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nosplinters
02-29-2008, 02:48 AM
Howdy all,

I just finished up building my own controller for my new Taig. At the beginning of this year I purchased a Xylotex controller; however, I decided I needed some more goodies; therefore, I set out to build my own controller.

Here's a couple pix. The panels were all cut and text engraved with my C02 laser. The main electronics consist of a Bob Campbell combo board and Zylotex motor controller. The motor cables use Amphenol connectors and the limit switches us DIN (I think that's what they are) type connectors.

If anyone would be interested in building one of these, let me know. I'd be happy to list out the parts as well as include a schematic and layout drawing.

The next thing I need to do is tune everything in Mach3.

Happy CNCing!

-Ed

http://www.nosplinters.com/images/Misc/front.jpg

http://www.nosplinters.com/images/Misc/back.jpg

CROSSHATCH
03-02-2008, 01:35 AM
Wow, just fantastic. Great too see someone post this! I'm working on my controller box too. Right now I have wires just going into my case. It's actually one of those Metal briefcases that came with Foam, I think used for like Rc or Paintball Guns or whatever. But I converted it too a cnc box.

I'm going too go the same route as you with the x.y.z. connectors and so. I'm really excited .

Thanks for a great post.


-Jason

tauntdesigns
03-02-2008, 02:12 AM
Great work,

I like all the lights and wish I had put some extra power plugs like you have on back of yours on mine.

Jack

nosplinters
03-02-2008, 02:32 PM
Thanks guys for the compliments. I just finished mounting the controller in a steel router table stand I purchased from Rocker.com. I had to build a custom frame to allow me to rack mount it and then because I'm a bit picky, I painted the frame black to match the stand. I did mess up and not make the 'Z' home switch cable long enough; therefore, it required me to drill a 3/4" hole in the top of the MDF table and route the cable down to the controller. It actually worked about pretty good. I'm going to do the same thing for all the cable so that when I'm rolling the cart around I won't risk pinching a cable.

I'm now in the process of building a lower cabinet and drawer to hold some future tooling.

I'll snap another picture once I'm all done. I'll also try and get a photo of the inside of the controller. The wiring was a bit of a challenge due to all of the components inside the box.

FYI - I bought all the parts from Allied Electronics http://www.alliedelec.com/
Probably a little more than say, Mouser, but the service was great and the catalog they sent me was wonderful.

I love the amphenol connectors! Though they can add up in price very quickly. :)

-Ed

fretsman
03-02-2008, 03:22 PM
If anyone would be interested in building one of these, let me know. I'd be happy to list out the parts as well as include a schematic and layout drawing.

I would love to see this info, Ed as I'm considering doing this myself in the future. What a fantastic job you've done and look forward to seeing the final setup-

nosplinters
03-05-2008, 02:02 AM
Sorry for the late reply.

I'm trying to wrap up the cabinet and then I'll start putting together the list of goodies.

I just need to add the drawer and door and the cabinet will be done. :)

I'll try to get the parts list and schematic on here by the end of the week.

Thanks
-Ed

nosplinters
03-10-2008, 03:55 AM
Hi All,

I finally finished everything up and created a pdf document with a parts list, drawings, schematic, etc. I didn't go into a step by step process; however, if anyone would like some more info, please let me know.

Sorry about the quality of some of the images. Scaling things down caused some fuzziness. If you can't see things well enough, PM me and I'll email you a higher quality image.

Here's the link: http://www.nosplinters.com/misc/DIYCNCController.pdf

Enjoy!

Thanks
-Ed

krymis
03-10-2008, 09:50 AM
can you update with a schematic of the leds on the front panel? I am really interested in how they are put in and wired.

DogWood
03-10-2008, 11:04 AM
Wow Ed, thats a nicely done write up :)

thanks for sharing

nosplinters
03-10-2008, 11:30 PM
Thanks DogWood, I appreciate the compliment.

krymis - the LEDs shown on the front panel are actually part of a board that is included with the Campbell Combo breakout board. Sorry I neglected to mention that. There's a small ribbon cable that runs from the LED board to the Combo board.

Thanks
-Ed

Stepper Monkey
03-11-2008, 02:21 AM
Not only is it very professionally done, it actually looks like it surpasses many of the commercially available units - both in fit and finish and thoughtful features. I'm impressed.
There are a lot of newbs who don't have the knowledge or desire to put together a unit like this, or at least don't have the confidence to, that might be interested in buying a completed unit. Have you thought about offering them as finished items? It would fill a needed gap between the new-to-the-hobby choices of either buying a complete CNC system bundled with the often subpar and/or overly expensive factory drivers and the seemingly daunting task of assembling a driver system from scratch. We think of it as simple but it terrifies newcomers. I work with them all the time and see their perspectives from the outside looking in.
I have talked with a lot of people who are very competent in tackling any mechanical aspects of setting up a machine, who are even machinists, but are terrified enough of electronics they let that single fact alone put them off of a CNC build. This would be a good fit for them.

nosplinters
03-11-2008, 03:35 AM
Thanks alot Stepper Monkey. I owe you some credit as well. You're one of the many people that helped me get into this great hobby by answering many of my questions. :)

Initially I didn't want to spend a couple thousand dollars; therfore, I went with a bare bones system. It only took me a couple days to realize that I needed something with more features; including safety. Being a newby, I didn't want to risk damaging (equipment and myself) right out the gate. I checked into a couple of commecial controllers, both over $2000 and only one of them responded to my email. I figured I could build something better for less money and the opportunity to learn something along the way.

I did learn a few things that I would do differently, especially now that I rack mounted the unit in the cart. The Amphenol connectors should have been positioned in the rear of the control box; therefore, all of the cables would be out of the way and provide easier accessibility to the EPO button. I have also been working on adding a small 2 conductor plug to the front that would allow a remote EPO to be attached. This would be a nice feature, especially if the machine is in action and you're not close by (not good practice).

I certainly thought about streamlining things and offering a turnkey controller; however, the supportability could be a bit daunting. Another option might be to put together a DIY package with very detailed instructions and diagrams. I imagine there's some folks out there that get that feeling of accomplishment when they've done everything themselves. The most important thing that most companies neglect are good quality instructions. There's a lot more that I can add to the pdf document; however, it was getting late and I wanted to get something out there for all to see.

If you have any ideas as to what should be added to the controller, let me know. I'd be happy to tweak things a bit to see what other features can be brought forth.

I'm also thinking about writing some "good and easy" engraving software for CNCing. I just need to understand G-Code better.

Thanks again!

Regards,
-Ed

fretsman
03-11-2008, 12:52 PM
Ed, I wanted to thank you for doing such a great job with this as it may be very helpful to me in the future. I'm one of those guys who is definitely a little gun-shy when it comes to certain electronics but the time you've taken to detail this out is priceless.

Fantastic job and thank you, again- :)