1. #1
    help wanted for EXACT spec electrical parts.I want to have CNCwoodworking fullsize router for approx 600x300x60mm workpiece.thers lots of info for mech setup--little info for EXACT electrical requirements.My plan is to build working elect.setup on the bench including software before the rest. I am NOT electrical so everything must be clear!!! UK 240V supply.
    1 Computer..i have an ACER laptop but no printer driver socket ..also only USB1----should i find an old desktop mc?????
    2 Software...I have found GSIMPLE and CAMBAM...will these work or should i go for MACH3---i do not want to use LINUX.
    3 Motors..3 off nema stepper motors approx 300oz--EXACT part nr and supplier??
    4 Transformer..EXACT part nr and supplier???
    5 Control box..to suit software and fully wired up...Exact part nr and supplier??
    6 wiring diagram ..with all electrics shown
    7 Wiring and sockets...i can do simple soldering (plugs and sockets)..prefer not to.
    8 MISSING PARTS...what else do i need.
    THATS IT FOR A START!!! thanks in advance for clear solutions--regards ---tom
    Last edited by cncroutman; 22-07-2010 at 08:58 AM. Reason: more info required

  2. #2
    Hi Tom,

    Looks like you are starting out so will offer some advice, although not a list of part numbers ! If you want the easy route then there are ready built systems available, but they are expensive. If you are going down the DIY route, then since everyone has slightly different requirements, and slightly different budgets, then it is difficult to reply with a shopping list.

    Also, it might be better to start with the machine, or perhaps post a drawing of your intended design, to know what spec of electronics would best suit that hardware.

    1. Computer. Most people advise against laptops due to the precise timing required to run the steppers. An old desktop of the Pentium 4 era should do fine. There are USB port systems, but most people use the parallel port and I would suggest this might be your best option as well.

    2. There are 3 key bits of software required, assuming you want to engrave nameplates or cut out wooden shapes etc.:
    CAD - something to draw your parts in. AutoCAD, RhinoCAD, Solidworks, TurboCAD, . . . . etc. Some of these are not cheap! Some toolpath creation programs will also let you draw simple shapes or add text, bypassing the CAD software requirement.

    Toolpath creation - These take the CAD files (dxf, dwg, etc.), or you can draw in them directly for simple stuff, and allow you to create toolpaths, based on the cutter diameter and the type of cut you want to do to create some code (gcode) which is then passed onto the machine control program. CAMBAM is good, but limited free trial, VECTRIC Cut2D is very good, any there are many others. Sorry, not used GSIMPLE.

    Machine control. This takes the gcode toolpath data and tells the CNC machine how to move and cut. You say you don't want to use Linux, so EMC2 is out, but I should say that there are many happy users of this software. Mach3 for the PC is immensely popular and would make a good starting point. 500 line demo version is free.

    3. Do you know what type of mechanical drive system you are using? Ballscrews, threaded rod, belt etc? These all have different power requirements and may determine your stepper motor, along with other factors. There is an excellent spreadsheet to work this out:

    4.&5. Power supply and driver boards come in a range of voltages and specs. Without knowing more about your requirements for speed etc., it is difficult to recommend anything further, but as a starter the higher voltage systems will be better. For first hobby use, 24v - 30v would get the machine moving and cutting things out, and this would give you some good experience about what to expect. You might be perfectly happy with this, or want to upgrade in the near future. Popular vendors include Zapp, DIYCNC, and RoutoutCNC. I could tell you what I use, but it might be more than you wanted to pay, or on the other hand it might not be good enough.
    There are all-in-one systems, or seperate drivers and breakout boards. There are also very entry level systems on ebay, and if you search this forum you'll find the various views on these cheap systems.

    6. Once you have decided on a spec which meets your requirements, if it is from a major vendor then they will help with wiring - most likely supplying something with their product. In any case, once you have the parts, people on this forum will draw out or describe how to wire them up. Most people dread this part, but when you look back on it, it won't seem that scary any more and will add to your learning.

    7. Wiring and sockets. Use shielded wiring on the limit switches, and avoid running signal cables near power cables. For stepper motor sockets the 4 pin screw on terminals are popular.

    Sorry I can't give you a definitive answer. Hopefully this has give you a bit more info about what you might need.
    Building a CNC machine to make a better one since 2010 . . .
    MK1 (1st photo), MK2, MK3, MK4

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