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  1. #1
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    Mach 3 on a thin client?

    Hi,

    I'm building a new system for my cnc mill and would like to contain all the computer within the machines original control panel, where there is limited space. I've used a mini itx motherboard before on another machine, but when searching fleabay it occurred to me that there are thin clients that meet the spec of mach3's minimum requirements. These look perfect because of how compact they are, also they are super cheap! I'm just wondering if anyone has had any experience with running mach3 on a thin client at all? I was looking at the HP t5720 for example.

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    Community Moderator Al_The_Man's Avatar
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    I have used Panel PC's for a while now.
    POS (Point of Sale) terminals are also a candidate with touch screen.
    Al.
    CNC, Mechatronics Integration and Custom Machine Design

    “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
    Albert E.

  3. #3
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    Thank for the reply Al,

    Yes thats a good point, 1 of those might come in handy for another project I'm working on too! I'm still intrigued about the thin clients though... the machine it will control is a Bridgeport series 1 cnc



    The picture above shows the control panel in question. I'd like to incorporate a touchscreen with custom switch panel on the front and mount all pc hardware inside the box.

  4. #4
    Community Moderator Al_The_Man's Avatar
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    This was a couple I did some years ago.
    Panel PC.
    Al.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Dscf0041.jpg   DSCF0048.jpg  
    CNC, Mechatronics Integration and Custom Machine Design

    “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
    Albert E.

  5. #5
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    This is exactly what I'm thinking about doing. Nice panel graphics by the way, how did you do them?

  6. #6
    Community Moderator Al_The_Man's Avatar
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    I use a local engraver that does reverse engraved Lamacoid, the legends are filled in with paint, the nice thing about this is you can select colours and the front is perfectly flat, so not only does it not rub off, easy to clean, there are no grooves etc for grease to fill!
    I just email him a DWG file.
    Al.
    CNC, Mechatronics Integration and Custom Machine Design

    “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
    Albert E.

  7. #7
    Community Moderator Al_The_Man's Avatar
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    One other example.
    Al.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSCF0195.jpg  
    CNC, Mechatronics Integration and Custom Machine Design

    “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
    Albert E.

  8. #8
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    I am running my Tormach PCNC1100 on a t5720 with Mach 3.043.066. It runs nicely, and subjectively "feels" the same as the former Dell B110 that had been running it since it was new in fall 2006. It took me two weekends and several evenings to sort out what services to strip out of the canned XPe install. I "bricked" the first one at least 6 or 7 times and had to start from scratch and reinstall the stock disk image each time--fortunately that is easy to do with the bootable thumb drive disk image loader. Unfortunately, the disk image writing utility included with the t5720 XPe doesn't seem to work, so I had to repeat the manual process with the second t5720 now running my lathe. Fortunately, that was easier having finally surmounted the learning curve with the first one.

    Randy

  9. #9
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    I have just started playing around with a 7520 and a 7540. I am making progress and i think you need to make sure there is enough memory in the unit. The 7520 I have has 512meg for voth ram and rom. Not sure this is enough. The tool path seems to be slugish. The 7540 has 1 g for both and I it appears to work fine. More set up tp do but I think the thin clients definantley are capable,

  10. #10
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    I am running Mach3 on a Pentium 4 630 with 1GB of RAM, and it does just fine.

    Problem is, the Geode NX 1500 CPU in the t5720 thin client is quite a bit slower than my Pentium 4. So I would look for something else unless I could get it really cheap (I'm talking $20 shipped cheap).

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ndSteel View Post
    The 7520 I have has 512meg for voth ram and rom.
    Lucky! Mine are 512 flash / 256 RAM. But they do work well. I ran a 2-hour contouring program on Saturday on my Tormach, the longest single run I've done on the t5720 so far. They are very stripped down, single-minded machine controllers. Nothing at all that wasn't in the XPe distro, except Mach3 itself.

    You can turn off the toolpath display with a button on the diagnostics page but I haven't needed to. My display window isn't huge.

    I didn't think the 5740's had parallel ports. Are you using yours with a SmoothStepper or similar?

    Quote Originally Posted by CitizenOfDreams View Post
    ...I could get it really cheap (I'm talking $20 shipped cheap).
    My t5720's were $20 each but I picked them up locally from the seller.

    Randy

  12. #12
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    I suppose that evaulating the suitability of a t5720 will depend on what it takes to run your steppers. I'm running at 35kHz kernel, and on the Tormach at 10000 steps/inch my rapids are 90 ipm which it does handily. If you need a faster kernel speed to support your motion, it might not be as suitable...

    Randy

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