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  1. #1
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    Dec 2011
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    Hints about controller for specific use

    Hi!
    Right now I have two machines: a small router and a bit larger laser engraver. Both are DIY for most components. The first is controlled by a USBCNC CPU5A4E and the second by an Arduino with GRBL firmware and a driver shield.
    For the first machine I also have a HUGE cabinet with large drivers, power supplies and any possible connection... this is my "definitive" cabinet for any CNC in my life :-)

    However, both machines are too small for my needs and I really don't want two machines. I'm going to buy a larger one.
    Usually I need to laser engraving and milling the same stock, so it's not an option to continue with different setups.
    Unfortunately the USBCNC controller (that I like very much by the way) doesn't support the GRBL "laser mode" (G1 stops on every S changes).

    Hence I'm looking for a mid-high level controller with (at least) the following features:

    • 4 axis
    • standard step/dir/enable output
    • inputs for limit switches, probe, and aux pins (emergency stop, pause, run, etc...)
    • outputs for standard tools (spindle, coolant, mist) and some spare GPIO programmable from g-code (i.e. to turn on a relay)
    • PWM output for laser modulation bound to S value (not only on-off, I mean true PWM 0..100% duty cycle)
    • laser mode (G1 doesn't stop on S changes), and possibly ramp compensation (M3/M4 modes in GRBL)
    • inputs for pendant
    • better if works with Linux
    • nice to have, but not mandatory: scripting language to create macro and sdk to load/create plugins or customizing UI


    The ideal budget should be less than 500$, anyway I could revise it if it's worth to. I'm going to select the definitive controller for my life!

    Thank you for any suggestion.

  2. #2
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    Dec 2013
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    1686

    Re: Hints about controller for specific use

    I would look at Dynomotion Dynomotion Motion Control Boards for CNC Manufacturing and Robotics Applications or Galil Motion Controllers | Galil. The Galil controllers are quite expensive when purchased new, but very available on Ebay at various prices.

  3. #3
    Gold Member
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    Jan 2005
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    7115

    Re: Hints about controller for specific use

    Quote Originally Posted by _Mark_ View Post
    Hi!
    Right now I have two machines: a small router and a bit larger laser engraver. Both are DIY for most components. The first is controlled by a USBCNC CPU5A4E and the second by an Arduino with GRBL firmware and a driver shield.
    For the first machine I also have a HUGE cabinet with large drivers, power supplies and any possible connection... this is my "definitive" cabinet for any CNC in my life :-)

    However, both machines are too small for my needs and I really don't want two machines. I'm going to buy a larger one.
    Usually I need to laser engraving and milling the same stock, so it's not an option to continue with different setups.
    Unfortunately the USBCNC controller (that I like very much by the way) doesn't support the GRBL "laser mode" (G1 stops on every S changes).

    Hence I'm looking for a mid-high level controller with (at least) the following features:

    • 4 axis
    • standard step/dir/enable output
    • inputs for limit switches, probe, and aux pins (emergency stop, pause, run, etc...)
    • outputs for standard tools (spindle, coolant, mist) and some spare GPIO programmable from g-code (i.e. to turn on a relay)
    • PWM output for laser modulation bound to S value (not only on-off, I mean true PWM 0..100% duty cycle)
    • laser mode (G1 doesn't stop on S changes), and possibly ramp compensation (M3/M4 modes in GRBL)
    • inputs for pendant
    • better if works with Linux
    • nice to have, but not mandatory: scripting language to create macro and sdk to load/create plugins or customizing UI


    The ideal budget should be less than 500$, anyway I could revise it if it's worth to. I'm going to select the definitive controller for my life!

    Thank you for any suggestion.
    The control you have you won't find much better without spending a lot more money

    Eding CNC would be your best choice for laser and mill control, next would be Acorn with Centroid control

    Eding CNC - PC based CNC control

    Acorn CNC controller, Step and Direction 4 axis CNC Control board with ethernet communication.
    Mactec54

  4. #4
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    Dec 2011
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    13

    Re: Hints about controller for specific use

    Quote Originally Posted by mactec54 View Post
    Eding CNC would be your best choice for laser and mill control, next would be Acorn with Centroid control
    Eding CNC - PC based CNC control
    Acorn CNC controller, Step and Direction 4 axis CNC Control board with ethernet communication.
    As said I already own a USBCNC controlled (EdingCnc) but it is NOT suitable for laser engraving because the G1 movements are affected by the S value changes.
    About Acorn CNC I will investigate further but in the main page it's not highlighted this feature.

    Instead I've just asked to Planet CNC (https://planet-cnc.com/) and their products support laser mode.

  5. #5
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    Dec 2011
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    13

    Re: Hints about controller for specific use

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dawson View Post
    I would look at Dynomotion Dynomotion Motion Control Boards for CNC Manufacturing and Robotics Applications or Galil Motion Controllers | Galil. The Galil controllers are quite expensive when purchased new, but very available on Ebay at various prices.
    As far as I understand they are very good motion controller but not specific for CNC - I mean it's unclear if they have all the features above and what software I need to use with them.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2016
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    79

    Re: Hints about controller for specific use

    Smoothieboard? Just need to reboot it to swap from laser to cnc mode. Assorted outputs. Scripted config file. Open source so if you're handy with code you can add anything it doesn't already have. I've got one for my Laser build in progress but I don't have specific experience re: router. GRBL mode.

    start [Smoothieware]

    If you need steppers >2A then it's got signal out for external drivers.

  7. #7
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    Re: Hints about controller for specific use

    They look promising but apart the old v1 the others are still in development and no release date is given:

    Currently being designed, release in 2017, see here.
    Because v2 is being developed by awesome volunteers, we have no timetable or planned release date, so please stop asking.

  8. #8
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    Aug 2016
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    79

    Re: Hints about controller for specific use

    Is the v1 fit for purpose?

  9. #9
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    Dec 2013
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    1686

    Re: Hints about controller for specific use

    Quote Originally Posted by _Mark_ View Post
    As far as I understand they are very good motion controller but not specific for CNC - I mean it's unclear if they have all the features above and what software I need to use with them.
    I have never used the Dynomotion controllers. But it's my understanding that they would meet all of your requirements.

    The Galil products meet all of your requirements. I use them on all of my CNC machines. I wrote my own CNC software, but the Galil products are compatible with Mach3 and other systems. I think Linux drivers are also available for the Galil products, but not sure what software is required.

  10. #10
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    Dec 2011
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    Re: Hints about controller for specific use

    Glad to hear that. I will study the documentation deeper.

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