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  1. #1
    I am looking at the various options of control for my CNC mill, and LinuxCNC looks very appealing, especially as it has feedback back to the main processor, which I believe gives a true closed loop control system.

    I have been looking at MESA boards, and a few other sites on LinuxCNC.

    Are there any guides, or can someone give advice as to what I actual require to run LinuxCNC? For example a diagram with the various MESA board for example showing what connects to what.

    I see there is a lot more setting up required for LinuxCNC, is this at an in-depth computing level (I'm an engineer!!) or is this more configuring inputs/outputs?

    I see there are chinese ethernet boards available

    Are these any good?

    Is setting up LinuxCNC more "plug and play" now? Not as easy as MACH3, but I see there are wizards for setting up things

    Many thanks

  2. #2
    Neale's Avatar
    Lives in Plymouth, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 20 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.
    I can't tell you anything about using external motion controllers with LinuxCNC as I use it via a parallel port (in fact, an add-on PCI card in my case as my motherboard has no native parallel port, like many modern motherboards). However, the motherboard is a fairly basic AMD-based board which works well, within the limits demanded by my fairly ratty CNC router. Installing L-CNC is, in practice, no more difficult than installing Mach3, in my opinion. Find the web site, follow the instructions, and you will have a working L-CNC system. Basically, you download the system image (using any old PC), write it to a memory stick, take that to your target machine, and boot from it. When it's finished, you'll have a working L-CNC system. As you say, there are wizards for configuring the software for a particular machine and from reading this forum, I would say that there are more problems with understanding how your machine is wired and connected, and things like "steps per unit", than there are with understanding the software and configuring it. From this perspective, I don't think that there is much difference between Mach3 and L-CNC.

    Sorry I can't help you with comments about external motion control boards and L-CNC; when I first started using it around 3-4 years ago, I don't think that these existed apart from the MESA cards, and they looked complicated and expensive. I haven't really bothered to look since.

    So, I don't believe that L-CNC does need particular in-depth computing skills as long as you aren't using the same machine for other software. And you shouldn't do that (or, at least, not at the same time as you are CNC machining! Although I do admit that I might have, say, an MP3 player application running at the same time as I'm using the router and never seen problems with it. But don't tell anyone that I said so or half the membership of this forum will publicly flay me alive...)

  3. #3
    Beone's Avatar
    Lives in Hickory, United States. Last Activity: 11 Hours Ago Has been a member for 2-3 years. Has a total post count of 11. Received thanks 1 times, giving thanks to others 0 times.
    +1 to what Neale said. Most any old PC less than 10 or 15 years old will work fine. I have an old PC with M3 and xylotex boad on my router and an old PC with Lcnc and a G540 on my small mill. The Lcnc combo is much snappier. Configuration not much harder or different than M3. My biggest problem was in trying to get the Lcnc to see .tap file extensions. On the Lcnc box I can be running the Lcnc and designing in Vcarve running under vine and have other things up and running. I can't do that with M3 running on windows. That machine is M3 only.

  4. #4
    I have been looking at MESA boards, and a few other sites on LinuxCNC.
    You need to ask the questions on the Linuxcnc site re the Ethernet boards.
    Here is the manual for the 5i25 and the link to the mesa if you are using step/dir then the popular one is 7i76 the go to guy on the liniux forum is PCW or andypugh.
    if you go with the 5i25 and 7i76 combi then buy them together as the firmware will already be set up in the 5i25 you can also buy the mesa stuff in Europe here
    Last edited by Clive S; 25-11-2015 at 05:28 PM.

  5. #5
    First, read all what you want to know on There are many people, they can help you, the owner of Mesa as well as some ingenieurs who use this parts in their application.
    You need a PC with Intel or AMD core not really big performance, but depends from the motion card, it should have a latency, that you can test with a SW that is part of the program.
    While the test is running, you should use some processer relative tasks, view some movies, run 3D-Cad or similiar programs, copy bigfiles.
    Than you can see, if your PC is good enough for LCNC.

  6. #6
    I'd be looking at buying a PC to install into the machine just to run Linuxcnc, nothing else.

    So any recommendations, or where I can find PC recommendations would be welcomed

  7. #7
    What are you want with PC a complete PC or only a motherboard. If you want a complete PC then you can use nearly any model from the last 3 years, they all should be fast enough for this purpose.
    If you want a motherboard, then a fanless board with standard Ramboards is good. The AsrockASR Q1900B-ITX or any similiar board is more than enough. A atom board with 2*1,86GHz is good as well. If you prefer AMD, than thats no problem, the linux version you need can run on both platforms.

  8. #8
    z3t4's Avatar
    Lives in Manchester, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 2 Days Ago Has been a member for 6-7 years. Has a total post count of 28.
    Quote Originally Posted by gatesy View Post
    ... or where I can find PC recommendations ...
    Hi Gatesy

    Essentially you should be looking for a PC or motherboard with small latency and jitter numbers.
    uli12us has given you some answers, but have a look here and at part I of the FAQ ('The Latency Problem') for some of the working out.

    Last edited by z3t4; 27-11-2015 at 07:38 PM.


  9. #9
    I was looking at something along these lines, a fan less industrial PC

    Ok thanks will have a look

  10. #10
    Found this one

    Single core processor, but it looks like they can be built to what spec you want

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