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mkbryant
12-26-2014, 03:04 AM
Hey Y'all! Just wanted to start my design/build thread here. I've got a few questions I need answered and a few decisions finalized, then I'll be ordering everything for my first dive into CNC machining (well, routering?). My plan is to order most of the Benchtop Basic CNC Machine Kit (Benchtop Basic CNC Machine Kit | CNCRouterParts (http://www.cncrouterparts.com/benchtop-basic-cnc-machine-kit-p-313.html)) from CNC Router Parts less the included 80/20 extrusion. I'm going to buy my own custom-length extrusion in order to expand the benchtop basic to a cutting area greater than 24" x 24".

I've already been in communication with Ahren, who is probably one of the most helpful and open vendors I have ever dealt with, personally or professionally, and he has given me prices on the hardware kit sans 80/20 extrusion, pre-wired electronics kit and upgraded components to elongate the Y-axis. He did request I not divulge these prices as they are not listed on the website and subject to change, especially if more people start ordering piece-meal instead of the whole machine.

Just wanted to get that out of the way early.

Basically, I have a few key applications that require a minimum of 24x24" cutting area, so all the smaller chinese benchtop machines were out as I haven't seen one with any axis over 18", and most seem to be 12" or less in both X and Y. This router will be for home/personal use only at this point, and as such, must fit in my small two-car garage where we currently park two cars (novel, huh?). It also must be approved by the wife, so really anything over maybe 2 ft x 3 ft was out. I really took a liking to CNCRP's Benchtop Pro, particularly the V-Con system. I can't really explain why I like this over the simpler ABEC bearings and flat steel plate, but I'm pretty stubborn and when I decide I like or don't like something, that's the way it's gonna be. The one major drawback to the Benchtop Pro was price--at almost 3 grand without electronics, I could see that going well into the $4,000+ range.

I really liked the idea of a dual-driven X-Axis in the event that I wanted to cut hardwoods or get into some aluminum plate, not only for rigidity, but also because I don't want to wait all day to cut one piece. So I began trying to figure out if I could take the standard ACME drive parts, including the dumpsterCNC nut, along with V-Con brackets and recreate the Benchtop Pro on the cheap. I learned quickly that the only way the Pro works is due to the custom extrusions with ballscrews for each axis. The ballscrews are mounted in the middle of where typical extrusion would be. If using standard V-Con clamps and normal extrusion, you have to mount the screws in such a way that the ACME nut wouldn't clear the linear brackets as the gantry moved along the axis.

That brought me to the basic. It already uses ACME instead of ballscrews and the bent V-Con plate provides ample clearance for ACME nuts to traverse without interference. It has an integrated electronics package that fits directly onto the machine. And the price was right. So away I went, modeling in Solidworks to figure out exactly how long of pieces I needed to order from 80/20. See below for my first take.

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After playing with many models in many different configurations, I realized that in order to take this kit and make it dual-X driven, I would need to fabricate custom risers in order to mount acme nuts. Because this is my first machine, I do not have the capability to do so, and if I went out and had them made, I might as well spend the same money and get the PRO.

I'm still fiddling with the design, but I would like to know if anyone has purchased the normal Basic kit and how they like it? With such a small distance between risers, is being out of square a problem with a machine such as this? The spec page says the normal-sized 18x24 machine will do 200IPM. My design has a heavier gantry, so I suspect this would go down unless I figure out a way to dual-drive the X.

I have already purchased a Bosch 1617 (single-speed 25k, motor only) on sale via amazon, and plan to buy a SuperPID for speed control. This leaves me with another design hurdle, as the integrated electronics enclosure is fits perfectly between the normal machine, but space would need to be taken up with a widened machine. You can see this preliminary design uses extra extrusion to fill the gaps, but I don't really like it. Also, the enclosure is pretty much full as-is, leaving no room for me to add the SuperPID. I plan to order the electronics kit as a DIY with no enclosure, and either build or find one to fit.

So, what are your thoughts? Any comments or advice on single vs dual-driven X-axis? I've read a ton here on the zone, and specifically http://www.cnczone.com/forums/linear-and-rotary-motion/254206-driving-dual-lead-screws-axis.html, so it seems like dual-driven is relatively easy to slave an axis. Since I have no way currently to fabricate new uprights, I have to get a standard 3-axis to start. The next big decision I have to make will be to decide whether or not to buy electronics that would enable to me to upgrade once I could make my own uprights.

I'm off for the holidays so I'll be updating this thread a lot until I'm able to order everything and get it here. I've (my wife) also got a baby on the way, and that will likely put a hold on things for a little bit, so I'm trying to get as much done on this as I can before she comes. Anyway, thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions.

Thanks,
Matthew

fortyeight
12-28-2014, 10:37 PM
As an owner of the BenchTopPRO from cncrouterparts, all i can say is that the extra cost is worth every penny, I have no regrets, and it will pay for itself easily, the unit is amazing. I use mine to cut hardwoods of all types, and good size reliefs and carvings. I have gave the machine some pretty big jobs..

I also cut a fair amount of cell cast acrylic for edge lit signs and stuff, and wouldn't hesitate to cut aluminum or brass and such if i wanted to.I have cut some Lexan.
Check out another purchase bought for production use at ProtoSimTech - Home Page (http://www.protosimtech.com). they purchased his for strictly aluminum cutting.

I have mine machine in my home garage, but the vehicles have had to go, too much mess for my car, (just for some thought on that for you).

With regards to cncrouterparts, they are the best, great to deal any very helpful when needed, i recommend them all day long. Thanks again guys love the unit.

Here is a few things I have done

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Cheers,
All the best on your project, I like your thoughts and plans, I was once in a similar place as urself, but glad i made the choices i did and went with the BenchTopPRO, I think you would have them same opinion if you purchased. And like i said it will pay for itself.
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mkbryant
12-29-2014, 12:02 PM
Thanks for your comments fortyeight! Those edge-lit signs look nice. Are you just using an LED strip underneath the acrylic?

What electronics package did you purchase for your BenchTopPRO? The DIY 4-axis kit (Nema 23 and Gecko G540) or the plug-and-play with discrete all-digital drivers?

I definitely have thought about the mess and space in my garage. I plan on parking in the driveway from now on. Depending on how messy it gets, I might consider pulling my wife's car out when I'm working. It looks like you have a Bosch 1617EVS and the mount from CNC Router parts. In one of your photos, it looks like there is a hose coming up from the router mount, but it's obscured by the sign. Did you buy a dust shoe that fits the CNCRP mount, or did you make something? If you made it, could you post some pics of what it looks like and how it attaches to the router mount?

For me it all boils down to cost. The BenchTop Pro starts at $2900 without any electronics. Let's say you bought the DIY G540 4-axis kit--$685. You're already up to $3500 and you don't have a router/spindle, any bits, or any other accessories you plan on using. No software, etc. If you look at it like I look at it, why would you buy such a robust machine and only put the G540 on it, so I'd go for the plug-and-play kit. Now you're over $4000 without anything else. I've worked it out to where I can buy the hardware and electronics DIY kits from CNCRP, buy the 80/20 extrusion straight from 80/20, router and other accessories from Amazon or elsewhere, and come in about $3000 for everything. Saving $1000 to $1500 is a pretty big deal for me considering this is purely a hobby machine, with no plans right now to ever make any money on this. I simply want to be able to make things for myself and my family and friends. If it ever comes to a point where I'm selling my stuff, then I might consider upgrading.

Thanks for your comments and advice.

Cheers,
Matthew

fortyeight
12-29-2014, 07:46 PM
yes i put an led strip into the bottom of the base.

I also purchased mine for hobby work, but i have been doing projects on the side when asked by others, that is how i generated some funds for tooling and other things. Works out well.

I did purchase the plug and play electronics with the unit. And i have something designed for dust collection it is still in progress, but ultimately it is cut from acrylic to fit motor housing of router and hold the vac hose for top piece and the bottom piece contains the brush and attaches to the top piece via strong magnets embedded into acrylic of both pieces, the magnets are rare earth which attract each other, i will show pics when completed, i got the idea from youtube. when i am completed you can have the desigb and gcodes if you like we have same router.

I built my first machine, and it was a long process that always had hurdles to cross, even with extensive planing, and even after it was up and ruining,
with the new unit it was much easier of a process and this was what i wanted rather then build again and possibly still not have the capabilities that i have with the BenchTopPro. Building is a great experience, but i will add the budget never goes as planned, and i am sure most who built will agree with that statement. There will always be a situation or a change that is unseen or pops up.

I hope the best for your build, it seems you are well organized for the venture.
Like i said the little extra money was well worth it,Also mach 3 is easy to use, and i also use artcam express, also very friendly software.

fortyeight

mkbryant
12-29-2014, 11:29 PM
Excellent, I would be very interested in the photos and plans of your dust collection fixture. Sounds very similar to this one (KentCNC, LLC. Standard Dust Shoe (http://www.kentcnc.net/nc/products/94-standard-dust-shoe.aspx)) but at $159, I am definitely interested in a cheaper DIY solution for the cost of materials and my time.

I am an engineer by trade and hobby, and I was drawn into the world of home/hobby CNC by as much by how it all works and designing and building my own as I was by the ability to make my own stuff. So I really do want to build my own, if for no other reason than to have all the learning experiences that come from building my own. Also, at $3000, I'm already 50% above the budget I initially told my wife when I first started seriously looking about building/buying one of these machines.

There is certainly something to be said for having a system that has been well-packaged, tested, and arrives pretty much ready to go. I look at it and think that if I go for the pro, I would be that much closer to something like a Tormach or Novakon where I could do some real machining in metal and heavier materials. And then you're that much closer to some professional-level system--HAAS, Hurco, etc. I have to stop the spiral somewhere, and I think this is where I'm at.

Thanks for the well wishes. I'm excited to have found such an excellent community to support this hobby/habit and I look forward to actually getting this thing in my hands and start using it.

Matthew

mkbryant
12-30-2014, 11:27 AM
Whelp, second purchase made--precision collet set for the Bosch 1617 from PreciseBits.com. Currently waiting on Ahren from CNCRouterParts to get back with a final invoice and then the waiting game starts on that stuff. I'm sure they're all backed up from the holidays so I wouldn't expect anything until mid-January. Received a quote from 80/20 a while back but I need to amend it and remove a few items and then place that order as well. Unfortunately the full-black anodized metric profile (40-8020, 40-4080, 40-8080) is not in stock in Houston so they have to drop-ship it from Ohio (which is where 80/20 is based) so that will take 7-10 days after fulfillment of the order.

After much reading up on the MX3660, which is the controller that is included in the Basic Benchtop electronics kit from CNCRP, I have decided to go ahead and stick with a 3-axis machine. The costs and effort involved in getting this machine up to a 4-axis (dual driven X-axis) is considerable, and I would probably be better off simply getting the Benchtop Pro. However, it appears the MX3660 can operate each individual axis at different steppings and currents, so my plan is at some point to purchase a larger NEMA23 stepper, possibly this one (NEMA23 570oz/in 5A 3/8? Dual Shaft Stepper Motor (KL23H2100-50-4B) | Automation Technology Inc (http://www.automationtechnologiesinc.com/products-page/nema-23/nema-23-three_eighths-inch-dual-shaft-with-a-flat-570-oz-in)) 570 in-oz from Automation Technologies. It's 5A and the MX3660 says it's good for up to 6A per axis.

Has anyone ever used different size steppers with a MX3660? My other question is the power supply included with the basic electronics kit is 7.3 Amp (350 Watt). Will this be enough to run a 5A, and 2x 3.5A steppers? I realize not all three steppers will use full current at the same time. I could upgrade to the 12.5 Amp PSU, but from CNCRP it's almost $100 more. I could look elsewhere, but then I'd have a 7.3A PSU that I'm not using (guess I could build something else, like a 3D printer, :D).

Anyways, let the waiting begin.

Matthew

mkbryant
01-12-2015, 02:34 PM
Finally have a chance to sit down and give a quick update. I have been otherwise occupied due to the birth of my daughter. :eek: :D

Shortly before that, I went ahead and pulled the trigger on the CNC Router Parts Basic Kit minus the 80/20 extrusion. I also upgraded the electronics to a 12.5 amp PSU in order to upgrade to a larger stepper for the X-axis. They had about a 2-3 week backlog due to high volume and the holidays, so I don't expect to get this stuff before the end of January with the added shipping and handling time.

I still need to order the 80/20 extrusion in full black anodize, as well as a few other items:

A couple of 8mm x 1.25 taps for tapping the ends of the extrusion
Thread tapping fluid (tap magic or alumtap)
Starter bit set, including 1/4" and 1/2" straight and round end mill bits
V-bit set, possibly going to go for a higher-end indexible/changeable knife set
Order or design and fabricate dust collection attachment

As I probably won't be cutting aluminum at first, I'll probably hold off on ordering anything for cutting metal, but I will get there at some point in the future.

Anyways, I'll try to update more often once stuff starts showing up.

mkbryant
01-20-2015, 11:22 PM
Boxes from CNC Router Parts arrived and the unpacking commenced.

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I have ordered all the 80/20 extrusion direct from a vendor here in Houston. However, since I ordered the full black anodized metric extrusion, they don't carry that in their inventory and it has to drop ship straight from Ohio from 80/20 warehouse. Hopefully that stuff will be here next week.

In the meantime, I have some scrap 2x4s which happen to be almost the exact same size as metric 40-4080 extrusion. So I have started construction on my 24"x24" Basic Router using 2x4s. These were all cut by hand so none of the edges are perfectly flush or perpendicular. This isn't really a problem as I don't plan on cutting anything with the 2x4s installed, I just wanted to start piecing it together. I also wanted to be able to test the electronics now while I am waiting for the rest of the structure to show up.

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mkbryant
01-26-2015, 09:02 PM
I've continued construction and began wiring and testing the electronics. I plan to have a custom metal enclosure fabricated once I get everything wired up, but I also want to add another power entry connector wired to a relay that will control a shop vac, and also add a SuperPID to control router speed. So that will take a while to design and ensure fit. I'm also still waiting on the 80/20 to show up.

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Managed to get the smoothstepper and MX3660 wired up and communicating to all three steppers. Directions are all correct and I started very early playing in Mach3, but it's gonna be a while before I actually get the motors tuned and figure out how to completely use that software.

mkbryant
02-01-2015, 11:53 PM
It's been a busy few days! Finally got in the full black anodized 80/20 extrusion and brackets and began final assembly. I bought a Kennametal M8x1.25 aluminum tap from MSCdirect (which btw, ships next day standard, awesome). Cut into the extrusion like butter. Unfortunately, the package I received from CNCrouterparts was missing a few fasteners, but a quick email to Ahren and he shipped out the missing pieces pronto. I cannot reiterate enough how great the service has been from Ahren, Cory and the rest at CNCrouterparts.

After assembly, I managed to get the proximity sensors working on my machine. Now it homes in X and Y. Next thing is to fab up a small Z touch plate for tool length and workpiece offsets. So far I'm very impressed with the Basic Benchtop Kit!!!!

I'm also very aesthetically oriented and I'm really glad I went with the black extrusion. It just looks so clean.

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fortyeight
02-02-2015, 06:32 AM
very nice work, its coming together well, acrylic would be an easy way to make a box for the back electronics but i am sure u have a plan for that.
Looks great,

mkbryant
02-02-2015, 11:51 AM
very nice work, its coming together well, acrylic would be an easy way to make a box for the back electronics but i am sure u have a plan for that.
Looks great,

Thanks, I was thinking about having a custom sheet metal enclosure fabricated, but in the meantime I might go with acrylic or plywood just to have something more substantial than a cardboard box.

fortyeight
02-17-2015, 06:32 AM
wondering how you have been making out with your build

mkbryant
02-20-2015, 12:46 AM
Got the machine up and running and have started cutting some pieces. I've designed an enclosure for the electronics and have started making the pieces out of some home depot "white wood". It's really soft but it will do for an enclosure, and for my first cuts I don't want to start breaking bits. I plan on working some more on it this weekend and I'll post pics then.

Next up will be some plywood cutout props for a play my wife is putting on at church.

I also really need some sort of dust collection system beyond some cardboard walls and me holding the shop vac for 20 minutes while the program runs. Man that saw dust gets everywhere. Have you made any progress on your dust boot? Where do you get your acrylic and what kind of bits, feeds and speeds are you using to cut it? Do you perform any operations after cncing, sanding, burning or melting or polishing?

fortyeight
02-20-2015, 02:28 PM
That is great to hear.
I havent made any progress on the dust boot, still waiting for the brush to show up, then i will put the finishing touches on it. For now i have the hose tywraped on the tool. I purshase my acylic from a local glass and acrylic shop. I do know that mcmastercarr do sell it but the wont ship to me, but they may to you where you are in the USA. I just started calling local shops till I found one that would purchase for me.
I use anama tools single o flute for cutting out parts in acrylic usually at 70IPM with a 0.10" stepdown. When engraving it I use precise bits 60 degree vee bit still at 70IPM, been working well. And when i take it off the table i do not perform any other operations.

mkbryant
03-24-2015, 10:41 AM
Just a quick update...

I discovered that my table was out of level some 0.030" or more from one end of the X-axis to the other. I found this out the hard way during cutting out a piece and trying to leave the onion skin on the bottom (about 0.020" thick). This meant that when I zeroed my tool on the lower end of the table, during the final pass, by the time it made it down to the higher end of the table, it had cut completely through the material and started shaving off part of the nice aluminum extrusion tabletop. I was not pleased with this.

I managed to level the table by removing the feet and placing both X-axis V-con plates on 2x4s. Both sides were relatively level with each other. I then loosened all the fasteners for the aluminum extrusion tabletop as well as the four 80/20 extrusion cross-members. I started at one corner, doing my best to zero a bit on the table using the playing card method, then I'd move to another corner and move the tool to zero. If there was any play beneath the bit, I'd push up the cross member until the tabletop made contact with the bit and then quickly tighten down that cross members fasteners to the v-con plate. I did this on all four corners, and repeatedly went back and forth and across to ensure all four corners were at the same Z-zero. Finally, put the bit at .010-.020" above the table and ran it around continuously, being cautious to ensure the bit did not catch on anything. The gap looked consistent around the whole table. I put the feet back on and removed the 2x4s.

The next cut I made, I left a 0.020" onion skin on the part and the thickness seemed to be consistent all the way around, so I view that as a success.

The only issue that I might have is I leveled the table using the tool running on the x- and y-axis, and while I'm fairly certain the X-axis has minimal play due to the way the risers assemble (once the table and V-con plates are level, there isn't any additional place for the X-axis to get out of alignment), I did not check against the Y-axis. I did not level the Y-axis v-con plate to the table. Due to hole clearances in the V-con plate, and clearance between the fasteners and the 80/20 extrusion gantry T-slots, it's possible the Y-axis is out of square with the X. The next issue will be to tram the router mount itself, as it seems like I'm not getting as smooth a surface cut as I'd like. If anyone has any ideas on how to tram the router mount on the Z-axis V-con plate, I'm all ears.

Also, I'm looking at using the Mach3 2010 Screenset so I can take advantage of the auto tool zero and tool change zero macros, but it requires homing switches in all three axes. The Z currently does not have one, and I'm simply been putting the Z up as high as it would go, then clicking Ref All home in Mach3. If anyone has any ideas about putting a limit switch on the Z axis of the CNCRP Basic machine, I'd love to hear/see these ideas as well.

fortyeight
03-24-2015, 03:45 PM
i have never chanced cutting my table on my benchtop pro, when i assembled i put it as close to level as possible, it seems good after checking today.
I always use a mdf spoil-board when cutting thru my projects. I machine the mdf spoil-board with the machine ensuring it is leveled with the z axis. I find this process works well for me, and makes sure i wont cut thru the tabletop. That would be unimpressive for me,

My machine has the homing/limit switches but does not have one for the z, it mostly for sqauring the machine prior to starting the task, I would of liked to have one for the z, but just second now to pull up the z prior to hitting ref all home button.
With regard to needing homing switches on all three axis, there is a way around that, might be a good question for cory at cncrouterparts, sure he can help you out with that.
all the best
fortyeight

also still haven't finished up my dust boot, find i like to see whats going on while cutting to much to cover it up and still having trouble sourcing a brush that i like. Did you do anything for yours in regards to dust collection.

mkbryant
03-24-2015, 04:34 PM
Haven't solved the dust problem yet. I made a deal with my wife to make a few props for a play she's directing, so that has been my priority. Couple that with being busy at work, having a 2-month-old, and having about a 1-hour-each-way drive to and from work, there isn't much time to work on accessories and additions to my cnc machine yet.

I have ordered the SuperPID and have been investigating how best to connect it to the Ethernet SmoothStepper > MX3660 combo I have.

Still, also, working on my electronics enclosure. I've got the main box constructed, glued and have used some caulk to seal the gaps. Still need to finish-sand and paint (not necessary for structure, just aesthetics). Then I've got my bulkhead panel modeled and I just need to cut it. Maybe I'll get to that this weekend.

I've also been buying a number of different router bits I'm finding on ebay, mostly Onsrud, for wood and soft plastics (single o-flute) 1/8" and 1/4" diameters. Trying to build up a decent supply and variety so when I do actually get fully up and running, I'm not limited by poor bit selection.

ger21
03-24-2015, 07:07 PM
Also, I'm looking at using the Mach3 2010 Screenset so I can take advantage of the auto tool zero and tool change zero macros, but it requires homing switches in all three axes. The Z currently does not have one, and I'm simply been putting the Z up as high as it would go, then clicking Ref All home in Mach3.

That will work fine with the 2010 Screenset. There are two main reasons for using a home switch with the 2010 Screenset.

1) There's a Z height for the tool change position, and it's in machine coordinates, which are relative to Z home. If Z home is not in a repeatable position, then the Z tool change position can vary as well.

2) The macros use the Z home position as a reference position to keep from moving up too high and causing a crash.

The method you're currently using for your Z axis is close enough for the 2010 Screenset. Just be sure to always Ref the Z at the top.

ger21
03-24-2015, 07:09 PM
I have ordered the SuperPID and have been investigating how best to connect it to the Ethernet SmoothStepper > MX3660 combo I have.

If you have an ESS, just use a PWM signal from a separate port into the SuperPID. Just get a simple $10 breakout board.

mkbryant
03-24-2015, 11:16 PM
If you have an ESS, just use a PWM signal from a separate port into the SuperPID. Just get a simple $10 breakout board.

Gerry, thanks for the info. Would something like the C13 from cnc4pc work (C13 - Basic Breakout Board (http://www.cnc4pc.com/Store/osc/product_info.php?cPath=33&products_id=131))?

Is it simply not possible using the MX3660, or would it be more trouble than it's worth? Money isn't a problem, especially if I can get a BOB for $10, but I'm a little strapped for space in my enclosure. Not sure how I'd position the C13, but it's probably doable (it's 4"x2").

I've also been thinking about (someday) adding an MPG controller. I am under the impression that these also need a BOB to connect to the ESS (ESS > DB25 > BOB > DB25 > MPG). Is this correct, or can I use a male-to-female DB25 adapter and connect an MPG straight to the ESS (using the 26-pin port)? If the latter, then no worries, but if the former (BOB required for MPG), is there a BOB that will allow me to connect to an MPG and get the PWM signal required for the SuperPID?

mkbryant
03-25-2015, 12:15 AM
Just wanted to post a few renders of my electronics enclosure. I don't have Solidworks files of all the components and bulkhead connectors, but I feel I have enough of the bulk for a decent layout. I've got the box built, just haven't routed the bulkhead panel or the lid yet. Will try and post a few pics of the box as-glued.

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ger21
03-25-2015, 11:49 AM
I looked at the MX3660 manual. It says the analog output max is 1.1V less than the analog input,so if you supplied 6.1V, you'd get a 0-5V output.
So I guess it depends on which method is easier for you to do. I'm not an electronics expert. That board should work. I don't think you need a pull up or pull down resistor for the PWM signal, but if you do, it's easy to add.
As for the MPG, it would depend on which one you're using.

mkbryant
03-25-2015, 11:56 AM
I looked at the MX3660 manual. It says the analog output max is 1.1V less than the analog input,so if you supplied 6.1V, you'd get a 0-5V output.
So I guess it depends on which method is easier for you to do. I'm not an electronics expert. That board should work. I don't think you need a pull up or pull down resistor for the PWM signal, but if you do, it's easy to add.
As for the MPG, it would depend on which one you're using.

I really like the look, features and price of the MPG2 from CNC4PC. Looks like that one requires a C22 BOB, which apparently doesn't have additional breakout functionality. I'd need a separate BOB for the PWM signal from the ESS. Just wondering if there was a 2-parallel port BOB for use with the ESS that could do both.

ger21
03-25-2015, 12:51 PM
It looks like the MPG2 uses all the pins in the port, so the easiest thing to do would probably be to use both a C22 and a C13.

It looks like the MX3660 has 4 digital outputs. If you're not using all of them, you can use one to send the PWM signal directly to the Super-PID. Then you won't need the C13, or an analog input voltage.

mkbryant
03-26-2015, 02:26 AM
Wanted to show off some of the first things I've done on this machine that actually look like something. Other things I've cut were pieces for my electronics enclosure and they are kind of boring to look at. These are all props for a play my wife is directing.

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The donkey heads are basic plywood and the signs are cedar boards. I cut the signs using a Freud (Diablo) 1/4" radius round nose bit (core box) 1/2" in diameter, with a feed of 100 IPM and a DOC of 0.125". I then painted them with Rustoleum all surface outdoor paint.

On the donkey heads, I milled out 0.050" deep everywhere but where the black is, to give a raised effect. I then attempted to paint the remaining raised sections, but some were so narrow that I ended up getting pretty sloppy and painting places I did not want to paint. These were done with Freud (Diablo) straight double-flute 1/4" and 1/8" bits. Surface finish on the bottom of the pocket leaves much to be desired. Haven't figured out if my router is square with my table.

I realize it's all pretty simple stuff, but I'm proud of it. And besides, you have to learn to crawl before you can walk.

- Matthew

mkbryant
03-26-2015, 02:33 AM
It looks like the MPG2 uses all the pins in the port, so the easiest thing to do would probably be to use both a C22 and a C13.

It looks like the MX3660 has 4 digital outputs. If you're not using all of them, you can use one to send the PWM signal directly to the Super-PID. Then you won't need the C13, or an analog input voltage.

Thanks for that, Gerry. I guess I didn't realize that the MX3660 digital output could be a PWM signal, but then when you think about it, that's exactly what a digital signal is. At first I thought I had to use the analog output. I've just spent the last 2 hours reading through the SuperPID, Ethernet Smoothstepper, MX3660 and Mach3 manuals and I think I've figured it all out. PWM signal is on the Spindle Motor "Step" pin, which is mapped to the pin on the MX3660 that is one of the digital outputs. I'll also use another output for the router On-Off Relay. Does that sound right?

I can definitely hold off on the MPG right now, and it looks like I don't have to buy any other BOB right now for the SuperPID. Thanks again for the advice.

By the way, I downloaded and installed your 2010 screenset this afternoon, and cut the signs posted above using the screenset. I have to say it at least felt like my productivity improved. The workflow seems so much better than when I was hunting around the stock Mach3 screen looking for things, and I wasn't sure what the hotkeys were. I'm excited to get my SuperPID and try out the spindle speeds, as well as to finally fab up a touch plate to use for auto tool zeros.

- Matthew

mkbryant
05-30-2015, 12:02 PM
This whole process has been very slow due to my inexperience with CNC, essentially changing jobs back in December (I was on an international rotational assignment with 4 weeks on/4 weeks off, coming back into the office full time) and with a newborn-now-infant baby at home, but I feel like I'm finally finished with the "base" machine. I've finally completed my electronic controls box (see below), along with fabbing up a simple z-touch plate.

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I V-carved the lettering on the panel, with mixed results. I laboriously leveled my table to my spindle a while back, but then I threw on a piece of 2x6, and didn't think anything of it, failed to surface said spoilboard, screwed the thin piece of mdf to it and started cutting. As you can see, it was about 20-25 thousands off in height. I think I remember that I set z=0 right in the middle of the piece, so on one end, the letters end up a little thin, which is totally fine and you can read them very well, and on the other end, the cutter started getting too deep and all the letters start running together. They're also too rounded as the V-bit didn't raise up far enough to create the sharp points.

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The last thing I have done was to create a spoilboard with a grid of threaded inserts. I purchased a package of flanged hex-drive threaded inserts for soft wood from EZ-Lok (Hex Drive Threaded Inserts | E-Z LOK (http://www.ezlok.com/inserts-for-wood/soft-wood-inserts/hex-drives)). I then laid these out in an even grid in solidworks, generated my code in HSMXpress and started cutting. In order to protect the nice aluminum extrusions (since I am creating the spoilboard but cannot yet use it as such), I made this a two-sided operation. Somehow, when I flipped the piece, I didn't line it up properly, and ended up with holes on the two sides that were about 1/8" off center. Exactly. Every single one. So I felt good about the fact that I had gotten my orientation perfectly aligned, but just not the X-Y coordinates. I had to drill out the smaller holes on one side to allow screws through into the threaded inserts (my machine did not cut nasty holes like that).

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I also had a couple of accidents due to stopping the program mid-operation to check for clashing with my hold-downs. In one case, I did not do a very good job preventing clashing.

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Next things up are to wire up and install my SuperPID, and make a dust shield/vacuum attachment. Only then might I get around to actually making something that isn't considered part of the machine itself.