547,342 active members*
675 visitors online*
Register for free
Login
Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    3

    Question CNC Motion Control Board

    Hi there,

    Sorry if this has been done before but trawling through all these threads is a nightmare and I never know what to search.

    I am taking on the task of building a CNC router (2' x 2' 3-axis, with the intention of expanding to 8' x 4' and 4 axes once I've worked out the basics) and seem to have hit a bit of an end-pass.

    With there being so many motion controllers out there its so hard to find one that fits the criteria I'm looking for. Has anyone had any good experience with a mach 3 (and preferably mach 4 too) compatible motion control boards available in the UK?

    Don't want to have to buy another board with expansion so must be able to control 4 axes and limit switches. Ethernet or USB controlled, none of that parallel port rubbish.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    943

    Re: CNC Motion Control Board

    Quote Originally Posted by hk344 View Post
    Hi there,

    Sorry if this has been done before but trawling through all these threads is a nightmare and I never know what to search.

    I am taking on the task of building a CNC router (2' x 2' 3-axis, with the intention of expanding to 8' x 4' and 4 axes once I've worked out the basics) and seem to have hit a bit of an end-pass.

    With there being so many motion controllers out there its so hard to find one that fits the criteria I'm looking for. Has anyone had any good experience with a mach 3 (and preferably mach 4 too) compatible motion control boards available in the UK?

    Don't want to have to buy another board with expansion so must be able to control 4 axes and limit switches. Ethernet or USB controlled, none of that parallel port rubbish.

    Thanks.
    You can get a UC100 (USB) or UC300ETH (ethernet) or UC400ETH (ethernet). All are compatible with Mach3/4 and with UCCNC.
    In the UK:
    CNC Cutting Machines - Stoney | CNC Router Systems
    and
    https://cnc4you.co.uk/

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by OlfCNC View Post
    You can get a UC100 (USB) or UC300ETH (ethernet) or UC400ETH (ethernet). All are compatible with Mach3/4 and with UCCNC.
    In the UK:
    CNC Cutting Machines - Stoney | CNC Router Systems
    and
    https://cnc4you.co.uk/
    Thanks a lot!

    I've been doing a bit of research on these. Seems you need a breakout-board also? Is there any way of doing it without the BOB? If not which would you suggest?

    Would the CP0-10V (https://www.cnc4you.co.uk/Breakout-B...th-Charge-Pump)be suitable for my purposes?

  4. #4
    Registered
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    997

    Re: CNC Motion Control Board

    Have you looked at the Arduino based solutions?Come to that,have you thought about LinuxCNC and a Mesa board connected by ethernet? Looking around this site it seems that Mach 3 is getting a bit ancient and Mach 4 doesn't have as many proponents as you might expect.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by routalot View Post
    Have you looked at the Arduino based solutions?
    I have considered using an arduino, but ruled them out on the basis that its limited to 3 axes

    Quote Originally Posted by routalot View Post
    have you thought about LinuxCNC and a Mesa board connected by ethernet?
    Having done a bit more research, maybe you're right, Mach might not be the right way to go, but what are the benefits of using LinuxCNC over UCCNC?

  6. #6
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    943

    Re: CNC Motion Control Board

    Quote Originally Posted by hk344 View Post
    Thanks a lot!

    I've been doing a bit of research on these. Seems you need a breakout-board also? Is there any way of doing it without the BOB? If not which would you suggest?

    Would the CP0-10V (https://www.cnc4you.co.uk/Breakout-B...th-Charge-Pump)be suitable for my purposes?
    Some chinese boards are motion controllers and BOBs all in one but I think you don't want problems so better use something that works like the ones I have mentioned and use a BOB.
    That BOB you linked looks OK.
    You can move to UCCNC software with those motion controllers any time you want if you got enough from Mach.

  7. #7
    Registered
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    1392

    Re: CNC Motion Control Board

    Hi,
    I strongly support OlfCNC's comment regarding Chinese controllers....they are junk....DON'T GO THERE.

    The UC300 by CNCDrive is a good recommendation, Ethernet connected, with Mach3 and Mach4 plugins and native to UCCNC software as well.
    You do require a breakout board, the UB1 from CNCRoom is a very good example. There are cheaper solutions but would probably require you make a few
    simple additional circuits. If you are kool with electronics you can save a few dollars by buying cheaper than the UB1.

    Another brand that works well with Mach3 and Mach4 is the Ethernet SmoothStepper (ESS) by Warp9 TD. Also requires a breakout board. CNCRoom make a good example
    a MB2. There again there are cheaper alternatives if you have some facility with electronics.

    The Hicon Integra by Vital Systems is a very capable controller with both Mach3 and Mach4 plugins. The controller can be activated (at a cost) and/or fitted with add-on boards
    to allow control of analogue servos for instance. A very capable board. It does not require a breakout board, it has industry standard 24V inputs/outputs. The basic Hicon
    Integra is $600 USD.

    Craig

  8. #8
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    943

    Re: CNC Motion Control Board

    I almost forget that you can use the UC300ETH-UB1 which requires no breakout board: https://www.cncroom.com/interface-cards/uc300eth-ub1
    It has industrial I/Os.

    And if BOB, you can use the UCBB with 24V I/Os: CNCdrive - motion controls
    I got one of these recently and it is simple to wire and works great.

  9. #9
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    35475

    Re: CNC Motion Control Board

    but what are the benefits of using LinuxCNC over UCCNC?
    It's free?
    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)

  10. #10
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    943

    Re: CNC Motion Control Board

    Nothing is free in this world.
    You need a card like the Mesa (OP said he does not want LPT ports) plus you need to set it up on Linux which is not easy, at least not for me and time is money.

  11. #11
    Registered
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    997

    Re: CNC Motion Control Board

    I have only set up two machines,the first was an AXYZ router and I had their manual available.It was a case of inserting values in the correct places in the toolpath program on an XP system.Nothing too daunting really.Then when I had my own tiny and basic machine together I had to do something very similar with LinuxCNC. Other than running the test for latency,it was a very similar process and took about the same amount of time.I am using a parallel port until the computer dies and I won't be upset if it lasts a long time and then I expect I will move to a Mesa card.I also believe that LinuxCNC can control up to nine axes,which ought to be enough for just about anything.

    I have become more and more enthusiastic about open source software and remain dubious about cloud based solutions that are tied to proprietary software.The reasons are first of all I remember the Photobucket fiasco and regard it as a useful lesson on what can happen with a dependency on one company.Secondly, any software that has a large base of enthusiastic developers is better able to continue with development should one or two fall by the wayside.There are also advantages with having a forum that has contributors all over the globe and able to consider any problem at all hours rather than waiting for a company to reach normal business hours in one time zone-quite possibly a different zone to the one where the seeker of information is situated.A state of affairs that also describes this forum,does it not?

  12. #12
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    943

    Re: CNC Motion Control Board

    Quote Originally Posted by routalot View Post
    I have only set up two machines,the first was an AXYZ router and I had their manual available.It was a case of inserting values in the correct places in the toolpath program on an XP system.Nothing too daunting really.Then when I had my own tiny and basic machine together I had to do something very similar with LinuxCNC. Other than running the test for latency,it was a very similar process and took about the same amount of time.I am using a parallel port until the computer dies and I won't be upset if it lasts a long time and then I expect I will move to a Mesa card.I also believe that LinuxCNC can control up to nine axes,which ought to be enough for just about anything.

    I have become more and more enthusiastic about open source software and remain dubious about cloud based solutions that are tied to proprietary software.The reasons are first of all I remember the Photobucket fiasco and regard it as a useful lesson on what can happen with a dependency on one company.Secondly, any software that has a large base of enthusiastic developers is better able to continue with development should one or two fall by the wayside.There are also advantages with having a forum that has contributors all over the globe and able to consider any problem at all hours rather than waiting for a company to reach normal business hours in one time zone-quite possibly a different zone to the one where the seeker of information is situated.A state of affairs that also describes this forum,does it not?
    I'm not a fan of open source in most cases because however there are contributors you can only hope to get answers and help.
    UCCNC has a supportive and responsive company behind plus it has it's forum with helpful users and admins.
    But probably it's just me about open-source.

  13. #13
    Registered
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1758

    Re: CNC Motion Control Board

    ++1, 2 or 3 on the open source stuff. Agree, probably me.

    I would take a look at Centroid's Acorn: Acorn CNC controller, Step and Direction 4 axis CNC Control board with ethernet communication.DIY CNC kit

    I only built a half dozen systems with UCCNC, but I doubt they will ever get a machine to run the way it does with the Centroid controller
    Gary Campbell CNC Technology & Training
    GCnC411 (at) gmail.com www.youtube.com/user/Islaww1/videos

  14. #14
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    1943

    Re: CNC Motion Control Board

    The Arduino does support 4 axes if used with an Arduino Mega 2560. There are a couple 4 axis ports of Grbl that I would recommend linked below. I have run these posts on my converted mill in 3 axes without trouble and have done further bench testing of the 4th axis, and don't see any problems.

    https://github.com/LETARTARE/grblQ-Mega-4axes
    https://github.com/dguerizec/grbl-Me...47b5c339ea9cc8

    The Grbl type solution doesn't require a breakout board and things can be connected directly to the arduino. I use a "screw shield" to have the green screw terminal blocks for connecting wires. I'm currently using one that way to test a new machine build.

    Grbl has all of the basic G-code commands implemented and it works really well, but does have limitations that affect how some people use their machines. Currently Grbl doesn't have the following: Backlash compensation, integral canned cycle support (G81-G89), motion synchronized to the spindle, cutter radius compensation, integral tool tables.

    Grbl is also limited to 30 kHz step rates on the Mega 2560 and Uno platforms. I am using a port of it that I've tested on the scope to 80kHz that runs on a ESP32 development board. It seems to work great but I haven't tested it on a machine yet. If anyone does want to try Grbl, i'd recommend using it on Uno or Mega first as the ESP32 is a bit more involved and is 3.3V logic requiring some external stuff if you need to boost to 5V.

    If you like to experiment with stuff then Grbl is great. I personally love to learn new things and Grbl has expanded my knowledge on programming (I wrote my own interface), circuits, microprocessors, etc. It is not however for someone who just wants to get a CNC going with no fuss.


    LinuxCNC - I also use LinuxCNC through parallel port. Haven't had a need to go for the Mesa stuff for what I do. One parallel port can give enough IO for me. Anyway, I always read about the setup being a PITA on LinuxCNC, and I have to say that this was not my experience at all.

    Before using LinuxCNC I had zero Linux experience. I simply downloaded the Live-CD and went about installing ans setting up linuxcnc Install of the operating system was simple, just insert and boot to the CD and answer the typical questions any OS install would ask. Once that's done LinuxCNC is already on the system and configuring it, at least for steppers on parallel port was simple using the "Stepper Configuration Wizard". I can't imagine it being easier.

    The hardest part the first time was not because of LinuxCNC, but because I didn't understand steppers, drivers, how the motors deal with acceleration, velocity, etc. Those problems would be the same on any control software. I actually had to re-install LinuxCNC completely due to a HDD failure about a month ago. Once the new HDD was in it only took about an hour from turning the switch on to having the machine fully functional again, and I like a dummy didn't have the machine settings saved or written down. I had to figure it out on the fly.. I actually had a harder time when I decided to give Mach3 a try. I never did get Mach3 to run the same machine as well and I just abandoned it.

    My linuxCNC setup cost me nothing. Really!! I got the PC and 15" monitor from a local company that was upgrading.

  15. #15
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    943

    Re: CNC Motion Control Board

    I have just built my 3rd machine with uccnc. The first 2 runs very well. One plasma one router and now building a mill, almost finished. I will try to make some vids as it will finish and time allows.
    Don't take an advice too serious from a guy who sells the centroid acorn (Gary Campbell): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcQs52OZg6g
    Of course he is advicing the centroid acorn over anything because he is doing business with them.
    The centroid has limitations over the UCCNC is the truth.

    LinuxCNC: probably a good deal if you have the nerves to learn and set it up.

  16. #16
    Community Moderator
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    561

    Re: CNC Motion Control Board

    Quote Originally Posted by OlfCNC View Post
    LinuxCNC: probably a good deal if you have the nerves to learn and set it up.

    And how is that different from any other control system that you've never worked with before?

    Like 109jb said, the OS and control system software is automagically installed by the LiveCD. If your hardware to the drives is already installed and connected to the control PC, they are automatically detected, and LinuxCNC recognizes what's being used, whether it's the parallel port or some other board like a Mesa card. All you really have to configure is the Controller software to send the right signals to the drives, and any other hardware like an MPEG or gamepad if you wish to have hands on control other than from the keyboard or screen if you have a touch screen.

    There's really no reason to go "under the hood" to the OS, unless you wish to learn more about Linux itself. You can use the GUI editors supplied in the distribution if you need to make changes to the ini file or hal files, or add new hal files. That's all the same kind of work you'd be doing when configuring any new control system or software. There is any controller or controller software out there that automatically configures to operate your hardware, you still have to configure them to work with what you have.

    Been using LinuxCNC for close to 15 years and have seen the changes from the old software to the newest releases and can say without a doubt it's a heck of lot easier to configure the controller now than it was years ago. A basic three axis setup with homing should really take no longer than an hour, since you are stepped through the process with the Stepconf GUI.

    Mark

  17. #17
    Registered
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1662

    Re: CNC Motion Control Board

    but what are the benefits of using LinuxCNC over UCCNC?
    Quote Originally Posted by ger21 View Post
    It's free?
    It's freedom ?

    A hobby or low budget user has many options in 2019, it's good times.
    Anyone who says "It only goes together one way" has no imagination.

  18. #18
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    943

    Re: CNC Motion Control Board

    And how is that different from any other control system that you've never worked with before?
    It is mostly Linux what is not easy for me and the nerdy setup system of LinuxCNC but again maybe its just me.
    Beleive me I have tried to set it up, but gave up on it.

  19. #19
    Registered
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    943

    Re: CNC Motion Control Board

    It's freedom ?

    A hobby or low budget user has many options in 2019, it's good times.
    It's about the same "free" if you go with LinuxCNC or UCCNC. You can do customisation with both and the cost is about the same if you go anything else than an LPT port.
    LinuxCNC is only free if you go with an LPT port, but the OP stated he wants to avoid that so its no more free.

    Yes there are many options today which is great.

  20. #20
    Registered
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    1392

    Re: CNC Motion Control Board

    Hi,

    You can do customisation with both and the cost is about the same if you go anything else than an LPT port.
    The only complaint I've heard about LinuxCNC is not that its not good but to achieve the genuine flexibility that it is capable of requires
    considerable programming skill. A number of CNCers have reported that they are unequal to the task.

    All of the control software that I am familiar with (Mach3, Mach4, UCCNC, and LinuxCNC) do basic mill/router/lathe operations very easily
    and without any customization required.

    The real challenge, and where different software (and I suppose supporting hardware) starts to differentiate itself is when you come to a non standard
    machine operation. Automatic tool changers are a commonly encountered machine specific operation for instance. The ease, or otherwise, with which
    a tool changer can be programmed may determine what software is 'easiest' verses 'hardest'.

    There are of course non-standard machines as well, or at least machines for which the common software do not have a prepackaged solution,
    like surface grinders, cylindrical grinders, EDM machines and so on.

    All CNC controllers that can be customized will require some programming skill....there is no avoiding that.

    I personally have found that the Lua scripting language and modularity of Mach4 to be very flexible and less daunting than LinuxCNC.
    Note also that Mach4 has a very extensive suite of screen editing tools which makes customizing the look of the controller very easy, a definite
    boon to OEMs seeking to distinguish their product.

    Should you require a substantially customized controller for whatever reason then you could easily spend hundreds of hours or more programming it,
    does it really matter what the cost of the software/hardware is? Your time has/will cost far more than any of the software/hardware combinations
    talked about in this thread.

    Craig

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
  •