Using Linux honest opinion?


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    *Registered User* men8ifr's Avatar
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    Default Using Linux honest opinion?

    I've never used Linux only windows but Linux CNC would seem to offer free machine control with very low cost breakout boards and can do closed loop feedback from glass linear scales.

    But as I have to convert my CNC mill is learning Linux likely to be too much or I'd it quite simple to get started? And in the long run is it much more time consuming to make parts?

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    Default Re: Using Linux honest opinion?

    It's really not bad an there is plenty of help over on the LinuxCNC forum. There are folks that frequent this board and Linux.org Once you have it installed you really don't spend much time using Linux. You spend your time using LinuxCNC which is the machine control app that is running on the Linux operating system. There is a graphical text file editor like notepad to edit files. And its free. What have you got to loose. You can even try out the program in a simulation mode without even installing it on your computer. Be sure to check out the Mesa cards They are fantastic.

    John



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    Community Moderator wendtmk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using Linux honest opinion?

    Been using LinuxCNC since it was EMC2, almost 15 years now. I use it on a custom machine, a CNC saw beveler. I'd use no other control. It's rock solid and pretty much bullet proof. I had tons of help setting up the software. I was a Unix/Linux system admin for over 20 years which is what leaned me in that direction to begin with, but like John mentioned above, you really don't need to go under the hood and have a deep understanding of Linux to run LinuxCNC. All the hard work of installing the OS and control software is done for you with the distro you download which includes Debian Wheezy and LinuxCNC. All that's really left for you to do is configure the controller and LinuxCNC supplies two configuration tools, Stepconf for parallel port based stepper systems and Pncconf which is designed for Mesa boards, stepper systems and other more complicated configurations. If you are having problems configuring or running, you can ask questions here, over on the LinuxCNC forum, on the mailing list, or on the IRC channel which always seems to have someone hanging around to help out, and it's a live chat so you can fix problems live while talking to an expert.

    Mark



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    *Registered User* metalmayhem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using Linux honest opinion?

    navigating linux isn't much different from running windows , at least from face value . if you want to get a feel for it then download vm player for free and install linuxcnc on it . That way you can test run it on your windows computer with no headaches . I don't think you can run the cnc from vm player but at least it would give you a feel for what it's about



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    *Registered User* men8ifr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using Linux honest opinion?

    And what cards would I need between PC and stepper drivers fora 4 axis Machine? Can I use a eBay parallel port breakout boards for £5-20?

    If a card needs to be much more expensive, why is this? What is it doing?



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    Default Re: Using Linux honest opinion?

    Quote Originally Posted by men8ifr View Post
    And what cards would I need between PC and stepper drivers fora 4 axis Machine? Can I use a eBay parallel port breakout boards for £5-20?

    If a card needs to be much more expensive, why is this? What is it doing?
    Yes, you can use the low cost parallel port BOBs with LinuxCNC such as the very common ~$5.00 "5 Axis Breakout"
    I would recommend starting with a parallel port system if you have never used LinuxCNC before.

    More expensive options include more I/O, have step generation hardware so you are not limited to parallel
    port speeds, and may also include high speed encoder inputs for full feedback control.



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    Default Re: Using Linux honest opinion?

    In all honesty, modern Linux distros are a pleasure to use and there is not a big learning curve using the OS. If you have a working Parallel port Mach3 system, there is a conversion tool in LinuxCNC's stepconf to create a working config.

    The Mesa cards are very very powerful and PCW_MESA provides amazing support on the Linuxcnc forum. He even built new firmware for me after I fried an encoder input that meant I did not have to buy a new board.

    Just one point, Smoothstepper cards are not compatible. LinuxCNC uses the real time operating system features of Linux and is always THE_MOTION_CONTROLLER so you have much greater control and flexibility becasue of the CPU resources at your disposal. Smoothstepper is also a motion controller and you only need one!

    Rod Webster
    www.vehiclemods.net.au


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    *Registered User* men8ifr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCW_MESA View Post
    Yes, you can use the low cost parallel port BOBs with LinuxCNC such as the very common ~$5.00 "5 Axis Breakout"
    I would recommend starting with a parallel port system if you have never used LinuxCNC before.

    More expensive options include more I/O, have step generation hardware so you are not limited to parallel
    port speeds, and may also include high speed encoder inputs for full feedback control.
    So a special card would be required for closed loop feedback via glass scales?



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    Default Re: Using Linux honest opinion?

    Quote Originally Posted by men8ifr View Post
    So a special card would be required for closed loop feedback via glass scales?
    Yes and no... You can read encoders with LinuxCNC and just a parallel port, but you are limited to fairly low resolutions/speeds
    If you need to count more than about 20,000 counts per second you will need external hardware



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Using Linux honest opinion?

Using Linux honest opinion?