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  1. #1
    Hi,
    New to the forum, came from the 3D Printing world having conquered it and have to say... the open source software, firmware and hardware for 3D Printing is WAY more advanced than for CNC machines.

    Anyway, as such I'm used to my motherboard shield powering the Arduino it sits on. However when I send power to the CNC shield (this being the name as well as description) the Arduino doesn't come alive. I've buzzed out the PSU-shield with no issues, tried shield positive to Arduino jack plug positive, which gave me a reading but the negatives didn't.

    So, to clarify (as there doesn't seem to be much user friendly information out there)... does the CNC shield power the Arduino or does the Arduino use its host computer's power through the USB to power it?

    Thanks for any help :)

  2. #2
    Afraid I can't answer your question and I suspect that most on this forum have not yet delved into the world of Arduinos and open source software/firmware, but hopefully someone does have the knowledge to come along and help.

    Welcome to the forum though :-)

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  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by AcrimoniousMirth View Post
    Hi,
    New to the forum, came from the 3D Printing world having conquered it and have to say... the open source software, firmware and hardware for 3D Printing is WAY more advanced than for CNC machines.

    Anyway, as such I'm used to my motherboard shield powering the Arduino it sits on. However when I send power to the CNC shield (this being the name as well as description) the Arduino doesn't come alive. I've buzzed out the PSU-shield with no issues, tried shield positive to Arduino jack plug positive, which gave me a reading but the negatives didn't.

    So, to clarify (as there doesn't seem to be much user friendly information out there)... does the CNC shield power the Arduino or does the Arduino use its host computer's power through the USB to power it?

    Thanks for any help :)
    The Arduino should power up from USB socket (It's 5v) and then wire your 24v power supply directly to the cnc shield, if you don't have a 24v power supply get one. If you are using 4 motors (2 for the lower axis) use all 4 axis on the cnc shield and set one of the axis as a clone so you can get the maximum out of your nemas.

    First question is have you tried the uno without the cnc shield on it?

    Arduino can only handle 5v if you pump 12v or above into the Uno you will fry it! The CNC shield is designed to pass power from the onboard power socket to the stepper drivers bypassing the Arduino. The arduino is powered by the USB socket or optionally the 5v plug on the Arduino board which is more for standalone arduino operations.

    grbl is actually very good

    Check out this page
    http://www.instructables.com/id/3020...CNC-Shield-V3/

    I found it useful although a lot doesn't apply to me.
    Last edited by Desertboy; 27-06-2017 at 05:21 AM.
    http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/10880...60cm-work-area My first CNC build WIP 120cm*80cm

    If you didn't buy it from China the company you bought it from did ;)

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  6. #4
    Hi and welcome to the forum. What is a CNC shield? Its hard to answer questions without links to what you are trying to do. We don't tend to use Arduino's to run cnc machines.

    Hi,
    New to the forum, came from the 3D Printing world having conquered it and have to say... the open source software, firmware and hardware for 3D Printing is WAY more advanced than for CNC machines.
    Not sure I understand this statement have a look at LinuxCnc and see if you change your mind about advanced open source.

    There are many people on here running 3D printers as well as cnc machines.
    ..Clive
    The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

  7. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Clive S View Post
    Hi and welcome to the forum. What is a CNC shield? Its hard to answer questions without links to what you are trying to do. We don't tend to use Arduino's to run cnc machines.



    Not sure I understand this statement have a look at LinuxCnc and see if you change your mind about advanced open source.

    There are many people on here running 3D printers as well as cnc machines.
    It's true on here most people have bigger machines so no one seems to use an arduino but the arduino cnc community is bigger than you think mainly because of shapeoko and xcarve.

    At the moment it's really only good for 3 axis but you can actually wire up much better stepper drivers to the cnc shield and run the power directly bypassing the shield and get very acceptable performance for very little money.

    It's not a as good as a linuxcnc solution of course but it's really not bad at all, they worked very hard to sort usb issues out and have a very decent light production solution grbl is a project to watch out for as they migrate to more powerful ARM based controllers. They have a working 4 axis solution but it doesn't all fit in the arduino uno.

    I'm going to use an arduino, cncshield, 24v power supply & nema 23's with cheapo 2amp steppers for now but will get proper drivers and a breakout board relatively soon.

    I see the Arduino as a very powerful cnc platform but overshadowed by better commercial solutions but at the price point it cannot be beaten.
    Last edited by Desertboy; 27-06-2017 at 07:18 AM.
    http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/10880...60cm-work-area My first CNC build WIP 120cm*80cm

    If you didn't buy it from China the company you bought it from did ;)

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  9. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Desertboy View Post
    The Arduino should power up from USB socket (It's 5v) and then wire your 24v power supply directly to the cnc shield, if you don't have a 24v power supply get one. If you are using 4 motors (2 for the lower axis) use all 4 axis on the cnc shield and set one of the axis as a clone so you can get the maximum out of your nemas.

    First question is have you tried the uno without the cnc shield on it?

    Arduino can only handle 5v if you pump 12v or above into the Uno you will fry it! The CNC shield is designed to pass power from the onboard power socket to the stepper drivers bypassing the Arduino. The arduino is powered by the USB socket or optionally the 5v plug on the Arduino board which is more for standalone arduino operations.

    grbl is actually very good

    Check out this page
    http://www.instructables.com/id/3020...CNC-Shield-V3/

    I found it useful although a lot doesn't apply to me.
    Hi,
    As I mentioned I'm coming from the 3D printing world. The motherboards I use feed the Arduino via a built in step-down; that's why I couldn't be too sure and couldn't find a decent PCB trace schematic.
    But thank you, that answers my question!
    My shield is already set up like so, I've already loaded up GRBL and was just connecting up everything for a first test.

    Compared with 3D printing (and keeping in mind I built my own printer) I find the mechanics on CNC more challenging due to the greater forces involved but the electronics tend to be easier! (Mainly because they're less developed at this point, sadly).

  10. #7
    Hi Clive, nice to be here, thank you :)
    Here's a CNC shield: http://ooznest.co.uk/Premium-Arduino-CNC-Shield
    I'm designing and building a basic budget machine from some scraps I have and this system is open source and let's me run a basic CNC on a 15 system!
    I've seen linuxCNC and it does seem good! I think I will try it if Fusion 360's CAM environment lets me down.
    Why I say it's less advanced?
    Firmware - on a 3D printer you modify the firmware as code and upload it as a very powerful and intuitive system with inbuilt support for autolevelling, LCD screens, SD cards and much much more. The most decent CNC firmware I can use is GRBL which uploads in a weird way and has very few settings.
    Hardware - now here I am talking about open source and affordable, not the awesome professional machines you use!! With a 3D printer almost every single motherboard can very easily attach to a screen, SD and can be set up for many different forms of machine. With the CNC it only has axis, spindle controls and endstops. If I want to run it headless I have to attach a separate Arduino to relay instructions!
    On top of that, on my printer I use "Octoprint" which allows me to control it over the web from anywhere in the world securely. The best for CNC seems to be "GRBLweb" which is also less developed. I may be able to edit octoprint for the CNC though.
    Software - there are many clean and easy to use printer softwares that have a very nice and intuitive gui as well as much deeper controls. As a professional 3D technician I use Simplify-3D, one of the few paid slicers. I'm struggling to find anything on-par for CNC but Fusion 360's CAM may help!

    Also the documentation is horrendous!

    Please note I'm just talking about the entry level open source machines and not the professional ones, which I only dream of owning. For various reasons I'm having to go opensource.
    Thanks!

  11. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by AcrimoniousMirth View Post
    Hi Clive, nice to be here, thank you :)
    Here's a CNC shield: http://ooznest.co.uk/Premium-Arduino-CNC-Shield
    I'm designing and building a basic budget machine from some scraps I have and this system is open source and let's me run a basic CNC on a 15 system!
    I've seen linuxCNC and it does seem good! I think I will try it if Fusion 360's CAM environment lets me down.
    Why I say it's less advanced?
    Firmware - on a 3D printer you modify the firmware as code and upload it as a very powerful and intuitive system with inbuilt support for autolevelling, LCD screens, SD cards and much much more. The most decent CNC firmware I can use is GRBL which uploads in a weird way and has very few settings.
    Hardware - now here I am talking about open source and affordable, not the awesome professional machines you use!! With a 3D printer almost every single motherboard can very easily attach to a screen, SD and can be set up for many different forms of machine. With the CNC it only has axis, spindle controls and endstops. If I want to run it headless I have to attach a separate Arduino to relay instructions!
    On top of that, on my printer I use "Octoprint" which allows me to control it over the web from anywhere in the world securely. The best for CNC seems to be "GRBLweb" which is also less developed. I may be able to edit octoprint for the CNC though.
    Software - there are many clean and easy to use printer softwares that have a very nice and intuitive gui as well as much deeper controls. As a professional 3D technician I use Simplify-3D, one of the few paid slicers. I'm struggling to find anything on-par for CNC but Fusion 360's CAM may help!

    Also the documentation is horrendous!

    Please note I'm just talking about the entry level open source machines and not the professional ones, which I only dream of owning. For various reasons I'm having to go opensource.
    Thanks!
    3d printing is mainstream so lots of development has been done for it and a lot of money has been made by people in the process. CNC is still niche for the home user Mach 3 offers excellent value, linuxcnc even better. Open source tools are only just starting their development cycle and not had tme to mature like 3d printing has.

    The big thing is you can't use an arduino with those you need breakout board and suitable steppers a more expensive but more professional setup.

    When I've spent a month with grbl and a month with linuxcnc working I'll be able to make a better conclusion.

    grbl is very powerful there's little reason for many firmware settings as you do everything with gcode, you can't run headless with grbl I remember reading it's just too much for the uno so it won't be coming to the Uno version at least but you can use a PI to control the Uno to create a nice all in one solution.
    http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/10880...60cm-work-area My first CNC build WIP 120cm*80cm

    If you didn't buy it from China the company you bought it from did ;)

  12. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Desertboy View Post
    3d printing is mainstream so lots of development has been done for it and a lot of money has been made by people in the process. CNC is still niche for the home user Mach 3 offers excellent value, linuxcnc even better. Open source tools are only just starting their development cycle and not had tme to mature like 3d printing has.

    The big thing is you can't use an arduino with those you need breakout board and suitable steppers a more expensive but more professional setup.

    When I've spent a month with grbl and a month with linuxcnc working I'll be able to make a better conclusion.

    grbl is very powerful there's little reason for many firmware settings as you do everything with gcode, you can't run headless with grbl I remember reading it's just too much for the uno so it won't be coming to the Uno version at least but you can use a PI to control the Uno to create a nice all in one solution.
    From what I've seen the open source CNC stuff has been around a good deal longer but yeah, as a niche area has had much less development by able bodied parties.
    My CNC only exists because I inherited an old RapMan printer (made in like 2008) so it's very outdated and practically useless nowadays, especially compared to my own-design machine. So I took it apart and am reusing a good portion of the parts. Including the NEMA23's.
    Having run some calculations my CNC shield and the drivers I'm using (DRV8825) will be adequate for the power requirements. The spindle I decided first off to modify from an old cordless drill, stripping down to the motor, epicyclic gearbox and added an ER-11 collet. Tests show that's running adequately but I may upgrade to a proper spindle if needs be...
    I'm currently getting started with the higher level control electronics for the spindle, again reusing stuff as much as possible and in theory it'll work without a hitch. Planning to make that "in practice" tomorrow!

    So basically, what are my goals with this thing? To make a cheap and reasonably good CNC out of scraps I have lying around and other cheap materials where needs be. So far so good.


    And yes, I'm aware. Again, in many ways the CNC has been relatively straightforward compared to 3D Printers because they're less demanding on the code and setup front. The mechanics are more demanding because of the forces involved but hey, it balances out. Naturally the Pi would control the Arduino separately (much like the Octoprint setup I use on my printer); it's basically running as a computer to replace your laptop/desktop and receiving files over the web. I wouldn't dream of trying to get the uno running that on its own, it's a microcontroller and not a computer, so not designed for that sort of processing.
    Last edited by AcrimoniousMirth; 27-06-2017 at 03:24 PM.

  13. #10
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 7 Hours Ago Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 2,121. Received thanks 233 times, giving thanks to others 5 times.
    The problem with CNC machining, is it usually requires far faster and more accurate motion than 3D printing, and an Arduino is not really up to the task.
    Even an ARM processor isn't ideal, as getting jitter free motion needs good clock scaling, which can be handled far better in an FPGA, which is why you'll find nearly all CNC motion controllers use an FPGA for motion generation, often paired with some form of microprocessor which handles communication and the maths for generating the motion paths, before passing the required motion to the FPGA.
    LinuxCNC and Mach running via a parallel port also have the same issue, however they ultimately rely on using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, by throwing enough processing power at the problem, you can get it to work well enough it's not a problem.

    And then you have the available hardware. Nearly all shields I'm sure have been designed with 3D printing in mind, where speed and acceleration requirements aren't that great, so 24V is acceptable. If you were to use those same speeds on any reasonably sized router or mill, it would be painfully slow.
    Hardware really is a case of, you get what you pay for.
    Avoiding the rubbish customer service from AluminiumWarehouse since July '13.

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