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  1. #21
    Community Moderator Al_The_Man's Avatar
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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    I don't believe that central processor has gone out of fashion, maybe in DIY for the cost reason, but there are still sytems out there such as Galil Motion that offer it up to 8 axis. Includes up to 12mhz encoder response freq.
    A couple of advantages are the ability to do electronic gearing, i.e. gearing one or more axis off of another, also valuable for the threading feature etc.
    The other is electronic Cam.
    You can get it with Kanalog Dynomotion (see forum here).
    Another feature is the ability to use simple transconductance torque mode amplifiers, (non-intelligent drives). As all the feedback is in the controller.
    Al.

    CNC, Mechatronics Integration and Custom Machine Design

    “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Hi,

    A couple of advantages are the ability to do electronic gearing, i.e. gearing one or more axis off of another, also valuable for the threading feature etc.
    Ethercat (and others no doubt) do just exactly that, the motion of one servo is communicated to another, via the master, an the second servo follows suit.

    I don't believe that central processor has gone out of fashion, maybe in DIY for the cost reason,
    To date the majority of distributed control bus systems are in the industrial arena as they are too costly for DIY use, and that's what makes the
    Automation Technologies kit so interesting, Ethercat at DIY prices.

    but there are still sytems out there such as Galil Motion that offer it up to 8 axis. Includes up to 12mhz encoder response freq.
    A three axis Galil DMC3040 controller costs $1995.00, luverly hardware but it aint cheap! Note Galil have been doing Ethercat controllers for 15 year or so,
    with a DMC50030 costing $2145.00

    Craig

    Last edited by joeavaerage; 01-13-2021 at 01:42 PM.


  3. #23
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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Hi,

    Another feature is the ability to use simple transconductance torque mode amplifiers, (non-intelligent drives). As all the feedback is in the controller.
    Just about all modern AC servos offer analogue torque (and velocity) modes in addition to pulse input. Thus if you are retrofitting a machine that had analogue servos
    with a feedback controller a modern AC servo can do that too.

    I have a smaller 400W Delta B2 series servo that I bought to experiment with before I bought some 750W units for my new build mil. It proved to be so useful
    and versatile that I ended up selling it to my boss and we built a speedo calibrator out of it. The simplest expedient was to run it in analogue velocity mode
    and use encoder feedback to display actual speed.

    Versatility and flexibility are what really struck me about modern AC servos......servos relying on feedback controllers are so yesteryear.

    Craig



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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by joeavaerage View Post
    Hi,
    I spent big dollars to get preloaded ground (C5 rated) 32mm doublenut ballscrews to have a zero backlash solution . Why would I need glass scales?

    I'm presuming that you will go for ground ballscrews, you did state at the top of the post that you wanted an accurate machine and that perforce means
    C5 or better....Sort of makes glass scales redundant.
    Let's say a guy had some cheap China rolled ballscrews with plain (non-anti-backlash) ballnuts laying around, some glass scales, and some Delta A2s with glass scale feedback, would that make the C5 ground ballscrews less important? I know the answer for a 3D mill that's doing all kinds of dynamic stuff, lots of back and forth, cutting on all sides, but for a lathe that turns simple shapes and always cuts on the same side? Might this be "ok"? It seems pretty close to "ok" for my manual lathe with acme leadscrew with 10 thou of slop.

    This would only be a plan B. I want to try my hand at making anti backlash rack & pinion drive as I mentioned, so I don't have a goofy looking servo sticking way out of the side of my machine. A rack & pinion could be concealed behind the column (under the bed, for a typical horizontal lathe).



  5. #25
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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Hi,
    backlash is a killer, no matter how good the servo system.

    Lets imagine you have an axis with a small amount of lash. The axis gets commanded to a given position and the glass scale closes the position loop so we know
    that the axis is in position. Then cutting forces 'pull' the axis and it moves ever so slightly because of lash. The glass scale will detect that and try to close the error,
    but no matter what the error HAD to occur in order for the scale to measure it and THEN the servo system can correct it.

    In Control Engineering terms that is the 'principle of casuality'.In practice the amount of error is determined by the sensitivity of the glass scale AND (most crucially)
    the servo system bandwidth.

    The bottom line is get rid of the lash.

    I suggest you start your search here:

    https://www.ebay.com/str/industrialp...cat=4322381011

    You can get good C5's and C3's for the same or less than new C7's. I got three of these indentical units:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/THK-USED-Do...sAAOSwPWRZSm4G

    for $1000USD including three day shipping to New Zealand. They are superb.

    Second issue with rolled screws is less about their average accuracy, C7's are 50um/300mm, but the cyclic error which can be up to 30um per rev. In order for
    a load encoder to close the loop on an error that occurs that frequently it must have mega-bandwidth. So why are you spending big bucks on high bandwidth servo systems
    merely to cover (at best) poor mechanics? You should have spent more money on the mechanics but less on the servo system.

    Craig



  6. #26
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    I like your plan B, I was going to do the same thing on my manual lathe, but bought a CNC lathe instead of retrofitting my manual. It is possible to make a zero backlash system for a rack & pinion, I have that on my mill Z axis. It is literally 0 backlash and that is through a 3 gear, 15:1 reduction and a rack & pinion that has a known 0.015 backlash when free. Done with an air spring to preload the gears.

    I do agree with Craig, there is no substitute for a mechanically tight machine. However linear scales do work very well, I use 1 micron magnetic scales on my machines, and close the loop at the controller level. I find them to be very accurate on my mill, and even with a small amount of backlash in the X & Y it will still hold linear parts to +/- 0.0002'' and circular interpolation holds +/- 0.0005''

    I do use Galil controllers on all of my machines. A little spendy, but solid industrial hardware. For one-off machines, Galil DMC-4040, 4 axis controllers are available used on eBay, $500-600, and I picked up one the other day for $100. If you were going to be selling these machines, then you would want to buy new from Galil.

    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA


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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Ball screw lead error can be compensated for by screw mapping. Which is done with glass scales.

    I agree that the first priority should be to eliminate mechanical error, including backlash.

    7xCNC.com - CNC info for the minilathe (7x10, 7x12, 7x14, 7x16)


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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Hi,
    yes screws can be mapped, but if you chose quality screws why bother?.

    C5's are 18um/300mm and 8um/ 2.pi.

    C3's are 8um/300 and 6um/2.pi

    Quite frankly if I can build my machine to exceed the accuracy of the C5 screws I would be delighted and surprised. I am hoping to get repeatable absolute
    accuracy of 0.01mm or 10um. The reality is that the accuracy of my machine, despite the care I've taken in its design and build, is likely to be dominated
    by whether the axes are genuinely square to each other, and exactly how flat the axis beds are, and similar concerns.

    Both my screws and linear rails are made by THK. THK has over the years improved and refined their manufacturing and particularly their
    grinding machines. My guess is that their machines would be valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars and what I'm doing is buying their products
    so that I can 'bolt in' all the accuracy and repeatability of their machines into my own machine creation. I can never hope to match the excellence of their machines....
    but I can share in it by buying the best parts I can afford.

    I have ground C5 Kuroda screws in my mini-mill and have never had to concern myself about their accuracy or even dreamed that it might be necessary to
    map the screws....they are probably better than I can reliably measure anyway. No...if I want better accuracy I should redesign the column to be more rigid,
    or correct the slight misalignment between the X and Y axes (about 10um/100mm), or redesign the coolant system, or buy an even better spindle, or...
    and the list goes on, mapping the screws is well down the list.

    That's the whole point of buying good components ....you get accuracy and rigidity without compromise.

    Craig



  9. #29
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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dawson View Post
    I like your plan B, I was going to do the same thing on my manual lathe, but bought a CNC lathe instead of retrofitting my manual. It is possible to make a zero backlash system for a rack & pinion, I have that on my mill Z axis. It is literally 0 backlash and that is through a 3 gear, 15:1 reduction and a rack & pinion that has a known 0.015 backlash when free. Done with an air spring to preload the gears.

    I do agree with Craig, there is no substitute for a mechanically tight machine. However linear scales do work very well, I use 1 micron magnetic scales on my machines, and close the loop at the controller level. I find them to be very accurate on my mill, and even with a small amount of backlash in the X & Y it will still hold linear parts to +/- 0.0002'' and circular interpolation holds +/- 0.0005''

    I do use Galil controllers on all of my machines. A little spendy, but solid industrial hardware. For one-off machines, Galil DMC-4040, 4 axis controllers are available used on eBay, $500-600, and I picked up one the other day for $100. If you were going to be selling these machines, then you would want to buy new from Galil.
    Thanks for the confirmation of the rack & pinion. What I meant was the rack & pinion is plan A, cheap China rolled ballscrews are plan B.


    Craig, I agree with you on the high quality ground ballscrews but I do not want to start off with used parts whose availability are arbitrary. If I end up wanting to make more of these I'll have to pony up for brand new versions of the same I used the first go-round, or change the design for whatever I can find. In retrospect it may well be apparent that putting brand new ground ballscrews would have been a good no-brainer investment, but I'm not in retrospect yet. And also I don't like ballscrews period (ground or rolled) for this design because of the layout constraints and that's why ballscrews of any kind are plan B.



  10. #30
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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Hi,

    Craig, I agree with you on the high quality ground ballscrews but I do not want to start off with used parts whose availability are arbitrary.
    Yes I understand that sentiment but in making that decision you have cut yourself off from some very good parts at very attractive prices.

    When I was designing my mill I had to be aware that my design had to be flexible so that I could use parts that were available, otherwise I too would have had to buy
    new ballscrews and they would have cost in the region of $6000, rather than the $1000 I actually paid. In short I would not have been able to build my machine at all
    if I were faced with those sort of budget challenges.

    I really wanted to cast the axis beds in cast iron after my previous experience with my existing mini-mill. The budget saving I was able to make on the ballscrews alone
    paid for the castings. Likewise I wanted servos for this build, and while Delta are economical they aren't free. The savings I made on the new-old-stock THK linear rails
    and cars allowed me to get those servos rather than having to make do with steppers.

    I understand also that you don't want a servo hanging outside your machine, have you considered a right angle gearbox?.

    The reason I make the suggestion is that I looked on the AtlantaDrives site, they make high end gearboxes, rack and pinions, servo reducers etc and even their precision ground and hardened
    racks have accuracies of 0.015-0.052mm per m, which is reasonable but still well less than a C5, or better yet a C3, ballscrew, and no doubt such racks are eye-wateringly expensive.

    https://www.atlantadrives.com/

    I, by natural inclination, want the best of whatever it is that I want, and have often forgone lesser solutions that I may have it. There are times to when I find that 'perfectionist'
    demand precludes me from having any solution, good or bad! In this regard hobby CNC has been good at teaching me what I can reasonably do, and as importantly, what I
    cannot expect to achieve. I instead have to decide if the solution I can have is good enough when the alternative best solution is plain impossible.

    As an example, I really wanted to cast the frame of the mill in SG cast iron, but I'm near the end of my budget. I have bought into the business for which I work and that has soaked up the
    capital I might otherwise have used. As a consequence I have decided to construct/weld/bolt the frame out of steel being about half the price. If I hang out for my preferred solution I might
    wait upwards of six months despite having the axis beds, screws, rails, servos, electronics and usable spindles sitting around waiting. I came to the conclusion better a solution I can have
    than not having anything. I paid the invoice for the profile cutting last night.

    Craig



  11. #31
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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Thanks for the insight Craig. Knowing more about you helps me frame the information and opinions you provide. I will think of you now as a German Engineer. Only the best will do, and all tolerances an order of magnitude tigher than reasonable. Nothing wrong with that, I'm sure the products of your labor are undisputably the best.

    I'm no German Engineer but neither am I a blacksmith (well, actually...). I'm a firm believer in "the best solution is the simplest one that works" - except, for when I'm not. Some things I don't compromise on.

    I try to take a practical approach. Do what I can to achieve a goal. I accept "good enough" more often than "the best." At least when practicality is called for. This would be a different story if I was building a machine just to build a machine. IOW if the machine were the beginning and the end of my interest then I would be more about "the best." But the machine is a means to an end, and it isn't always the nicest car that wins a race.

    I see you're also aware of Atlanta Drives. I've done a bit of study on their anti backlash rack & pinion solutions. Their split pinion system particularly interested me. I have a different take on it. I understand why they split the pinion; racks are usually pretty long, but mine will be very short, so I'm going to split the rack. I ordered some cheap rack & pinion components today and when they come in I'm going to do some split rack experiments. If it proves the concept and is accurate enough, that will become the solution. If it proves the concept but isn't accurate enough, I'll try it on some more expensive rack. If it doesn't prove the concept at all, I'll fall back to ballscrews.

    You mention a right angle drive for ballscrews which I find surprising; wouldn't that introduce a degree of backlash that you would find unacceptable? What's the point of putting a $6k ballscrew in a machine if everything it contributes is undermined by gearbox backlash? In my mind's eye, with a ballscrew on my machine and moving from a direct-coupled servo to a right angle gearbox changes it from a desktop model of a gantry crane into a heavy metal saguaro cactus with only one arm. Maybe it wouldn't be as dramatic as that. I will know soon. I'm working on the 3D model in my spare time so the dimensions and details are coming more into focus.



  12. #32
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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Hi,

    I will think of you now as a German Engineer. Only the best will do, and all tolerances an order of magnitude tigher than reasonable
    That's what I'd like to be but in fact I'm much more like you, I have to accept what I can achieve, and like you there are some things that I cannot compromise on
    without risking the validity of the entire project.

    I did some research on AtlantaDrvives when I was buying a nice servo reducer off EBay, really REALLY nice gear. Less than 2 arc min backlash, which is less than I can measure.
    I got it for $300USD including shipping to New Zealand. My intention was to use it as a fourth axis drive on my mini-mill but when it turned up its just too damn big!
    It will be a perfect fit for my new machine however.

    I was particularly impressed with the Atlanta dual pinion drive solution where you use the torque of a second servo to preload the gears.

    The truth is that good planetary gear drives, angle drives and worm reducers for CNC use can all be had with backlash specs well under 10 arc min. Good quality like that
    does not come cheap......but as I proved I got a $2000 dollar servo reducer for $300....they can be had.

    My existing mini-mill has 5 phase Vexta steppers with manufacturer supplied and fitted 10:1 planetary gearboxes with 2 arc min lash. They are magic! I think the gearboxes were
    supplied to Vexta by Apex, a leading manufacturer of low lash gear drives. The drives mean the small and modest steppers have mega torque for their size, and being 5 phase
    you can run them lickety-split, I get 2400 rpm out of the steppers with a Vexta stepper drive, not a hint of missed steps, or 240 rpm at the gear reducer output shaft.

    The 2 arc min lash is less than I can measure, but when direct coupled to a 5mm pitch C5 ballscrew that equates to a linear lash of 0.7um. The steppers, being five phase,
    are naturally 500 full steps per rev. With the 10:1 reduction that gives me 5000 fullsteps per ballscrew rev or 5mm travel. This equates to a resolution of 1um per step. I considered therefore
    that the lash (0.7um) was acceptable.

    I would not go to the expense of a gear reducer or angle drive unless I had to but my experience is that quality gear drives work really well.

    Craig



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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by joeavaerage View Post
    Hi,



    Sorry to say it but that is old school thinking and went out of fashion over ten years ago.

    The modern paradigm is that each servo drive is responsible for its own motion control and there is NO CENTRAL motion controller. This is called
    'distributed motion control' and there are a number of popular technologies that do it, among the most famous are Ethercat, Profibus and CANOpen..
    The PC then becomes trajectory planner and realtime communication master only.

    All this is because servo drives have been getting ever more intelligent and better as the years go on. Even without introducing distributed motion control
    the AC servos we are talking about are still way WAY smart.

    One of the drives from either of the brands we are talking about (Delta and DMM) accept pulse commands, be it step/direction, CCW/CW etc.
    At all times it has a cumulative record of all the commands that have been issued and so at any instant knows exactly where it is supposed, or commanded to be.
    At any given time it also knows the position of it own rotor and therefore at any given instant knows the error between where it actually is and where its supposed to be,
    called the 'following error'. If that error increases beyond what you program as acceptable following error it will fault out and signal your controller. In a mill you might for
    instance program 20 encoder counts as the max permissible following error, which may equate to 5um say.

    Each servo in the machine will be monitored in the same manner, so that if any one axis deviates by more than 5um all axes will stop.

    Its up to your controller settings to ensure that each of the axis servos can keep up. For instance if the motion controller commands an X axis acceleration
    of 15m/s2 but the servo and axis can at best manage 10m/s2 then naturally the axis will lag the command and will in short order fault
    out 'following error'. You must inform your controller what the servos are capable of. The trajectory planner decides what the axis movements are and will limit
    the X and Y axis accelerations to accommodate the very heavy and slowly accelerating Z axis say.

    In this way its not necessary for the controller to close the loop, the individual drives do that, and signal the controller only if it can't keep up.

    Modern AC servo drives have tuning aids in the setup software, I bet you don't get an oscilloscope view of following error from LinuxCNC, but you do with
    Delta. Likewise you get one or more notch filters with modern servos that allow you to tweak the response in remarkable ways. While I have no doubt you could try
    the same thing in LinuxCNC, but how much of a realtime programming master are you?

    The modern way is to allow the drive to close the loop and take advantage of all the smart stuff the manufacturer provides and you use a modest motion controller.

    You may be interested in this solution:

    https://www.automationtechnologiesin...-3-axis-110vac

    This kit has 3 750W Ethercat servos and drives, Mach4 license and the Interval-Zero and Kingstar runtime licenses all for $2850.
    Note that it does not have a motion control board, it does not need one!!!!

    I mention this solution more as an example of the modern design paradigm than a solution for your consideration....but it may appeal to you.

    Where Ethercat (and other similar strategies) shine is that you can have up to 100 Ethercat slaves on the network. So you could have your mill, joined by a coordinated
    conveyor to a second machine, another coordinated conveyor to a third machine and so on. They can all be controlled by the one Ethercat Master. Each of the servo drives (and other
    Ethercat nodes) are joined together in a daisy chain....gone are the days of a multicore cable to each drive, just a whole bunch of Ethernet jumper cables. Large manufacturing plants
    with many machines benefit particularly with this strategy, simple two and three axis machines can certainly use it but the advantages over conventional solutions are less pronounced.

    Craig
    Craig, you really should acquaint yourself with Linuxcnc before you make uninformed statements about what it can and can't do.

    Its all very well to have a feedback loop attached to a motor via its encoder but there are many other sources of position error. Linuxcnc can assist in this error with dual loop feedback which is not uncommon in the industry. You let the drive close the velocity loop and allow Linuxcnc to close the position loop (possibly by taking its feedback from a linear scale).

    And you lost the bet about the oscilloscope.

    Linuxcnc includes a tool called halscope, which is a very capable software oscilloscope that can monitor any system variable including the following error when tuning a servo. I have used it extensively.

    The features of Linuxcnc , its open architecture, the huge range of available motion interfaces including Ethercat and the ability to write custom components which once installed with a single command line are treated as if they are part of the linuxcnc core makes it an unbeatable proposition for complex retrofits without emasculating the machine as I see done with some of the far less capable Windows solutions. I read threads where users throw out perfectly good motors because they are not step and direction when Linuxcnc can control them in its stride.

    You may choose not to learn about alternative operating systems to Windows. I use Windows and two other operating systems every day. To me, the OS is just a tool to support an application and for me, Linux is the best tool for CNC because of LinuxCNC. If you truly wish to position yourself as a CNC expert, you should acquaint yourself with what else is out there or restrict your comments to your sphere of expertise.

    Rod Webster
    www.vmn.com.au


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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by rodw View Post
    Craig, you really should acquaint yourself with Linuxcnc before you make uninformed statements about what it can and can't do.

    Its all very well to have a feedback loop attached to a motor via its encoder but there are many other sources of position error. Linuxcnc can assist in this error with dual loop feedback which is not uncommon in the industry. You let the drive close the velocity loop and allow Linuxcnc to close the position loop (possibly by taking its feedback from a linear scale).

    And you lost the bet about the oscilloscope.

    Linuxcnc includes a tool called halscope, which is a very capable software oscilloscope that can monitor any system variable including the following error when tuning a servo. I have used it extensively.

    The features of Linuxcnc , its open architecture, the huge range of available motion interfaces including Ethercat and the ability to write custom components which once installed with a single command line are treated as if they are part of the linuxcnc core makes it an unbeatable proposition for complex retrofits without emasculating the machine as I see done with some of the far less capable Windows solutions. I read threads where users throw out perfectly good motors because they are not step and direction when Linuxcnc can control them in its stride.

    You may choose not to learn about alternative operating systems to Windows. I use Windows and two other operating systems every day. To me, the OS is just a tool to support an application and for me, Linux is the best tool for CNC because of LinuxCNC. If you truly wish to position yourself as a CNC expert, you should acquaint yourself with what else is out there or restrict your comments to your sphere of expertise.
    I chose linuxcnc the first time around because of the reasons you listed. My mill was a real CNC when I got it; an old one, but born to make money. It is a 1988 model and had a Dynapath controller with a CRT. It came with NSK ground ballscrews and was originally equipped with DC servos but the previous owner had upgraded to AC servos. The controller had cancer and I had the option to either spend time and money fixing old stuff or designing new stuff. I chose the more exciting option but wasn't about to cripple it with steppers and Mach3. The LinuxCNC learning curve was steep but I wanted it to happen so it happened. I never did figure out how to use halscope though. I could probably get better performance out of it by figuring that out, but as is, it performs as I think a professional CNC should. I think I will stick with LinuxCNC but I was just putting feelers out to see if anything has overtaken it in the few years since my retrofit, as technology changes so fast.



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    Community Moderator Al_The_Man's Avatar
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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Did you ever check out Dynomotion/Kflop/Kanalog forum?
    I think if I ever changed from Galil, I would give this a test flight, it is a stand-alone controller that uses the PC for a HMI purpose.
    The thing I like is with the addition of Kanalog, I could use the simple torque mode amps A-M-C etc that can be picked up on ebay etc, The BLDC versions will also run a DC brushed motor.
    Al.
    ,

    CNC, Mechatronics Integration and Custom Machine Design

    “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
    Albert E.


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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Al_The_Man View Post
    Did you ever check out Dynomotion/Kflop/Kanalog forum?
    I think if I ever changed from Galil, I would give this a test flight, it is a stand-alone controller that uses the PC for a HMI purpose.
    The thing I like is with the addition of Kanalog, I could use the simple torque mode amps A-M-C etc that can be picked up on ebay etc, The BLDC versions will also run a DC brushed motor.
    Al.
    ,
    I did look into it, and passed on it for reasons I can't remember. I'll look into it again. What in your opinion makes it better than LinuxCNC?



  17. #37
    Community Moderator Al_The_Man's Avatar
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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    I have not looked into LinuxCNC in any real depth. But I was always under the impression that the Mesa cards used had a analogue control version? Which I would prefer if going with it.
    Al.

    CNC, Mechatronics Integration and Custom Machine Design

    “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
    Albert E.


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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Al_The_Man View Post
    I have not looked into LinuxCNC in any real depth. But I was always under the impression that the Mesa cards used had a analogue control version? Which I would prefer if going with it.
    Al.
    Yes, they do. That's what I'm using on my mill. 5i25 + 7i77. It works very well.



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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Then I imagine it should stack up OK against the Galil system versions, or close?
    Al.

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    Default Re: Motors for small production machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Al_The_Man View Post
    Then I imagine it should stack up OK against the Galil system versions, or close?
    Al.
    Not sure. I know little about Galil. My understanding is that it's more of a "professional" or "OEM"-oriented system. Not sure how to phrase that without making LinuxCNC sound like a hobbyist oriented system, which in many cases it is, but I believe it can be just as capable. It's my understanding that Galil is actually a self-contained/standalone motion controller which accepts G-code (from a computer or other source, computer not absolutely required) and generates paths from it, where LinuxCNC is a PC-based motion controller that needs more than just G-code. I suspect Galil is probably easier to set up but less customizable. I suppose Galil could be just as customizable from user interface perspective as you could write your own UI as long as it spits G-code out to the controller. LinuxCNC is as fast/powerful/real-time as the hardware you use to build it. I think it can match Galil with the right hardware. If you build LinuxCNC around steppers and a cheap hobbyist breakout board, then you're going to have a cheap hobby breakout board stepper machine no different than Mach3, other than being a bigger PITA to set up. I could be wrong about any of that and I'm happy to be corrected.



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