hey guys... I stumbled upon a stepper motor article, kept reading and now i'm not exactly sure why but i want to make a cnc machine for fun i guess... mainly to just make some new designer furniture lol... and other stuff.
My question is this... say i do build a sturdy machine after some reading etc...
how exactly do i communicate the hardware with the pc software..
being a programmer i saw this as pretty simple task with some USB parts from http://www.softmark.com. I get a stepper motor controller, slap together a table, some motors etc.. I was thinking probably make the base table as the X Y axis so my machine is not limited in space easily. then the Z would be the drill wich would be statically mounted.
I was just gonna write my own software from scratch to operate with greyscale images, black level being the depth of the cut, and have it move similar to a inkjet printer and use a 25W laser for cutting. If you've ever heard of Voxels you know what i mean. its just like a 3d grid. and i could just convert almost anything to a bmp file with no tricky software..
Later on i found lasers to be pretty confusing to buy for this type of task. especially since i'm not too familiar with them.. i was expecting to find a rectangular box with an AC plug and an on/off switch, then just control it via some sort of relay. I found wierd glass tubes and expensive power supplies with no idea how i would plug them in.
I guess what i'm trying to find out is what software packages are standard and already written. and what type of hardware needs to be plugged into my pc to control the motors etc and be compatible with those softwares, that way i make a standards compliant CNC machine.
I also don't have alot of cash, what kind of costs are usually involved with simple home depot or net store parts?
The majority of home builders here use Mach3 to control the machine. www.machsupport.com
Mach3 reads g-code files and sends step and directional signals to stepper drives that accept them. Some examples are:
All will need a DC power supply to power the steppers. The power requirements depend on both the motors and drives being used.
I'd recommend spending a few weeks here reading before actually starting to build. There's a ton of good info here.
Mach3 2010 Screenset
(Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)