DIY-CNC project update and links to refs spark any HIVE interest?

First, an update. From last Tuesday's meeting, the DIY-CNC project
team continues to make progress on two fronts; cutting and assembling
parts on the mechanical drive for the Z-axis, and designing the
electronics, buying components, and soldering up the first few
improved open-source stepper driver boards for the machine.

I ran across and thought to share the following link from another
discussion forum
There is a wealth of details and offerings out there to explore,
compare, and contrast for those so inclined to pursue this thread.

Is there any HIVE interest to build a LINUX box with the EMC2 CNC
appliction to be the CNC of choice for us,
rather than using the Windows-based MACH3 CNC application which I have more experience with based on
my home machine? This is a thread of interest and could be a way for
other talented HIVERS to lend a hand and participate in the DIY-CNC
project. I'd be glad to share my bumbling CNC experiences with others
who have the linux experience to help make this happen in the coming
weeks and months. New project interest, help, and team support is
always welcome!


I can help with the Linux CNC. From the site it looks like hey also
have a live CD that runs on Ubuntu so this shouldn't be too, to figure out how to use it...that might be more of a
challenge :slight_smile:


As a rule of thumb I usually go for the FOSS stack vs a closed (Windows) solution. The determiing factor would be the learning curve involved. Almost everyone is going to have to learn the software regardless of the platform or software chosen. Jim’s experience with the Windows-based Mach3 CNC software would be very helpful in learning Mach3 and may be helpful in becoming proficient in the Linux-based EMC2 CNC software. With both Mach3 and EMC2 being derivations of EMC, I’d expect a great amount of similarity…but maybe not. Should the difficulty in learning EMC2 outway the advantages of running on a FOSS stack then Window/Mach3 is the way to go.

I burned a copy if the EMC2 LiveCD and it should be somewhere around
the bar area at the Hive. I tested it out on my laptop, but didn't
get much further than that. We should probably grab an old machine
with a parallel port and set it aside for this.


do we have to choose? are there hardware concerns?

I'm not aware of any significant hardware concerns. The biggest issue
is having PC hardware that still has a LPT1-type, 25-pin, parallel
port connector that is traditionally used for low-budget CNCs using
stepping motors.

My expertise (whatever it may be) is not setting-up a linux box. TP
(if he is still lurking about) can confirm this. If someone puts a
working linux PC on the table and we get the EMC2 application loaded,
we can figure out how to configure and use it to run our machine.

I'll start a separate thread to review those details.


With this group, a linux box with EMC2 loaded is only slightly easier to acquire than pizza and/or beer.

hahaha, yeah good point. I grabbed the git src tree on my local
laptop during lunch to compile it and noticed it needed the real time
libries to enable the linux real time OS functions. After reading
Jim's post about the 'magic' it now makes sense why. I think we
should go with Dave's LiveCD but I just wanted to ensure we could
compile our own source in case we had... changes :slight_smile:


OK, the clock is ticking. I'll even give the group some extra time
because I'll be out-of-town this coming Tuesday, but I'll return with
high expectations on Tuesday December 14h when James does his
electronics class.

Maybe James will have his stepper driver boards and mother board
soldered-up, with parallel port cable in-hand!

I'll try to have a working Z-axis with stepping motor, lead-screw, and
moving carriage.


I just received word that the boards are in production. How long it's going to take now is unsure - it could be as little as a week, it could be longer due to long ship times. But, they *are* in production now - we'll see them at some point. If anyone is interested, there is now a page on the Seeed site dedicated to the driver now.
This was a requirement to get the discount.

As far as the class is concerned... if I'm going to be teaching this to a bunch of people, including individuals outside the Hive, perhaps we should delay the class a bit and give people a time to drum up some numbers? This would give me a little more time to come up with a sort of structured thing, as well, since I'd hate to charge people money for something that wasn't somewhat polished.


Jim wrote:

@James: Do you have a parts list in mind already? If so, are a lot of them standard parts we should just have around the hive anyway? Maybe we could use this as an opportunity to stock up the hive with some standard electronics parts, then charge attendees for the parts cost involved in this project.