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  1. #1
    Hello, I was wondering if anyone could give me some input or suggestions on a controller to buy. A few details to be noted, I'd need it to be either USB or Ethernet but not parallel port because my desktop broke(which had a parallel port) left me glued to my laptop. Now this is mainly for hobby use, therefore I can't spend too much, yet I do realize that these can get quite expensive.

    I don't have any experience with the software control either so I'm open to suggestions on that too (although I've seen some solid reviews on Linux cnc and I see mach is commonly used for hobbiest use).

    Finally my opinion; I had an Arduino Uno, with grbl firmware downloaded. For a few days I was able to get it working my old cnc by attaching it's pin outs to the proper input pins on my 3axis tb6560. I accidentally left the current slightly too high from the power supply resulting in the tb6560 board eventually frying. Although this happened, I still think it's a good idea to use Arduino as a cnc controller because it is so cheap for what it can offer.

    Anywho, like I said, I'm just looking for some suggestions on controller boards and software, I think Arduino is a good controller but I'm open to any opinions as I'm inexperienced. (FYI: I have a 3 axis cnc router 4',2' that consists of nema 23's running off 3 amps).

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Chaz's Avatar
    Lives in Ickenham, West London, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 6 Hours Ago Has been a member for 4-5 years. Has a total post count of 1,062. Received thanks 77 times, giving thanks to others 51 times.
    Quote Originally Posted by jtar40 View Post
    Hello, I was wondering if anyone could give me some input or suggestions on a controller to buy. A few details to be noted, I'd need it to be either USB or Ethernet but not parallel port because my desktop broke(which had a parallel port) left me glued to my laptop. Now this is mainly for hobby use, therefore I can't spend too much, yet I do realize that these can get quite expensive.

    I don't have any experience with the software control either so I'm open to suggestions on that too (although I've seen some solid reviews on Linux cnc and I see mach is commonly used for hobbiest use).

    Finally my opinion; I had an Arduino Uno, with grbl firmware downloaded. For a few days I was able to get it working my old cnc by attaching it's pin outs to the proper input pins on my 3axis tb6560. I accidentally left the current slightly too high from the power supply resulting in the tb6560 board eventually frying. Although this happened, I still think it's a good idea to use Arduino as a cnc controller because it is so cheap for what it can offer.

    Anywho, like I said, I'm just looking for some suggestions on controller boards and software, I think Arduino is a good controller but I'm open to any opinions as I'm inexperienced. (FYI: I have a 3 axis cnc router 4',2' that consists of nema 23's running off 3 amps).

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk
    Its all relative. Budget?

    Ive personally just upgraded my lathe to CNC using Centroid's Acorn. Lovely kit / hardware and no more Mach 3. Not the cheapest option but by no means the most expensive either.

    Budget will largely determine your options ...

  3. #3
    hi
    i have used the ethernet version of the smoothstepper from warp9,with great success.
    coupled with the pmdx 126 breakout board and gecko stepper motor drivers. these were used to convert a connect 121 lathe and a cncmasters junior mill, to mach 3

    regards paul

  4. Arduino/GRBL is the cheapest option. Not that high performance, or that many features, but will plod along and do the job.

    Next step up would be a secondhand desktop to get a working parallel port. Opens up the options of LinuxCNC, or Mach.

    Then you're in to the realm of various USB/Ethernet external motion controllers.
    CS-Labs, PMDX, CNC-Drive UCxxx, KFlop, SmoothStepper, Planet CNC, along with various Chinese offerings, and a few others I've forgotten.

    What would be recommended depends on if you're looking for any specific features, want certain customisation, and budget.
    Avoiding the rubbish customer service from AluminiumWarehouse since July '13.

  5. #5
    Alright so I've gotten a lot of input and I realized the common denominator is that it really depends on what software you're starting with, and what your budget is set at.
    So I got some great input on Linux cnc although I read up on it that you need a Real Time Operating System, (I don't really have a great understanding on that, if someone could help a brother out). I also see Mach3 and 4 are very common yet unreliable (I'm not totally sure why it isn't reliable but can someone explain or direct me to where I can find out)
    I've also got solid recommendations about UCCNC using the UC400ETH controller

    So what would you guys recommend, or why would you guys not recommend another software.

    By the way, up till now I was thinking of purchasing the Ethernet smooth stepper with Mach 3/4, or the UC400 with UCCNC.

    Summary- what cnc software would you recommend for someone building a simple 3 axis cnc
    - sorry again if I left anything out, let me know.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    personally I would get the uc300eth and UCCNC

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Chaz View Post
    Its all relative. Budget?

    Ive personally just upgraded my lathe to CNC using Centroid's Acorn. Lovely kit
    What would be customs charges on this package?

    Phill

  8. For a basic 3 axis machine, then there's not really much to choose between controllers.
    You might also want to consider one of the standalone controllers (search ebay for "CNC offline controller" or "CNC standalone controller").

    Regards Mach 3 problems, on a basic machine it works fine. There are some issues when you go beyond the basics though, especially with external motion controllers, but nothing that really makes it unusable. It's just quirks that mean you might not be able to do things how you think they should be done.

    Mach 4 is fine, it's just it's never really been that popular. Mach 3 was pretty revolutionary for it's time and is why it is so popular, but technology has changed, there are far more options now, and Mach 4 doesn't really bring any major benefits over the other options.
    Avoiding the rubbish customer service from AluminiumWarehouse since July '13.

  9. Quote Originally Posted by phill05 View Post
    What would be customs charges on this package?

    Phill
    If declared properly, IIRC it's 2.2% duty, plus courier handling fee, plus 20% VAT.
    So if you budget 23% for the governments cut, then 10-25 for the couriers fee, it'll give you a rough idea.
    Avoiding the rubbish customer service from AluminiumWarehouse since July '13.

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  11. #10
    Chaz's Avatar
    Lives in Ickenham, West London, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 6 Hours Ago Has been a member for 4-5 years. Has a total post count of 1,062. Received thanks 77 times, giving thanks to others 51 times.
    Quote Originally Posted by phill05 View Post
    What would be customs charges on this package?

    Phill
    70 ish. Ordered on Sunday night, received Wednesday same week.

  12. The Following User Says Thank You to Chaz For This Useful Post:


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