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Noobie with ? about electronics, break out boards......

Discussion in 'Controller Boards' started by Bill Raines, Feb 7, 2016.

  1. Bill Raines

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    OK, I am going to build an Open Builds C-Beam based CNC Router, 1000 mm on 2 x's, dual 1500 mm on Y gantry, and about 160 mm on Z. This allows me to feed 54" wide ply at 2.5+ feet if needed. Dreams of running 8' ply.

    I believe I am going to buy "CNC Wantai 4Axis Nema 23 425oz-in Dual Shaft& Driver DQ542MA 128Micro" which features a 29 pin breakout board connection to a computer. I have a laptop with USB,s, what do I need to connect the 2 together and communicate with the right pins? I assume I need some software, but not sure what. Or do I buy a used computer that has 29 pin connectors?

    I intend to use Fusion 360 for CAD/CAM, so no Mach3 required. I hope to run jobs for companies that have CAD systems that I can import their drawings in a format I can use to set up my CAD and G-codes and maybe make some money while I have fun.

    I really am a noobie, although I was trained in the old pencil and mylar days as a draftsman, this is all so confusing to me.
     
  2. Joe Santarsiero

    Joe Santarsiero OB addict
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    Hi Bill, to keep it on the cheap you'll need either a desktop with lpt, usb to lpt card, or converter cable. Regular usb to lpt cables will not work. You'll need one specifically for CAD such as the UC100.
    CNCdrive - motion controls

    You'll also need a control software to interpret the Gcode and talk to the control card. Mach3 is around $160. emc2 is free, or there's cnc software and cable/card packages like those at the link below.
    Software - CNCdrive - Webshop
    I have no experience with uccnc, but a few gents here have said good things.

    Joe
     
  3. Bill Raines

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    Joe, unless I am mistaken, the Fusion 360 is a complete CAD/CAM system that runs the g-code, it shows the toolpaths, and in 3D as well. As Fusion 360 says in their overview "(CAD)Quickly iterate on design ideas and use sculpting and modeling tools to explore form and finishes" "Once you have settled on your design you can engineer your design, creating assemblies to validate fit and motion and photorealistic renderings and animations to verify the appearance" "(CAM)Use the 3D print workflows to create a rapid prototype or the CAM workspace to create toolpaths to machine your components." Those are copies of their headings on some of their "Overview" info. "In addition to all the existing 2-axis strategies, 3-axis CAM offers parallel toolpaths, horizontal clearing, penciling, scallop/constant stopover strategies, and spiral/morphed spiral for more organic designs." Whatever that means.

    So, if this is the case I need a USB connection on a breakout board (I mean, isn't the USB the CURRENT technology??) that will communicate with the stepper motor controls. This just seems so simple to this simpleton. LOL

    Bill
     
  4. Bill Raines

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    Oops, it is not a 29 pin, it is a DB25 pin connector. Sorry about that.

    Bill
     
  5. ChadRat6458

    ChadRat6458 Journeyman
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    I have a similar drivers. I am in the process of finishing them up. I need to switch out my belts and configure the linuxCNC. Hopefully, this weekend I will get some time. Anyways I went with an old desktop and added a parallel port to it. I have installed linuxCNC on it with the Debian linux version. I did this because it is free and had an old desktop that was not being used. You probably do not want to use your laptop unless you want sawdust and stuff like that all over it. If you do then I have read that the ethernet connection to your BOB works better than usb. Look at the smoothsteppers.
     
  6. Joe Santarsiero

    Joe Santarsiero OB addict
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    There is another piece of software in between fusion and the breakout board. Fusion will spit out a nc/tap file. The next piece of software will interpret that file and talk to the breakout.
     
  7. ChadRat6458

    ChadRat6458 Journeyman
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    I think Joe is right. Fusion 360 will generate the g code file. You will need either Mach 3 or LinuxCNC to send the g code to your machine (bob to drivers to motors). Mach 3 is about $175 and LinuxCNC is free. If you need something usb/ethernet between your bob and computer then that is could be a couple hundred bucks too. I went the LinuxCNC with an old desktop to save several hundred bucks.
     
  8. Bill Raines

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    OK. I am going to buy a used computer with a DB25 connector and enough speed, etc, according to Linux to run LinuxCNC. Then I can use either the 425 NEMA 23's or the 565 oz NEMA 24's. Which stepper is best? Then all the other stuff should work well.

    Thanks to all of you for your help.
    Bill
     
  9. Bill Raines

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    Now, which version of Linux does LinuxCNC work best on?
     
  10. ChadRat6458

    ChadRat6458 Journeyman
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    I downloaded a installation setup program on a thumb drive from linuxcnc.org It installed linux and linuxCNC at the same time. The version of linux that was installed is Debian.
     
  11. Bill Raines

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    Chad, Thanks. I saw someplace that Ubuntu works well with LinuxCNC. I am not at all familiar with Linux, how does the Debian version work? Is it a "real time" operating system? Sorry for the stupid questions, but Linux is truly Greek to me.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
  12. Bill Raines

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    Oh yeah, the manufacturer of the 425 oz stepper motors and the break out board is set up for Mach3, so I checked the other maker/distributor, StepperOnLine which has the USB for 5v power to the breakout board along with the DB25 and states that it is set up to work with EMC2 (LinuxCNC) as well as the others. So, I will buy their 425 oz NEMA 23 or their 566 oz NEMA 24.

    Bill
     
  13. Joe Santarsiero

    Joe Santarsiero OB addict
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    I'm pretty sure mach and LinuxCNC use the same communication protocol. A seller saying that a package is optimized for one over the other is likely just pure applesauce. If you have one control software working you should be able to get the other to work with the same setup just some different settings.
    As far as which steppers you should choose...there's some minor math involved, but it's mostly useless unless you obtain the stepper motor torque curve charts for the motors you're interested in. With those charts and an idea of what the majority of use your machine will see....soft woods, hard woods, or soft metals.....you should be able to narrow down what motor will better suit you based on an average rpm which is derived from an average cutting speed which goes back to the material most cut.
    In the end, stepper motors are quite cheap and have decent resale value. If you find yourself in a position where your choice is either too clunky or stalling out at proper cutting speeds for your average work..then you should be able to recoup some of your cost for new motors through resale. A motor swap takes a minimal amount of time. However, if you're strapped for cash then you should design for the proper motors from the get go.

    my 2 c

    Joe
     
  14. ChadRat6458

    ChadRat6458 Journeyman
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    Debian is working fine for me. It is a complete operating system. It replaces Microsoft Windows.
     

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