View Full Version : What do I need

11-23-2003, 10:27 PM
I'm a student in automated manufacturing and I'm looking at building my own 3 axis CNC router/milling machine and looking at upgrading to a 4th axis in the future. I figure what better way to learn than to do it yourself. I'm looking to stay fairly cheap on this project. I plan to use bi-polar stepper motors around 150 oz in and have a working area of 12x18x8 or somewhere around there. I plan on using a laptop via parrallel or RS232 port and to be able to run G and M Code programs. What do I need between the laptop and the stepper motors. Any help would be much appreciated.


11-23-2003, 10:37 PM
A controller. www.xylotex.com

Do a search for stepper controller on this board for more options.


11-23-2003, 10:40 PM
I'm at about the same point you are, a little farther that's all. What you are now looking at is a controller board which from my understanding is that it goes between the parallel port and the stepper motor.

Now what the chips(IC's) on this board do is translate your commands (pulses) from the parallel into phases for the stepper motor electromagnets. Not only do the IC's do that but your controller, which contains the IC's, also has amplification circuitry(from what I gather this is done through IC's too) and that sends a 12v or whatever voltage to actually drive the stepper motor. I think somebody uses whats called a MOSFET power driver(I could be way off).

So you have a couple ways to do this. . you gotta lot of work if you aren't already into electronics to learn how all this goes together if you want to understand it, which is probably the best way to build your machine, or you can go to www.stepperworld.com and buy one of their controllers from somewhere around $300 american.

All in all it's worth the work obviously, seeing the unlimited potential of a machine of this kind.

Get more advice, I'm just a very basic beginner with this and only learning basic electronics right now, though I got everything else(I can code c++ and got 4 years of autocad)

And, I want to be self employed. I hope this grows into a business once I get my machine made.

11-23-2003, 11:05 PM
The Xylotex controller (or single axis controllers) would be a good choice. Excellent Bang for the Bux!

NEMA34 frame motors put out more power for their current draw, and would fit that controller better than NEMA23's.

If your wanting to use NEMA23 motors with 150oz/in torque, you may need a different controller, since they typically draw more current.

For more power at speed, look for lower voltage steppers.

CNC, especially on a tight budget, is a balancing act, and its better to think of the spacific motor and controller at the same time to make sure you get what you need.


11-23-2003, 11:33 PM
Are you going to build your controller too? If not, Xylotex is hard to beat especially for learning and it does very well beyond that. I have two machines with the Xylotex 3-axis (one with 116 oz/in motors and one with 210 oz/in motors). Also have a single axis board for a 4th axis but haven't done much with it yet. If you aren't going to build your controller yourself, the Xylotex 3-axis with 3-116 oz/in motors is hard to beat for price, reliability, and support.


Oh BTW, I have a place in Clarkston

11-24-2003, 12:52 AM
Where is Xylotex based out of? Don't want to pay through the nose on over seas shipping. Am I going to need any limit switches or home switches or anything else like that? What do you all suggest for a power supply? I've got a pretty good idea on a lot of this stuff but there's just some stuff I need to iron out before I go and make and purchases.

Marvinstov if you're ever up this way look me up I'm down in lewiston everyday for School at LCSC and I work as a manual machinist down there to.


11-24-2003, 01:06 AM
Xylotex is in California. A lot of people put limit and home switches on their machines. I just put limit switches on one of mine this weekend but haven't got all the bugs worked out of them yet. It doesn't really need them if you pay close attention to your G-codes and what you are doing when you are making rapid moves. I built my power supply, pictures are posted in the photo gallery. There are some pretty cheap 24V power supplies around too. In fact when you're ready and if it is what you want, I have a 24V power supply I would sell you. I used it for about a week then built a 30V one. It's like new. It would drive my machine at 50 ipm rapid moves with the Xylotex setup using TurboCNC.


I've been in Florida for a while but come back for a visit now and then. I'll look you up.

11-24-2003, 01:27 AM
is there an input on the board for a limit switches or is that going a little more complex. and if there is a limit switch connection on the Xylotex board could I also hook in a manual kill switch. I'm of the Keep it Simple Stupid group right now and I figure that when I'm ready I'll make one a little more complex.

11-24-2003, 01:31 AM
Yes there are pins for limit switches and about 50 different ways to go about it. If you haven't yet, look at www.Xylotex.com. Xylotex also has a Yahoo group with a lot of good information. There are some pdf files on their site and on the group that show a couple ways for hooking things up. You sound like you are going about it like I am. Got the machine working now I'm fooling with limit switches and the 4th axis.

11-24-2003, 09:46 AM
ddm email mariss at Gecko drives and ask him about his new system that is about to hit the market bundled with the mach2 controller from Art of CNC. I may be wrong in my understanding of this but I think it is to use usb cabling and is a plug and play system.

You can also email Art Fenerty at his web site www.artofcnc.ca and he will know the answer also.


11-24-2003, 09:47 AM
Could you share the plans for your 30V PS? I too have a smaller 24V with only 2.0A and should have more.
I purchased an Xylotex controller and the delivery and support has been really good as you have said.

Hager Hay

11-24-2003, 06:17 PM
Be happy to share with you however their aren't any plans but if you will send me an e-mail at lstovall@cfl.rr.com I would be glad to return one with what I do have and how I did it. I agree, Xylotex is one good company.

11-24-2003, 07:09 PM
Thanks Marv,
I just sent a email.