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  1. #1
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    Is anyone using a mini-computer for the CNC?

    Hi all,

    My laptop running my router has been failing on bootup occasionally. I am looking at getting a replacement computer system and am thinking about a mini-computer instead of a laptop or a full size desktop.

    This is an example of what I am talking about...

    https://www.amazon.com/Mini-PC-BMAX-...cm_wl_huc_item

    I didn't verify the actual spec of that reference, just using that link as a reference.

    My setup is using: Mach 3, ESS (ethernet smooth stepper).

    Opinions highly appreciated!

    Chris

  2. #2
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: Is anyone using a mini-computer for the CNC?

    I like the price and compactness of the mini computers. I have used them in industrial environments, one installed in a customer machine and another in my press brake. I also have another on my bench ready to go into yet another machine, and I am thinking about running my CNC lathe on one.

    I have not tried to use one with Mach3.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  3. #3
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    Re: Is anyone using a mini-computer for the CNC?

    In the past I have used Advantech products and boards. The PC on a board that fits into a expansion slot board.
    Their line now includes motion control cards and a whole range of new products.
    Nice because you can fit everything into the operator console C/W a touch LCD screen.
    Al.
    CNC, Mechatronics Integration and Custom Machine Design

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

  4. #4
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    Re: Is anyone using a mini-computer for the CNC?

    Couple of old examples.
    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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    Re: Is anyone using a mini-computer for the CNC?

    I use one of these with both Mach 3 and UCCNC it works just great both with CNC and Laser. Over two years operation with the latest windows 10 updates installed! Not connected to a network. Works with both the EasyEthernet Smooth Stepper and the 300ETH.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  6. #6
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    Re: Is anyone using a mini-computer for the CNC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Al_The_Man View Post
    Couple of old examples.
    Nice looking controls!

    Chris

  7. #7
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    Re: Is anyone using a mini-computer for the CNC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Formantjim View Post
    I use one of these with both Mach 3 and UCCNC it works just great both with CNC and Laser. Over two years operation with the latest windows 10 updates installed! Not connected to a network. Works with both the EasyEthernet Smooth Stepper and the 300ETH.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    WOW! That is even smaller than what I was looking at.

    Chris

  8. #8

    Re: Is anyone using a mini-computer for the CNC?

    I've used ebay $20 hp thin clients with mach and they ran the mills flawlessly . They are limited in memory but if only being used to run a machine then there is more than enough

  9. #9
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    Re: Is anyone using a mini-computer for the CNC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris D View Post
    Hi all,

    My laptop running my router has been failing on bootup occasionally. I am looking at getting a replacement computer system and am thinking about a mini-computer instead of a laptop or a full size desktop.

    This is an example of what I am talking about...

    https://www.amazon.com/Mini-PC-BMAX-...cm_wl_huc_item

    I didn't verify the actual spec of that reference, just using that link as a reference.

    My setup is using: Mach 3, ESS (ethernet smooth stepper).

    Opinions highly appreciated!

    Chris
    It should work well with the Smooth Stepper the Intel Celeron J4115 is only 1.8GHz because the Smooth Stepper is doing all the work that should not matter, I build my own computers and they will fit on the back of a 12" touch screen, small is not always good as cooling can become a problem
    Mactec54

  10. #10
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    Re: Is anyone using a mini-computer for the CNC?

    Hi,
    I run an ESS and Mach4 on a dual core Atom single board PC. Note that this uses the on-chip graphics, which are considered poor by all accounts, and that
    the little Atom is considerably less than is recommended by NFS (makers of Mach4 and Mach3) and yet has been performing like a champion for six plus years.

    As Matec points out the ESS does all the time critical pulse streams etc and that means even a tiny and gutless PC like my Atom can still do a good job.
    The only time I notice the Atom struggles is when I load a largish Gcode file, say 5M or more. The wee Atom can take a minute or to to preprocess and display
    the toolpath. Despite being slow to load .....once it does....it runs the Gcode just fine, it just the initial loading that's slow.

    I suggest use a 'cheap and cheerful' PC and save your money for a better spindle/tools/vice....etc.

    Craig

  11. #11
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    Re: Is anyone using a mini-computer for the CNC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris D View Post
    Hi all,

    My laptop running my router has been failing on bootup occasionally. I am looking at getting a replacement computer system and am thinking about a mini-computer instead of a laptop or a full size desktop.

    This is an example of what I am talking about...

    https://www.amazon.com/Mini-PC-BMAX-...cm_wl_huc_item

    I didn't verify the actual spec of that reference, just using that link as a reference.

    My setup is using: Mach 3, ESS (ethernet smooth stepper).

    Opinions highly appreciated!

    Chris
    Here is a better one that just popped up a little more money has an i3 CPU
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Computer.jpg  
    Mactec54

  12. #12
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    Re: Is anyone using a mini-computer for the CNC?

    Quote Originally Posted by mactec54 View Post
    Here is a better one that just popped up a little more money has an i3 CPU
    Wow, those little things have a lot of power! Mach 3 really doesn't need much so I think this will be a very viable and economical solution to replacing a dead computer.

    Chris

  13. #13
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    Re: Is anyone using a mini-computer for the CNC?

    Hi,
    I had in mind this:

    https://www.lattepanda.com/products/3.html

    A PC ready to rock with Windows 10 already installed for $149.....hard to beat that for value. I haven't tried one but its already more powerful than the dual core Atom I'm running
    currently so I cant see that this would have any issues.

    Craig

  14. #14
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    Re: Is anyone using a mini-computer for the CNC?

    Quote Originally Posted by joeavaerage View Post
    Hi,
    I had in mind this:

    https://www.lattepanda.com/products/3.html

    A PC ready to rock with Windows 10 already installed for $149.....hard to beat that for value. I haven't tried one but its already more powerful than the dual core Atom I'm running
    currently so I cant see that this would have any issues.

    Craig
    It's only 1.44 GHz they run very slow depends what Atom you have the start at 1.60Ghz
    Mactec54

  15. #15
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    Re: Is anyone using a mini-computer for the CNC?

    Hi,

    It's only 1.44 GHz they run very slow depends what Atom
    Don't think it matters. My dual core Atom was a current design seven years ago, and from memory, runs at 1.6GHz.
    I've never had any 'Run Out Of Data' issues in six years. The only time I miss the power and speed of bigger and better CPUs
    is when I load a large file.

    A quad core Cherry Trail will beat it hands down, even at 1.4GHz.

    Craig

  16. #16
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    gold plated

    Quote Originally Posted by mactec54 View Post
    It's only 1.44 GHz they run very slow depends what Atom you have the start at 1.60Ghz
    mactec is the gold standard of contacts. Please insert more quarters for more information....

  17. #17
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    Re: Is anyone using a mini-computer for the CNC?

    Quote Originally Posted by joeavaerage View Post
    Hi,



    Don't think it matters. My dual core Atom was a current design seven years ago, and from memory, runs at 1.6GHz.
    I've never had any 'Run Out Of Data' issues in six years. The only time I miss the power and speed of bigger and better CPUs
    is when I load a large file.

    A quad core Cherry Trail will beat it hands down, even at 1.4GHz.

    Craig
    Buy one and see for your self again you have not tried one, in theory they should be faster but how the quad core is used in it's design / architecture is a different story you get what you pay for
    Mactec54

  18. #18
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    Re: Is anyone using a mini-computer for the CNC?

    Here is another one I tested and works well also this RCA W101 Tablet Has a touch screen and detachable key board, powered with a Atom quad core processor works well only has one USB port so you have to add a multi port USB and Ethernet hub runs Mach3 and others controls UCCNC and Eding controls have not tried it with Acorn so there are a lot of options it just depends if you want a complicated system or simple, more power is always good but not always needed a 3 / 4 axes router wit an external control like UC100 Etc or smooth Stepper this is all anyone needs to run there machine
    Mactec54

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