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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    I actually really like the idea of a complete solution like that. That is what I was looking for at first, but as with most any all-in-one complete solutions they end up being limited in some aspects and I end up spending more money in the long run after I end up upgrading. BUT I still wish I could find a solution like that that does not limit things so much.



  2. #22
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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    Hi,

    BUT I still wish I could find a solution like that that does not limit things so much.
    I think the G540 is going to be too current limited to be of value. Individual drivers for each stepper is your only solution whether you like it or not.

    You have yet to mention what software and/or what motion controller you want to use. Speculation without that information is not helpful.

    Craig



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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    I have very limited CNC experience. I am not sure what will work best with the motors/drivers/PS I have decided on so far. I want to be sure that whatever components I get, there is no bottleneck in the system. Also I would like to get something that I don't have to fiddle with too much to get it up and running.

    Questions about the Mach3 board
    Will the Mach3 board mentioned previously work with my listed components?

    Does the Mach3 board communicate with a computer via ethernet (isolated from the CNC)?

    Do I need to use the Mach software to use the board?

    I also want to run the Super-PID router speed control and the IOT Switching Relay. Can these be used on the Mach3 board?


    Are there other options I should look at?

    Thanks!



  4. #24
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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Sray View Post
    I have very limited CNC experience. I am not sure what will work best with the motors/drivers/PS I have decided on so far. I want to be sure that whatever components I get, there is no bottleneck in the system. Also I would like to get something that I don't have to fiddle with too much to get it up and running.

    Questions about the Mach3 board
    Will the Mach3 board mentioned previously work with my listed components?

    Does the Mach3 board communicate with a computer via ethernet (isolated from the CNC)?

    Do I need to use the Mach software to use the board?

    I also want to run the Super-PID router speed control and the IOT Switching Relay. Can these be used on the Mach3 board?


    Are there other options I should look at?

    Thanks!
    Disregard these questions. My brain was suffering from analysis paralysis. Researching so many different things I was not clear headed. LOL.

    Back to my research...



  5. #25
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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    Hi,
    there are a number of choices when it comes to software, the most often talked about on this forum for hobby use are:

    1) Mach3 or Mach4. Mach3 ($175) started the hobby CNC revolution and is still popular. All development on Mach3 ceased seven years ago in favor of Mach4. Mach4 ($200) is to my mind
    light years ahead. There are multiple manufacturers of motion control boards and breakout boards for both Mach3 and Mach4. I've been using Mach4 for seven years.
    2) UCCNC ($60) is software developed by CNCDrive, and is very good, but requires that you use one of CNCDrives motion control boards like the UC100, UC 400, UC300, all very good
    and modestly priced, $130-$180.
    3) LinuxCNC (free, open source) runs on a realtime distro of Linux. You can use a humble parallel port for simple machines or one of the modestly priced (approx $250) Mesa motion boards.
    LinuxCNC is very good, and being realtime has some distinct advantages IF you are prepared to program in C in a Linux environment. Its not as daunting as it sounds...but if your not a programmer
    then could be a challenge,
    4) Acorn Centroid (approx $330) gets you a motion controller and software. Its designed an manufactured to be as near turn-key as possible. It does have some limitations but most users
    report good results if somewhat less flexible than others in this list.

    There are some others but I know so little about them you need to do your own research:
    Rosetta
    PlanetCNC
    simCNC and CSLabs motion control hardware
    GRBL

    Just as an example, my Mach4 installation:

    Mach4Hobby License $200
    Ethernet SmoothStepper motion control board $180
    Breakout board is actually my own build but an MB3 from CNCRoom is a good if pricey choice $200
    TOTAL $580

    I suspect that UCCNC and one of the compatible boards and breakout board(s) maybe cheaper than Mach4/ESS/MB3, but not by much.
    Centroid Acorn is cheaper than either Mach4 or UCCNC.
    LinuxCNC and one of the Mesa boards is likely to be the cheapest.

    Craig



  6. #26
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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by joeavaerage View Post
    Hi,
    there are a number of choices when it comes to software, the most often talked about on this forum for hobby use are:

    1) Mach3 or Mach4. Mach3 ($175) started the hobby CNC revolution and is still popular. All development on Mach3 ceased seven years ago in favor of Mach4. Mach4 ($200) is to my mind
    light years ahead. There are multiple manufacturers of motion control boards and breakout boards for both Mach3 and Mach4. I've been using Mach4 for seven years.
    2) UCCNC ($60) is software developed by CNCDrive, and is very good, but requires that you use one of CNCDrives motion control boards like the UC100, UC 400, UC300, all very good
    and modestly priced, $130-$180.
    3) LinuxCNC (free, open source) runs on a realtime distro of Linux. You can use a humble parallel port for simple machines or one of the modestly priced (approx $250) Mesa motion boards.
    LinuxCNC is very good, and being realtime has some distinct advantages IF you are prepared to program in C in a Linux environment. Its not as daunting as it sounds...but if your not a programmer
    then could be a challenge,
    4) Acorn Centroid (approx $330) gets you a motion controller and software. Its designed an manufactured to be as near turn-key as possible. It does have some limitations but most users
    report good results if somewhat less flexible than others in this list.

    There are some others but I know so little about them you need to do your own research:
    Rosetta
    PlanetCNC
    simCNC and CSLabs motion control hardware
    GRBL

    Just as an example, my Mach4 installation:

    Mach4Hobby License $200
    Ethernet SmoothStepper motion control board $180
    Breakout board is actually my own build but an MB3 from CNCRoom is a good if pricey choice $200
    TOTAL $580

    I suspect that UCCNC and one of the compatible boards and breakout board(s) maybe cheaper than Mach4/ESS/MB3, but not by much.
    Centroid Acorn is cheaper than either Mach4 or UCCNC.
    LinuxCNC and one of the Mesa boards is likely to be the cheapest.

    Craig
    Great info Craig! I came across and read up on most of these today. After all my research I was leaning toward the UCCNC UC400ETH board but am not real sure if I need another BOB or something for it to connect to via parallel. Still need to figure that out. I also liked the Mesa/LinuxCNC, but noticed that it is not widely available like some of the others. I read that Acorn is very proprietary which can limit you down the road. I will look into the others tomorrow.

    Thanks!



  7. #27
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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    Can someone help me understand the electrical piece a little better? I have decided on the following components so far.

    Nema 23s (400oz.in/1.8mH/5.6amps)
    DM860 Stepper Motors
    AC to DC 60V 16.7A 1000W Switching Power Supply

    1. Will using these components allow me to get the most out of the motors? Is there any bottleneck that will hamper them? Is there enough amps (current) coming from the PS to reach the full 5.6 amps per motor. It is my understanding that I would add up all the amps needed for the motors and then add the amps needed for the boards to determine what is needed. Is this correct? I do not have my motion control board figured out yet but if you add up the 4 motors it comes to a total of 23 amps. Does this mean that the power supply does not provide enough amps for the motors to reach their max performance? And what voltage would I run my system as? 60V or 50V? OR would I be better off getting a 48V 25A 1200W PS and running it at 48V so I can get full amps out of the motors?

    2. How is the motion control board powered? And how does the power specs of the motion control boards relate to the rest of the system? I see a lot of boards that use up to 24v power input but I do not see any that are in the 50-100v like the power supply in my list above. So I am a little confused. Will the motion control board run off the same PS as the rest of the system or its own PS? I see a lot of wiring diagrams for these CNCs that show multiple PS's.

    Sorry I am so confused on this. All the different components and the watts/volts/amps. It gets hard to understand. But I am learning.

    Thanks again guys!



  8. #28
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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    Hi,
    the steppers and drivers are fine, although I can't quite work out why you'd buy 80VDC capable drivers and run at less that that. Having said that a 60VDC
    supply will be fine, just that an 80VDC supply would be better.

    Motion control boards are what provide the pulse signal, usually via a breakout board, to the drivers which make the steppers run.

    For the moment I'm going to exclude a PC driven parallel port....I may come back to that. PC's are not good at producing clean uninterrupted pulse streams,
    they have so many things and multiple programs and processes going on that just cant stick to the one job of running your machine. For this reason motion control boards were
    invented, the PC provides numeric trajectory data and the motion board turns that numeric data into stable, clean pulse streams. Typically they have a micro-controller IC
    or an FPGA IC and even both. Because the hardware is dedicated to the one job, namely running your machine, it does the job well.

    My Ethernet SmoothStepper motion control board is only about 4 inches square and runs of a 5VDC supply at about 100mA, hardly big power! It can generate pulse streams
    up to 4Mhz, so really really fast. Additionally it can accept something like 30 digital inputs for things like limit switches and MPG pendants for manual jogging.
    You can hook direct from the motion board to the stepper drives....but its better to hook it to a breakout board. The breakout board is usually small and cheap, it provides
    some buffering, opto-isolation and convenient screw terminals for all the wires. They prevent cock-ups from blowing up your motion board. Its not so much a MUST HAVE
    so much as its SO MUCH BLOODY BETTER TO HAVE.

    As it turns out when I built my new mill I thought I'd make my own breakout board as well, that means I can exactly what I want and nothing that I don't, which is often the
    problem if buying a commercial breakout board. I split it into two boards, the first board has 12 outputs, (10 for step/dir to five servos, one commoned ENABLE and one commoned
    RESET) and five inputs (an ALARM input from each of the five servos). The second board has eight outputs (one for spindle ON/OFF and one for PWM for spindle speed, and six general
    purpose) and 26 inputs. Because the servos are industrial the signaling is 24V, so I made all my inputs/outputs 24V tolerant.

    I have two power supplies, a 5VDC 500mA supply for the motion board and part of the breakout board circuitry and a 24VDC 1A supply for the remaining circuitry for the breakout boards.

    In the earliest days of hobby CNC Mach3 was able with some very clever software running alongside the Windows operating system allowed a parallel port to produce pulse steams
    continuously. Because parallel ports were so common at the time it meant that anyone could get into CNC WITHOUT have to spend mega dollars on a controller. The popularity of Mach3
    was established then......and is still popular today. The parallel port has its problems....its slow, 25kHz default and up to maybe 60kHz with SOME PCs, MUST be run on 32 bitPCs
    with Windows 7 or Widows XP. IT WILL NOT RUN ON 64BIT or WINDOWS 10.

    My advice is don't bother. You asked 'if there is a bottle neck', well there is and the parallel port is it...don't go there. If you want to run Mach, Mach4 preferred, then get an Ethernet SmoothStepper,
    if you want to run UCCNC get a UC300...don't shag around with a parallel port.

    There is one exception to that rule....LinuxCNC, a LinuxCNC driven parallel port can run quite fast and smooth. a parallel port is limited to 12 outputs and 5 inputs, enough for a basic machine
    only. Somewhere is the region of 30-50 inputs and outputs is better.

    The CNCDrive boards, like the UC100, UC300 etc can run either Mach OR UCCNC, but they are limited in speed, only 400kHz, whereas my Ethernet SmoothStepper can run at 4MHz..
    When I run my servos flat stick (5000 rpm) with encoder resolution of 1000 pulse/per millimeter I need Step signals of 416kHz, the SmoothStepper can deliver easy whereas the UC300
    cannot.

    There are quite a few details to study and understand, the max pulse output speed is an example. You may not have been aware of it....until it snuck up and bit you on the ass.

    Craig



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    Default

    Is the AXBB-E from cncdrive available at all over there?.
    It simplifies things a little bit if looking at using UCCNC and a UC400eth. It has a breakout board combined into it rather than needing to add one or two to the 400
    It's built around the UC300eth controller.

    The 400eth gives you 24 outputs and 10 inputs if using both ports. If you'll likely need more in the future the AXBB-E is the easier option.



  10. #30
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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by joeavaerage View Post
    the steppers and drivers are fine, although I can't quite work out why you'd buy 80VDC capable drivers and run at less that that. Having said that a 60VDC
    supply will be fine, just that an 80VDC supply would be better.
    I totally missed the voltage rating of the motors. Didn't think of it for some reason. So that is a bottleneck. I chose these mainly because they are medium torque 23s with low inductance.

    So I have spent the entire day so far re-researching the motor/driver/PS options. It is very hard to find the sweet spot where all the components match up the way you want (within a budget). If money was no object then I am sure it would be easier. So I ended up down this HUGE rabbit hole of Closed Loop (Hybrid) Nema Motors. From all that I have read and my little to no understanding these look like a step up from the open loop options. I have done the math and for just a few dollars more I can into a closed loop setup (vs the components I had already chosen). My question is will this closed loop setup perform better than the what I had already chosen?

    Open Loop
    Nema 23s (400oz.in/1.8mH/5.6amps) - Specs
    DM860 Stepper Motor Driver 2.4-7.2A/36-110VDC - Specs
    AC to DC 60V 16.7A 1000W Switching Power Supply - Specs

    Closed Loop
    Nema 24 Closed Loop Stepper Motor (3.0Nm/424.92oz.in/1.8mH/5amps) Encoder 1000CPR - Specs
    Closed Loop Stepper Driver 0-8.0A/24-48VDC - Specs
    AC to DC 48V 20.8A 1000W Switching Power Supply - Specs

    I don't think there is much of a bottleneck with this closed loop setup. The max volts is 48V and the amps are 5A. So I think the PS is matched up better than the open loop. Please point out any misunderstandings/mis-information you can see. It is my understanding that a setup that is matched well will outperform one that is not, even with less powerful motors in some cases. These closed loop motors have a 1.8mH inductance as well.

    If I end up going this route I will need to figure out either how to mount the Nema 24 on my Z-axis that has a Nema 23 mount or maybe I just swap out one of the Nema 24s with a 23.

    I know the closed loop setup does not have the potential (future proofing/growth) the open loop does, but I just want a good solid performer that will cut wood, plastic, aluminum without to many issues/bottlenecks. I also have read all the performance advantages that the closed loop offers over the open loop as well and I think that more than makes up for the lack of growth potential. Provided this will do what I need for now.


    Alright now back to the rest of your post. GREAT info! Exactly what I needed to know. Going to start looking into all that info.



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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    How important/critical is the inductance with the closed loop systems? I notice a lot of the motors/systems I came across do not show the inductance info like the open loop motors.



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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Sray View Post
    How important/critical is the inductance with the closed loop systems? I notice a lot of the motors/systems I came across do not show the inductance info like the open loop motors.
    They are two different aspects unrelated. Inductance will determine max speed before torque drops off.

    Closed loop is simply error correction. With closed loop you can run closer to the limits, theoretically loose some pulses here and there and the system will correct position. How gracefully it corrects is another story.



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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    Hi,

    How important/critical is the inductance with the closed loop systems? I notice a lot of the motors/systems I came across do not show the inductance info like the open loop motors.
    Absolutely critical, open loop or closed loop does not change the fundamental physics of stepper motors. Open loop steppers lose torque the faster they go.....exactly the same as closed loop steppers.
    The manufactures of closed loop systems tell you never lose steps.....pure BS. The ONLY time a stepper, open or closed loop, misses a step is because the torque at the speed of operation is insufficient to
    take the step. A closed loop driver will insert an extra step to catch up....but guess what....the extra step is just as likely to be missed because the stepper IS JUST PLAIN OVERLOADED.
    A closed loop stepper has no more torque, speed or power than an open loop stepper.

    It should be noted that the manufacturers of closed loop stepper systems use the best steppers they make for their premium closed loop product, ie steppers with low inductance.

    What closed loop steppers can do is interpolate between steps that an open loop stepper cannot, ie increased resolution, and it can determine if steps are lost and then fault out rather than continuing
    and making a faulty part. Both are worthy improvements but are not worth the premium.

    If you want genuine closed loop performance get AC servos, do not piss about with steppers at all. AC servos eat steppers alive!

    Today I just took delivery of two Delta servos, one a 750W B2 series (160,000 count per rev encoder) and one 400W B2 series. They are complete kits, ie servo, drive and cables. The drives are
    powered direct from 230VAC single phase, so no power supply required. The 750W was $435 and the 400W was $390, freight to New Zealand DHL $285. The shipping took four days from HongKong.
    These are good quality servos, good back up, great documentation and good PC based set-up and tuning software at fair prices, still much less than Japanese and US servos.
    So good servos are still quite a bit more than steppers.....but these things truly HONK......3000 rpm at full rated torque and up to 5000 rpm at about 65% of rated torque. Temporary overload
    of 300% of rated torque throughout the entire rev range.

    Craig



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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    I use LinuxCNC and I'm definitely not a programmer, nor is any programming required. After the initial install you'll spend almost no time in Linux anyway.

    Linux CNC itself comes with an extremely simple graphic user interface. It's point n click.

    I started with the mindset that it's free so there would be no harm in trying it and switching later if if didn't meet my needs. It did, so there was no advantage in paying for an alternative.

    As for bottlenecks, you'll almost certainly run into them due to a lack of machine stiffness, or spindle power on a small diy build before your steppers become an issue. You won't be maxing them out..

    If you plan to use the free hobby version of Fusion 360, it limits your ability to use faster rapids anyway.

    I have mine set to max out at 12,000mm / minute with 3.5a steppers. I've never set it to cut faster that 5080mm (200") / minute.

    The reason people like the hobby Gecko G540 drives and the 80v "pro" version (besides their plan n play simplicity) is that they are reliable and simple.

    Avid sells motors and cables prewired for a G540 which saves a bunch of messing around:

    https://www.avidcnc.com/380-oz-in-ne...aft-p-151.html

    https://www.avidcnc.com/cnc-motor-cable-p-45.html

    They definitely aren't the best drives out there but they are 100% suited to a 48" x 48" hobby machine (as are others).

    My machine is 2000lb of epoxy granite, steel and carbon fiber with a 32" x 12" x 8" envelope and I haven't run up against the limits of my steppers even once.

    I use these 465 oz in Nema 34 3.5a on my X and Z axis:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/16218116516...Bk9SR7CC3_euXw

    Anyway, you should wait until the end to buy any electronics. If the rest is done, post some pics of it so recommendations can be suited to your build.

    If not, wait until you know how much weight they will be moving and with what ball-screws.



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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    Just adding my 2 cents... but for what you're planning to do with you machine (wood, plastic and aluminum) and the table surface you're planning to have, I don't know why you're being talked out of going with a G540. It's compact, a single unit, takes up little space and has been nothing but solid for me. They have good service as well, I had one driver go bad and Gecko replaced it for free.

    My experience is limited but I have had nothing but good/solid performance from mine. Granted the parallel port is old tech but I only run 4 axis on my machine anything more than that and yes you need another solution.

    . so by my standards and from one beginner to another, I wouldn't hesitate.

    Adam,

    p.s. I think my build is in one of these threads on the forum if you're interested. I run the following, KL23H2100-35-4B steppers, Power Supply-KL-600-48, G540, Mach3, Windows 7pro (dedicated machine)

    G540, Rack and Pinion Drives-X/Y axis, 1/2-Ball Screw-Z Axis w/THK HSR 25 Linear Slides, Steppers KL23H2100-35-4B, Power Supply-KL-600-48


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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    Hi,

    I don't know why you're being talked out of going with a G540. It's compact, a single unit, takes up little space and has been nothing but solid for me. They have good service as well, I had one driver go bad and Gecko replaced it for free.
    No-one is trying to talk OP out of a G540. A G540 is rated to 50V and 3.5A and his steppers NEED more. The G203 is 80V and 7A, its just that much bigger and more powerful.....the numbers don't lie. Gecko, all models, have a good reputation
    and that's why they are recommended.

    There are some good Chinese ones that compare favorably in specs and reliability but at half the price........anyone buying drivers will look and have to come to some conclusion about the price/quality trade-off. That's not talking someone out
    of something but presenting the choice to be made.

    Craig



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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by joeavaerage View Post
    Hi,
    No-one is trying to talk OP out of a G540. A G540 is rated to 50V and 3.5A and his steppers NEED more.
    Craig
    Exactly.
    So the Gecko fanboys need to get over themselves on this one. Go back through the post and check the specs on the motors.
    At least 4.2A or 5.66A are the choices. for a pretty low inductance / resistance level given the chosen holding torques.
    As we all know, a little more current setting may be needed too depending on finalised microstep settings.
    So we're looking at a bare minimum benchmark of 5A or 6A depending. For a reasonable headroom 7A+ is the likely preferred driver rating to cover either motor for reliability and decent lifespan.



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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Sray View Post
    I totally missed the voltage rating of the motors. Didn't think of it for some reason. So that is a bottleneck. I chose these mainly because they are medium torque 23s with low inductance.
    Open Loop
    Nema 23s (400oz.in/1.8mH/5.6amps) - Specs
    DM860 Stepper Motor Driver 2.4-7.2A/36-110VDC - Specs
    AC to DC 60V 16.7A 1000W Switching Power Supply - Specs
    Closed Loop
    Nema 24 Closed Loop Stepper Motor (3.0Nm/424.92oz.in/1.8mH/5amps) Encoder 1000CPR - Specs
    Closed Loop Stepper Driver 0-8.0A/24-48VDC - Specs
    AC to DC 48V 20.8A 1000W Switching Power Supply - Specs

    I don't think there is much of a bottleneck with this closed loop setup. The max volts is 48V and the amps are 5A. So I think the PS is matched up better than the open loop. Please point out any misunderstandings/mis-information you can see. It is my understanding that a setup that is matched well will outperform one that is not, even with less powerful motors in some cases. These closed loop motors have a 1.8mH inductance as well.

    If I end up going this route I will need to figure out either how to mount the Nema 24 on my Z-axis that has a Nema 23 mount or maybe I just swap out one of the Nema 24s with a 23.
    The 60v setup will likely have a slightly higher max velocity potential.
    24's fit on 23 mountings.
    As Craig says. Closed loop steppers can be a bit of a red herring.
    For true closed loop, servos are the way to go.


    However. A respected router builder here in u.k. (commercial & hobby) highly rates the Lichuan LCDA86H & LC60H2102 combination for closed loop steppers.
    Mostly on 2m+ size builds.

    Lichuan LC60H286 motors are a better fit for hobby units imho. But...
    .... With resistance of 0.5, induct of only 1.3, torque of 3NM, at only 4.5A........ They're not exactly cheap.



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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    I didn't think the OP had purchased anything yet...if he had then of course he'll need to match voltages and amperage.

    All I was trying to say is that from a "package" deal, the G540 works, is reliable and is a good way to intro into the hobby.

    Adam,

    G540, Rack and Pinion Drives-X/Y axis, 1/2-Ball Screw-Z Axis w/THK HSR 25 Linear Slides, Steppers KL23H2100-35-4B, Power Supply-KL-600-48


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    Default Re: Controller Advice Needed

    I thought it was still in the planning / pre-purchase phase too.

    The parallel port on the Gecko side is just a port for connecting step and direction wires. It can be fed from other sources at the PC end. It's just a convenience. It's doesn't limit anything.

    As a side-note, I've been looking into how to add additional axis and linuxcnc allows you to use multiple parallel ports so up to 9 axis is possible. You can mix n match on the stepper or servo drives too.

    Obviously you wouldn't use parallel ports on a build without budget limitations but most in the diy section have to decide where to save money. And... where it's worth spending extra.

    With Linux you don't have to worry about obsolescence as it retains old drivers in new versions. It's a different story for Windows based systems though.



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Controller Advice Needed

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