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  1. #11
    GRBL is a very interesting program which is "logically" similar to a USB motion controller - you send it Gcode and it generates pulses and feeds back a load of control info for example the current axes positions, status etc. Works on basic Arduino but can work better on higher spec versions. There's also something optimised for lathes. I use grbl for driving my big mill's X axis and a rotary axis though I use Mach3 on a dedicated smaller CNC mill. There are limitations, I don't think all gcodes are supported, and last time I looked I don't think backlash compensation is either.

    The snag with grbl is that it needs a front end to provide a UI, load and stream gcode and all the stuff that we are familiar with from Mach 3/4. It would be great if there was a Mach plugin for grbl but since the latter is open source maybe NFS don't want to open their API spec. There are various front ends - I use something called grbl controller that runs on my phone with a Bluetooth connection but it's very basic though I can jog the machine and run gcode programs. There are others but to me they looked more like programmers' ideas of CNC rather than machinists' - I may be doing them a disservice.

  2. #12
    ok so think the time has come....

    GRBL looks like a cheap option but if I am going to start playing around with arduino or ESP then LinuxCNC would seem like the better option and Mesa controllers are an interesting option comparing cost of controllers and isolated breakout boards the Mesa cards are similar in cost.

    I am currently downloading the LinuxCNC live iso and will spend today having a look at how much fun its going to be....

    I don't know how this will go and looking at the LinuxCNC forum and WIKI I am not confident but its only fair to give it a go.

    wish me luck lol

  3. #13
    Getting the Mesa you want in the UK will probably be tricky or end up with a heafty import charge.
    See how you get on with Linux, you want to be really sure it's for you before committing. I'd want the 7I80HD I believe.

    I must sdmit, I have not tried using Mach3 turn with my UC300eth. I use the ucbb with mine on ports 1&2 for all the axis signalling.
    Now, for the input ports however. I use these for signalling:
    My controls use 24v for relays, sensors, servo, etc.
    A 24vin>5vout, 24 channel, npn, plugged in to the inputs on ports 4&5.
    You can also opt for a 5vin>24vout 8 channel version to use on the outputs of ports 4&5 if wanted.
    There are plenty of different types of these plc boards around fairly cheap.
    I'm saving port3 for a high speed version later on.

  4. #14
    More great info - thank you

    well I have the LinuxCNC CD burned and been into the live version to check latency which seems ok. time to swap HDD and do an install and see how it works....

    as I have both a lathe and mill to control UCCNC not having a turn component is a bit of a showstopper for me. I know its in the works but I also appreciate there is no timeline and it may never happen so for now it looks like Mach3 or LinuxCNC are the options - I would rather spend the time familiarising on a single control option rather than using 2 different ones as the potential for human error switching between them is high - its easy to forget lol

    while I like the comfy Windows environment its not like this PC will be doing anything other than machine control so Linux may not be so bad...

    getting any motion control in the UK seems to be difficult and while I have licenced Mach3 it came with the mill so its not like I have invested in it and I have to learn it as well.

    I probably have a few weeks of messing around to figure things out before I make the purchase so any and all feedback is great. so many options!

  5. #15
    Lol ok i forgot how much fun Linux can be...

    All day and while i have installed many versions i still cant even get a wifi to connect.

    3 usb adapters and a cardbus and rhe cardbus came closest but still wont connect.

    If i cant even get wifi to work what hope is there for machine control lmao

  6. #16
    I have a lathe and mill running with two mach3 profiles on the same Win10 PC, both driven by UC100 controllers over usb. Try cnc4you.co.uk for cncdrive stuff in the UK.

  7. #17
    Hi John, thank you for that.

    1 PC to many machines Is common and works fine. what I am considering is

    1 PC - 1 motion controller - 2 machines

    I am sure that I have read about somebody doing this with parallel port switchboxes but I think with the UC300ETH there are plenty of connections to do this without any extra switching.

    here lies the next problem cnc4you don't sell the UC300 only the 100 and 400

    Jazzycnc sell it but only as a kit with the UCBB which adds a lot to the cost he also is out of stock or I would have bought one already lol

    StoneyCNC sell it but postage and duty fees add to it a lot

    though in fairness I really don't like that cnc4you prices are ex-VAT which should get them a slap these days as there is nothing to indicate that until the end of the checkout process which puts them at a similar cost Stoney even with the high delivery!

    I have a new wifi dongle arriving today to continue my investigations into LinuxCNC but if it continues like this its not going to be an option..... anyone know if the UC cards could be used with LinuxCNC? I doubt it but I don't know how much use paying with Linux offline will be. I think I really need to try to configure the machine in it but I wont be buying hardware without testing so catch 22

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnHaine View Post
    I have a lathe and mill running with two mach3 profiles on the same Win10 PC, both driven by UC100 controllers over usb. Try cnc4you.co.uk for cncdrive stuff in the UK.
    They only carry the UC100 and UC400eth.

    I went direct to cncdrive. Cost me a bit to import but... If you catch it when there's an offer on, and you want to get a fair few bits n bobs. It's worth the extra to get what you want.
    If I did it again I'd get the UC300/UB1 from cncroom and then some cheap isolation units frim ChinChin for ports 4&5.

    Play with all the software types first, see what you like, go from there.

  9. #19
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 2 Days Ago Forum Superstar, has done so much to help others, they deserve a medal. Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 2,822. Received thanks 346 times, giving thanks to others 8 times.
    Personally, I'd fit two separate controllers.
    The complexity of having two machines wired into the same controller is just a headache waiting to happen.

    As somebody who has retrofitted lathes and a milling machine, controller choice is more limited.
    Last figures I seen, turn applications made up less than 10% of total user base, and I'd hazard to guess that has shrunk even further since I seen that figure, so it's not a high priority for developers.

    If you really want to keep the same software for both, you're probably looking at Mach 3 or 4, LinuxCNC, Dynomotion KMotionCNC, or Centroid (there may be more, but those are the ones I know will support turning).

    However my recommendation for a lathe now, is to go for a standalone Chinese controller, unless you really need conversational programming.
    For a couple hundred pound, you can get a pretty good controller, without the expense of a PC/motion controller.

    Milling machine, it's very much user preference.
    I'd personally avoid the standalone Chinese controllers, as they are pretty limited memory wise (milling programs can run to many MBs - lathes you're lucky if you get to 10s of KBs, so can quickly run out of memory).
    Again I'd consider if you need conversational. Conversational is good if you want to do a quick job like drill some holes, mill something flat, but if you're doing anything more complex, I find it far easier to just design the part in CAD/CAM.
    Not having conversational, also opens up a lot more options for controllers/software.
    Avoiding the rubbish customer service from AluminiumWarehouse since July '13.

  10. #20
    Most of the posts are shooting past the target, ime ..

    It is very very complex to have an actual usable cnc controller ..
    and they all have lots of shortcomings independent of cost.
    The errors vary with mill and lathe.

    Endless issues with front back toolposts, metric-inch, offsets here and there, macros ..
    Lathe threading properly is very very difficult.
    After about 2000 hours of work and use and 8000 in kit .. and 4 different solutions discarded as not working ...
    (stepperworld-kit drivers-gecko 201s, 203s, 320s, and pp, warp9 ss, centipede, cslabs (using))

    The chinese cheap controllers seem to work quite well for mill stuff and for routers.

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