After I fixed the water heater, and the washing machine, and the central air conditioner, my wife thinks I can fix anything. I got a call Friday from a local machine shop (the guy knows my wife) who had a CNC machine that they picked up used and it isn’t able to spin the work piece in a forward direction. They had a partial set of schematics, but I wasn’t able to tell what all the sub-assemblies were, and they are using different symbols for all of their electronic parts. Their symbol for a transformer (for instance) looks like two resistors in an outline with a single bar between them. The only reason I could tell it was supposed to be a transformer because it had (apparently) 100 volts on one side and 200 volts on the other.
This drives me nuts. In the electronics industry, we have a perfectly reasonable set of symbols that we use for all of our electronic parts. When you look at a schematic for an automobile, or an air conditioner, or a CNC machine, they use a completely new set of symbols to describe the same thing. It didn’t help that much of the text was also in Japanese.
And another thing… I decided to get dressed up to go see the guy in the machine shop. Big mistake. I couldn’t even crawl all over the CNC machine with my good clothes on (without ruining them) so the guy had to do all the crawling around. I might be able to fix that thing (or at least find out what is wrong with it) if I had a week or more. It’s really hard without some kind of wiring diagram and maybe some pictures to tell me what the heck is going on with the signals. Somehow, the big ass electric motor must be commanded to change direction, but I couldn’t figure it out with the cursory inspection that I gave it (at least not in my good clothes). Maybe I could take CNC machine mechanics school or something. I would probably have to go to Japan to do it though. In case anyone doesn’t know, a CNC machine is a computer controlled milling machine. It is a big metal lathe that is controlled by a computer program. This particular device was built sometime in the 80’s