the X axis output to drive a SainSmart Genmitsu rotary. It’s smaller than what you mentioned but it works. I had to remake the wire from the X axis output to the rotary making sure that the wires were connected correctly to the stepper motor.

Good luck and welcome to the forum @NIQ .

EDIT: You can find some info on the LongBoard here.

Your reply is very valuable.
If I may impose… and have you confirm 3 points:
I had no idea what Longboard meant… I plugged that in the search box and it took me to the Sienci documents that spell out all the technical stuff… so I know now this is the master controller,
**** and I suspect when they refer to the computer they mean the ARDUINO?
…as I don’t think the PC or laptop has any say-so once the gCode has been fed to the controller? (unless run via the no good MACH3-4)
While I was reading thru that, I was made aware of the Auto Zero Touch Plate…
**** Do you use that? and happen to know if it will work with the rotary axis…?
…as a noob, I can only sense that the measurement would have to be taken off the head or tail stock using the Zonly probe corner(back side) and the offset entered in the settings…

Yes the LongBoard is the board for the LongMill and it has an Arduino UNO as the “brain”. As far as I know the only modification to the g-code that can be made on the fly is feed rate and speed if you have a spindle. The speed of the router has to be set manually. This is assuming you use gSender which is Sienci’s g-code sender. Info on gSender is here.

I have the original touch plate not the auto-zero one. I have never used it with the rotary. As you can see from the photo of my rotary it’s the kind that can only be used with the laser. Just wanted to clarify that. To zero I put the rotary under the Laser, rotated 90 degrees from the photo, with the middle of the object directly under the laser. Then I use the ‘focus block’ to set the focal distance of the laser.

I would like to try a 4th axis like this photo in the future. I think this kind could be used with the laser and the router.

I think/hope I answered your 3 points. If not I’m happy to answer any questions that I can.

Yes you have answered my questions and then some.
If all this continues to progress, I will more than likely be using the very rotational axis you suggest. It is quite possible I will have that installed and tested before you modify your equipment. I will feed you all my data and experience.

I am actually thinking there may be a way to extend the Longboard, as I know the ARDUINO can accept piggy-back circuitry. That may reduce the plugging/unplugging of axis.

I also read a statement on the site that gSender was created because the Universal G software had issues, so I will use gSender although I was set on one-do-it-all software.
(Dreaming as if I could afford the OneCNC stuff. lol)

So far I think I am ASPIRE(CAD/CAM), gSender, Longmill firmware for the Interface code.
I don’t know where the visualizer comes in the game, but I would want it to be an editor as well.

Longmill site states they are working on a 4th axis.
SMC puts out a controller that does a lot (5-axis), I mention that as of interest.
Search for "SMC 5-N" $45.50 on ALI Express

The Wire EDM process, that one is cool and out of reach, that cuts air-tight parts
57 secs video: 'Zero Tolerance Machining' with the Wire EDM Part 1 #Shorts - YouTube
Search for: “Zero Tolerance Machining’ with the Wire EDM” for a multitude of videos

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I don’t have Aspire but I do have Vectric V-Carve and I like it a lot. Thanks for the info I will check out the links. And I would be interested in how you make out with your 4th axis, thanks in advance for that. I think the one in the second pic of mine would work just haven’t made sure about the amperage yet but I bet it would be fine.

EDIT: Just checked and the Max output current of longmill stepper motor drivers is 4A and that 4th axis is 3A so should be good.\

EDIT2: I just watched that video and it blew my mind, the cube looks like one piece!

I did not want to blow it for you, so I said nothing, but that is the exact same reaction I experienced. …indeed looks like one piece, and it fooled me at first, I thought it was a camera trick until I saw the one piece sliding down.
I had already checked the 4th axis, I should have mentioned it was good on the Amps, but I also read… ‘careful as the rest of the circuitry can be starved enough to fail’.

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ok… I am going to be quiet for some time, while I dig up and digest the info.
I finally got my eyes on the area that will explain the perspective as to how all the pieces interact under: Resources/gSender
gSender does more than I thought, so I was not giving it great attention, and the process flow is under that topic. (The Kelly video)…
I think that’s a mistake, they should have a top entry titled ‘Process Flow’, then hook all the gSender stuff under that…
Also, the way the website is laid out made it a bit confusing as it jumps to a new area with similar menus which fooled me as to why options I was looking for would disappear… yet it all still looks the same!
A newbie always first searches to understand the big pieces to place everything in perspective… whoever structures a presentation should remove their higher understanding of the subject and visualize it as a noob! …but it’s not all that bad, Sienci offers such a good set of information. Beats the evil outta many other sites!

WARNING!!! the dude that presents the SMC controller and the Laptop/Computer MACH3-4 software I mentioned previously, has dumped both of them!

@NIQ @_Michael One thing to keep in mind when looking at 4 axis controllers or hardware is that the Long Mill runs on grbl. I believe you will find that grbl can only support 3 axes. Using a rotary axes requires using the cable from either X or Y. That’s not just because the LM controller only has 4 drivers (Y needs 2), it’s because of the grbl limitation. So, even if you do add something to the Arduino Uno in the LM controller so that you can add another motor driver, you will not get around the grbl limitation.

Mach 3 and 4 do not have this limitation, but neither of them will run on the LM controller.

Grbl 3axis …yup

One reason I started looking at ESP32 and Bart Dring’s 6 pack controller (6axis control, x,y,z,a.b.c)


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@gwilki @Andy1 Thanks for reminding me of the grbl limitation. I don’t use the rotary that often so I don’t mind unplugging my X and my extension cable plugs in at the X motor so it’s not that bad. If I had a rotary that I could use with the router I think it would see more use.

My response to Grant directly from my email tool, has not landed yet
and is partially moot. o! I see now…wrong @name!!! was gwilki
never mind, same person it appears, but the eMail I got is different than the reply here>?>?>?

so, gRBL SP32 may be my answer.
Yet as I notice you are a moderator, and you offer no clue, I am wishful-thinking!

I knew the level of all the pieces in a system has to all work in sync, and this sort of saga would ensue.
…and surely why I came here. I is not easy to ask all the right questions right off the bat when one is new at something and must get seasoned on the fly!

Will SP32 run on the current Longmill setup! …temporarily swapping wires or piggy-backing more circuitry on the ARDUINO?

I have to have this solution, or I cannot get the Longmill.

I decided to copy my missing previous reply, here below… if it lands later, a moderator should just delete it.

@Gwilki Moderator

There we go again, a solution shot dead!

I am so glad you brought that to my attention.

But, Michael(above) has a successful 4th axis… What am I missing?
Will I need to get everything but the controller? Is that possible, from Sienci?

…and get some other controller?

My requirement is to be able to produce small axles, gears(including helical), sprockets, timing gears, all ANSI/OSI/… standard, since many of my parts have to be secured ready-made… like chains, timing belts, etc.

Thank you for chiming in, yet more valuable info!

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I only use 3 axis at a time by unplugging the X cable adding an extension and plugging in the rotary. I have to put the X axis where I want it prior to unplugging and after plugging everything in the X axis is the rotary.

The more I think about it, I don’t think my way would work with the router and using rotary tool paths. I just did a regular job and adjusted the steps/mm of the X axis. :grimacing:

lol I typed the below before you sent the 2nd message!
shot again!

yes, I understood that…
Perhaps I should word it, you have rotary axis success but not concurrently.
therefore it is not a true 4th axis, but the capability to rotary type work is accomplished.
Should be able to make helical gears and the parts I mentioned above !?

So I’m guessing that a new controller is necessary. Kinda rains on my parade.

LOL! flash-floods MY parade!

I hoping someone will chime in and reveal the solutions if only temporary until Sieci puts out the 4th axis

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@NIQ I believe that you will find that Sienci is working on some rotary hardware not a concurrent 4th axis.That is, they will still be limited by the 3-axes-at-a-time grbl limitation. I could be mistaken and if I am, I am sure that someone from Sienci will correct me. I’ve seen nothing from them that says they are working on moving away from the Uno and grbl, though.

Frankly, I would be surprised if the Long Mill can handle the type of intricate work you are going to demand of it. Again, I could be dead wrong. However, you seem to be looking for a milling machine to produce very complex metal parts. That is not the strength of the Long Mill. It is first and foremost a wood working machine, using a woodworking router as its cutting tool.


@gwilki I think your second paragraph states the situation perfectly.

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