Do you have pics and specs of what you are making?
I'd assemble it myself
I'd want an assembled unit
I'm thinking of putting together a pendant kit for the DIY guys. I'm building my second pendant for one of my machines and it wouldn't be too hard to start making a kit. I'm wanting to get a feel for what anyone would pay and if they'd want it assembled or would rather assemble it themselves. By "kit" and "assemble", I'm referring to a PCB with components, NOT the actual pendant itself.
Last edited by GeckoMachineMan; 11-16-2007 at 03:17 AM. Reason: clarification
Do you have pics and specs of what you are making?
Sorry, not yet. Still trying to determine if I should turn what I've already done for one, into something viable for a kit. I'm open to feature suggestions at this point.
Here is what I can give you though as far as what I have done for my first pendant:
(I needed something simpler than most)
1) one MPG with 4 buttons for axis select
2) 4 generic buttons for mapping to whatever
3) feedrate override potentiometer input
4) 3-position switch for MPG step size selection
5) E-Stop button input
Something like this in a kit form wouldn't cost very much and I could easily scale it up to be something bigger, or several intermediate versions with varying capabilities.
I'm also working on a tach which I could kit if that's of interest as well.
CNC without a Pendant IMHO is worthless. If someone can build a Pendant It would be worth more than $200 to me!!
But that is just my oppinion!
Thanks, I'm open to all opinions.
Currently, I'm structuring my second pendant around USB (HID) and using Mach 3's KeyGrabber. I'm going to try and keep development ideas around this approach, as USB is pretty standard on anything these days.
How many generic button inputs would you all prefer to see? So far, not counting the 4 axis select buttons that I group along with the MPG, I use 8 (4 for whatever, 3 for the MPG step selection switch and 1 for the e-stop). I guess a follow up question is, would you like to see a range of models with different capabilities (for instance, one 8-button model with single MPG, one 16-button one with dual MPG, etc)? I'm at the planning stages here and I'm just trying to get the feel for what people would want feature-wise.
here is what i want...
A USB device that has analog and digital inputs, and some example files on how to use it with Mach.. Essentially a MODIO type of device, but i think it really should be like $35.00 or so.. It only needs to be simple, right? Get input data into mach? rs232 might be OK also.
May i recommend something like.. a 40 pin MCU, with the resulting 32ish inputs... This is nice and flexible.
For me, the thing worth spending $ on would be 'templates' or other materials to make integrating it into mach3 go easily.. Lots of flexibility could be had that way.
Sort of a developers kit with working examples is what i am describing. I would pay upto $50 for this. I do not know how popular this product may be.
This is the device i would purchase, if any... the rest is just stuffing a control box...
Design & Development
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Thanks for your input. I was already working on part of it using a 40-pin ATMega MCU, which does not result in 32 pins free (things such as USB will take some pins, etc) but is very close. I am also looking at making 2 different versions (expanded capabilities on the second for more stuff). In my opinion, something like the ModIO is a bit too expensive and a little excessive for the average pendant. I'm also not a fan of Modbus, USB is much more up-to-date. I appreciate the input, all are welcome to chime in. Vacpress has given me a good direction to start in.
I have definately been looking for a good pendant.
What I would like to see is:
Pendant on/off (for jog functions)
Feedrate Override Pot or incremental buttons
Spindle Speed Override Pot or incremental buttons
Complete Jog control (as you mentioned) for four axis
Remote position display (a nice, fluffy option!)
At least eight+ user definable inputs
Price? If it was layed out logically, could be used (for the most part in jog mode at least) with one hand I would be willing to part with maybe $150 easily.
Consistency is a good thing....unless you're consistently an idiot.
Thanks for your input. I'm trying to keep it HID-based so it's easier for the end-user. Keygrabber is very straightforward to program and also eliminates development time for me working using the SDK. I am thinking of incorporating the LCD onto the enhanced model, as yours or the ModIO supports. The only difference is that I'm doing some tests using a graphical LCD (GLCD) instead of a character-based one. I am thinking the basic pendant kit will be mostly inputs (like vacpress wants). For users like mxtras, the "fluffy" display option would be on a bit more enhanced, second model.
Keep it comin'...
The sdk is really easy and you could make a user config screen to set the ins and outs. I got a graphic lcd but it's reserved for another project
For mpg's the sdk is much better...
Thanks, I'll take a closer look at it. It's definitely going to have to be used on a higher-end model with the LCD and what not. I'll look into it here momentarily.