I have a Makerbot Cupcake which has been used to print many items I have designed and several that have been downloaded. Wanting to step up to a multi-use machine. I have a couple of surplus 3 axis machines that have a 24"x24" table and a Z axis of about 6". The electronics on these machines for the most part were unusable except for the Pacific Scientific MA6410 stepper drivers and the original stepper motors. Hoping to use the MA6410 stepper drivers and motors along with an Arduino Mega 2560 with a 1GB SD card, a RepRap motherboard V2.4. Other items I have assembled are a USBTiny programmer, an extra Cupcake motherboard, and an array of motors, servos, and other assorted electronics.
I have spent a few hours on this and other forums searching for ways to put it all together into a functioning machine. Wanting to set it up with a motor to mill with and the ability to switch the head to a laser capable of cutting gasket material.
I have knowledge in the field of machining including G-code, CNC mill and lathe work, but actually building the machine is a new adventure. I cant seem to put the pieces of the puzzle together. I understand that the Arduino Mega will have to be loaded with some firmware and a G-code interpreter. Then the RepRap motherboard will need to be connected to the stepper drivers. The nice thing about these machines is that the entire bottom of the frame is a vertical rack mount so the electronics have already been installed. Wanting to run this with a laptop to keep it simple.
This brings me to the software. I have used ReplicatorG with the cupcake so that seems simple enough, bbut would it work for this larger machine? Is there a better software available?
I have read so much that it is all running together. I have found many references to all of this material except there doesn't seem to be a basic guide that fits it all into a concise set of steps or instructions.
Any guidance or suggestion would be appreciated.
Just reading the specs on the new Motherboard 2.4, it just provides step and direction to the drivers so you could put pretty much whatever stepper drivers you wanted.
I think it is pretty nice but It really is going beyond an upper limit for cost for the CPU power. $85 for the board + $60 for Arduino Mega when you can pick up a mini-ITX computer board for $60 that would have many more capabilities.
I picked up a GrblShield to play with for fun.
It is just for experimenting and I still will probably just run mine off a mini-ITX with a parallel port stepper driver.
I really like my Arduino stuff but it is not a very cost effective toolset.
My uncensored views and CNC Router planning: http://reinventingcnc.blogspot.com/
We are now seriously looking into the Mini-ITX system running Linux software. That looks to be a much more capable combination.
Thanks for the input!