View Full Version : Directly programming the Piranha FX CNC

02-14-2016, 07:26 PM
Please excuse my ignorance if this is the wrong board or forum for this particular subject. Gently direct me to the right area if you find this post inappropriate, and I will gladly take the conversation there.

I own a Piranha FX CNC. Prior to the release of the Universal Control Panel I had been tinkering around with direct control of the machine through some hacked together driver code. Now that the official control panel software has been released by Next Wave Automation, it has provided a wealth of new details on how to write software that can control the Piranha directly from a Windows PC.

I was wondering if anyone else in this forum has any experience with controlling the Piranha or the Shark directly via custom software.

My current development efforts have given me a three point absolute zero reference app using the Shark/Piranha zero touch plate. Very useful for repeatable cuts when tiling longer pieces of work or switching out bits and then returning to a known absolute position.

I am currently building some custom software for the Piranha that will turn out mortise and tenon joints on narrow stock work pieces utilizing a dedicated jig. The Piranha can cut a complex jig from MDF that fits over the bed of the CNC, and the software guides you through the steps. And then you use that jig to set up your work pieces and the Piranha which cuts mortise and tenons joints automatically for you based on parameters you specify.

Having scoured the internet there doesn't appear to be a public API for the Shark or Piranha, so I've been reverse engineering my own for the Piranha from the Shark Control Panel and some hacked drivers, and now, the recently released Piranha control panel and drivers.

I've also developed a 90 degree right angle mount for the Piranha that can rotate the spindle to cut horizontally which works great for dovetails. The rotating mount is cut by the Piranha (mine is cut from aluminium) from my design.

So if you want to trade software, source code, or just reverse engineering tips, please let me know either here on the forum, or via my personal email address at justin@justinlloyd.org

02-25-2016, 09:47 PM
I just picked up the Pirahna myself, after having muddled around with the ShapeOko2 (SO2) DIY kit for almost 2 years. I had some mixed results with the SO2, but I always had my eye on some form of desktop CNC, and when I saw that the laser and 3D modules were available, I decided to pull the trigger.

Reading about your 90 degree mount to cut dovetails was a revelation in simplicity winning out over complexity. There are many, many forum posts on how to overcome this basic limitation on CNC machines, and some of the workarounds (cutting a hole in the CNC workarea and clamping the piece vertically, for example) require a lot of work, and also basically degrading the integrity of the platform. I never thought of turning the spindle 90 degrees. Genius!!

I haven't even put my machine together yet, but I am going to do a look of dry runs (or jam a pen in the mount) just to get a feel for the machine, and then I will start venturing into the unknown, but at least I shouldn't have to struggle with the brazillion variables that a DIY kit contains.

I would be interested in your mount (I have no need to cut dovetails..... yet) but it would be a good exercise in milling aluminum (something I never did with my SO2).