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What to look for in electronics / software?

Discussion in 'General Electronics' started by Balu, Sep 16, 2014.

  1. Balu

    Balu Veteran
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    I am an absolute newbie in the NC department, but I started with RC planes at the beginning of this year and I am now thinking about extending on that by building a machine that I can use to cut the foamboards used for building.

    The mechanics part don't scare me, but the electronics - well, they don't really scare me, but I'm having troubles figuring out what I'd need for the "common DIY CNC".

    So far people seem to be using NEMA 23 for most of the builds and NEMA 17 for the Z-Axis.

    Based on that I started to look around and found an eBay seller that sells kits and ships from my home country which would help a lot to not have to mess with customs.

    But I don't have a clue what to look for in the parts.

    For example one of the kits (sold for ~ $ 375 or 290 EUR) has the following content:
    • 4 pcs Nema 23 stepper motor 425oz,in ,3.0A
      • Step-Angle: 1.8°
      • Motor Length: 115 mm
      • Rate: 6.4 V / 3 A
      • Phase Resistance: 2.1 Ohm
      • Phase Inductance: 9 mH
      • Holding Torque: 425 oz.in
      • Lead Wire: 4 NO
      • Rotor Inertia: 0.89 kg.c?
      • Weight: 1.55 kg
      • Front shaft diameter: 8 mm
    • 4 x Stepper motor driver DM542A, 24-50VDC
    • 2 x Power Supply 350Watts, 36 VDC / 9.7 A
    • parallel cable & breakout board
      • Built in C-class Optical-coupler

    Is that something I could / should buy? Or would you suggest to go a different path.

    I'm not sure about the parallel breakout board either. I don't own any PC anymore that has a parallel port. Heck I'd be lucky if I'd find something besides USB these days...

    As for software... Mach 3 is something I've seen in a lot of videos. But there's also something like LinuxCNC which would make this Linux guy happy - if it supports the features I need - which I don't know anything about so far :eek:)

    If there are threads that explain all these parts and what specifications to look for, please point me in the right direction. If not it might be a nice idea to have someone do beginner tutorials :)
     
  2. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    Hi Balu,

    It is always best to run a CNC machine from it's own, dedicated PC. To this end it may be prudent to source and older (perhaps second user) PC which either has an LPT parallel port or PCI slot where one can be added. Although Mach3 can be used via the USB or Ethernet connection with an external motion controller I am not certain LinuxCNC has this option so a parallel port is perhaps the best option.
    Some of the CNC electronics kits from China offer extremely good value for money whilst others turn out to have problems - obviously I can't be absolutely certain but the kit you are considering looks good to me.

    Hope this helps.

    Tweakie.
     
  3. Balu

    Balu Veteran
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    Hey Tweakie,

    thanks for the heads up. I'll just jump into the deep end and will see how that goes. I like that the kit is fairly modular, like a single driver for each motor. I'm already thinking about how to add a 5th axis (a second Z-axis to be precise) and this will probably make it easier to extend it than an all-in-one-4-axis-controller/driver.

    Perhaps someone with the experience could do a little introduction on all the parts in the Tutorials section. Something like an "electronics 101". It would help absolute beginners like me a lot to understand how that works together. Things like "What specifications do you need to watch for in a motor?" or "Which driver goes with that?", ...

    Most builds and videos seem to be focussing on the mechanics part.
     
  4. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    Hi Balu,

    At your suggestion I have made a start on an "Electronics 101" but it is a mammoth undertaking to cover all aspects so it will take some time to complete but at least it is a start. :)

    Tweakie.
     
    Jestah likes this.
  5. Balu

    Balu Veteran
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    I volunteer as tribute...

    uhm I mean. I'll read it and ask stupid questions if I don't understand a part :)
     

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