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Thread: Choosing a CNC

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    Quote Originally Posted by mickr View Post
    jchuchla mine runs off an arduino uno, running GRBL.

    I think the electronics to run the thing cost me about 20 ~$18? (not including the motors).
    That was the arduino, the grbl shield, and the DRV8825 stepper drivers.

    I use two pieces of software. I ended up using vectric aspire, for the design and that outputs my grbl G code.
    Then I use UniversalGcodeSender-v1.0.9 to send the file to the actual CNC.

    The arduino code, and UniversalGcodeSender are both open source.
    https://github.com/gnea/grbl
    https://github.com/winder/Universal-G-Code-Sender

    The only thing that wasn't open source was the vectric aspire, but if you look hard enough, you may come across that too.
    That's what I'm saying. The hardware concepts are simple, but take a stack of software to make a diy solution work. There's the drawing step, then conversion to cam, then driving the machine.
    It seems like there should be a printer driver sort of thing that just works from any vector graphics software. (Like the lasers and vinyl cutters do) Maybe it'll seem simpler once I get into it. I need to find someone near me to give me a walk thru.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  2. #12
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    Jon -

    Building an 8x4 version of a Joes CNC wouldn't cost much more than the standard 4x4. You'd have to add 4 feet to the base, Y-axis rails (80/20 72" 5010 or 2040 Extrusion), top surface, misc. steel angles and cables. If you pay for Joe's plans you also get access to his forum where there's many builder's logs, including people who lengthened their machine to take full 4x8 sheets. I can't recall what mine cost in total but my steel base, plus upgrading to NEMA 34 motors, etc. added to the cost.

    Most everyone uses Mach3 ($175) to drive their CNC machines, typically a G-code file (text format) that gets generated by whatever modeling software you use. The more costly software is typically the modeling tools. I bought Aspire, which is fairly expensive but does 2D and 3D (2.5D) modeling.

    Feel free to PM me if you want more specific details about my build.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    If you want an 'out of the box' option for 8'x4' sheets and don't want to do any 3D carving, the Printrbot Crawlbot is kind of cool.. Its $3.2k (ouch) but all the mystery of software & controller are solved. Printrbot is also a great company and stands behind their products..

    https://printrbot.com/shop/printrbot-crawlbot/

    Last edited by TheLost; 02-03-2017 at 12:17 AM.

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbehnke View Post
    Most everyone uses Mach3 ($175) to drive their CNC machines, typically a G-code file (text format) that gets generated by whatever modeling software you use. The more costly software is typically the modeling tools. I bought Aspire, which is fairly expensive but does 2D and 3D (2.5D) modeling.
    (putting on fire suit).. Mach3 is as antiquated as the parallel port on the computer required to run it.

    @Mickr is right.. some type of Arduino & grblShield/gshield is what most 'modern' hobby CNC's are using now.

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    Quote Originally Posted by jchuchla View Post
    That's what I'm saying. The hardware concepts are simple, but take a stack of software to make a diy solution work. There's the drawing step, then conversion to cam, then driving the machine.
    It seems like there should be a printer driver sort of thing that just works from any vector graphics software. (Like the lasers and vinyl cutters do) Maybe it'll seem simpler once I get into it. I need to find someone near me to give me a walk thru.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    This is REALLY why i love my X-Carve. Easel is their 'all-in-one' solution to do everything you just said.. (except the print driver part )

    I'd suggest you create an account and start playing around with it.. It will seem VERY basic at first, but its surprising how advanced it is and what it can do.

    http://easel.inventables.com/

    For the 24" star on my 10' mega tree.. i had it drawn out in Easel and cutting in under 10 minutes. My 14 year old can draw up some Chinese throwing stars and get them cutting out in Aluminum before i even have a chance to ground him

    Just FYI.. Inventables is a Chicago based company. Hit them up on twitter and see if they offer any in house demos.
    https://www.inventables.com/about

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  7. #16
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    Quote Originally Posted by TheLost View Post
    (putting on fire suit).. Mach3 is as antiquated as the parallel port on the computer required to run it.

    @Mickr is right.. some type of Arduino & grblShield/gshield is what most 'modern' hobby CNC's are using now.
    That was my thought exactly. It seems way antiquated. I actually started this project way back in 1998. Back when I was in my first bachelor apartment in my teen years, I had soldered up some stepper drivers, and had 3 steppers spinning away from mach 3 on my kitchen table. I never was happy with the performance and never took the step to build the table to go with it. Do they charge for mach 3 now? I still have the copy from way back then. And I'm sure I wouldn't have paid $150 for it.
    The grblShield looks interesting, but limited to only 3 axis. And even though it's USB, it's still a connection to a local PC. The last thing I would want is a PC in my dusty workshop. I'm surprised I haven't seen LAN based solutions. EDIT, nevermind, I found some. The wiki at synthetos.com has some options for running their boards from a browser over the lan, or with a pi.

    That printrbot looks really cool. I really like that design paradigm. It does look kinda limited though. And I'm quite surprised it doesn't move around more. There's no positive engagement on the x axis to the material, just the wheels and those straps. I can't tell if those straps are just a strap, or some sort of toothed belt. The price does seem fair though. That seems to be the ballpark for a 4x8 machine build.

    Now you guys have gone and refreshed my interest again.

  8. #17
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    Quote Originally Posted by TheLost View Post
    This is REALLY why i love my X-Carve. Easel is their 'all-in-one' solution to do everything you just said.. (except the print driver part )

    I'd suggest you create an account and start playing around with it.. It will seem VERY basic at first, but its surprising how advanced it is and what it can do.

    http://easel.inventables.com/

    For the 24" star on my 10' mega tree.. i had it drawn out in Easel and cutting in under 10 minutes. My 14 year old can draw up some Chinese throwing stars and get them cutting out in Aluminum before i even have a chance to ground him

    Just FYI.. Inventables is a Chicago based company. Hit them up on twitter and see if they offer any in house demos.
    https://www.inventables.com/about
    I have read about the inventables stuff before. I can't believe I didn't know where they are located. They are literally 2 blocks from my old shop. I totally would have walked over there and checked it out. I moved my shop out of that neighborhood last summer, but I'm still only 20 mins from there.

  9. #18
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    I just did a quick look at grblShield/gshield and see a number of potential gaps as compared to using Mach 3 and a more robust controller for larger machines. First, Joe's machines have four steppers overall, including two steppers for the Y-axis (in opposite travel directions), but I only see three outputs with Grbl. Then there are a lot of configuration options that I didn't see mentioned anywhere, such as acceleration curves, soft limits, how speed at corners/sharp curves is handled, manual controls/jogging, etc.

    If grblShield/gshield works that's great, but just want to raise awareness of some potential gotchas.

  10. #19
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbehnke View Post
    I just did a quick look at grblShield/gshield and see a number of potential gaps as compared to using Mach 3 and a more robust controller for larger machines. First, Joe's machines have four steppers overall, including two steppers for the Y-axis (in opposite travel directions), but I only see three outputs with Grbl. Then there are a lot of configuration options that I didn't see mentioned anywhere, such as acceleration curves, soft limits, how speed at corners/sharp curves is handled, manual controls/jogging, etc.

    If grblShield/gshield works that's great, but just want to raise awareness of some potential gotchas.
    I would love to pick your brain sometime. Perhaps you wouldn't mind doing a google hangout or skype meeting for us noobs yo CNC?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #20
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    Default Re: Choosing a CNC

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbehnke View Post
    I just did a quick look at grblShield/gshield and see a number of potential gaps as compared to using Mach 3 and a more robust controller for larger machines. First, Joe's machines have four steppers overall, including two steppers for the Y-axis (in opposite travel directions), but I only see three outputs with Grbl. Then there are a lot of configuration options that I didn't see mentioned anywhere, such as acceleration curves, soft limits, how speed at corners/sharp curves is handled, manual controls/jogging, etc.

    If grblShield/gshield works that's great, but just want to raise awareness of some potential gotchas.
    I'm using grblShield and grbl, I have 4 motors on my unit. 1 z motor, 1 x motor and 2 y's one goes which go in opposite directions. It uses four DRV8825 stepper drivers.
    I bought the frame kit from ooznest in the UK but didn't use their controller. The electronics / drivers etc I sourced on ebay for a fraction of the cost. I can manually jog in gcodesender, preview the toolpaths, and In grbl (on the arduino) I can set soft limits and I'm almost sure you can set acceleration curves too!
    ss1.jpg
    Last edited by mickr; 02-03-2017 at 08:56 AM.

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