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  1. #13
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    Default Re: 1st Build, will this be a decent Design?

    ger21 --

    Upon re-reading my post... yeah; I think it could stand a little clarification. Sorry about that! So...

    These days, practically speaking, in this context, 'suitable for Mach 3' translates to 'old', and probably gathering dust in a closet somewhere.

    More specifically, for parallel port use, you'd need a machine that passed the Mach 3 timing tests, and, well, had a parallel port. There were a lot of machines from back then that would not pass the timing tests; laptops were the worst in this respect; but a lot of business class desktops with remote management in the BIOS would fail also.

    which was originally developed on Windows 2000.
    Which is what I was running it on... at the time, I specifically went out on eBay and bought a copy of Windows 2000 just for this purpose. FWIW, I think I still have it around here somewhere....

    I do not recommend Mach3 at all, as it's obsolete at this point.
    I don't use it anymore; but I still do see it used (various forum posts & YouTube videos lead me to this impression). Perhaps it's just "marketplace inertia" causing this?

    There is one use case that I can think of for it today; but otherwise - yes, it's basically an end-of-life product. That one use case I can think of is this:
    1) You have a suitable PC gathering dust in a closet somewhere.
    2) You are already going to be using stepper drivers that can be directly interfaced with a parallel port using a $3 DB25 breakout board. It helps if the stepper driver has optoisolation built in.
    3) You don't have the money for a full Mach 4 (or UCCNC or Masso or... etc) setup yet.
    4) Grbl based solutions won't do what you want.

    Then you could give it a try, with the demo version first. If it doesn't work out you are only out the $3 for the DB25 breakout board; and some time spent fiddling with it.

    I recommend UCCNC,
    I haven't used it myself, so I'll have take your word that it's good stuff.

    To me, GRBL and all the low cost and open source stuff is more suited to small, very low cost hobby machines.
    Well... the X-Carve uses it, and that's available in a size that's slightly larger than what was described here in the original post. I suppose it depends on what you are expecting to get out of the machine as to how suitable it is - it's definitely less feature-packed then the other options mentioned here; but I can say from experience that it does work. It's also available for less than $20 in hardware costs... so I guess you get what you pay for?

    Personally, I'm in a bit of an odd position, so what's best for me may well be not best for anybody else... I'm a programmer who dabbles in hardware; and having full access all the way from the G-Code interpreter down to the hardware is tremendously appealing to me. I'm working on the AVR platform right now; but intend to transition to the ARM platform as soon as the official ARM version is out (I've decided not to try to port the existing version of Grbl to an ARM based Arduino; as according to Chamnit, he's completely refactoring Grbl for Arm; and as soon as he does release it, my porting work would be obsolete). One of my motivations in doing the work that I have on Grbl is I wanted to not have a PC hanging off of each CNC machine I have... no PC cost, no PC maintenance, no PC boot time (my version of Grbl is pretty close to "instant on")... more of an "appliance" user experience. Obviously, this won't apply to everyone... or even most people. I'm odd.


    Arjay --
    I have printed PLA and PETG on my 3D printer (an i3 clone built by WanHao for MonoPrice). My experience is that PLA starts quite rigid at room temperature, and really gets soft quite quickly as temperatures rise; and PETG is slightly softer at room temperature but doesn't soften until much higher temperatures than PLA does. However, the PTEG that I have will soften enough to compromise the rigidity of a motor mount. Perhaps you have better materials than I do (mine is from eSun). I have not tried nylon or CF reinforced filaments; so I can't speak to those.

    It's certainly good for prototyping parts that don't have to be rigid or high-strength while being tested; and for some parts I've directly used the 3D prints (they weren't mounts for motors that got hot, though).



    Last edited by __Britt; 09-02-2019 at 12:19 AM. Reason: Clarified sentence.


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    Default Re: 1st Build, will this be a decent Design?

    I have never used Mach3 and it is getting a bit old now.The positive thing is that there is a large user base to ask for advice.UCCNC seems to be getting quite a following and again,I know nothing of it.Arduino based solutions just didn't click with me when I tried to use them with just the one motor to learn.I did succeed with LinuxCNC and since it costs nothing,that frees up some money for other components.Might be worth downloading and taking a look from a live installation.

    As always with ideas for a new build it might be helpful to know what ,if any,experience with CNC machines and associated software the OP has.It would be frustrating to have a machine sitting there while having to learn how to generate programs and make parts.



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    Default Re: 1st Build, will this be a decent Design?

    Thanks for all the replies, there's some great info here! Thanks to Britt for your detailed reply, it's very informative. I haven't really decided what controllers to use but mainly I've been thinking about Mach4, I will look into GRBL now thanks! My Motors are all 8 wire, Nema 23's 4amp 2.83nm 400oz.inc I must admit I don't know what a lot of this means to be honest, but I've been told they are more than enough for a 'hobby machine'? I'm also not sure if these will determine what controllers I will have to get now..?



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    Default Re: 1st Build, will this be a decent Design?

    UCCNC is half the price of Mach4, and easier to use. You should at least consider it before going with Mach4.


    My Motors are all 8 wire, Nema 23's 4amp 2.83nm 400oz.inc I must admit I don't know what a lot of this means to be honest, but I've been told they are more than enough for a 'hobby machine'?
    "Hobby machines" come in all shapes and sizes, and with different levels of performance. The performance you get out of the steppers is very dependent on other factors. Mainly, drives, voltage, and screw pitch.

    Gerry

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2017.html

    Mach3 2010 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints
    http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)


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    Default Re: 1st Build, will this be a decent Design?

    I will look into UCCNC, i've not heard of it so it wasn't really on my Radar, if it's cheaper and does everything I need then it sounds like it'll be a no brainer, I do think Mach4 is a bit overkill for what I need to be honest. Cheers Ger

    Phil



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    Default Re: 1st Build, will this be a decent Design?

    UCCNC looks promising to be honest, I'm just not 100% sure what I'd need, I've seen the AXBB-E but don't really know what else I need regarding any special parts like power supplies, wiriing, etc? Also would on AXBB-E be enough for all four motors or do I need more, and how many licences do i need, it's a bit confusing...



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    Default Re: 1st Build, will this be a decent Design?

    Quote Originally Posted by BigFellaPhil View Post
    UCCNC looks promising to be honest, I'm just not 100% sure what I'd need, I've seen the AXBB-E but don't really know what else I need regarding any special parts like power supplies, wiriing, etc? Also would on AXBB-E be enough for all four motors or do I need more, and how many licences do i need, it's a bit confusing...
    Did you check the AXBB-E manual? It answers all of your questions.
    It supports 6-axis, but only pins for 4 motors are wired out onto the screw terminals, if you want to connect more then you can use port#3 but then you need an extra breakout board to connect the 5. and 6. motor drive.
    In the AXBB-E manual check the last page, there is an example connection diagram which shows the power supplies and switches, drives etc. connections, it is a complete connection diagram for 4 motor drives.
    License depends on what software will you use, if UCCNC then you need one UCCNC license for the AXBB-E thats it. If you will use Mach3 then you need a Mach3 license. The controller works with both softwares.



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    Default Re: 1st Build, will this be a decent Design?

    The AXBB-E requires both a 5V and 24V power supply. You'll still need stepper drives for your motors, and a power supply for the stepper motors. The UCCNC license is tied to to the AXBB, so you need one license.
    Yes, you'll need wire.

    Gerry

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2017.html

    Mach3 2010 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints
    http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)


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    Default Re: 1st Build, will this be a decent Design?

    Hi Big - Look at buildbotics - one box solution, great for a newbie. I use UNCNC on 3 machines and its been easy. I'm looking at Buildbotics for the next one. Peter

    https://store.buildbotics.com/buildb...cnc-controller



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    Default Re: 1st Build, will this be a decent Design?

    Quote Originally Posted by peteeng View Post
    Hi Big - Look at buildbotics - one box solution, great for a newbie. I use UNCNC on 3 machines and its been easy. I'm looking at Buildbotics for the next one. Peter

    https://store.buildbotics.com/buildb...cnc-controller
    I'm using UCCNC on 2 machines. now finishing the 3rd machine.



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    Default Re: 1st Build, will this be a decent Design?

    Hi Olf, I didn't check the manual, no, just what I've read on here and I've seen a few YouTube videos, but I will check it now thanks for the info...

    Peet - I like a challenge and although the BuildBotics looks great, I had really wanted to learn a bit more about the Electronics side of CNC as that's what I know least about so using this would take the challenge away somewhat.

    Cheers again Ger, for your help.



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    Default Re: 1st Build, will this be a decent Design?

    Hi BFP = There's certainly lots to be challenged on the electronics side of the project. It can take up a lot of time and be very frustrating if things don't work out. And it may not be your problem so to speak, it could be the vendors (that happened with my first G540 took 3 weeks to sort that one and I had to get instructions from them on how to modify the motherboard!! myself) or something odd and then its weeks to sort something out. There's lots to learn to get a cut done in CAD/CAM/feeds and speeds, tooling and workflow, fixturing to keep you busy. I look at the electronics and say the easiest path is the best path. That means I get to make sawdust faster and more reliably. Sorting usteps, currents, controllers that trip, sorting a good loom can take a week or more and all of this helps your understanding but it doesn't help make sawdust. So I think a plug and play is great after being through the movie 3 times. The last plug and play controller I bought (a chinese 4 axis 3A one $85AUD) took 3 hours to wire and get going fantastic! . The sister machine I decided to buy seperate parts and controllers etc so it had a "spare" 5th axis for a rotary. Took 25 hours to sort a reasonable loom then because an extra 5V power supply was needed I decided to change the overall powering so I only needed one PS. Took about 3 weeks to sort out and cost $200AUD more then the first one and they do the same job. So think about keeping it simple!! Peter



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