CNC help & tips

The controller I bought has it’s ups and downs. Lets start with the controller.

Depending where you obtain the controller chances are there isn’t any documentation for it and you have to hunt it down. Last thing you want is to plug the driver boards in the wrong way. I was smart enough to seek out the info first before attempting however I have seen on message boards that people didn’t

The overall layout of the board kinda sucks. Granted it is a typical size of a Arduino shield but header pins to connect a stepper isn’t the way to go. Screw terminals would of been better like the power supply input.

Kinda wished I held off on it since a day later I saw on Ebay for $30.00 a Raspberry Pi CNC kit that came with the Raspberry, shield, three drivers and a Arduino nano.

The controller has a 4th axis setup but there isn’t a way to mirror it. If you tell it to run as say the X axis it takes over. Unless I am doing something wrong. In all it works very well with GRBL 0.9. The downside is I can’t find a copy of GRBL Controller so I’m stuck using a Java based program called Universal G-Code Sender. I just need to check the downloads every other day until the software holder pays his/her web hosting bill. Reason being I would love to have spindle control.

The motors I have salvaged from the photocopier range in size and wire configuration. The controller lets you use four wire configs and you could get by using five wire but a six or eight wire is out of the question since the less coil wingdings used equals less power and torque. For giggles I tossed on a six wire and I can easily stall it out with my hand. The smaller four wire motors and with a laptop charger connected to the controller I can’t stall it out and could have enough torque to move a gantry three times the size I have designed.

The case I had in mind isn’t going to work. With the Arduino and shield stacked together it is too tall. I’m leaning towards putting it inside my Tinker PC. Since the PC is a typical mid size tower that hardly has anything in the drive bays I could gut a optical drive and use the top case portion to mount the Arduino and run some cabling to the rear of the case. I would use some RJ45 jacks and use simple Ethernet cable to run to the CNC, just double up on the wiring and have three ports. Each port would control a stepper and limit switch. The control panel I can just put on the front of the case on a modified drive bay plate. The control panel would have LEDs for each stepper, Limit switch contacting, tactical switches to jog the CNC, E-stop button and a power switch. If I don’t go that route I’ll make a typical desktop like setup.

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