Someone gave me a CNC machine

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11 May 2022 20:36 - 11 May 2022 20:37 #242673 by zogthegreat
Hi everyone!

Someone gave me a CNC machine, I'm hoping that it can be resurrected. 




It has a controller box with what looks like a parallel port to connect the motors and a Pentium 3 laptop. 

I want to replace the controller with something more modern, this way I can replace the P3 laptop, because, well it's a P3 laptop, who knows when it's going to die. I have a spare Intel NUC and a Dell Optiplex Micro that would work nicely, I think.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks!

zog
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Last edit: 11 May 2022 20:37 by zogthegreat.

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11 May 2022 21:42 #242677 by robertspark
looks like you probably need at least 1 stepper motor.

It I were you I would replace all three as newer stepper motors tend to be better than old (in my opinion) because the magnets available are better and the motors can be made and designed better (you will find newer motors have higher specs than older stepper motors)

Also some of them are 3 phase.... (or more) where as the new ones tend to be 2 phase and most drives I've seen are 2 phase and both motors and drives are relatively cheap due to every man his dog having a cnc these days.

You could set it up to run off a parrallel port, that would be your cheapest (nearst zero) cost option. As you could probably get an old PC with a parrallel port from somewhere.

However.... new linuxcnc users don't seem to have a nice experiance of using the parallel port as it takes a bit for them to get their heat into linux + linuxcnc + the RTAI kernel.

First off I've never installed a parallel port setup so am probably not your best person of advice.... however its best to read the forum posts from new users just trying to set something up (usually on the way too cheap side) and then having a headache.

IF you want a "newer" PC (laptops are NOT recommended with linuxcnc) then get one with an ethernet port and buy a mesa card (7i92 / 7i98 / 7i96 / 7i76E {all subject to availability at present.... chip shortage)..... and then either use the breakout board options of the mesa card (7i96 / 7i76e) or get yourself a cheap breakout board.
store.mesanet.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=83_85

You could probably just buy a Gecko G540 as a package.... and plug it straight into the 7i92 / 7i98 via and IDC >> DB25 LPT lead)
It will provide you with 4x stepper motor drives in a box.... all packaged and a few IO's

www.geckodrive.com/g540-4-axis-digital-stepper-drive.html


and alternative of that is the leadshine MX4660
leadshineusa.com/UploadFile/Down/MX4660d_V1.1.pdf

Basically it all depends how "neat and packaged" you want it + what you can afford as you can buy cheaper individual drives, put them in a control box and wire everything up

You also have a drive box in front of you.... you should open it up as it may have some quality drives in it that you could use.
The following user(s) said Thank You: frede7

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11 May 2022 21:47 #242678 by robertspark
store.mesanet.com/index.php?route=produc...83_85&product_id=306

they are available and would give you options for which lead to use.

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11 May 2022 22:18 #242683 by andypugh

However.... new linuxcnc users don't seem to have a nice experiance of using the parallel port as it takes a bit for them to get their heat into linux + linuxcnc + the RTAI kernel.
 

You don't need to use the RTAI kernel with a parallel port, it works fine with the preempt-rt kernel that is on the install CD too. 

I have never tried these, but the later versions apparently have good latency. This one seems to have a parallel port, though. 

www.ebay.com/itm/384869509490

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11 May 2022 22:32 #242686 by zogthegreat
Hi @robertspark, thanks for the links. I actually have a HP T620 Plus sitting in a box that has similar specs:

www.ebay.com/itm/224923970159?hash=item3...f:g:5cIAAOSwopNiTYB9

I'll dig that out and see if I can get this thing working "as is". I really don't want to put money into it, got enough projects going right now.

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11 May 2022 23:00 #242689 by tommylight
You will need a "Centronics" printer cable for parallel port, download and install OR just boot from USB as Live, make a quick config and enjoy watching the machine move.
Later you can plop as much as you want or can on it, but first get it running.
Some pictures of the control box, preferably with the lid removed, should help figuring out what drives it uses, also motors if they have any label. Motors do look like old 5 phase steppers....
Link to Wheezy, again, it can boot and run the machine without installing it for testing:
http://www.linuxcnc.org/iso/linuxcnc-2.7.14-wheezy.iso

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