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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Computer Stand/Enclosure Ideas?

    I've been looking a bit for some ideas for a computer enclosure for my Mach 3 setup. I want to lower the dust intake and get the wires all off of the floor and into some flexible conduit between a mobile computer enclosure of some sort and my driver enclosure. I don't want to mount the computer to the machine because of vibration. I'm looking for ideas or possibly even plans for some kind of mobile cart which would house the computer and monitor. I also want to have a control panel with buttons to make the machine a little more simple to operate. I've seen some decent examples, but these were either to purchase or there wasn't much information with what I found to help me make my own.

    Anybody got some good ideas?

    Something like this maybe, but with more buttons for Mach 3 commands.
    Attachment 191044

    If I come up with something cool, I'd like to do my first build thread and probably share the plans with the community if they're any good.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Just thought we'd share our experiences in designing what sounds like a similar arrangement. The link in your post refuses to load, but our system sounds like a match for your description. The whole setup looks like the following:

    Attachment 197242

    The cabinet rolls on locking casters, and is connected to our mills by three 8' umbilical cords with liquid-proof connectors on each end (though in practice only the ones on the mill matter for full-flood coolant applications; the ones on the cabinet are for consistency of assembly, and are mounted against an external sheetmetal plate to cover the larger underlying access hole for the connectors). If your cabinet design will only house a computer system then a single umbilical may suffice, but if it also is going to house the spindle drive and axis drives then you'll probably find that a single umbilical with sufficient diameter will be too stiff to easily reposition the cabinet. You'll want to segregate the DC and AC wires to reduce inductive crosstalk, and the high-voltage lines should really be kept separate from the low-voltage ones, so multiple umbilicals have practical electrical considerations too. Inside the cabinet, the wires are all connectorized and plugged into a distribution panel labeled by purpose (servo drives, servo encoders, rotary table stepper, control logic, spindle motor, and coolant pump).

    Attachment 197246

    We weld and powdercoat some bracketry to support two powdercoated sheet metal panels back-to-back; the square self-retaining nuts commonly used in 19" electrical racks hold the bracketry in place, with plastic shims sandwiched between the nuts and brackets to allow tightening against the case (instead of just against the nut) to eliminate the looseness that would otherwise result. The front panel's drill pattern is for mounting the computer system using a rigid insulating plastic baseplate and daughterboard support structure (don't allow any play on the daughterboard mount, or they can become unseated), while the back panel is for the spindle's variable frequency drive and transformer, axis servo drives, breakout board, low-voltage supplies, fuse mounts, and so on.

    Attachment 197248

    Our electrical system designer comes from an industrial controls background, so for safety reasons there are also relays on the back panel to convert the off-the-shelf E-stop logic to require a reset at both the mil and in the software before continuing. If your breakout board only supports a single point of reset, the relay logic for this change isn't hard to implement on top. If you can spend the time to ferrule the cables while wiring the cabinet the end result will be a lot better than screw terminals, since there won't be any stray whiskers to cause shorts and the connections will be more positive. Remember that a rolling setup may typically experience more bumps but less vibration than on-mill setups, so design accordingly.

    The system power switch is mounted on the side to prevent accidentally pressing against it while working at the console. Even so, the switch is recessed inside its outer case so that it can't be pressed by contact with a flat surface; regardless of your preferred position, you'll want a recessed switch for this reason.

    Attachment 197250

    The back door has a disconnect mounted to it to prevent access to the high-voltage systems while the cabinet is energized. Since the disconnect extends outside the cabinet, its position on the back panel is constrained by the location of the air vents. Fingersafe layouts are still best here for safety reasons.

    Attachment 197252

    We originally mounted an external USB connector in the LCD door panel on top for data transfer, but it is easier to use a keyboard with a built-in USB hub for this purpose to minimize cabinet modifications and extra wiring. You can still see the USB mount in the model I photographed here, though.

    You can see the whole setup below, including the console attached to one of our nearly-completed mills. So far the customer response to this cabinet design has been highly enthusiastic; being able to roll the computer console around and put it out of the way when not in use has been a popular feature, especially since many of our customers have limited shop floorspace.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Cabinet With Mill Small.jpg 
Views:	2 
Size:	59.6 KB 
ID:	197254

    I hope these ideas are of help to you! We've spent quite some time on this design, and have found great success with it so far.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    I don't think I can edit my first post and I forget what photo I put up there, but here's something I found that is sort of what I'm looking at.

    Attachment 197294

    Which I found here.

    Thanks for the great post. I've actually looked at a similar cabinet from Global Industrial. Is that where you got yours?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    That is a markedly different design than the one I was envisioning from your description. Are you looking for that kind of interface to be integrated into a mobile console, or are you looking for a box like that to be mounted onto a separate, purpose-built mobile stand?

    Our cabinet is sourced from Global Industrial, yes. We reviewed several options, but this base cabinet fulfilled all of our criteria (for example, sufficient volume for the computer and drive electronics, separate door access for PC and high-voltage sections, good dust and chip protection, and so on).

    Good luck on your project! I look forward to reading about your updated designs.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Re: Computer Stand/Enclosure Ideas?

    Charter Oak, (Paul?)

    Is that the computer console you are currently using, or are you using one more like the one picture on your website now?

    P.S. Thanks for mentioning the source. While I do have one of your machines on order (fingers cross - knock on wood) I am always looking at improving the setup on my other machines. I thought the one pictured on your site looked like some form of a standard 19" equipment rack. For some reason I didn't think to look specifically for a computer console. I had previously been looking at Middle Atlantic equipment rack cabinets. (I'm a communications contractor so I tend to think of equipment I know.)
    Bob La Londe

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    This is not a mach3, an smc5 by lollette.
    All the added set and run buttons are "book ended" to sides just a real industrial machine so you dont muddle up in a panic.

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