547,443 active members*
1,691 visitors online*
Register for free
Login
IndustryArena Forum > Events, Product Announcements Etc > Want To Buy...Need help! > Need help with electronics for cnc router
Page 1 of 2 12
Results 1 to 20 of 22
  1. #1
    Registered
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    5

    Need help with electronics for cnc router

    Hey everyone,
    I'm building a combination 3 axis router/4 axis hotwire cutter.
    It's a roughly 3 ft x axis, 4.5 ft y axis and 8 inch z axis. There are individual motors driving the x and z axis on each side for the hotwire cutter function in which case the y axis is removed and a hotwire is stretched between the 2 z axis. When being used as a cnc router both z axis move together. See attached image. In any case although I only have 4 axis there are 5 motors so I think getting a 5 axis controller is the way to go. I don't know much about the electronic side of things. Building the mechanical part is within my skill set but need help with the rest. So could i get some recommendations for the controller board (I have Nema 23 motors already). I'm guessing I will also need drivers for the motors? And a power supply of some type?

    Thanks in advance for the help

  2. #2
    Registered
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    1648

    Re: Need help with electronics for cnc router

    not necessary. You can connect two ( and more ) motors to one drive. Having 5 motors doesn't mean you need to control 5 axes.

  3. #3
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    919

    Re: Need help with electronics for cnc router

    Quote Originally Posted by Algirdas View Post
    not necessary. You can connect two ( and more ) motors to one drive. Having 5 motors doesn't mean you need to control 5 axes.

    Read around on the forums. 2 motors on one drive is NOT recommended.
    It is doable but.....
    Say you have 2 motors rated at 4A per phase... You need to use a driver that can deliver/handle 8A (2*4A motors = 8A). It's physics 101.
    If you use a lesser driver and both motors peak... It WILL go bang.

    The proper way to do a twin motor axis is to slave a drive (which has it's own axis output).


    How much roughly would you prefer to spend on a controller / boards?.
    How many sensors will you need to use?. (work out amount of inputs are needed).

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    3248

    Re: Need help with electronics for cnc router

    Hi Will and others - many slow moving machines drive two motors from one driver BUT they will have mid speed instability. I have tried this a few ways and it really does not work if you want to use the full speed range of the steppers. Separate drivers are the go... you need a 5 axis BOB and 5 drivers a 5 axis BOB is about $16USD and drivers for these can be as low as <$20 usd each.... not a big deal... Peter

    https://www.oyostepper.com/goods-121...kaAoGxEALw_wcB

    https://www.omc-stepperonline.com/di...or-dm542t.html

    But for those clever people out there can you run two drives from one BOB axis? I haven't tried that.... you may need to put more bearings on the rails. Usually two per rail. As you have them they could bind or stutter when the gantry torques as the moment is being resisted at a point vs over a spacing (called a crank) if they were bushes it would be called stick slip behavior and definitely would jam...

  5. #5
    Registered
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    525

    Re: Need help with electronics for cnc router

    Beyond the need to drive 5 steppers you also need to consider what interface to the pc. I prefer Ethernet due to low noise. What operating system? What control software like Mach3 or grbl.
    Some factors limit the controller. Only a few controllers run Mach4, win10 and are Ethernet.
    Btw a decent controller will cost you $150 meaning you plug it into your PC and plug the stepper drives into it. Not sure about grbl.
    I’d also recommend 36 to 48 volts.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    919

    Re: Need help with electronics for cnc router

    Quote Originally Posted by Dean448 View Post
    Beyond the need to drive 5 steppers you also need to consider what interface to the pc. I prefer Ethernet due to low noise. What operating system? What control software like Mach3 or grbl.
    Some factors limit the controller. Only a few controllers run Mach4, win10 and are Ethernet.
    Btw a decent controller will cost you $150 meaning you plug it into your PC and plug the stepper drives into it. Not sure about grbl.
    I’d also recommend 36 to 48 volts.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Tbf. Knowing what I know from my experience on a mill.
    If you have stepper motors around the 425oz mark with an inductance value of 3 or above:
    I would go 48-60v with DM860 type drivers. With the 552 type drivers only maxing at 50v, running 48v is a bit tight in case you get any back emf.
    This gives a massive boost to rapid speeds and does no harm to nema23 size motors as long as you check heat and adjust peak current to suit.

    As Dean44 said. I would go with an ethernet controller and 5 axis boards aren't thet expensive.
    If you can get away with the limitations of parallel in terms of IO and operating system then fair enough.
    Avoid usb!.

    Work out how many outputs and inputs you require in total.
    What software you want to use to run it.
    Preferred pc os.
    Then you can make an informed decision on the controller.

  7. #7
    Registered
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    5
    Quote Originally Posted by dazp1976 View Post
    Tbf. Knowing what I know from my experience on a mill.
    If you have stepper motors around the 425oz mark with an inductance value of 3 or above:
    I would go 48-60v with DM860 type drivers. With the 552 type drivers only maxing at 50v, running 48v is a bit tight in case you get any back emf.
    This gives a massive boost to rapid speeds and does no harm to nema23 size motors as long as you check heat and adjust peak current to suit.

    As Dean44 said. I would go with an ethernet controller and 5 axis boards aren't thet expensive.
    If you can get away with the limitations of parallel in terms of IO and operating system then fair enough.
    Avoid usb!.

    Work out how many outputs and inputs you require in total.
    What software you want to use to run it.
    Preferred pc os.
    Then you can make an informed decision on the controller.

    Thanks for the replies. Re operating system etc, i have a windows 10 laptop I'm planning on using for this, with mach 3 as the basic controlling software. I create my drawings using a really old version of Rhino 3d, and I think I'm going to need separate programs to create the code for the hotwire cutter and the router. But honestly don't know enough about that and still doing research so recommendations are appreciated. I have very little experience with cnc and part of the reason for this project is to learn. Btw all I really want to be able to cut right now with the router is 2' x 4' x 1/4" thick piece of plywood, so hopefully not too demanding and not looking for high speed.

    $150 for a complete board with drivers sounds like a good deal to me especially if it means less fighting with it to get it to work. I'm also wanting to use limit switches so would like a board that incorporates those.

    Again thanks for the replies.

  8. #8
    Registered
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    5
    Quote Originally Posted by peteeng View Post
    Hi Will and others - many slow moving machines drive two motors from one driver BUT they will have mid speed instability. I have tried this a few ways and it really does not work if you want to use the full speed range of the steppers. Separate drivers are the go... you need a 5 axis BOB and 5 drivers a 5 axis BOB is about $16USD and drivers for these can be as low as <$20 usd each.... not a big deal... Peter

    https://www.oyostepper.com/goods-121...kaAoGxEALw_wcB

    https://www.omc-stepperonline.com/di...or-dm542t.html

    But for those clever people out there can you run two drives from one BOB axis? I haven't tried that.... you may need to put more bearings on the rails. Usually two per rail. As you have them they could bind or stutter when the gantry torques as the moment is being resisted at a point vs over a spacing (called a crank) if they were bushes it would be called stick slip behavior and definitely would jam...
    $150 sounds like a good deal, could you post a link please?

  9. #9
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    919

    Re: Need help with electronics for cnc router

    Quote Originally Posted by willja67 View Post
    $150 sounds like a good deal, could you post a link please?

    The $150 price Dean mentioned was ONLY for an ethernet controller. (quote 'you plug your stepper drives into it')
    If you're going to use just a parallel port connection THAT will cost sub $150.
    Parallel bob + 5 drivers, <$150.
    Para connection is not viable with a laptop.

    For laptop use you will need:
    1* ethernet motion controller such as:
    https://www.cnc4pc.com/uc400eth-ethe...troller-b.html
    You could opt for AXBB-E but bear in mind a 5th axis will only work properly from lpt port 3. So you'd need a cable and another bob anyway:
    https://www.cnc4pc.com/axbb-e-ethern...troller-b.html
    Or the smoothstepper:
    https://www.cnc4pc.com/ethernet-smoo...per-board.html

    Next is cables and bob's:
    https://www.cnc4pc.com/idc26-db25-lp...bon-cable.html
    1 or more of these boards (to keep cost down a little):
    https://www.oyostepper.com/goods-121...kaAoGxEALw_wcB
    (You need idc26 male to db25 male for these type)

    There are these all in one controller and IO boards too to consider: (The 300eth and ub1 is nice).
    https://www.cncroom.com/interface-ca...liujg57j8nr546


    Next is drivers:
    I guess these will do you:
    https://www.omc-stepperonline.com/di...p-from%5B59%5D (u.s. available).
    BUT...... What about importing these:
    https://www.omc-stepperonline.com/di...m%5B58%2C59%5D
    Gives you options on upping voltage if found to be needed, or run the lot on a single AC toroidal power unit.

    I've been ordering my stuff from Aliexpress of late (I'm in u.k.) such as relays, cabling, isolator boards, even step drivers and switched psu's.

  10. #10
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    919

    Re: Need help with electronics for cnc router

    Quote Originally Posted by dazp1976 View Post

    https://www.oyostepper.com/goods-121...kaAoGxEALw_wcB
    (You need idc26 male to db25 male for these type)

    .
    I meant male26 to female25 for these board types. Not male.

  11. #11
    Registered
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    525

    Re: Need help with electronics for cnc router

    So one recommendation is to go with UC400. They also license software similar to Mach 3 that works on win10.
    I used Mach 3 for years but it stopped working with Win10. I don’t know if it was fixed after that since I went to Mach 4.
    The completely annoying part of this is Microsoft Windows operating systems. They don’t care what breaks after updates.
    Stand alone systems might be better if your starting now, like acorn. They are higher cost. Or check out the opposite direction using grbl.

    Hot wire cutting might be difficult for the CAM software. They are designed for three axis systems. You even have to fool them if you cut on a rotary axis. So you may have to go with something open source. I’d check that out first since it effects the hardware.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    919

    Re: Need help with electronics for cnc router

    Quote Originally Posted by Dean448 View Post
    So one recommendation is to go with UC400. They also license software similar to Mach 3 that works on win10.
    I used Mach 3 for years but it stopped working with Win10. I don’t know if it was fixed after that since I went to Mach 4.
    The completely annoying part of this is Microsoft Windows operating systems. They don’t care what breaks after updates.
    Stand alone systems might be better if your starting now, like acorn. They are higher cost. Or check out the opposite direction using grbl.

    This is why I kept both my retail Win7 & xp discs from yesteryear.
    After the fiasco of Vista when they broke EVERY manufacturers drivers for their hardware, I've never had faith in MS.
    Win10 will still force an update itself at some point, even IF you think you have managed to lock it out. Then you'll waste time trying to figure out why you machine won't go.
    I still sware by XP for parallel use , it just plain works!!!. and Win7 for ethernet use , has better protocols (& updates are easily turned off), + support has ceased.
    Put it on a dedicated pc for your cnc and it will never fail unless the pc itself fails.

  13. #13
    Registered
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    1880

    Re: Need help with electronics for cnc router

    Quote Originally Posted by Dean448 View Post
    So one recommendation is to go with UC400. They also license software similar to Mach 3 that works on win10.
    If you mean UCCNC then it is no "similar to Mach3" it is pretty different, but yes, it is a CNC software, like Mach3, Mach4 and others.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dean448 View Post
    I used Mach 3 for years but it stopped working with Win10. I don’t know if it was fixed after that since I went to Mach 4.
    Mach 3 is dead and no bugs will ever be fixed in it, but it works on Windows 10 without any issues except the known bugs. Of course, if you want to use PP then you have to give up Windows 10, because it is not supporting PP any more. If you want to use Mach 3 you can just buy a controller, for example UC400ETH, UC300ETH5LPT if you want high reliability, or if you are happy with using USB then UC100 or UC300USB5LPT and use the free Mach 3 plugin CNC Drive provides. It is however a better idea to buy a UCCNC license also. Beware, that UCCNC is only running with the hardware you have licensed it for, so if you buy for example an UC400 it will only work with that specific card. A new UC400 means new license. It is not like Mach 3, with an infinite number of pirate copies which can be used by anyone on any number of computers and all different controllers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dean448 View Post
    The completely annoying part of this is Microsoft Windows operating systems. They don’t care what breaks after updates.
    That is pure nonsense. They do indeed care about updates, which you would understand if you worked in the field. How many companies offer such advanced and user friendly, open (yes, OPEN) operating system on basically an infinite number of hardware? How many companies offer lifetime (sort of) updates, fixes, virus protections and so on, all free of charge (once you paid for the W10 license)?

    If you don't like Windows that's one thing, but that claim about Microsoft not caring about their customers is nonsense. Microsoft didn't break anything, except the chain of pirates. They stopped supporting the parallel and serial port structure which is actually using 40+ years of technology. That's all. There is a good reason why they did that, which apparently you don't understand.

  14. #14
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    919

    Re: Need help with electronics for cnc router

    Quote Originally Posted by A_Camera View Post
    That is pure nonsense. They do indeed care about updates, which you would understand if you worked in the field. How many companies offer such advanced and user friendly, open (yes, OPEN) operating system on basically an infinite number of hardware? How many companies offer lifetime (sort of) updates, fixes, virus protections and so on, all free of charge (once you paid for the W10 license)?
    If you don't like Windows that's one thing, but that claim about Microsoft not caring about their customers is nonsense. Microsoft didn't break anything, except the chain of pirates. They stopped supporting the parallel and serial port structure which is actually using 40+ years of technology. That's all. There is a good reason why they did that, which apparently you don't understand.
    The Vista fiasco that broke manufacturers bda drivers for their hardware is still a bug bare for me when it comes to MS.
    I still use my old os's on dual boots as I have items of value that won't run on newer versions.

    If a security update causes a bug in a cnc it's not their fault I guess. It's not like they're going to check it against the software we use.

    Simple solution: Install your pc/laptop with fresh os, install all the software you need, set up your cnc machine, keep pc offline and dedicated to the machine.
    Job done.
    As I've said before. I've had no problems with Mach3over pp since using it. It's running xp with a dedicated pc that's offline. That's probarbly why.

    I am making changes though and moving up to a uc300, uccnc and a laptop.

  15. #15
    Registered
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    525

    Re: Need help with electronics for cnc router

    My actual point about Microsoft is that when it comes to low end /hobby cnc equipment we should not have to rely on an operating system designed and optimized for something completely different. And more changes are coming with Win11.

    I have a laser cutter that uses a DSP controller at version 1.1 I think. I send it a file and it works. No change in an operating system will ever effect it. Same with my 3d printer.

    I know these smart controllers for cnc are out there but nothing has gained traction like Mach 3 did when it came out.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  16. #16
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    919

    Re: Need help with electronics for cnc router

    Quote Originally Posted by Dean448 View Post
    I know these smart controllers for cnc are out there but nothing has gained traction like Mach 3 did when it came out.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I think it ultimately all comes down to costs.
    Turn an old win pc due for the bin into a cnc.
    Plus the fact some of us need a large screen to see what's going on!. lol.

    I wouldn't have minded one of those standalone controllers along the lines of the smc5 but my vision would struggle.

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    3248

    Re: Need help with electronics for cnc router

    Morning - I have been using UCCNC with W10 & a UC100 for 4 years (on 3 machines) and it has always worked through the windows updates. They (win updates) are annoying but I suppose useful. Mach3 was good in its time for the technology at the time. Do you still have a fob watch? Time to move along. Peter

  18. #18
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    919

    Re: Need help with electronics for cnc router

    Quote Originally Posted by peteeng View Post
    Morning - I have been using UCCNC with W10 & a UC100 for 4 years (on 3 machines) and it has always worked through the windows updates. They (win updates) are annoying but I suppose useful. Mach3 was good in its time for the technology at the time. Do you still have a fob watch? Time to move along. Peter

    lol.

    Well. Now that we're messing about with 4th/5th even 6th axis, having a crack at building tool changers from scratch, delving into servo's, power drawbar bodges, & having prox sensors up the wahzoo......
    The amound of I/O that pport gives you doesn't REALLY cut it.

    Even for all that stuff I mentioned to be done, a UC300eth and UB1 combo is prob a bit tight.


    For a basic 3 axis machine the pport isn't quite dead yet. (PCI cards are still available).
    For a 4 or more axis (slaved or not), look straight to ethernet.

  19. #19
    Registered
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    1880

    Re: Need help with electronics for cnc router

    Quote Originally Posted by dazp1976 View Post
    The Vista fiasco that broke manufacturers bda drivers for their hardware is still a bug bare for me when it comes to MS.
    I still use my old os's on dual boots as I have items of value that won't run on newer versions.

    If a security update causes a bug in a cnc it's not their fault I guess. It's not like they're going to check it against the software we use.

    Simple solution: Install your pc/laptop with fresh os, install all the software you need, set up your cnc machine, keep pc offline and dedicated to the machine.
    Job done.
    As I've said before. I've had no problems with Mach3over pp since using it. It's running xp with a dedicated pc that's offline. That's probarbly why.

    I am making changes though and moving up to a uc300, uccnc and a laptop.
    I don't know what you mean by "Vista fiasco" but it doesn't matter. At the release of its successor, Windows 7 (October 2009), Windows Vista (with approximately 400 million Internet users) was the second most widely used operating system on the Internet with an approximately 19% market share, the most widely used being Windows XP with an approximately 63% market share. I can't really call that a "fiasco" even if XP and W7 beats it. Remember that Vista was aimed at the more serious business market, unlike XP and W7, which had several different segments as market, and home users was one such segment. Anyway, Vista is gone since 2017, just like XP.

    Never the less, if XP works for you that's fine. Regarding UCCNC, you can continue to be a happy XP user, at least for a while.

    BTW, even I found use for XP just the other day... The servo motor I bought needs an RS232 port and since that is no longer working in W10, I dusted off an old HP laptop with XP pro, installed the configuration software on it and happily use it to configure my servo. Of course, another solution is to use a USB - RS232 converter, but since I don't have that, I thought I will try this old computer. Works well for that, but would not like to use it for any other things. W10 is so much better... :wave:

  20. #20
    Registered
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    1880

    Re: Need help with electronics for cnc router

    Quote Originally Posted by Dean448 View Post
    My actual point about Microsoft is that when it comes to low end /hobby cnc equipment we should not have to rely on an operating system designed and optimized for something completely different. And more changes are coming with Win11.
    Fine, but in that case a dedicated CNC controller is a solution... or wait a minute, many of those use cracked (pirated) Windows, so maybe that's even worse. Anyway, how much we rely on operating systems is depending on the manufacturer of the CNC software. Technically it would be possible to develop a CNC software without any commercial OS, but then the manufacturer would need to develop his own OS also, which would be pretty complicated, expensive and totally stupid, creating a software which would be way to expensive to be able to sell it or compete with existing solutions. Basically, it would be a totally stupid idea and a commercial suicide for the company. That's why all CNC software is dependent on an OS, be that Windows or Linux or whatever else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dean448 View Post
    I have a laser cutter that uses a DSP controller at version 1.1 I think. I send it a file and it works. No change in an operating system will ever effect it. Same with my 3d printer.

    I know these smart controllers for cnc are out there but nothing has gained traction like Mach 3 did when it came out.
    Controllers based on DSP chips have their limitations also. Most have a very primitive user interface and limited set of supported codes and what they can do. Yes, my 3D printers also don't need a computer, only an SD card or USB or wireless connection to transfer the files to be printed, but again, it has serious limitations and would not like them as a CNC. Never the less, if they work for you then use them happily. There are also CNCs which can be controlled the same way, so if you don't want to depend on any OS then do something about it, and move to dedicated controllers.

Page 1 of 2 12

Similar Threads

  1. CNC Router Electronics
    By jimmyzwoodworks in forum Controller Cards
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 07-01-2020, 09:21 AM
  2. CNC Router Electronics?
    By wmacdonald250 in forum General CNC Machine Related Electronics
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-30-2017, 11:53 PM
  3. CNC router electronics recommendation.
    By georges12 in forum Stepper Motors / Drives
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-24-2015, 01:10 AM
  4. 3 AXIS cnc router electronics
    By Denrow in forum Stepper Motors / Drives
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-27-2012, 06:38 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •