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IndustryArena Forum > Machine Controllers Software and Solutions > Controller & Computer Solutions > Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.
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  1. #1
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    Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    What's the deal with the stand alone CNC controllers? I assume they just plug and play and use their own proprietary software? Also, can they do full 3 axis simultaneous machining and run g-code?

    https://www.automationtechnologiesin...ontrol-system/
    https://www.automationtechnologiesin...lathe-milling/
    https://www.automationtechnologiesin...nt-hand-wheel/
    https://www.automationtechnologiesin...ontrol-system/

  2. #2
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    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    I been mach3 user since 10 years on my diy cnc converted milling machine, it is very cumbersome to handle windows and its PC hardware that crashes or stops in between runs many times mainly due loose cable or failure in PC components.

    I recently bought cnc router 6090 from China and had 3 options to control like ncstudio pci card, mach3 or stand alone dsp like rich auto a11. I selected dsp option and thank God I did that. No longer PC to maintain and each axis runs simultaneously. Just plug in pen drive and run g code. I took a risk and was ready to convert to mach3 in case this dsp didn't work out. But glad it works nice and fast and no issues since a year.

    I would recommend standalone cnc controller anytime instead of PC.

    Sent from my SM-M305F using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    I have no idea about those particular controllers ,but having looked at the link,it doesn't seem that they are all you need to run the machine.They appear able to take the code from the USB drive and will send it to the stepper controller as there are only two connections allocated for each of three axes in the series of connections labelled STEPPER PORT. I don't have any knowledge of steppers with just two connections although I understand that they exist it has been more usual to find 4,6 or 8 wires from the stepper.I would also expect it to be necessary to input the machine parameters with regard to limits and number of steps per unit of travel.In short,hardly likely to be plug and play.

    Would you be able to do any more with such a control than you can with an Arduino running GRBL or similar?

  4. #4
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    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    No alphanumeric keyboard means no MDI ?
    No alphanumeric keyboard means clunky g-code edits ?
    That little LCD screen won't display a tool path with the rotates and zooms and other niceties that come with PC graphics.

    If you don't regularly use MDI or tinker with the g-code this might be a solution, for me no thanks
    Anyone who says "It only goes together one way" has no imagination.

  5. #5
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    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    Ah, didn't think about all that. Thanks for the replies. Just thought I'd ask before building my new machine. I hate having to build a new desktop computer for Mach 4 as they are so bulky. Before you comment, every time I try using a laptop with mach 3 or 4 for CNC machines they always have problems. Never had problems with a desktop. This includes my CNC plasma which I just replaced with a brand new Dell laptop and it's having problems.

    I'll stick with the hardware and software that I know so well.

  6. #6
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    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    Ladyhawke - My Delirium, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_bFO1SNRZg

  7. #7
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    I hate having to build a new desktop computer for Mach 4 as they are so bulky. Before you comment, every time I try using a laptop with mach 3 or 4 for CNC machines they always have problems.
    This is all you need. Very small, and no moving parts.
    Look at UCCNC with their UC400ETH or AXBB controllers.
    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)

  8. #8
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    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    @deadlykitten, nice but I'm sure out of my price range.

    @ger21, thanks. Will do.

  9. #9
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    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    Kind of like this
    4 axes cnc milling controller

    I mean, I like mach 3 and mach 4 and know how to use and build those systems very well, but I still get problems and hate having the external computer where windows screws things up occasionally. It seems like this controller is pretty sweet and only about $600USD. I just worry about tech support if I need help wiring it, but I think its probably self explanatory.

    This, from what I read, acts like a regular Fanuc controller so I'll be able to everything I need. I also like the professional form factor.

  10. #10
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    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    Good luck with your choice.For me it made more sense to buy a small form factor desktop box with Windows 7 installed and then convert to a dual boot machine running LinuxCNC for machine control.Apart from the keyboard and mouse-which I already had-the box plus monitor cost less than 10% of your controller after a bit of ebay searching.It is useful to remember how little computing power it takes to run a machine,as opposed to the demands of Windows, and I feel sure a Raspberry Pi would be more than enough when connected to an Arduino.If I knew a bit more about Linux I would be trying to load Linux Mint onto a Pi and running LinuxCNC from a dedicated touchscreen for a compact controller at very little cost and with no great need for cooling and air supply.I believe people have done it.

  11. #11
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    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    Well, FWIW, I'll just throw this into the mix... this is what I've been working on. It's still a work-in-progress, and even when finished won't be appropriate for everybody (is anything ever, though, really?)... but...

    https://github.com/bdurbrow/grbl-Mega/

    Pros:
    Cheap, commonly available hardware. No PC required on the CNC itself.
    Physically compact installation possible.
    Free (as in beer + as in speech) Open-source software.
    If I can, I do try to accommodate user requests.

    Cons:
    Limited step rate due to running on a 16Mhz AVR. In the future, this will improve with a port to ARM processors, but that's going to take quite a while to happen.
    No fancy UI features like 3D plotting, because unless you attach a PC, there's only a 20x4 character LCD.
    Does not currently support lathe spindle-synced threading.
    Not enough CPU horsepower to do co-ordinate rotation on AVR. It's a targeted feature for the eventual ARM version, however.
    Still a work-in-progress.


  12. #12
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    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    @__Britt, impressive endevor.

    @routalot, I'm more concerned with not getting help if I need it setting it up, but I think it might be pretty straight forward. I just don't want to deal with windows again. I have a brand new laptop, everything imaginable turned off running my DIY CNC Plasma Table and it just lagged the other day. If finished cutting but just sat there with the torch on for a few seconds.

  13. #13
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    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    If you want 3D plotting and a decent GUI, there is bCNC, written in Python and runs on Win and Lin platforms.
    Of course, GRBL as a CNC external controller.
    Make no mistake between my personality and my attitude.
    My personality is who I am. My attitude depends on who you are.

  14. #14
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    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    @Zasto, thanks. If I'm going with a computer based app I would rather stick with Mach.

    So I'm sure I've decided, but here's the breakdown so far.

    Mach 4, know it well, with Pokeys, which I know extremely well.

    Pros: Works
    Easy to use, not setup but use.
    Can always switch it to a new computer if the old one craps outs.
    TONS of support.
    You can do anything with it! You can add anything you want!
    I know exactly what I'm going to get.

    Cons: Have to use a bulky PC
    Sometimes you'll have problems with windows. Honestly, I haven't had much problems with it.

    Masso: Pros: Stand alone

    Cons: Seems somewhat proprietary in regards to what you can connect, maybe. Didn't do a lot of research.
    Not very much support online and very little mentions of it anywhere and when it is mentioned it's a few years old.

    Stand Alone dedicated CNC Controller such as Tomatech: Pros: Stand Alone with screen and buttons.
    Seems great and probably is plug and play, for the most part.

    Cons: Support, not even a manual on their website.
    Very few mentions of it online.
    You don't know what you're going to get or what you can do with it.

    GRBL, UCCNC, LinuxCNC: Pros Don't know never used them.

    Cons: I've never used them. LOL. I have no problem with Mach as far as the way it works or what you can do with it. I just don't want the PC or windows problems.

    SO I guess I have made a decision. I'll stick with Mach for the simple reason I like it and know exactly what it can do and I've never run into a problem with it I couldn't solve. I even converted my 1978 Mori Seiki Lathe to Mach 4 and all new electronics. Even figured out how to MODBUS to the PLC running the Tool Changer.

  15. #15

    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cartierusm View Post
    What's the deal with the stand alone CNC controllers? I assume they just plug and play and use their own proprietary software? Also, can they do full 3 axis simultaneous machining and run g-code?

    https://www.automationtechnologiesin...ontrol-system/
    https://www.automationtechnologiesin...lathe-milling/
    https://www.automationtechnologiesin...nt-hand-wheel/
    https://www.automationtechnologiesin...ontrol-system/
    There are a lot of options, normally they are NC based CNC controller, with build-in software inside, they can do full 3 axis simultaneous machining, or 4 axis or 5 axis and run G-code, just similar to Fanuc CNC.
    http://cncmakers.com/cnc/controllers/CNC_Controller_System/CNC_Retrofit_Package.html

  16. #16
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    Cons: Have to use a bulky PC
    This link should have been in my earlier post.
    Most people are switching to these mini PC's, that fit in your hand. No need for a big bulky PC.



    https://www.amazon.com/Fanless-Deskt.../dp/B07QY8LDGX
    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: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    @ger21, thanks. Yes, I thought your post earlier didn't make too much sense, but then again I don't LOL.

    That's a great option. Price is not bad. The refurbished computer I was looking at was $100.

  18. #18
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    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    $150 for mini PC with "activated" Windows 10 pro. If that's legit Microsoft must be practically gifting them activation keys.

    The Chinese manufacturers of those offline controls could dominate the diy market if they worked on customer service ...at all.
    It seems the rebranders and resellers care only about getting the sale.
    Anyone who says "It only goes together one way" has no imagination.

  19. #19
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    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    @cyclestart, you are correct, but from the same perspective look at Mach. I mean if they just spent a day with their engineers and wrote a manual that's worth a dam then they would be even better. I mean after setting up a Plasma Cutter with Mach 4 they don't even fully explain what all the controls are. I mean really??

  20. #20
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    Re: Machine Control Besides Mach and LinuxCNC with stand alone controller.

    Hi,
    I think Cartierusm's criticism is fair, Mach4's documentation is poor....or not so much poor but out of date. It is a recurring criticism of Mach4.

    The truth is that Mach4 is developed by a small handful of people, and there is not the budget or the time to engage a technical document writer to
    keep up with new developments. Cartierusm will probably admit that Mach4 IS progressing and coming out with new features thick and fast.

    The near new script based THC feature is a perfect example. It's released and it works BUT there is incomplete documentation. If you waited
    UNTIL the documentation was ready to support the new feature then the release would be delayed by months at least......so you can have a new
    feature but incompletely documented or wait and wait and wait....for the feature supported by documentation. NFS have decided to release the
    feature and be damned.

    I understand their dilemma and would probably choose as they have if I were called on to make the decision.....not ideal but the feature is released
    and quite frankly the new Mach4 features are blowing their competition into the weeds!

    Craig

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