I wanted to learn more about CNC stuff and get into Mach and EMC, so I got a couple of dead Cricuts for parts (They're really cheap off Ebay now). I also got a good Cricut so I could compare results. I want more control than ProvoCraft allows and Sure Cuts Alot is a good stop gap for now, but I want more, hence Mach and the others that are more generic.
At the Moment I'm trying to add a Toshiba TB6560AHQ driver to an Original Cricut. Once that works, I got a 12"x24" that I'll use. It of course uses the parallel port for interfaceing. I'm still looking at exactly how to hook up the 6 wire motor to 4 wire controller. It says it works with motors with up to 8 wires, but it's not obvious to me how. Am I losing some accuracy using less wires? Besides being a CNC newbie, I'm also electronics newbie when it comes to circut level stuff, so most goes way way over my head, but I want to start learning.
I got to looking at the motherboards I took out and saw they use an ATmega128. Wow!! Just like the Arduino Mega I got to learn microprocessing for a motorcycle project. Now maybe instead of just blinking some LEDs, I can mess with interfacing it to a dead Cricut. A new heart so to speak. I've already traced which pins are used for motor control for each axis and which control the magnets for pressure on the blade. Plus maybe I can reuse the USB chips to make it a more modern interface. My newest PC has no parallel port. I have to learn USB control too! All that circut tracing was electronics lesson in itself. I've already starting looking for ATMega code for motor control. I'll probably use Mach3 for higher level stuff, even though Scal would be fine for me If I could find how it talks. Another thread in itself. IMO I think it keeps boundries simpler and it's affordable compared to others. I use Adobe products for design and such, so Scal or whatever is more like a printer driver from my point. I got lots of work ahead, unless someone has done and willing to offer guidance.