Using GRBLpanel

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    Question Using GRBLpanel

    Ok, so if you're reading this I'm assuming you've unboxed your MicroMill and are now eager to get started (or you're just reading this for lack of a better option.)

    We left off from the 'unboxing' thread with your spoilboard and workpiece attached to the bed, and either a 2mm or 3mm end mill installed. You've got the flexible shaft fitted, the two side windows in and have removed the film from the door.

    Time to plug in and power on. Doesn't matter which order you do it - the control board and relay are powered by the USB, and the power to move the motors and operate the Proxxon come from the mains IEC lead. There is no kill switch / emergency stop button with the MicroMill. On top is a green resume/ok button, and a red abort button. With GRBL, the abort and emergency stop features do the same thing - neither has the power to cut all mains power, but both will deactivate the relay (so at lease the spinny dangerous bit will turn off when you tell it to). If you want to sever all power, the on/off switch is only a couple of inches further away, or you can yank the IEC lead out. An emergency stop button is only effective if the machine operator cannot easily reach the power outlet - and on a machine this small thats never going to happen.

    The MicroMill can only run while tethered via USB to a computer - so to move the carriages around, send the G-Code instructions and adjust any firmware settings we need to load the main control program. Being open source, there are always options for this. The MicroMill comes pre-loaded with the most up to date version of GRBL and as such you need an up to date control panel too. The one we use and recommend is GRBLpanel.


    • Links to download it can be found here


    Once installed opened the Application file and plug in the USB lead to your computer. We'll now be connecting to an Arduino board. If you've done this before you'll likely have the Arduino drivers installed, if this is the first time you may need to download the drivers from the Arduino website if the next stage doesn't work for you!



    This is what GRBL Panel looks like when nothing is connected. With the USB cable plugged in, click ReScan and select the COM port from the drop down. Hit connect let the page refresh.



    This is what GRBLpanel looks like when its connected.



    • The status indication in the bottom left is green and IDLE. It may say 'DOOR' - and will change to DOOR whenever the door is opened! If its saying that when it's closed, press the green button on top of the MicroMill to trigger it back to IDLE.




    • 5th option down on the top-right menu is your spindle control. The drop down gives the options for OFF, CW and CCW. It doesn't matter which you choose from CW and CCW to turn it on as it will only spin in one direction as the Spn_Dir pin is not in use on the CNC shield. There is no coolant so this feature won't do anything.



    • Jogging. Distance and feedrate. The MicroMill comes pre-flashed with all our conservative 'beginner' settings. The feedrate is limited to 500mm/min, so even if you ask it to go faster it will not exceed this value. Jogging is used with the big Y+ / Y- / X+ / X- / Z+ / Z- buttons to manually move the YXZ carriages around. You can change the distance-per-click with the 10, 1, 0.1 and 0.01mm buttons, or type something into the manual command box at the top - X100 will move the X carriage to position 100mm. Go ahead and click on the buttons and move the carriages around!




    • ZERO XYZ. The values on the left are your position indicators and change as the MicroMill moves around. We put all of your MicroMills into what we regard as the 'home' position and pressed the ZERO XYZ button before unplugging. If you decide you'd rather the X carriage be on the other side, or that you want the Y carriage (the bed plate) to be at the other end of the rails - you can press the Y+ button a bunch of times to move it - or simply type Y115 in the manual command box and re-click the zero-button on the Y row to set this as its now 'home' location!


    Play around with the control panel. Nothing you do will effect the settings while you're in the Interface-tab so go crazy! Sometimes GRBLpanel gets a bit buggy or confused as its still under development (yay to open source!). Closing it and reopening will clear any buggy issues you may get occasionally!

    Changing Settings

    With GRBL panel there is no need to mess around with $$ values or any g-code commands to change values. Top left are 3 tabs. Interface (the default), Settings and Macros. Click or touch the Settings tab to get the full range of configurable options in a menu on the left. Double clicking any value allows you to change it. Below is a overlaid double-screenshot showing these base-settings so you can refer back to it if you change anything in the future!



    So thats the basics for GRBLpanel. You're able to get connected, move the machine around and turn the spindle on and off at will. (Pressing the red abort button triggers a red alarm. You have to click disconnect and then re-connect to reset this.)

    The only other time GRBLpanel changes what it looks like is when its running - below is a screenshot of what this looks like!



    Have setting changes you've made that work great? Have any problems or queries with GRBLpanel? Have an alternative program to suggest? Get the discussion going below!

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Using GRBLpanel-grbl_connected-jpg   Using GRBLpanel-grblpanel_fresh-jpg   Using GRBLpanel-grbl_settingsfull-jpg   Using GRBLpanel-grblpanel_running-jpg  



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