Well, I found probably the deal of the decade... a New Precision Technology CP16-10 pick and place machine with a Oregon Micro Systems PC34-4 controller card, some funky software, manual, drives, steppers etc etc etc. Its a fully operational X Y Z Theta and grip gantry type machine. Very robustly built and quite adaptable - the perfect candidate for a CNC router or engraver. Its not a cheap machine - the CP16-10 is still in production, however this one I have would need to be upgraded with some new hardware/software to be current - those upgrades without instalation, setup and calibration would cost me around $7500, so I'm guessing that a New C16-10 is well over $10K. So... back to the deal of the decade... How much did it cost me? The cost of driving 30 miles in fuel - about 2 gallons. It was a FREEBIE !!!! WHOOOOO!!!!
So anyway, I'm not going to upgrade the darn thing. I'm way to much of a cheapskate to do that, plus it would take years of engraving and routering to pay off the machine upgrades, and by then I'll probably be replacing it for something larger. So I'm trying to work with what I have with exception to purchasing software and may be an interface or something.
I'm new to the CNC world. I've worked with CNC machines as an operator and a setup tech. I know my way around the shop quite well, I'm not a newbie to the smell of cutting oil smoke or picking chips out of the bottom of my boots. I'm also not a stranger to CAD. I have AutoCAD R14 and Solidworks and have the schooling to make drafting with these programs simple and fast. But writing and editing code, ok, yeahhhh, I'm over my head.
What I'm looking to do with this machine? Engraving and routering. The stepper drives are Pacific Scientific 6410 drives, and would be fairly easy to control with a parallel port. THE PROBLEM... HOW and WITH WHAT?
I have dabbled with GCode2000, it converts my AutoCAD DXF files to G-Code, but the output is a serial port control - I don't feel like designing or purchasing a serial port micro controller at this point. I've also downloaded ImageToGcode - that look like I'll be purchasing that since it takes any image and converts it to G-code - perfect for engraving or routering. But there is no output, its only a G-Code generator. I downloaded TurboCNC which does output to a parallel port, but testing it with a simple AutoCAD DXF and converting it to G-Code, then coping the code to a text file, then loading it into the DOS based TurboCNC program, it seems that TurboCNC does not reconize a bunch of G-Codes. This simple shape with a couple holes - not even 3 dimensional, would take 2 -1/2 hrs per the program ... way way way too slow. Looking for information on G-Code, I found some G-Code "definitions" and tried to speed it up. I didn't do a darn thing still slower than mollasses in this Wisconsin winter. So I'm not sure if TurboCNC is right for me ... I can't controll it and it dosent reconize some G-Codes.
SOOOO... HELP !!! I'm looking for a program that is a G-Code creater from Autocad DXF files ---AND--- sends it to the parallel port. ---OR--- I'm looking for a program that takes G-Code and sends the program to the parallel port.
What would even be better would be to find a G-Code to OMS Code program so I can use the OMS ( Oregon Micro Systems ) PC34-4 motion control card in the computer. Then I don't have to mess around with ANYTHING other than to machine out the parts to retrofit the pick and place head with a trim router or a RotoZip.
If you need more information about this machine, just ask or e-mail me at dangit5 (AT) gmail (dot) com.
Dave in Kewaskum, WI