Another desktop for the hive

Hey All,
Picked up a desktop from surplus today. Has a Intel i3-2100cpu at 3100ghz and 4gb of ram. Mother board is an Intel one.

Was wondering if it could be used as a second desktop over for the cnc machines? Since I don’t think we can run both cncs at the same time. Didn’t know if that would be the best place or somewhere else. Let me know what you think. Also, seems to have an issue with the button on the front.

It doesn’t have a hard drive in it. Should I snag one from one of the various servers back there that aren’t on?


I think fablab could use another desktop! Having just the one ancient PC gets awkward when multiple laser/3d printer projects are ongoing.


The 1TB hard drives sitting on the server rack are claimed for use in an upcoming fastor replacement. The old hard drives from the laser and cnc computers are also back there and could conceivably be used for this purpose, but honestly hard drives are dirt cheap and we might want to just get a new one. I don’t think a CNC computer would exactly require huge amounts of storage.

  • Ian B.

Would it be better to put it at CNC as second desktop there or at fablab for second desktop there?

I agree with Ian, HDD are cheap, and new ones are less likely to fail. I’d also suggest as SSD, doesn’t have to be a large one, say 256 GB. This one is ~$65 at microcenter, which is a decent deal on a name brand SSD.

Is there a Windows license attached to the desktop? Generally the ID will be on the case. I can burn the appropriate image for it’s OS, and do the install on whatever hard drive we decide on. If there is no Windows license that might get expensive.

I believe so. If not I have plenty.

Or there are alternative operating systems… just saying.

I don’t really make heavy use of either area so I don’t have much of an opinion on which room it goes into. Maybe the fab-lab and cnc wardens could weigh in on that?

  • Ian B.

I love Linux, I don’t relish trying to show other people how to use it. If this was my home shop it would be Linux in a heartbeat. Since this is more general public, Windows seems like the only alternative.

I’m also not sure it’s going to have support for all the necessary software.

Can’t speak for the CNC, but 3d printing works fine on linux. Besides, modern linux desktops barely even have a learning curve. Also, both areas already have a windows computer so that option is available regardless.

  • Ian B.

My personal feeling is Linux would be a fine choice for a
3D-print-supporting computer, may need to stick with windows for
CNC-support due to Mach3 and Vectric.

Has anyone evaluated how well/poorly Mach3 and Vectric run under a XP VM? I’m not actually suggesting this, just more morbid curiousity.

This would probably serve best as an outright replacement for the current laser cutter control PC. Laserchicken is by far the oldest and least reliable machine in the shop.

I had a few UC surplus machines slated for this use last year. The holdup was Windows licensing. The laser cutter control software requires Windows, and the machines I have are too new for XP. (The only license available at the time)

We’ve verified that EasyCut works on Windows 8, so licenses are available for something newer, it might be worth revisiting.

  • Ry

I’m up for whatever! Not sure how much time I’ll have this weekend to work on it. Ian - any chance you feel like playing with it?

I think it would be highly useful to have a linux machine at Hive, regardless of whether it is this one or another. A lot of tasks are actually best accomplished on Linux and a conservative install of a stable distribution would be good for people wishing to do linux things, including just get more exposed to linux.

As far as windows goes, I have an old XP disk, as well as the windows 7 upgrade I bought for it, but never used. Would this work? If XP is installed and then win 7 upgrade, doesn’t that work?


Perhaps giving a couple of our machines the dual-boot treatment would be the way to go, then people can use whatever they want. I agree that laserchicken could do with replacing, although it is quite a bit faster since upgrading the hard drive. Honestly not sure if the xp to 7 upgrade will still work.

  • Ian B.