For everything in one package, Centroid:
I've had two over the last fifteen years, and am happy.
I am going to retrofit an R2E3 with a new PC based controller. I don't want to bother building up the control cabinet, would rather find a good supplier who can provide a complete control cabinet including Power Supply, Drives, PC interface, etc. Any recommendations?
I sent them an email, but I think Centroid is going to be too expensive. I'm hoping to use the existing motors and encoders if possible, and use an existing PC & monitor, so just need the motor controller equipment and the PC interface.
A major concern is that I can easily repair or replace any part of the system at minimal cost.
There is a guy on ebay that will sell you a totally built panel for a pretty good price. I do not have the link, but saw it today under cnc bridgeport
Well, it depends how you define panel, but I would suggest a couple of options.
If you aren't afraid of a little DIY, here's what I did:
First is Front Panel Express. I did this with the control panel seen here:
Dyna Mechtronics 4400 (DM4400, dyna myte) reference + brochures & photos
You will also need a controller board from Ultimarc (http://www.ultimarc.com) that translates buttons/switches to something the computer can use.
You can then add a four axis driver unit from Keling (http://www.kelinginc.net/ControlSystem.html) or the new 4 axis Gecko unit (http://www.geckodrive.com/product.aspx?c=3&i=14469). This would be if you are using steppers. If you are using servos, it's a bit more complicated, but not terribly so, mostly just more wiring. Keling offers ready to go packages for both stepper and servos, including the motors if you need them.
On top of all this, you will also need a PC on which to run control software, probably Mach3 (about $140) + Windows. There is another option, but the learning curve is steeper, although the software is free.
If you want a fully built system, but for a lot more $$$, then I would look at http://machmotion.com/ Keep in mind that whatever 'kit' you get, it will still be a fair amount of work to retrofit as I don't think there is such a thing as plug and play.
I would say that the difficulty of installing a pre-built kit like MachMotion vs a set of independent but pre-tested components is really just a matter of wiring. The biggest problem usually is the control panel itself, but often just a screen, keyboard and mouse are enough. For electronics housings, you can buy circuit breaker panel boxes sold at hardware stores. They are often quite cheap and available for outdoor usage in a large variety of sizes.
As in many cases, there is a huge trade off between price and the amount of work you are willing to do. If you can do some wiring, then it will be much cheaper than buying an integrated solution.
List of parts sources for CNC builders - http://www.CNCsources.net
Dyna Mechtronics 4400C Conversion - CNC bed mill w/toolchanger to Mach3 conversion - http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=50787
Try machmotion.com, i havent tried them, both the console looks sweet