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  1. #1
    so as I begin my journey into CNC I am working through many ups and downs....

    I now have both a lathe and mill however I also struck a PC disaster with the mill.

    Lathe is a Denford Starturn 8 unconverted running Denford DOS software - likely upgrade in the near future

    Mill is a Denford Triac already converted to Mach3 with a dual parallel port connection to XP PC.

    having got the Mill up and running almost immediately the PC died on me so I am looking for options

    I have a Panasonic toughbook that I intent to be dedicated to CNC and a licenced copy of Mach3 on it

    it seems pointless if not impossible to try to add parallel ports to the laptop

    as I have detail of the parallel pinouts for the mill and a working machine profile in Mach3 it seems like this should be a fairly simple task - or that's my theory anyway..... time will tell

    as both machines use the same electronics I was planning to use the conversion on the mill as a template to convert the lathe which should make that process easier when the time comes.

    but given the old PC has died on me it looks like I need to move up the process of adding a motion controller to the mill rather than just using it as is.

    looking around the UC300ETH seems like a good card for my purposes and has a Mach3 plugin as well as the option to use UCCNC which many seem to like.

    I also find myself having the crazy thought that given the number of inputs, outputs and axis on the UC300 could I connect both machines with different machine profiles for each? I don't see myself with any need to run both machines together so while this is a bit of a mad idea it may not be impossible.

    any advice for a newb? any other or better options?

  2. #2
    The UC300eth is a cracking controller.
    If you only need 2* p-port connections you could also go the UC400eth route.

  3. #3
    ahh nice I hadn't seen the UC400eth thank you

    given UCCNC licencing is per controller I would be interested to know if my thoughts of one controller for both machines would even be possible though I understand that UCCNC does not yet have a turn component so I will be continuing with Mach3 for now and I have read mixed reports about both Mach3 turn and Mach3 compatibility with the UC300

    it is a daunting subject that's for sure!

  4. #4
    just to clarify my crazy thought since the UC300eth has 6 axis and a ton of IO in theory this is plenty to set up 3 axis for the mill plus IO and 2 axis for the lathe plus IO

    my thinking is then I can set up separate machine profiles in Mach and either use one or the other.

    while I cant think of any reason this shouldn't work its certainly not a standard use case that the manufacturer will have considered so I wouldn't be surprised if it wont work that way but its an interesting thought and given the small price difference between the UC300 and UC400 might be worth trying

  5. #5
    I think Dean (Jazzcnc) www.jazzcnc.co.uk

    might have those controllers disclaimer I have never used one.
    The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

  6. #6
    Thanks Clive, Dean is a likely supplier if I do go for the UC300 hopefully he will spot this and comment as from reading this forum he has a wealth of knowledge and his posts have been a huge help getting me where I am with this.

    Tomorrow is a day of testing as although the PC has died I want to be certain it wasn't a result of something going wrong in the machine and sending a death ray back through the parallel ports. first check is voltages on all pins then manually introducing signals to test all the axis function correctly. as long as this all tests ok then hopefully adding the motion control will be a fairly straightforward process.

    while I am fairly sure the PC's death is just bad luck I want to be sure before adding anything new just in case

  7. #7
    So testing seems ok. All the axis work although i seem to have a 15vac on 4 pins that i need to track down as it may just be an induced voltace in the lines but its a concern ��

  8. Another option would be to use GRBL on an Arduino or better an ESP32 then you can send Gcode down a USB cable. GRBL ingests G code and spews out pulse and direction pulses to a motor driver. It lives happily on modern computers.

  9. #9
    Something to look at. I am familiar with esp32 as i use them for home automation but not seen much about grbl. Will have a look

  10. #10
    so I have been considering Deans package of the UC300ETH and UCBB1 but then realising that I would need a second breakout I started further reading and found the UB1 from cncroom.com and it looks far better suited for what I am thinking...... but would probably also need the UD1-U good grief it gets expensive fast lol

    I know Dean is really busy but he was kind enough to send a fast response to my email and is out of stock on the UC300 for now.

    I wonder if I am over thinking things. while isolating all the connections through the breakout is a good idea is it really needed with the ethernet connection? I find myself wondering at the sense in protecting a motion controller with a breakout board that costs more than the motion controller.

    one of the joys of being in the UK is nothing is easily available so far to much time to contemplate options especially as i want the mill back up and running yesterday.

    on with the research...

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