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CNC Controller Questions

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by PhotoSgt85, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. PhotoSgt85

    PhotoSgt85 Well-Known
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    Hello, I am trying to figure out which CNC Controller to select for my C-Beam Machine XL that I am going to be purchasing when they come back into stock. I am getting it for myself but since I never have time at home and I need a plate maker at work I am going to be using this at the lab I work at. Due to this I need to make this machine as versatile as I can as I foresee the need for not only CNC plate making but also for laser cutting/engraving, 3D printing, and plotting. This is a wide range of functionality that will be implemented over several years, but I would like the option of keeping a single controller on the project as long as I can. Therefore, my question is what is the best controller to get that will allow me to use as much functionality as I can without being crazy expensive. Since this is being personally funded I am thinking around 250 or less on the controller and as much opensource as possible. Thank you in advance for your help!
     
  2. evilc66

    evilc66 Veteran
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    My experience is somewhat limited, but the first controller that comes to mind as a versatile solution would be the Smoothieboard, or any of the 3rd party iterations that run Smoothieware. It supports all the machines you listed, and has a ton of flexibility in the way you can configure it. It's a fully open source project (which is why there are multiple hardware platforms that run Smoothieware). It's also compatible with most all of the host software options out there for the various functions you require.
     
  3. PhotoSgt85

    PhotoSgt85 Well-Known
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    This sounds like it could be a good solution for me, if not permanently, certainly for a few years. Thanks evilc66!
     
  4. PhotoSgt85

    PhotoSgt85 Well-Known
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    So I just looked into this a little further and it looks like the stepper driver that is part of the smoothieboard can only drive 2A per phase, where the openbuilds NEMA 23 High-Tourque Steppers require 3A. I am going to keep looking and see if there are any others that have this built in, otherwise I may have to build something with relays. We'll see. Thank you for the recommendation though, I have another project in mind that the smoothie board may be useful in.
     
  5. evilc66

    evilc66 Veteran
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    There's no requirement that states you have to run the motors at their max current. You just get more torque out of the motor if you run at higher currents. If you absolutely need to run at higher currents, you can run external stepper drivers from the Smoothieboard. The step, direction, and enable pins are broken out into headers for each channel allowing you to use any driver you like.

    Once you start looking at higher current all in one solutions, you either get into affordable but sometimes sketchy Chinese solutions (not open source, some reliability issues), or much higher quality, higher cost solutions like the Gekko G540. There are some open source middle ground options that utilize the Pololu style plug in drivers that can run up to 3A, but those tiny boards have issues dealing with the heat from what I understand.
     
  6. Giarc

    Giarc Master
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    You could use an Arduino board with screw shield to more easily connect the Arduino to the drivers sold by the Openbuilds Part Store. I upgraded to this from the Arduino/DRV8825 combo I had been using. The drivers are not opensource, but the software and Arduino are.

    Kyo's CBeam CNC build has a tutorial on hooking it all up properly.
     
  7. PhotoSgt85

    PhotoSgt85 Well-Known
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    So I just purchased a smoothie board since it seems to be a fairly comprehensive package. I plan on adding the external drivers from the parts store, which I will order when I order the CBeam XL. (Hopefully the 28th or so). Thank you all for your help, and just wait, because I am going to have bunch of questions going forward.
     
    GrayUK likes this.
  8. PhotoSgt85

    PhotoSgt85 Well-Known
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    Just purchased the external drivers and the 24V power supply, I have the Bosch Colt and the smoothie board. Now the C-Beam Machine XL just has to come back into stock so that I can order it...
     
  9. ChadRat6458

    ChadRat6458 Journeyman
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    I use the Keling KL-4030 drivers with a c10 break out board and a 24v power supply. Not open source but the total for everything is under $200. I use a Dell Optiplex with LinuxCNC.
     

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