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IndustryArena Forum > MetalWorking Machines > Novakon > Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?
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  1. #1
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    Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    Hello All:

    I know a bunch of us are interested in getting away from Mach 3 to something more reliable. I was considering going with Path Pilot I thought the decision was made. A friend of mine who has a Centroid control on his mill told me about the acorn. It certainly looks interesting. My friend is completely happy with his centroid. He is new to cnc but is a talented machinist. The biggest possible advantage I can see to the Acorn over Path Pilot is centroid actually wants us to use their control. Tormach seems to not want us to.

    For Ray is their any reason my power draw bar would not work with the acorn?

    The only thing holding me back from ordering an acorn is I do not know if it will work or not with my pendant. I do not want to give up the rotary mpg.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    Quote Originally Posted by upnorth View Post
    Hello All:
    For Ray is their any reason my power draw bar would not work with the acorn?
    The PDB neither knows nor cares what software you are using. The ATC is another matter entirely...

    Quote Originally Posted by upnorth View Post
    Hello All:
    The only thing holding me back from ordering an acorn is I do not know if it will work or not with my pendant. I do not want to give up the rotary mpg.
    Pendants are inherently software-dependent, so your pendant will certainly NOT work with the Acorn, unless the pendant manufacturer specifically supports it. I would be absolutely amazed if they did...

    Regards,
    Ray L.

  3. #3
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    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    I'm considering switching to the Acorn, after I move my shop.

    The one thing though, is that MACH3 has been decent to me. It really hasn't caused a huge headache for me. Having said that, when I finally do make my switch to the new shop. I think the Acorn is going to happen, I like the interface and the separate built-in processor for G-Code processing. I also like the fact that Centroid, as you mentioned, wants us and has developed this hardware for this class of machine.

    Regards,

    -Jason

  4. #4
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    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    Quote Originally Posted by SpeedsCustom View Post
    I'm considering switching to the Acorn, after I move my shop.

    The one thing though, is that MACH3 has been decent to me. It really hasn't caused a huge headache for me. Having said that, when I finally do make my switch to the new shop. I think the Acorn is going to happen, I like the interface and the separate built-in processor for G-Code processing. I also like the fact that Centroid, as you mentioned, wants us and has developed this hardware for this class of machine.

    Regards,

    -Jason
    I will be very interested in hearing about your experience if you do this. The Acorn looks really good to me, except.... I'd probably need the "Ultimate" software ($499!) as my g-code files often run 10+Mbytes, and I'd want the extended probing capabilities. Otherwise, it looks really good.

    Regards,
    Ray L.

  5. #5
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    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    Quote Originally Posted by SpeedsCustom View Post
    I'm considering switching to the Acorn, after I move my shop.

    The one thing though, is that MACH3 has been decent to me. It really hasn't caused a huge headache for me. Having said that, when I finally do make my switch to the new shop. I think the Acorn is going to happen, I like the interface and the separate built-in processor for G-Code processing. I also like the fact that Centroid, as you mentioned, wants us and has developed this hardware for this class of machine.

    Regards,

    -Jason
    For whatever reason I had little luck with Mach 3. It would do totally bizarre things at times. Worst was when tool offsets were not applied randomly. One time after running about 10 parts with the exact same G code. Just changing the blank and typing go. It went to position 0,0,0 it then lifted up and moved over to the right side of the vise and ran the g code. I think maybe mach runs correctly on certain installations but it not reliable on others. It really had me second guessing when I was learning.

    Looks like Ray was right about the vista cnc pendant. Their tech support got back to me and this is what they said "Our pendant work directly with CNC application (software). Currently our pendants work with Mach3, Mach4, LinuxCNC, UCCNC software.

    It looks like Acorn CNC board only works with Acorn Centroid CNC software. P1A-S does not support the Centroid acorn control software and will not work with Acorn CNC board.

    In the future, when Centroid software supports USB external MPG device, we will add our pendants to work with Centroid CNC."

    Might work in the future but not now. I'm going to keep Mach 3 on the lathe so I can still use the pendant. Now I need to figure out it anyone is using the Vista pendant with Path Pilot.

  6. #6
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    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    Quote Originally Posted by upnorth View Post
    For whatever reason I had little luck with Mach 3. It would do totally bizarre things at times. Worst was when tool offsets were not applied randomly. One time after running about 10 parts with the exact same G code. Just changing the blank and typing go. It went to position 0,0,0 it then lifted up and moved over to the right side of the vise and ran the g code. I think maybe mach runs correctly on certain installations but it not reliable on others. It really had me second guessing when I was learning.

    Looks like Ray was right about the vista cnc pendant. Their tech support got back to me and this is what they said "Our pendant work directly with CNC application (software). Currently our pendants work with Mach3, Mach4, LinuxCNC, UCCNC software.

    It looks like Acorn CNC board only works with Acorn Centroid CNC software. P1A-S does not support the Centroid acorn control software and will not work with Acorn CNC board.

    In the future, when Centroid software supports USB external MPG device, we will add our pendants to work with Centroid CNC."

    Might work in the future but not now. I'm going to keep Mach 3 on the lathe so I can still use the pendant. Now I need to figure out it anyone is using the Vista pendant with Path Pilot.
    I will contribute more to this topic, but what about the MASSO controller? I don't think it has the same processing performance as the Centroid, but seems to have many available options alongside with NOT requiring a computer...

    I still do like ACORN and am heavily considering it, my shop move is a process!

    Lets keep the discussion going.

    -Jason

  7. #7
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    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    The Masso is interesting, though a bit pricey by hobbyist standards. One thing that would concern me is that it appears the ONLY way to get g-code into the controller is via "sneaker-net". i.e. - a USB stick. A network connection would be FAR better. I HATE USB sticks for moving g-code. It's also totally unknown how "open" it is. For example, if you want to add some custom peripheral (Maybe an ATC? Or Auto-oiler? Or custom pendant? Or even a custom probing function?), it's not at all clear how that could be accomplished, if it even can. Same goes for the Acorn. That's the nice thing about Mach3, UCCNC, PathPilot, and others - they are easily, and extensively, modifiable by the end-user.

    Regards,
    Ray L.

  8. #8
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    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    I see The Centroid acorn now has a pendant available. Its a wireless one but it does have an MPG built in. Have any of you guys tried wireless control devices in a machine shop environment? I would have said no way in hell would I use a wireless anything to control something in my shop. Well I recently bought a wireless mouse and keyboard for the home computer. I took it into the shop and tried it out. It works perfectly. No issues. I think I'm still leaning towards pathpilot though.

  9. #9
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    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    Quote Originally Posted by SCzEngrgGroup View Post
    The Masso is interesting, though a bit pricey by hobbyist standards. One thing that would concern me is that it appears the ONLY way to get g-code into the controller is via "sneaker-net". i.e. - a USB stick. A network connection would be FAR better. I HATE USB sticks for moving g-code. It's also totally unknown how "open" it is. For example, if you want to add some custom peripheral (Maybe an ATC? Or Auto-oiler? Or custom pendant? Or even a custom probing function?), it's not at all clear how that could be accomplished, if it even can. Same goes for the Acorn. That's the nice thing about Mach3, UCCNC, PathPilot, and others - they are easily, and extensively, modifiable by the end-user.

    Regards,
    Ray L.
    Just finished the install / setup of a MASSO on Bridgeport BOSS. Yes currently USB stick is only option for gcode, and no way to edit code on fly but wireless networking coming soon via software update and install of esp8266 chip ($8).

    The setup includes setting for lubrication / timer / etc - all user has to do is assign output port. Which is beyond easy. Probing is provided, once again - simply assign port. All pins for pendant are clearly labeled on support site - installing pendant of choice is pretty simple. Although IMO the Playstation controller option is better. Custom anything is pretty much doable - limited only by the user really. AND - they have fantastic support via website.

    If building a CNC - MASSO is the way to go.

    This video is pretty complete description of setup / use of the MASSO - it even configures steppers by moving specified distance.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1wyRrGHNZQ

  10. #10
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    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    Just a heads up for anyone considering the Centroid Acorn controller and software. Their introductory pricing ends Jan. 3rd 2018. Here is a link with more information. End to Acorn Introductory Pricing date is January 3rd 2018 - Centroid Community CNC Support Forum.

    CJ

  11. #11

    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    Just got on board, bought 2 Acorn units and 2 Pro intercon setups for my mill and lathe. This looks like it may be the cats meow and a way to escape from Mach 3 or 4. The rigid tapping, encoder hookup, and having the on board controller running the g-code instead of the PC is what sold me. The intercom software (kind of like wizards) is pretty nice too but that will take some time to get a handle on it after mach 3. The nice thing is that you should still be able to use Mach 3 wizards as it runs industry standard G-code. Fingers crossed this should be a plus. I also read that Sheet Cam works using the mach2 processor. I don't have them installed yet as I just bought them and should be here after new years but I'm really jazzed as every time I run my stuff on Mach 3 I always get the pucker factor and really it's only failed me a few times. A few times is too many.

  12. #12
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    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    I also have bought a Acorn and Pro lathe software. I'm expecting my Acorn to be delivered next week but have yet to convert my 14x40 lathe to CNC. I'll be using DMM servos and the guys at DMM have wiring schematics and are making some videos on the connections. The reviews that i've seen on the Acorn, plus the recommendations from some experienced CNC builders, made my choice to use the Acorn over the numerous other packages an easy one.

    I'll post my opinions after i've hooked the Acorn up to the servos, but I'm expecting a positive experience.

    -jason

  13. #13

    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    Hi Jason, I think we both made the right move for sure. I'm really excited about ti. A real CNC controller for our machines is what's needed. I've looked at everything as I'm sure you did and the big factor here is Centroid has been around in the USA for a long time. I think most of the other guys are really trying but they don't have the years and years of experience that Centroid does. I'm betting it's going to be awesome. I'm glad they decided to look at the home built market and jump in. My son has a CNC running Centroid in his shop and he really likes it.

  14. #14
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    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    Has anyone tried the Acorn on a CRP plug and play system? I have the plug and play spindle too, so I think the analog output will control the VFD. I am concerned about the Tool setter probe though. I think it will run everything else okay.
    Anyone researched it enough to figure that out?
    Lee

  15. #15

    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeWay View Post
    Has anyone tried the Acorn on a CRP plug and play system? I have the plug and play spindle too, so I think the analog output will control the VFD. I am concerned about the Tool setter probe though. I think it will run everything else okay.
    Anyone researched it enough to figure that out?
    Lee, just go to the Centroid Acorn forum and ask. The Centroid guys moderate it. I know they have inputs for the tool setters and part probes. It's pretty awesome.

  16. #16
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    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeWay View Post
    Has anyone tried the Acorn on a CRP plug and play system?
    It will no longer be "plug and play". You may need to rewire the whole thing, as they use custom breakout boards ( I think) to connect to the Smoothstepper. I know a few people attempted to switch over to UCCNC, and it does require making some changes.
    Basically, you'd take out the ESS and breakout boards, and wire everything direct to the Acorn.
    Gerry

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2017.html

    Mach3 2010 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints
    http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  17. #17
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    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    Thanks, Guys.
    I did take a look at the CRP box yesterday. It basically has 4 individual lead shine drives. The motor side of those run direct through the panel to the motors. The control side uses a Smooth stepper BOB. That can simply be unplugged and the acorn wired in there. The limits and other inputs are on a BOB themselves. They attach through ribbon cables. I may need a BOB for a ribbon cable. The the spindle controls need to be wired to the Acorn. So mostly just straight point to point wiring. That I can handle.
    There is plenty of room inside for the additional PS and Acorn board especially once I remove the ESS and it's BOB.
    It will need some testing of course, but it looks quite capable of doing what I need. I placed the order for the Acorn and the Pro software this AM.
    Lee

  18. #18
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    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    Here is why I’m going the Centroid Acorn route and a few of the draw backs I see:

    My experience with Mach3 was mixed at best. I thought adding in an ESS would help. It didn’t. I’ve been following the discussions on converting to PathPilot and was going to go that route as I use Linux but wasn’t looking forward to the process of sorting out errors and editing hal and ini files. Though others here have done a great job and I’m sure with their help I could have made the change, my machine is not one of the ones that has been converted. I would very likely have needed a firmware update for the Mesa card as well. I was also put off by the apparent issues with the PathPilot 2.0 update.

    Looking at the options out there the Centroid Acorn system seemed to be the one which offered the most straight forward conversion for me. My goal is to get back to milling parts ASAP, spending as little time as possible trouble shooting a new setup. I also like that the Centroid Acorn runs on modern PCs (actually requires one). I don’t like that it requires Win10. Win10 is the reason I switched to Linux. In this case I will install Win10, update it, then as Centroid recommends, isolate the PC from my network hopefully to never update Win10 again. A drawback to switching to Acorn is that I will not be able to use my VistaCNC pendant. I have read that there is a wireless pendant which will work with Acorn.

    As others have pointed out Centroid has a 30 year history in the industry. That appeals to me. The Centroid Acorn forum appears to be very active and individuals with problems setting up or using Acorn seem to be getting the answers they need in short order. I also like that I can get factory support (for a price) if needed.

    I’ll report on my experience with Acorn in a separate thread as I go through the install, setup and everyday use.

    CJ


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    So to clear up my understanding of Acorn, does it provide the functions of BoB and motor drives for step-dir motors?

  20. #20
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    Re: Anyone considering the centroid Acorn instead of path pilot?

    Not the motor drives, but it does calculate and deliver step and direction commands to the motor drives.
    Lee

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