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RotoCAMM TS-400E

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:37 am
by paolo8453
Hi all - this is my first foray into the CNC world. Unfortunately I don't think it's going to be an easy one. I also think the term "wouldn't touch it with a barge pole" will come into use sometime soon...

To cut a long story short - I won an ebay auction for a TS-400E. It works but has an occasional glitch where the "tool cuts accross the surface of the material"

I do realise it's an old bit of kit but it's cheap(ish). I've not paid for it yet as it was slightly mis-advertised as having stepper motors but it actually has AC Servos. My thinking was that if it was steppers, it could be fixed up easily.

So - should the "barge pole" terminology come in to use at this point? No software either - do I actually need Vpanel or will 3rd party software work?

Thanks in advance from a very confused newbie :(


Re: RotoCAMM TS-400E

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:01 pm
by Joules
Nice deal Paul
I don't know what software you got with it. Is the glitch random or does it always head to the same location ? Does it seek out a home sensor ? Is the controller smart or dumb on that machine (USB)

Servo drives can be rigged up DIY (look up Geko controllers) though not as cheap as stepper. Very worst case, and for what you paid I would... Strip out the servos and replace with stepper system as that opens up lots of simple/cheap software. The speed and accuracy won't be as good, but the TS-400E always looked a meaty machine for its size. Again that all depends on whether or not you got software with the machine.

I run CamBam for toolpath generation (G-code) then EMC2 (Linux) for my post processor. I will mod my MDX-20 that way if it's controller ever gives up the ghost.

I'd love to see more of your machine when you get it.


Re: RotoCAMM TS-400E

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:34 pm
by paolo8453
Thanks for the reply - I am breathing a bit easier already :)

I'm a total newbie to CNC but I'm used to playing around with machines and software in my spare time.

So - you reckon it won't be a total loss then? I wasn't sure about how to go about changing to stepper motors as I've not even seen the machine yet!

I guess I can get the original VPANEL software somewhere but I've also read that some Vectric software can run the machine directly?

Will post some updates when I get my hands on it...

Re: RotoCAMM TS-400E

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:53 pm
by Joules
Cheers Paul,
I'll look forward to those pictures. Where abouts in the UK are you, we are in S.Yorks

I hope you can salvage the servo drives, but if not, do you have access to a mill and lathe, as all parts needed to do a conversion can be fabricated.

Re: RotoCAMM TS-400E

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:05 pm
by paolo8453
Joules - I'm up in Perthshire so not exactly on your doorstep :D

I'm really hoping that it might even have been a software glitch - probably kidding myself though - and that I can get some use out of it pretty quickly.

Failing that it will turn into yet another 'project'! I don't have direct access to a lathes but I know a man who does - at a price...

A bit nervous about the whole thing and hope it's not a white elephant.

Re: RotoCAMM TS-400E

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:34 pm
by Joules
I'd say its a strong probable that it's software as you didn't say it behaves erratically when the glitch occurs. You won't loose any money on it, at that price I would have tried to get it even if it was non working. I have a workshop here if I can help you out any, love to tinker and do mods.

Re: RotoCAMM TS-400E

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:30 pm
by Patrick Thorn
Hi Paul
I can give you these pointers, but I am out a lot and not on the forum often, so dont expect a rapid reply.
TS400 is pretty old, however, it is actually a EGX400 that was specially created for Techsoft for schools.
The problem getting lost and moving erratically could be a communications problem if your using Serial Cable. Not all serial cables are the same.
So maybe having the latest drivers and a standard PC Parallel printer cable would be a good start.
Then with say a 2D vector based application like Corel Draw you could draw a Square and a Circle, then set up the machine as a printer in corel making sure you have the page set to the printer size, under printer properties. Then manually move the Z down from the top say 20mm and set Z0. Then Print to the machine and it should move around in fresh air with a square and circle. The EGX manual maybe of help. Finally I am just assuming this will all work as I have never used a TS400. BUT all Roland machines work virtually the same.
If this works, maybe put a piece of polystyrene or something soft in the table with a bit of double sided tape, set the tool on the top and see it go around. If you have success, then draw more shapes so its a bit more complex and see if it does all them without running off.
Finally if the Y axis, back to front is miss positioning, then unscrew the front cover carefully with power off, the Y axis is driven on a shaft with belts, make sure the pulleys grub screws are all firmly tight. They maybe loose and slipping.
Good luck.
If your really stuck then our technical support team (0845 230 9060 then key 1) maybe able to shed some light, as we do not do tech support on the forum.

Re: RotoCAMM TS-400E

Posted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:27 pm
by paolo8453
Thanks for the info Patrick - MUCH appreciated!

I should get the machine this week and will try it out to see how bad it actually is. I managed to get a hold of the manual for the TS-400 and it appears to have a USB and a Parallel port.

Looking forward to investigating it now :)

Re: RotoCAMM TS-400E

Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:18 pm
by paolo8453
Really VERY impressed with Roland Customer Service! Polite, fast, efficient, friendly...

Got Vpanel today in anticipation of my delivery :D Still don't know if I'll need it but it'll get me started with the Roland software at least.

Can anyone (I know the forums not that busy) suggest a good supplier of CNC sundries?

Re: RotoCAMM TS-400E

Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:38 pm
by Patrick Thorn