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  1. #1
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    Question Which Electronics to Buy

    I finally have decided on which machine I am going to purchase (Fineline 2x4 8020 kit), and THOUGHT I knew about the electronics, but the more I look into it the more confused I get. Is there some kind of primer on which Software, Plugin, Motion Controller. BOB, Drivers work well together? I don't want to cheap out and get components that limit me, but don't want to needlessly spend money on things that I am only using 10% of, or spend an arm and a leg on a pre-assembled kit if I can piece it together for cheaper. I have seen BOBs on ebay for $5, and chips alone that are $150 that need to go into a $100 board.

    Does anyone have any input on a decent setup that won't break the bank? I would need 4 axis, the potential for a rotational 5th down the road would be great, I would also like to be able to have limit switches, homing switches and a Z axis tool height alignment switch.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Re: Which Electronics to Buy

    Consider HobbyCNC.com
    WoodWorkerB
    http://woodworkerbcncrouterproject.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
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    Re: Which Electronics to Buy


  4. #4
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    Re: Which Electronics to Buy

    So are the more expensive boards to be able to use USB or Ethernet instead of a parallel connection?

    http://openbuildspartstore.com/cnc-u...-mk3-4-4-axis/ - I haven't read much on this board, but it appears to remove the need for buying software like Mach 3.

  5. #5
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Which Electronics to Buy

    That's a Planet CNC motion controller, and the price includes the cost of the Planet CNC software. If you buy from Planet CNC, the Software is 69 Euros, and the board is 119 Euros.

    https://planet-cnc.com/products/
    Gerry

    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)

  6. #6
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Which Electronics to Buy

    Quote Originally Posted by drxlcarfreak View Post
    So are the more expensive boards to be able to use USB or Ethernet instead of a parallel connection?
    You are comparing apples and oranges.

    To not use the parallel port, you need a motion controller. Be aware that many motion controllers will still require the use of a breakout board.
    Gerry

    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)

  7. #7
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    Re: Which Electronics to Buy

    Ohhhhh!! Okay, that makes sense.

    So a motion controller basically just converts USB/Ethernet signal into a parallel port signal that can be split up into the different leads. Do they all have processors in them to handle the transfer as data as well, or is it just like BOBs where some have on board controllers and others are just pass throughs.

    So I am guessing that the main advantages are a motion controller creates an electrical barrier between the drivers and computer to potentially save the computer, no need to find an old computer with parallel out, and potentially not needing to buy software such as Mach4. (Does the one I linked not need any addtional software?)

    Is the only drawback to a motion controller really the additional cost of the motion controller, which potentially could be partially recouped not having to buy more expensive software like Mach4?

  8. #8
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Which Electronics to Buy

    So a motion controller basically just converts USB/Ethernet signal into a parallel port signal that can be split up into the different leads
    Sort of. A more appropriate term for them would be pulse generators. The control software sends low level commands to the controller, and the controller generates the step and direction pulses. In higher end controls, the "motion controller" has complete control of the machine, and the software is just an interface.


    So I am guessing that the main advantages are a motion controller creates an electrical barrier between the drivers and computer to potentially save the computer
    Isolation is actually the job of the breakout board.

    Is the only drawback to a motion controller really the additional cost of the motion controller, which potentially could be partially recouped not having to buy more expensive software like Mach4?
    Mach4 requires a motion controller as well.

    Depending on that package you go with, you may or may not have to pay for the software.



    There are a couple different types of control systems available.

    There are basically two, that generate the step pulses in software, and send them to the parallel port.
    Mach3, and LinuxCNC. (Mach4 can, but it's very limited.)

    Then you have other controls, where the software does the trajectory and motion planning, but uses an external "controller" to generate the step pulses.
    These include Planet CNC, UCCNC, Mach4, and Eding CNC. Mach3 and Linux CNC can also function this way with a motion controller.

    Then you have higher end controls that do all the motion control on the board itself, and the software is more of just a front end, or GUI, as the hardware is doing all of the work.
    I think that Centroids new Acron board works this way.




    (Does the one I linked not need any addtional software?)
    It requires Planet CNC software, and the license is included in the price.
    Gerry

    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)

  9. #9
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    Re: Which Electronics to Buy

    Wow, thank you. This is extremely helpful in figuring out the intricacies of these different options. It seems like the parallel/software step pulse is more older and more prone to missing steps with Windows software interfering than with an external controller?

    Is the Planet CNC software decent, or is there a better affordable controller option out there?

  10. #10
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Which Electronics to Buy

    It seems like the parallel/software step pulse is more older and more prone to missing steps with Windows software interfering than with an external controller?
    Yes, it's older, but it works perfectly fine for thousands of users.
    I've never used PlanetCNC, but people seem to like it. My preference is UCCNC.
    Gerry

    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)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ger21 View Post
    Yes, it's older, but it works perfectly fine for thousands of users.
    I've never used PlanetCNC, but people seem to like it. My preference is UCCNC.
    Fair enough. UCCNC seems like a good deal for the money! Any particular price friendly controllers/BOBs you'd recommend?

  12. #12
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Which Electronics to Buy

    On a budget, I'd go with the UC400ETH, and either a C10S, or a $10 chinese breakout board. If you need to use both ports, you'll need two breakout boards.
    The UC400ETH is only about $25 more than the UC100, and is a much better choice.
    I'm using a UC300ETH with a UB1, but the UB1 is not cheap.
    Gerry

    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)

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