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View Full Version : Advice requested for these products and any suggestions; Links below



mordy
19-04-2015, 03:11 PM
Hi all, I am very new to the group, But I have spent many hours reading through the threads, I am building just a hobbyist level CNC hot wire foam cutter for my personal use, whilst I am building the hardware I have been saving for the electronics, So far I have purchased the motors 4x Nema23 DC24v 12.6Kgcm 2.8amp.

I am a little unsure about the 'all in ones' driver and controller, especially the older TB6560 (crappy, waste money), from what I read the TB6600 are a bit better, but still a few problems, I also do not have a computer with a Parallel port and the UC100 USB motion controller is expensive ($170 AUS), so I have narrowed down my choice and would really appreciate some guidance and suggestions or links to threads (that I may have missed).

Controller; http://www.goodluckbuy.com/4-axis-usb-controller-card-400khz-cnc-mach3-breakout-interface-board-win7-8-xp.html

Driver; http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/DM542A-2-4-phase-Nema23-Stepper-driver-microcontroller-18V-50V-controller-/261797856769?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_15&hash=item3cf45e4601

Or El-cheapo; http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/400738287623?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

All in one option; http://www.goodluckbuy.com/ddmdlv1-usb-mach3-200khz-integrated-4-axis-stepper-motor-controller-driver-board.html
and; http://www.goodluckbuy.com/ddmdt-4-axis-tb600-cnc-usb-mach3-stepper-motor-driver-controller-board-200khz.html

Please tell me what you are thinking regarding the items I have come up with so far.

Many Thanks.

Boyan Silyavski
19-04-2015, 05:28 PM
1. Once i have bought a Chinese no name Breakout Board similar to that. I could not make it work at all. So No Name is a big NO.

-Solution - Look for Leadshine all in one board and drivers, DSP.


2. Buying from people that sell beauty creams and watches with the only purpose to save 5$ is another big NO.

-Solution-BST Automation Aliexpress

There are cheap BOBs out there but you will not see any reputable seller, Chinese or other sell crappy boards and drivers. Why? Cause he can not permit to waste later his time dealing with the constant problems they will produce.

Following that line of thought if you have the time to deal with crappy boards then buy and experiment. Otherwise - do the right thing and don't underestimate the importance of the BOB for the machine.

mordy
20-04-2015, 12:48 AM
[QUOTE=silyavski;68751]1. Once i have bought a Chinese no name Breakout Board similar to that. I could not make it work at all. So No Name is a big NO.

-Solution - Look for Leadshine all in one board and drivers, DSP.

Is this the Product ? is there a USB version available. http://leadshineusa.com/productDetail.aspx?model=MX4660


2. Buying from people that sell beauty creams and watches with the only purpose to save 5$ is another big NO.

-Solution-BST Automation Aliexpress Saved, looks very good thanks

Clive S
20-04-2015, 08:00 AM
I have used this one and found it to be very good.

http://leadshineusa.com/productdetail.aspx?type=products&category=accessories&producttype=multiple-axis-stepper-drives&series=MX&model=MX3660

You could fit a PP in your computer and try it. ..Clive

m.marino
20-04-2015, 12:06 PM
What control software are you wanting to use? LinuxCNC, Mach3, Mach4, or something a bit different. IF using Mach4, PMDX has an all in one that is not cheap but will do what you need and without the problems that the chinese boards are known for. Better to save up and buy what will work for a good while. Also DIYCNC out of the UK have some good boards that have a very good track history. Down side is shipping for you. Going the cheap route will bite in what you get out in production. Your electronics are one of the more important parts, as that is where your resolution and accuracy as far as steps and movement start.

Go to cheap on that end and you end up paying for it until replaced and it is not a road to go down.

Michael

mordy
20-04-2015, 03:05 PM
Thanks Clive, I have a Macbook so no chance of a PP, We don't have a windows based PC anywhere in the house. I looked at the link and selected the 4 axis version, It looks very very nice, it is definitely on the shortlist now. I think I will forget about cheap Chinese and try to find a reasonably price alternative.

mordy
20-04-2015, 03:08 PM
What control software are you wanting to use? LinuxCNC, Mach3, Mach4, or something a bit different.

MACH3

Also DIYCNC out of the UK have some good boards that have a very good track history. Down side is shipping for you.

Surprisingly the shipping from UK is good, I will defiantly check them out, Thanks

Going the cheap route will bite in what you get out in production. Your electronics are one of the more important parts, as that is where your resolution and accuracy as far as steps and movement start.

Go to cheap on that end and you end up paying for it until replaced and it is not a road to go down.

I'm picking up what you're putting down :)

Michael


Thanks Michael.

JAZZCNC
20-04-2015, 04:34 PM
Thanks Clive, I have a Macbook so no chance of a PP, We don't have a windows based PC anywhere in the house. I looked at the link and selected the 4 axis version, It looks very very nice, it is definitely on the shortlist now. I think I will forget about cheap Chinese and try to find a reasonably price alternative.

Do your self a favor and buy a cheap PC just for running the CNC machine.! Mixing home PC with CNC PC is bad idea unless your using a very good Motion control card which are not cheap. (USB isn't good enough)
Reason for this is that CNC machine requires uninterrupted pulses with no outside intereference from other installed software or power mangement etc. USB isn't very good for motion control at best of times for a few technical reasons but Esp on systems that have lots of software installed that want to check out the system.

Programs like Quick time, Adobe, Java etc installed by software to work all want a piece of the hardware and memory etc so they work in the back ground checking and testing what resources etc available.
This interfears badly with the pulse train and causes all sorts of problems for CNC machine so your best having it's own PC with Clean windows install and minimal software installed.
USB is OK if used on setup like this so that can turn off all power mangement etc and stop it dropping power but on stuffed up PC full of crap then it will dropout and do all sorts of very frustrating things.

The advise so far not to buy Cheap components is very sound advise learnt the hard way in somes cases.!! . . So taking this route Will save you money in long run BUT better still if possible is to buy local for support. So With you being in Aus then i'd recommend speaking with Peter Homann and buying a Gecko G540 from him. This is a very nice all in one board that will easily do what you want. Peter Knows is stuff and doesn't sell Rubbish.
http://www.homanndesigns.com/store/

Don't cut corners it's really not worth the hassle.!

mordy
21-04-2015, 04:05 AM
The advise so far not to buy Cheap components is very sound advise learnt the hard way in somes cases.!! . . So taking this route Will save you money in long run BUT better still if possible is to buy local for support. So With you being in Aus then i'd recommend speaking with Peter Homann and buying a Gecko G540 from him. This is a very nice all in one board that will easily do what you want. Peter Knows is stuff and doesn't sell Rubbish.
http://www.homanndesigns.com/store/

Don't cut corners it's really not worth the hassle.!

Wow That' awesome, I spoke to Peter this morning, he is a great guy, very helpful and he has the stuff I need at a good price, I decide on the Gecko G540 as you and he suggested, looks really nice, I am very happy. Also he is just 5 min drive from my house.

Now the only thing is the parallel port issue, I'll have to do a bit more research on that to explore the options, as the smooth stepper or UC100 are going to add $200+ to the build.

I hear what you say regarding the PC and interruptions etc, Ideally I would love the MACH3 on my Macbook Pro under parallels (emulation or virtual PC) using the USB and assigning it all resources when running, but I need to see what others are doing, and if they are being successful.

I am open to more suggestions on that, Thanks so much to all.

MikeyC38
21-04-2015, 02:43 PM
Hi Mordy

Glad to see that you have found a supplier for your electronics. I suggest that you take Jazz's advice and buy a cheap(ish) PC to use as your CNC controller. This is the direction I went and got an old Dell GX620 and installed Windows XP on it (I already have OS licenses). The PC cost me 30 including shipping and does the job brilliantly. After installing XP and applying all the service patches, it is a locked down configuration and not connected to the Internet or home network. This is the best way to work with Mach3 etc. I transfer the G-code on a usb stick. No issues here. The old Dell GX620 are the business range computers and are very reliable. It came fully tested and all I had to do was to get rid of the excess dust inside. I might reseat the CPU heatsink with some fresh thermal compound - but thats a later job.

Need to get my CNC router project assembled and running!

Regards
Mike

JAZZCNC
21-04-2015, 03:35 PM
I hear what you say regarding the PC and interruptions etc, Ideally I would love the MACH3 on my Macbook Pro under parallels (emulation or virtual PC) using the USB and assigning it all resources when running, but I need to see what others are doing, and if they are being successful

Yep I hear you but Emulation is a None starter I'm afraid with Mach3 so don't waste your time trying and looking.!!

Reason it's a None starter is because of pulse timings.?. . Emulation doesn't and can't provide accurate enough pulse timings no matter how many resources you throw at it. To be honest even the parallel port under windows struggles and the ONLY reason it works with Mach3 is because of the trickery of the parallel port driver. Which is basicly a Virus inside windows which takes over the system and rules the roost.

So you see the parallel port driver which is the heart of the system won't work inside emulation.
Regards USB then even if using Windows PC you can't run Parallel port thru USB using a converter etc. Again due to timings and how critical pulse timing works. The ONLY way you can use USB is with a device like the UC100 which is a hardware & software device.
The only way you can get your Macbook to work is with an external motion control device like the Uc100 etc.

Please take my word on this to save your self some serious stress and time by not even going down this route.

My first choice and strong advise is to buy an external Motion control and Ethernet based one not USB as Ethernet is so much better. There really is no comparison to parallel port and you'll have much more stable machine that performs like a rocket.

Second and only other choice is stand alone PC with 5V parallel port, not 3V. It's very important the voltage coming out of parallel port is 5V or very close to it. 3V is not good enough but unfortunatly they are common on newer PC's.
Reason 3V isn't good is because of the Logic state falsely switching.? CNC machine works by Digital ON/OFF or HIGH/LOW signals and these work by 0v to 2.5v = Low and 3v to 5V= HIGH.
With 3V PP there isn't enough difference between HI-LOW and any electrical noise floating around will cause havoc with signals and switching it's state falsely causing all sorts of havoc and air pulling.!!

Think of the Motion control side like the human heart.? If your heart doesn't pump correctly then no matter how good the rest of the body it simply won't perform like it should.!
The parallel port is like the heart of some one who eats well enough but smokes 40 a-day and doesn't exercise. It will get you by day to day but try to run too fast and you'll struggle badly. Try to Run a marathon without training and you'll likely die.!!

Ethernet Motion control card is like fitness fanatic who looks after him self and runs marathon every day.!!

Edit: Just to Add IMO the Parallel port is dieing Technology so best avoided. Like wise USB is unstable for timing critical devises so again best avoided. Ethernet is designed for high speed pulse signals and perfect at it even over distance.

mordy
22-04-2015, 01:47 AM
The only way you can get your Macbook to work is with an external motion control device like the Uc100 etc.

Please take my word on this to save your self some serious stress and time by not even going down this route.

My first choice and strong advise is to buy an external Motion control and Ethernet based one not USB as Ethernet is so much better. There really is no comparison to parallel port and you'll have much more stable machine that performs like a rocket.

Edit: Just to Add IMO the Parallel port is dieing Technology so best avoided. Like wise USB is unstable for timing critical devises so again best avoided. Ethernet is designed for high speed pulse signals and perfect at it even over distance.

Thanks so much for the great time saving advice. You have given me a new set of things to think about. Please give me a bit of time to formulate an intelligent response, most likely including several questions.

Thanks Jazz and Mikey.

mordy
22-04-2015, 02:40 PM
My first choice and strong advise is to buy an external Motion control and Ethernet based one not USB as Ethernet is so much better. There really is no comparison to parallel port and you'll have much more stable machine that performs like a rocket.

Ethernet Motion control card is like fitness fanatic who looks after him self and runs marathon every day.!!

I like the Analogies

Edit: Just to Add IMO the Parallel port is dieing Technology so best avoided. Like wise USB is unstable for timing critical devises so again best avoided. Ethernet is designed for high speed pulse signals and perfect at it even over distance.

Hi Jazz, so I'm looking at the Ethernet version of Smooth Stepper, Peter has them here, cost around $260, and this is what I'm thinking, run MACH3 in a virtual machine (not emulation) using parallels on the MacBook Pro, with Win7 (32bit), connect the MAC via Ethernet Port to smooth stepper to my Gecko 540 to motors.

Thats where I am at, at the moment. Am I going down the correct road or is even the whole idea of the virtual machine (VM) no good ?. (bearing in mind what you have already said) I'm asking about the VM method as I have seen couple of videos now with MAC's running VM's with MACH3 and motion controllers.

Thanks again, sorry if I am being a bit tedious.

Wal
22-04-2015, 03:39 PM
run MACH3 in a virtual machine (not emulation) using parallels on the MacBook Pro

I do believe that Jazz has already answered this quite comprehensively, but really...

DON'T DO IT. :grief:

There are the straightforward ways of doing things, and there are ways that invite all sorts of ball-ache.

Wal.

Boyan Silyavski
22-04-2015, 04:57 PM
having in mind an old PC , Dell 2-3ghz, 1-2gb ram together with the screen and Xp installed , at a bootsale is under 50euro , i don't see even why running a VM could pass through your mind. Ahh, yeah, i get, you are one of the Apple people :hysterical:

mordy
23-04-2015, 12:12 AM
I do believe that Jazz has already answered this quite comprehensively, but really...

DON'T DO IT. :grief:

There are the straightforward ways of doing things, and there are ways that invite all sorts of ball-ache.

Wal.

I hear ya Wal. But there is a couple questions i'd like to explore, expanding on the previous answer, I am sure if Jazz has decided he "has answered quite comprehensively" he will not reply or tell me so.

No need to shout about it. I know it's frustrating with newbies, but I am sure you were one once etc. :beer:

JAZZCNC
23-04-2015, 12:30 AM
Well first I will answer you even if I think I've answered enough because i realise living upside down on other side of world must make the blood run to your head so there must be brain damage which makes learning harder.. .:stupid:

Now being serious. The ESS smooth stepper is ok and will work for you even with Macbook.
Running Mach3 in emulation isn't the problem it's the parallel port driver that's the problem. But the fact you will be using ESS (or any external motion controller) removes this problem because it uses it's own software that runs inside of mach3 and the hardware generates the pulses.

That said I still VERY STRONGLY advise you to get a stand alone PC just for the CNC machine.

Wal
23-04-2015, 01:00 AM
No need to shout about it. I know it's frustrating with newbies, but I am sure you were one once etc. :beer:

I still consider myself very much a noob - yes, I've built a small vertical mill which is servicing my needs very well indeed, but it was only built thanks to the help and advice of the good people on here.

At the best of times it's a delicate process getting things dialled in and 'just-so' - I'm thinking that the software set-up you're proposing will add an extra layer of quirky behaviour that could have you going round in circles... And your nice clean MacBook will be filthy within hours..!

Good luck with it, whichever way you decide to go!

Wal.

mordy
23-04-2015, 01:06 AM
Well first I will answer you even if I think I've answered enough because i realise living upside down on other side of world must make the blood run to your head so there must be brain damage which makes learning harder.. .:stupid:
.

And here is me thinking its my Half British Half Spanish Background that has been hindering me all my life, now I see, it was all those negative G's from airforce flying exacerbated by the 'down under' affect that's done it. :gorilla:

I'll go to trash and treasure this weekend for a PC. (bring the voltmeter) even though I will eventually be using the ethernet rather than PP. (thats the plan, but it is just a plan)

Thanks guys for your help so far.

mordy
23-04-2015, 01:09 AM
At the best of times it's a delicate process getting things dialled in and 'just-so' - I'm thinking that the software set-up you're proposing will add an extra layer of quirky behaviour that could have you going round in circles... And your nice clean MacBook will be filthy within hours..!

Good luck with it, whichever way you decide to go!

Wal.

Thanks Wal.

Poor MacBook it has a hard life in my shed, you reckon I should give it a break....

Wal
23-04-2015, 11:49 AM
Poor MacBook it has a hard life in my shed, you reckon I should give it a break....

Exactly, pop a doily on it and use it as a tea tray. <...he types on his MacBook Air>

Wal.

mordy
23-04-2015, 12:10 PM
Exactly, pop a doily on it and use it as a tea tray. <...he types on his MacBook Air>

Wal.


Mmmmm to carry out my Tea and Crumpets to the shed. (that would be my british influence)

Thanks Wal you made me laugh a bit. :encouragement:

JAZZCNC
23-04-2015, 03:47 PM
Mmmmm to carry out my Tea and Crumpets to the shed. (that would be my british influence)

Excuse me we are British and it simply wouldn't be British to have Crumpet in the Shed.!! . . . We Do It round the Back of the Shed. .:whistle:

Neale
25-04-2015, 09:31 AM
Sounds like he's got a dirty Mac book in the shed already...

mordy
25-04-2015, 10:20 AM
Sounds like he's got a dirty Mac book in the shed already...

Dirty as in "you dirty rat"
:)

mordy
14-06-2015, 02:45 PM
Thanks again every body for your excellent advice, I now have my 4 axis CNC foam cutter up and running, and its fantastic, I am now building a 3 Axis table machine for cutting balsa and ply for my model aircraft. I ended getting a Gecko G450 and a UC100 motion controller, fairly expensive all up, but works so very well, (so glad didn't get the Cheap ebay stuff).

I am runnning Mach3 and UCCNC software in a virtual machine on my MacBook Pro (parallels), I generate all my G-Code (which was great fun learning about) with devFoam Wing for the 4axis Foam cutter and Sketchup with Sketchucam 'plug in' for all other stuff and for when I run my foam cutter in 2 axis slaved mode.

Definitely a great working setup for me, especially being able to run on my Mac. with no problems at all.


http://www.mycncuk.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=15518&stc=1http://www.mycncuk.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=15519&stc=1
I made my controller box modular, so I can move it from machine to machine and as the Gantries on the foam cutter are adjustable in width, I just need to add or take away extension leads for the motors and home and limit switches.

Once again thanks very much guys. :thumsup:

Boyan Silyavski
14-06-2015, 02:49 PM
Yep, the Gecko and the USB look very neat combo indeed. Good luck with the journey!:eagerness: