I am wondering what people look for in a control panel that is both like a commercial unit and made for DIY.
This panel is meant to be an addition to a regular industrial style alphanumeric keyboard with trackball. It contains the most widely used functions as far as I now know. All these functions are available on the keyboard within EMC2 and will not require a separate input. Since I am using a CNC4PC C11G I only have 5 inputs. This panel will require a keyboard encoder either bought, ripped from an old keyboard, or made with a custom pcb. Keyboard encoders are available from Hagstrom, Ultimarc ($40) and Vetra. There is another good thread here on keyboard encoders.
This control panel is meant to be a cheap way of controlling the machine before or in conjunction with an MPG. This panel can be made for less than $200.
One of the things this is missing is indicators/blinken lights. The power button is meant to be lit when on. Suggestions?
* Emergency Stop - with an added contact for drivers/vfd input
* Machine On - Lit - with an added contact for machine functions/relay/contactor/etc
* Coolant toggle
* Spindle toggle (Turns the spindle on CW, could be more advanced as my Bridgeport has 2 speeds for Hi/Lo. But when do you need a button to control the spindle speed otherwise?)
* Touch Off
* Feed Hold/Pause
* X increase / X decrease
* Y increase / Y decrease
* Z increase / Z decrease
* A increase / A decrease
* Jog Feed rate increase / decrease
* Continuous Jog
* Incremental Jog increase / decrease (first press selects incremental and second moves in 0.001,0.01,0.1)
* Limits Override
* DRO/Path Preview Toggle
* Jog (Jog keys do not work in MDI so this button selects the jog page. MDI can be selected by the track ball or keyboard but will not have a button as it is a keyboard function)
* 3 buttons without functions.
I would like to have a feed override but EMC2 does not have an easy buttons for this function. Instead EMC2 uses the number keys to select a percentage. I think that a potentiometer would be the most useful for feed override but that would require an analog input into the computer which I do not have.
For your reference I have included the list of keyboard commands for EMC2 from the Axis Quick Reference help page.