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OX drivers for recommended steppers

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by dangasaur, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. dangasaur

    dangasaur Well-Known
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    The recommended X and Y steppers for the OX are 2.8A NEMA 23s. I'm trying to determine a cost effective set of drivers for these and I'm starting to get overwhelmed with options. At first I was hung up on whether or not I wanted to go the GRBL shield/board route or EMC2/Mach3 but I think that's moot since I can't find any GRBL compatible boards with onboard drives in the 3A range. So this seems like my list of options:

    1. decide to run GRBL through something like the smoothieboard or an arduino shield and just underpower the steppers

    2. option 1 but run some external drivers, ebay or gecko

    3. go EMC2/Mach3 with breakout board + ebay single drivers based on TB6560 or TB6600

    4. same as option 2 but with an all-in-one board w/ 4-5 axis (I've read about many problems with this route...)

    5. same as option 2 but with gecko drivers

    What would you do? It seems like option 2 would give me full power and the most support but is also the most expensive. I've seen several build threads using option 3 but these people have a lot more experience than I do.
     
  2. Hytech2k

    Hytech2k Master
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    Could always go with a Gecko 540, breakout board and 4 drivers in one package. Works well with Mach 3... reasonably priced with great support..

    Gerald
     
  3. sgspenceley

    sgspenceley Master
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    Hi Dangasaur
    I was in the same frame of mind, and found this choice to be the hardest to make on the project!

    In the end I decided to go with this route Mach 3, Gecko G540 & Nema 23 380 oz-in stepper motors.
    http://www.cncrouterparts.com/4-axis-diy-nema-23-electronics-kit-p-75.html

    Everyone I spoke with, highly recommend Gecko & Mach 3

    The only negative I heard about the Gecko G540 was, it's an all in one driver solution. If it fails then it's a full replacement VS just changing one driver. I'm not working in a production environment so this was not a major concern for me, plus Gecko has a very positive reputation.

    As a novice this solution was very, very simple to get working. I love the all in one board solution & the cables!

    I have a very creative sculptor friend who has been using mach3 & vCarvePro for a number of years who is NOT technically minded, so this biased my choice along with some good friends here!

    I must admit it took a long time to press the "buy" button, but now I have no regrets... For me it had the right balance of "easy", "reliable", and not as expensive as separate drivers and breakout boards. I don't enjoy wiring or tinkering with electronics!
     
    #3 sgspenceley, Feb 4, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2015
    j2a and Hytech2k like this.
  4. Nick W

    Nick W Veteran
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    I decided to go with:
    • Planet-cnc Mk3/4 controller ($230)
    • TB6600 Drivers ($15 x 4)
    • Nema 23 3A steppers ($34 x 4)
    They are all en route to my house so I have not had a change to use them.
     
  5. dangasaur

    dangasaur Well-Known
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    I should have included the G540 option but I've ruled it out because of the cost. I think there's a valid argument that the G540 option is actually "cheap" in the end but for now it blows the budget.

    I can still source a well supported and US sold breakout board + individual driver setup at a savings compared to the G540.

    Breakout board for $28 here: http://www.automationtechnologiesinc.com/products-page/breakout-boards/c10-bidirectional-breakout

    ... and drivers for $43.65:
    http://www.automationtechnologiesin...rs/kl-4030-24-40vdc-3-0a-microstepping-driver

    which totals 100$ cheaper than the G540.

    If I shop for Chinese copies on ebay I'm seeing > $200 savings.
     
  6. Hytech2k

    Hytech2k Master
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    Looks like a pretty good deal on those Keling drives. Even their price on the 540 isn't bad for 265.00. Each way has it's merits and negatives. I always liked having separate drives and keep one handy as a spare just in case I have a issue, easily swap one out. The all in one BOB/drivers are just easier to set up, less dip switches and wiring to deal with.
     
  7. sgspenceley

    sgspenceley Master
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    Agree 100% It challenged my budget!
    But I also decided I did not want the learning curve on separate units.
     
  8. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    Pi bot do a. Grbl kit with 4.5a drivers for 165 dollars, which isn't bad for what you get, a bob, 4 drivers, screen and controller. I use thier drivers for my mach 3 setup at under £20 they are excellent.
     
  9. dangasaur

    dangasaur Well-Known
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    Boy that PiBot stuff looks like a really good deal. Looks like a really well thought out and complete kit. This may be where I end up going...
     
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  10. clynad

    clynad Well-Known
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    I am a novice to most of this (so be patient) but why not :
    tinyg/cnc xpro $130-160
    omc 4axis kit $140

    thats 4 motors, all in one controllers with the omc 4axis controller for a backup and a 24v power supply if you dont already have one.
     
  11. dangasaur

    dangasaur Well-Known
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    That OMC 4 axis kit includes the controller board so you could run Mach3 or LinuxCNC which eliminates the need for TinyG or cnc xpro. This controller/driver board looks similar to units on Ebay. This might be a pretty good option if the seller will warranty it.
     
  12. clynad

    clynad Well-Known
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    for myself want to avoid having to fid and set up a cpu with a parallel/printer port the tinyg or xpro takes care of that for a little more than what a decent usb smooth stepper would cost. My biggest reservation is its outside of the mach3 and linux cnc ecosystem so most of what you learn (likely the hard way) is no good to you if you decide to step up to a gecko or some other production oriented setup.
     
  13. dangasaur

    dangasaur Well-Known
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    Completely understand and agree with your conclusion Clynad. I've got a whole closet of old computers so getting something going with a printer port is easy enough.

    You could reverse your approach and go for a usb/lpt breakout board + drivers and only then if you are unable to get things set up spring for a tinyg or grbl board. Then worst case you are only out 10-50$ depending on the breakout board you get.
     
  14. clynad

    clynad Well-Known
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    thats a good idea do you have any recomendations on a board that would/may be compatible with the OMC 4axis kit.

    Also on another note (hope im not hijacking this thread) i have followed openbuilds for some time before the OX CNC wow have i been excited since that came out. Cad files for gantry plates are avialable for download and some persons have even modified them. What puzzles me is i have
    not seen any OX biulds that integrate any of the readily available plates sold in the openbuilds parts store. I imagine the plates in the parts store are cheaper that having a set of OX plates milled waterjetted lasercut etc (unless you or a good friend already own a half decent machine).

    Are the build plates sold in the parts store sutiable for building a OX type cnc.
     
    #14 clynad, Feb 10, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2015
  15. dangasaur

    dangasaur Well-Known
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    That OMC kit driver board also has an onboard breakout board (that's a lot of boards...). From my research it seems that people have had better luck with individual drivers vs. an all-in-one board so that's the route I'm going. The drivers can then be piggybacked onto a TinyG or grbl board down the road if necessary.

    Regarding your 2nd question, the last I checked the store doesn't sell the main plates, only some of the smaller pieces. There are people on this forum that make and sell main plates for reasonable prices. Many of these plates are made by existing OX or other diy cnc routers.
     
  16. pmany

    pmany Journeyman
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    There are plans to start selling the gantry plates, just not in stock yet.
     
  17. clynad

    clynad Well-Known
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    [QUOTE="dangasaur, post: 12811, member:

    Regarding your 2nd question, the last I checked the store doesn't sell the main plates, only some of the smaller pieces. There are people on this forum that make and sell main plates for reasonable prices. Many of these plates are made by existing OX or other diy cnc routers.[/QUOTE]



    What i mean to ask is are the various build plates in the store such as :
    http://openbuildspartstore.com/build-plate/
    to flimsy or otherwise unsuited for a serious OX type router.
     
  18. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    The configuration (hole layout) is not appropriate for the OX machine. That plate is also a bit thin. If you are wanting to build a router system using plates strictly from the parts store consider the Routy.
     
  19. clynad

    clynad Well-Known
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    I will look into it thank you very much for you help.
     
  20. sgspenceley

    sgspenceley Master
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    Clynad, I used the OX plate DXF file which is available for download and had the plates water jet cut locally in 1/4" aluminum, so they are good and strong.
    As mentioned earlier the plate parts can be machined to a high quality by members here & purchased via ebay.
    I highly recommend using a material which is strong with no visible flex.
     
    #20 sgspenceley, Feb 10, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  21. clynad

    clynad Well-Known
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    I am considering a local machine shop if shipping a set of plates off of ebay proves to expensive (customs/duties avg 52% of price+shipping) i just wondered why i never saw store plates on any builds but dangasaur answered that for me.
     
  22. sgspenceley

    sgspenceley Master
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    Funny when I started I could not understand why the store did not offer the main plates, I searched for ages!

    While CNC aluminium plates should be perfect off the machine, water jet cutting is accurate to typical tolerance +/- 0.003” (0.076mm). So a very light reaming of the holes was all that was required from a local water jet cutting service with no setup charge. From memory the cost was around $120 US ($150 CDN) for the two Y axis gantry plates, front & rear X axis plates & 4 corner plates cut in 1/4" aluminium.
    I hate getting stuck with customs, duties, brokerage, charges!
     
    #22 sgspenceley, Feb 11, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  23. clynad

    clynad Well-Known
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    As far as i know there are no local waterjet services in my area to be honest i think i may be the only cnc nation wide LOL, a drill press on the other hand is standard in a lot of the bigger shops allowing me to print the dwx files and drill them with ease. One of the main reasons i love openbuilds is that so many of the parts are under one roof that really simplifies shipping charges (eventually everything ships twice for me)
     
  24. j2a

    j2a Well-Known
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    FYI: I just received my OX plates (file attached) from: http://clockwerkmech.weebly.com/ox-cnc--aluminum-plates.html
    He shipped very quick. Seller was very responsive in my questions. plates look good.

    That said, I too am stressed about purchasing (ie. committing to) a step driver. The seller above recommended to go right to the G540; downside for me is the price. The OX recommends the xpro v2 and the seller was responsive in answering my questions. http://www.spark-concepts.com/cnc-xpro-controller-v2/ downside for me is risk. Both of these concerns are noted above in the post.

    Anyone have any experience with the drivers for the OX? if so, please share your thoughts.
     

    Attached Files:

    #24 j2a, Mar 4, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  25. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    When it comes to Cnc electronics and stepper drivers, avoid Chinese. Go for either European or British. I learnt the hard way. I also learnt that toshiba chip drivers will not power anything larger than nema 17's even if they state 4amp they are in reality only half the amps and are prone to loosing steps. I've bin'd over 12 of these type drivers from difrent manufacturers, some that simply packed up after only hours use and others that were loosing steps and the rest were bin'd after trying a quality micro stepping driver I realised that even though they claimed to be 4.5a, they were massively under powering the motors. The difrence now I'm using these is unbelievable, like a whole new machine, and most of all, jog steps are now instantaneous without that annoying delay and slow click you get from under powering the motors.

    Admittedly there is a big price diference, expect to pay £45 each, but you will save on material that would otherwise be ruined by lost steps with toshiba drivers and time.

    Purchased mine from cnc4you.co.uk, and with it you get a descent amount of support and guarantee also, something you won't get with the cheaper drivers.
    And I say this, simply as having learnt the hard way, the cheapest option can turn out to be the most costly.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  26. clynad

    clynad Well-Known
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    The real question is how much can you afford upfront and how far(size/cutting matals) do you want to go with your OX. The G540 are semi pro (more than what most of us need) great support robust hardware, meanwhile the xpro is a slick piece of all in one kit but less power but you only need a USB to interface with it.
    BTW those are a nice set of plates.
     
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  27. j2a

    j2a Well-Known
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    @clynad, I thought the clockwerkmech plates would be helpful to answer your question above. I compared the price of Routy's gantry plates + the relevant linear rails to the price of his plates. Close enough in price and the benefit is tremendous, so I made the purchase.

    RE: cncprov2... I've been reading through the recent posts on the cnc-pro forum starting around page 4. Michael is very responsive and very knowledgeable, but the issues really get into it. I'd need a power supply anyway, so it looks like this bundle G540 + 48V/7.3A power supply (ebay but wish I could find it cheaper) vs. cncprov2 + heatsinks + 48V/7.3A power supply (overkill, but needed in case cncpro doesn't work).

    $320 vs. $200ish

    Based on what clynad and Jonny are saying + sgspenceley says above, one mistake or several unproductive nights of troubleshooting would easily cover the ~$100 difference for me. If it was about a year more stable though, I'd probably reconsider; its really a nice device.

    Thanks to all for your insight. I read way too many forums tonight but I'm enjoying the learning experience.
     
    #27 j2a, Mar 5, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
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  28. clynad

    clynad Well-Known
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    @j2a seeing you plates has convinced me its a worthwhile purchase
    BTW cncprov2 takes a maximum of 24v (tinyg takes 30v), definitely one of the limiting factors in its peformance.
     
    #28 clynad, Mar 7, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015

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