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  1. #101
    Anything will do, as long as it gives an output format that your CAM package can accept. Most things seem to be happy with dxf, for example.
    My machine is probably about as bendy as they come and still be usable, so if I can cut hardwoods, birch ply, and so on I'm sure that you will be OK for what you are planning to do with Traffolyte. Good luck!
    Just by asking a few questions here I have an awful lot clarified.

    Its very interesting to hear about your experience with linuxCNC / EMC. I see it runs on the LTS version of Ubuntu. I have always liked Ubuntu OS a lot. When ever I have experimented with Linux I have always found that to be one of the more easier and forgiving OSes in terms of drivers and user friendlyness.

    Open source software in terms of machining I can see as being very useful particularly if you have the ability to code and thus modify to your own requirements.

    My only hesitation about going down the Linux / EMC road is I already have a bit of a project on my hands in terms of this Chinese Router ie no manual, no support and a hotch potch of potantial control boards / steppers etc. From my experience of Linux experiments it has always resulted in issues with drivers, limited documentation etc. I guess this is inevitable as the motives behind coding linux projects are not always customer / consumer driven.

    However that said how did you get on with Linux/CNC and getting it talking to your machine? Was it fairly painless or a pain in the backside?

    Maybe like with general OS installation if you choose an older machine with average and non complex kit / intel cpu / intel chipset and standard ports etc maybe no issues?

    I assume there must also be CAD and CAM linux projects? Does these come on the Linux CNC Distro or not?

    Cheers for your feedback once again great info :) TY.

  2. #102
    You can find Linuxcnc here:- Installing LinuxCNC Just run the install cd and everything is done, there is a wizard for the initial setup of the machine etc with a simple interface for driving the machine. Also a touch off probe is simple to setup.

    Re CAM I am not aware of any that will run on Linux. ..Clive

    PS It would be good if Dean's (Jazzcnc) post #96 could be made as a sticky because that question is asked time and time again on the forum.
    Last edited by Clive S; 12-03-2014 at 10:46 PM.

  3. #103
    Neale's Avatar
    Lives in Plymouth, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 2 Hours Ago Has been a member for 3-4 years. Has a total post count of 591. Received thanks 79 times, giving thanks to others 5 times.
    LinuxCNC was a doddle to get going. Stuck a CD in the front of the machine and hit "Go". Ubuntu recognises all the standard hardware (especially the parallel port) and it just works. The only configuration effort was the same as any machine control setup with any machine - you need to specify which pins on the parallel port do what on the machine (X dir and step, Y dir and step, etc), and tell the software things like how many steps per mm it needs, max speed and acceleration, and so on. My system is Intel but my son has just bought a replacement motherboard for his setup which uses an AMD chip and has no parallel port, so he added a PCI parallel port adaptor. That needed a tiny bit of tweaking in Ubuntu to tell it about the board and the port address, but that's working fine as well. If you have Mach3 already, then I see no reason to change to LinuxCNC and my comments are really for anyone reading this who is starting with a blank sheet. I'm not necessarily recommending LinuxCNC, but it works for me.
    I tried some freeware CAM packages (DXF2GCODE for 2D and PyCAM for 3D - I used them on Windows but I know that PyCAM does run on Linux) and they work, up to a point, but they were much harder work than VCarve. On the CAD side, I'm not sure if people use things like Sketchup for more than just engineering-style sketching, but I haven't played with that kind of thing.
    Clive - do you have a pointer to the touch probe stuff for LinuxCNC? Google didn't come up with anything obvious when I looked recently.
    Last edited by Neale; 12-03-2014 at 10:47 PM.

  4. #104
    Neale Does this help:- For Science » LinuxCnc – Touch plate – Part 1 I started with Linuxcnc and still use it for my mill but I had to change to Mach3 for the router with it having 2 screws on X and homing with two screws is not easy in Linux unless the screws are connected with one motor and hence one belt. I it wasn't for this I would have kept with Linux. When I get some time I will have a go and see if I can sort it out. There are a few people on here that do use Linux and are happy with it. Clive

  5. #105
    Quote Originally Posted by futura View Post
    Just out of interest what software would you recommend?
    Oh if only I had a pound for every time I've been asked this.. . . Lol . . . . Honest answer is I can't tell you.? Every person has different needs and there is no one "Best" software.
    If your into wood then Vectric software or Delcam's Artcam express are good ones to look at. If your into Metal then they are limiting so you'll need software more focused on metal and cutting stratergies more suited to that type of work. Dolphin CAM, BobCad/CAM, Solid Cam, etc
    Then you have CAM more suited to 3D like Deskproto, Meshcam etc.

    I'll explain CAM a bit more and hopefully you'll see why there's no "best" software or one does all.!
    When working in CAM and defining the toolpaths for your part you are working with Cutting strategies. CAM software provides cutting Strategies for each process to define the complete part. So Holes would use Drilling Strategies and within this strategie you would have options ie: peck drill, straight plunge etc you would also set other parameters here like drill size and feedrate etc.
    Some common strategies are, profiling, Pocketing, Surfacing, V-carving, Engraving etc. These are mostly 2D strategies but there are also 3D which take you into other areas I won't get into now has it would take all night.
    Better software gives you more Strategies along with more parameters within them which enable you to get the exact results your looking for. This is esp true when it comes to 3D type work.

    Now Wood working bennifits from specific strategies designed for that type of work, so they will have features like Nesting, or abilty to add Tab's to hold work when cutting thru. Where as Milling metal doesn't usually involve more than one part at a time so these would be mostly unused so waste of money but as other requirements like how it enters material that equally would be wasted in wood usage.

    So bottom line is while the cheaper software may look ok they can be limited in the options and parameters they provide. This is why you need to look at the type of work your going to do.
    If basic stuff like drilling and 2D profiles, pockets etc in softer materials along with V-carving, engraving etc then most of the cheaper end software designed for wood use will fill the purpose. If on the other hand your looking at 3D work then you may want to spend more money and get package that offers more cutting strategies.

    It's for these reasons No package is best or can provide everything for every situation other wise the cost would be massive.

    My suggestion is you stick with something that is cheap or free until you know better what your cutting and what's required to do it, then splash out on better software when you have some experience. CamBam is a good all round software that is free or cheap.

    Quote Originally Posted by futura View Post
    For CAD design I want to make traffolyte front panels for my synthesizer modules I design. I was thinking maybe Signlab? but also I have Corel Draw and now I am starting to realise the CAD side of things doesnt need to be so much machine orientated am i right in saying for CAD you can almost use anything you like or get on with?
    Mostly yes but the CAM software will dictate this to some degree but most accept common format's like DXF for 2D files and STL for 3D. Coral draw is a good one as it's Vector based which is a common format for most 2D CAM packages.

    Quote Originally Posted by futura View Post
    For CAM I am looking for something that is not over complex but can hopefully be smart enough to assist with not just engraving the synth panels but also cutting the holes for the potentiometers and finally cutting the panel. I have looked at a demo of vcarve.
    Again down to the cutting strategies provided but just about all CAM packages provide pocketing or profiling strategies so this won't be a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by futura View Post
    For control software I think for now I will stick with Mach 3 but I am also all ears in terms of other options such as LinuxCNC or KKam etc.
    Stick with Mach3 it's the best for new users, loads of support from other users and simple when setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by futura View Post
    I have a feeling I may hit brick limits in terms of actual cutting with the router ie it will engrave the traffolye happily but I am unsure of how it will perform in terms of actually cutting holes or cutting out the plate.
    Don't stress over it and just feel your way thru the work, the machine will soon let you know if it's not happy and from here you'll find the best cutting conditions to suit your machine and material. Each machine is slightly different and what works on one doesn't mean it will work on another. This is also true of materials, I've cut aluminium that is supposedly same grade but from different sources and it needs working at differant feeds speeds etc for best results. This is what I mean by tweaking on the Fly in control software while cutting.!

    Quote Originally Posted by futura View Post
    Hope you dont mind the questions I am very interested by what people have to say on this forum.
    Nope that's why I'm here, to give back or pass-on what was given freely to me.!!
    Last edited by JAZZCNC; 12-03-2014 at 11:28 PM.

  6. #106
    Once again thank you very much for everyones feedback and time.

    The linux project sounds fairly well refined. It is very interesting to hear about your experiences on that. As recommended I will stick with Mach 3 for now and leave that as spare weekend project sometime ;)

    Im starting to understand now with the software choice I guess it will be a case of experimenting and seeing in terms of CAD what software I get on with. So far Smartdraw and Corel Draw I have found really easy to use. I also like Logo Designer. They all have a very similiar user interface.

    For CAM im still unsure about this so I think I will keep looking at the vcarve demos and maybe test that. I have also noted the suggestion on CAM BAM. maybe this weekend i will also look at a few other options. Kkam Artcam Mastercam etc.

    So to keep on topic here are some pics of my Opened UP stepper control box and also some pics of the machine.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    3020 Router/Engraver

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    3020 Router/Engraver Rear

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    Spindle Motor

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    Sketchey Motor Connection LEads

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    Stepper Controller Front

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    Stepper Controller Rear

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    YOOCNC NT65-3X

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    My end goal and target with my home CNC project :)

    In terms of tool when my traffolyte plate arrives I assume they all have different roles?

    My guess would be the spear looking shapes are used for engraving?

    The paddle looking shape is more for engraving / cutting?

    And the drill clearly just drills holes of that diameter?

    I am also wondering what peoples thoughts are about the Spindle Motor MOD making it PWM control via Mach3 as opposed to the switch and speed control pot on the control box?

    I can see advantages and disadvantages for both options.

    Looking at the board there sure is a free pin labelled PWM thats on the board with the 555 timer on it.

    The boards I have are:

    YOOCNC PW3618
    YOOCNC NT65-3X

    The transformer I have is Torroidial 220V Primary
    Secondary 0-18V
    Secondary 0-36V

    Semiconductor Component list as follows (well most of em lol) :




    EL1373201501-50 1304AL

    If required I can also knock up a layout in Corel just so you can see what IC goes where.

    There are also x2 74HC SMD components but I cannot find my magnifying glass right now to see the exact number maybe its a 14 but not 100% atm.

    Finally I did check the earthing and yes as warned its pretty sketchey. The main chassis is earthed but half the motor out pins the metal shield is not earthed and also the fan covers are not earthed.

    I assume most of thes eissues are caused by powder coating the box then fitting the stuff without exposing the metal.

    I guess another reason why this is kit is cheap.

    However, so far for what I paid from what I can see it seems quite good value.

    However.. theory and practicality can be very different..

    I should have more results this weekend :)
    Last edited by futura; 13-03-2014 at 12:31 AM.

  7. #107
    Gregor's Avatar
    Lives in Belfast, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 4 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 2-3 years. Has a total post count of 65.
    Hi All
    A quick update on what i have been using my cnc machine for. I have Been using Sketchup and Cambam and I am starting to get the hang off it, The Machine has been working well although I haven't been pushing it to hard and I think if I was buying one off these again i would go for one with a faster spindle.I have took the good advice off the member's off this forum and I have not change the cables and don't intend to change until they go faulty.Here is the machine cutting Phenolic board.

    Last edited by Gregor; 20-03-2014 at 08:24 PM.

  8. #108
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregor View Post
    I have took the good advice off the member's off this forum and I have not change the cables and don't intend to change until they go faulty.
    Very wise.

    I have just rewired my 3020 and it was a real pain to do.



  9. #109
    Gregor's Avatar
    Lives in Belfast, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 4 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 2-3 years. Has a total post count of 65.
    Hi All
    Well its been 6 months since I received the 3040 cnc machine and it has been running between 7 and 10 hours a week cutting mostly hard woods and I did cut one aluminium bracket at very slow speed which turned out pretty good but I will not be cutting anymore aluminium with it as I think the machine would not last to long.I haven't had any faults with the machine and it seems to be running ok ,the cable seems to be ok and so do the bearings, as most people have said if you don't push it hard it should be ok . I have seen some horror stories about these machines but maybe I got lucky or maybe they are pushing there machines to hard. I like to thank everybody for there advice and help and I hope to build a slightly bigger machine which will be able to cut aluminium in the near future probably something like 6040 size But will be late August before I will be able to start it.

  10. #110
    I brought a Chinese machine 2 years ago and I have had no problems with it, even the Driver board TB6560 has been faultless, I did put 3 fans on the driver from day one so that may well of helped,
    I cut hardwoods to.
    The low cost of the machine has enabled me to get on the CNC ladder and I have learned enough to build another from scratch for a friend

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