Acramatic 2100 Cincinnati CNC Blast From the Past
Acramatic 2100 Cincinnati CNC, I recently trained four people on some Cincinnati Arrow machines with the Cincinnati Acramatic 2100 control.
Vertical Machining Centres that go from a 500 small machine up to 3 metre X axis machine.
Some have Fanuc controls but these machines have the Cincinnati Acramatic 2100 control.
I have to admit when I train on some of these older machines around 1999-2000 some of the stuff I have forgotten.
Preparation Is king
Preparation is everything so it is sometimes necessary to spend a lot of time making sure I am back up to speed with everything the machine can do.
When I support people on CNC machines I feel like I am on a personal mission to make sure they discover all the great functions their CNC Machine has.
This one has loads.
I just love that feeling when a someone who worked on a machine for three years is shown a whole bunch of things he didn’t know about the machine.
All the functions of a machine are like a tool box, but first of all you have to know what’s in the box.
It’s then an informed choice as to what tool you choose.
These Cincinnati Acramatic 2100 controls certainly have a vast array of available tools.
Anyway enough of the toolbox bullshit.
These machines work in quite a different way to most CNC Machines in that you work a lot of the time from a remote pendant.
This controls almost everything. JOG, HANDWHEEL and CYCLE START. All your SINGLE BLOCK, DRY RUN etc buttons are on here too.
It takes a bit of getting used to, oh and it’s bloody heavy too. It’s on a magnet so you can stick it to the machine door if you want. It’s a powerful magnet so you can always make your own body scanner if you need to scrap the machine.
The machine control panel is a touch screen. Don’t get too excited here it’s not a fuckin iPhone you can’t Skype the Mrs when you are bored.
Mine got dropped unfortunately.
Sometimes you have to force yourself to do things a different way and when you get used to it things are whole lot quicker.
Once you get used to touching the screen for whatever you want it gets really fast.
You can add a keyboard to the control which I think most people do. Otherwise it has a button to get an onscreen keyboard.
Oh yea this control is PC based and that can be a real pain in the arse cos it does have a slight tendency to fall over every now n then.
I can never understand why some of these controls got left behind like Tosnuc 888 and Phillips. I could go on but I won’t.
The machine was way ahead of its time. The more I play with it the more excited I get. (No pun intended).
The programs are very similar to Fanuc/Haas G code type shit but in a lot of ways simpler and easier.
Unlike the program above there is no G43 and H number needed. Once you call a tool then it’s offset is active (just like on Mazaks) it don’t arf make life easy.
So if you have a tool in the spindle and you want to mill the top face of your part by hand. You can just read it’s position off the display.
Rigid Tapping, Acramatic 2100 Cincinnati
There are tons of extra cycles and stuff. Like Rigid Tapping. Oh and peck tapping. It’s even got that nifty J figure thing. Like if you put in J2 you get double the speed when the tap retracts (how cool is that).
Yes smart-arse I know you have it on your Haas Machine.
Brackets for comments are a bit weird cos you have to put MSG, at the beginning to tell it it’s a comment. Like this.
(MSG, PLEASE FEED THE DOG)
This control is not like Fanuc where you have square brackets for calculations and curved brackets for comments.
So if you don’t put in the MSG, then it will try n make mathematical sense of what you wrote.
(It didn’t feed my dog by the way and now he’s angry.)
It Gets Better n Better
This leads me on to some real cool shit. You can just add calculations in brackets wherever you want.
Even without brackets you can put things like X10.+10. and it will move to X20. I always think it is better to let the computer do all the maths. So you can just write things straight off your drawing.
It has its own parametric programming system like Macro as well. Just read this if you don’t know what that is.
It will add rads and chamfers for you too. Just by adding a comma and the R50. for a 50mm radius or C50. for a 50mm chamfer.
So let’s imagine we want to mill a square like this.
You would need a program something like this. G1 and G2 then you would have to calculate all the endpoints.
But on this control all you need is to program corner to corner like a square then add the R. You just use a comma see below.
Oh and if you swap the R for C
You get this.
By the way these don’t have to be ninety degree corners it works for any angle.
Cut Copy Paste, Acramatic 2100 Cincinnati
Where this control really started to leave the competition behind, back in the day, is when you get to editing.
It’s got touch buttons for cut, copy and paste. But you can copy and paste the same way as you do on your PC.
Ctr C for copy and Ctr V to paste you can even undo using Ctr Z.
On Acramatic 2100 you also have a split screen function when editing. This makes it really easy. Yea and just like a PC if you want to copy a program you just save it under a different name.
Now the crap bit
It’s got graphics Hooray (not). You guessed it the graphics are shite. But never mind they still serve as a quick way to test for any alarms in your code. Obviously you can see if the positions are roughly right. As for the 3d graphics bit I wouldn’t even go there. I can’t be too critical here I mean we are in the late 90’s and you were listening to Qasis records.
If you can’t get em to work here’s how. You lock the machine (Machine Lock). This is on most machines and it’s a button that effectively stops everything moving while you test a program.
Run the program and it records the shape for the graphics. You then press play and voila you have your part in graphics. A little tip if you can’t see it then use the magnifying glass with the red circle round it to see the full table.
Your part will look like fly shit in the middle of the screen. Now press the Center on Tool button
With page up and down keys you can zoom a square around the shape. When you press enter it will scale your shape up.
Tools and Tool File, Acramatic 2100 Cincinnati
You can get a real nice graphical display of the tool changer that allows you to see each tool in the carousel.
When you touch on a tool it takes you to that tools offset. A real quick way to access each tool. You have to be arsed to put in all the information for each tool by the way but it’s worth it.
There is loads of stuff you can do with the tool file. It can even allow for the drill point (like Mazatrol does).
- Tool Material
- Tip Angle
- Flute Length
Be patient as parts of the screen are loading it’s easy to think things are not there and go on to another page.
You have G92 and G92.1 for setting datums which is the old fashioned way. It’s a bit like just zeroing the display on a Bridgeport with a DRO. The good thing about G92.1 is it takes into account the current tool length when you set zero.
Personally I would avoid using G92 or G92.1 but if you must…..
A word of caution you need to program the H with a rapid move and it needs to be all axis.
G0 G90 X0 Y0 Z100. H1
With work offsets on this control I think there are actually too many options so I think it is best to decide on what is best for you and stick with it.
It has a table type thing where you can see where each offset is and activate which one you want. We played around with this but the operators really didn’t like it so we dumped it. But I did my job in demonstrating it. Now it’s in their toolbox if they decide to use it.
G Codes, Acramatic 2100 Cincinnati
Very similar to Fanuc and Haas with a few exceptions like G53.
If you didn’t know, this positions the machine using it’s distance from zero return. Anyway on this control it’s G99 instead of G53.
It has a standard clearance point (which you can adjust in settings) standard it’s 3mm above the part.
What you do is you program a W figure which is none modal.
G81 Z-10. R1. F100.
X100. W100. (Jumps up 100mm for this hole only)
X150. (Automatically continues with standard clearance point)
It’s a bit funny to start with but I think once you get used to it it’s a good a way of jumping over clamps n stuff.
End Of Program, Acramatic 2100 Cincinnati
M30 on this control will end the program and put the tool away.
M2 ends a program and returns to the beginning. Unlike standard where it ends the program but does not reset (it just sits there laughing at you)
If you program
At the end of your program it will pick up tool 5 ready for next program run.
A nice little touch I thought.
Well Thought Out
Everything on this machine is well thought out. When it comes to setting tool lengths. Again you use the pendant. Bring your spindle nose down to the point where you want to set your tools from. It then has a nifty button you press that records the position they call it SET TRAM
This stays in the control. When you bring your tool down to touch in the same place, press SET LEN and it records the tool length. It’s a real no nonsense affair.
Polar, Acramatic 2100 Cincinnati
It’s got polar coordinates too you can program holes for example by their angular position.
Easy To Save
- Tool lengths
- Fixture Offsets
All really easy to save at the push of a button. I recommend you do this on a regular basis as they are a bit too easy to delete.
Setting Work Offsets, Acramatic 2100 Cincinnati
They make this really simple too you can use a button that just grabs the current values.
One of my favorite features of this machine.
There is a really useful calculator on this control the calculator screen extends to give loads more functionality. It has a button called FETCH and when pressed you can access loads of information.
- Current position in X Y and Z.
- Current Machine Position in X Y and Z.
- Current tool length and diameter.
- And loads more
This means you can easily access the machine position if you need to set datums etc.
FETCH will bring these figures up on the command line of the calculator.
You could also use it to record positions to build up a program for face milling. See this example on an Heidenhain Control.
Sub Programs, Acramatic 2100 Cincinnati
It’s got local subroutines. That means you can just write it at the end of your normal program and you don’t have to worry about managing loads of random program.
Oh yea and there is this awesome way of passing values into a subroutine.
The call is like this.
(CLS , “MYSUBPROGRAM”, X50 Y50)
Then the sub program looks like this.
(DFS , “MYSUBPROGRAM”)
G0 X! Y!
So the program would use the X50 Y50
The exclamation marks mean it’s waiting for values.
Next time you call the subprogram the values can be different. You have all 26 letters of the alphabet to use.
This is amazing. Oh and here is another one.
How many controls can do this?
You can just stuff an inch command in the middle of a metric program.
G90 G0 X15. Y15.
That means you could write a metric program but stick all your drawing dimensions in in inches!!
You can even modify offsets in inches or millimeters.
Why don’t more controls do this kind of stuff?
I mean it’s not like you need some incredibly complex computer algorithm to change from inch to metric.
All this stuff just makes life so much easier.
How many times did you have to drill a part like this?
The programs a pain in the arse to do this. Well these guys have it sussed you have a G88 cycle
G88 R0 Z-100. I25. K25. F200.
You don’t have to waste time drilling fresh air.
So there you have it Acramatic 2100 Cincinnati