3dprintforums logo

CNCzone Network:  RFQwork :: 3Dprintforums :: Welderzone :: Google+ :: Our Facebook :: Twitter :: SiteMap



Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 12 of 21

Thread: Laptop vs PC for CNC

  1. #1
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    5
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Rep Power
    0

    Laptop vs PC for CNC

    I'm about to purchase a CNC-Step S720 Router and have been told that a PC is recommended while running the PCNC Software it comes with providing that I upgrade it to the professional edition. I have a laptop that I can dedicate to this machine although it does not have a printer port I know you can get a USB to LPT conversion cable.
    The Question is, What is the difference between the capabilities of a Laptop vs those of a PC? My Laptop has 1gig of Ram 100gig of hard drive space and a 256mb video card, it will only have the bare essentials to operate this machine and will not be used on the internet. I've built my own gaming PCs over the years and apart from the (maybe) Power supply required I cant see too many other reasons a laptop couldn't be used.
    Can anybody with experience in this department share their thoughts on this?

    Cheers

    Similar Threads:


  2. #2
    Registered
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    4558
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Helikiwi View Post
    I'm about to purchase a CNC-Step S720 Router and have been told that a PC is recommended while running the PCNC Software it comes with providing that I upgrade it to the professional edition. I have a laptop that I can dedicate to this machine although it does not have a printer port I know you can get a USB to LPT conversion cable.
    The Question is, What is the difference between the capabilities of a Laptop vs those of a PC? My Laptop has 1gig of Ram 100gig of hard drive space and a 256mb video card, it will only have the bare essentials to operate this machine and will not be used on the internet. I've built my own gaming PCs over the years and apart from the (maybe) Power supply required I cant see too many other reasons a laptop couldn't be used.
    Can anybody with experience in this department share their thoughts on this?

    Cheers
    A USB-to-parallel adaptor is completely unusable for CNC. It is impossible to generate the precise signal timing required. You must have a real parallel port, A PCMCIA parallel port should work OK. The next problem is many laptops share the main memory with the graphics controller, which can also cause problems that lead to unreliable operation. Power management also causes problems, though this can *usually* be disabled in software.

    If you run Mach3, you can get a SmoothStepper, which is a hardware motion generator that connects to the PC via USB, and works very well. But, sounds like you machine uses dedicated software which would not know how to communicate with a SmoothStepper.

    Your best bet is to listen to the machine manufacturers recommendation. To do otherwise is asking for trouble.

    Regards,
    Ray L.



  3. #3
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    494
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Rep Power
    6
    The consensus is that USB-LPT ports aren't real-time enough for mill operation. You can apparently get PCMCIA parrallel ports which will work.

    However I'd buy an older laptop with a parrallel port or find/build a PC. I use a 4 year old Dell 600m (aka d600) laptop to run my mill and it has no problems. It saves considerable workshop space over a dedicated screen, keyboard and tower.

    My X2 CNC Brain Build: http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=61345
    Gecko G250 wiring errors: http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=68960


  4. #4
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    5
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Rep Power
    0
    Thanks guys, After doing a forum search I've learnt a lot about the disadvantages of laptops, Its a pity really because I have a spare one right here. I will build a basic small PC box and try to find a small screen that doesnt take up tons of room, I was hoping to have a small streamlined operation in the garage.

    Thanks again



  5. #5
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    494
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Rep Power
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by Helikiwi View Post
    Thanks guys, After doing a forum search I've learnt a lot about the disadvantages of laptops,
    It's not soo much the laptops as the lack of ports on most laptops. A laptop with a parallel port can work fine. There's a lot of misinformation out there.

    My X2 CNC Brain Build: http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=61345
    Gecko G250 wiring errors: http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=68960


  6. #6
    Registered LeeWay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3566
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Rep Power
    0
    I use an IBM Thinkpad. It's an older one. Once I finally got all the power saving features disabled in Windows, IBM software and the bios, it is perfect. Many levels of screens that need to be accessed to get it all done. You think it's done and you are in the middle of a cnc cycle and wham, computer locks up. If lucky, the machine stops. If not, you get and immediate wild crash on all axes. If you want to know how fast your motors will really go, enjoy just one of those kind of crashes. Mine works so well that I have an even older Thinkpad I will try on my newest machine. Should do okay. Both have PP's onboard.

    I had a Toshiba Satelite that wasn't very old. It had a PP, but it would simply not generate a stable timing line in Mach 3. Far too erratic. That was after all the disabling done. The CPU simply would not play nice.

    Lee


  7. #7
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    5
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Rep Power
    0
    A laptop would be great, I will also look into that. Do you guys operate XP or something else? I have found XP to be the most stable Windows system out there......Vista didnt even get a look in.



  8. #8
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    494
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Rep Power
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by Helikiwi View Post
    A laptop would be great, I will also look into that. Do you guys operate XP or something else? I have found XP to be the most stable Windows system out there......Vista didnt even get a look in.
    Yes using XP on all computers, even ones bought in the last 6 months.
    Vista just annoys me. Dunno if W7 will be better but it'll be a while before I'm forced into that.

    My X2 CNC Brain Build: http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=61345
    Gecko G250 wiring errors: http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=68960


  9. #9
    Registered LeeWay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3566
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Rep Power
    0
    By all means, XP when possible. I have one machine running Vista. It does okay, but is truly a pain. Copy and paste takes several screens to complete. If you accidentally hit the right mouse button, then the left, it hangs up in Mach 3 with a splash screen want you to switch to another program while this one is busy. What the..! Crap! Thats definitely adding insult to injury. You must wait awhile while it figures out that you just made a mistake and it's not really under attack. Then when you are white knuckled, it will let you play with Mach again. And don't ever hit both mouse buttons simultaneously. It may just self destruct.

    Lee


  10. #10
    Registered pminmo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    St. Peters, Mo USA
    Age
    61
    Posts
    3309
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Rep Power
    14
    If you want to use a laptop, stay away from newer ones. As CPU's advanced, Intel and AMD started doing things to save power that modified cpu cycle times. That affected MACH3's ability to do timing smoothly. Look for a laptop that has had mach3 implemented succesfully.

    Phil, Still too many interests, too many projects, and not enough time!!!!!!!!
    Vist my websites - http://pminmo.com & http://millpcbs.com


  11. #11
    Registered pete from TN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    usa
    Posts
    2528
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Rep Power
    10

    Leeway.....

    funny you mention that, I have a thinkpad that I have had for some time. It has been literally the best computer I have owned and I would love to make it work for the cnc machine. Care to give some detail about what you did to use it? I recently bought a semipowerful desktop with flatscreen to run the machine but I would rather have that one inside if I could...peace



  12. #12
    Some laptops will work, some won't. It is that simple. That is why folks will recommend against them. As has been mentioned the power saving features of a laptop cause all sorts of problems with the precise timing needed by CNC control programs like Mach 3. In the past I have gotten a laptop to work OK by shutting off all the APCI stuff I could find, running a special program that lets you keep the processor from throttling back, and doing some of the optimization steps for Mach 3.

    Some folks will try to use an old 400-500 mHz desktop/laptop because they have it laying around. Don't be tempted to do so it will just cause you nothing but grief.

    If you want to use a laptop then my recommendation is to make sure that it is a 1 mHz or faster processor with at least 512 mB or RAM. Do a fresh install of XP (Vista works just as well on newer machines) and go through the Mach optimization steps. I also like to recommend the SmoothStepper: http://soigeneris.com/Warp9.aspx. Connects by USB and takes a large load off the PC's processor (and it give 2+ parallel ports worth of I/O.)

    Jeff Birt


Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions



About CNCzone.com

    We are the largest and most active discussion forum from DIY CNC Machines to the Cad/Cam software to run them. The site is 100% free to join and use, so join today!

Follow us on

Facebook Dribbble RSS Feed