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BLACKBOX Motion Control System

Discussion in 'Controller Boards' started by Mark Carew, May 19, 2018.

  1. Mark Carew

    Mark Carew OpenBuilds Team
    Staff Member Moderator Resident Builder Project Maker Builder

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    BlackBox_motion control system - leAk -.jpg

    ... place holder for OpenBuilds BlackBox ...

    Expect more news and updates to be posted here as we move forward.

    With new tech comes exciting new prospects and goals:

    • An Ecosystem, not just a product: The new system evolved around a set of subsystems that cover more than just control and also more than just CNC type applications (more about this later). The Ecosystem was planned from the very start to make it super easy, almost plug-and-play for most users, thereby entry for new users is significantly improved. The new ecosystem had to cater to the hackers’ needs too so we made sure to include the interests of the hackers-by-heart! (; No crimping required which is going to make everyone happy!

    • Cover the use case of 99% of our users: From our own experiences and through many discussions and support requests, we had clear knowledge of EXACTLY what users need! We upgraded to 4 super powerful smart axes onboard (with expansion headers for a future upgrade) and we made sure to include all the IO you will ever need.

    • Mounting: Probably half of our energy went into ensuring that this system is going to be a dream to mount onto your machine.
    • V-Slot Linear Rail compatible mounting patterns
    • Clearly and neatly labelled indicator LEDs so you never have to guess again
    • Meticulous planning for where your hands need access, which buttons and switches needs to be within easy reach and all the way down to planning for which side motor wiring exits versus where USB enters to eliminate as much inconvenience in wiring your machines as we can.
    • Logical wiring bundles at last!
    • Also, we made sure its Enclosed: No more bare-boards exposed to the elements! Because it has to look great too! This is one sexy controller!

    • Technology: Pushing the envelope of newly available cutting-edge technologies as far as possible, allows us to provide a tomorrow’s controller, today!

    • Easy! Choice! Freedom! - We also went over and over the decision of which platform/firmware to support. We really wanted to make sure to offer users choices when it comes to firmware without compromising ease of use and stability. You won’t be locked into a single firmware!

    • Bullet-proofing: Testing included doing things to the beta controllers, that should probably be considered controller-abuse but we had to make sure it would never let you down!


    What’s the ETA? – At this point we have been though many many many iterations (pics to come) and countless prototypes testing and experimenting with brand new concepts that are ground breaking in this field. Although there is no exact ETA as of yet, we can say that we are in the final prototyping stage!


    Please know we are working hard and we are super excited to get these into your hands as soon as possible!
     
  2. Kyo

    Kyo Master
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    This is going to be one sweet motion control solution. We don't even have specs yet and I am still excited :thumbsup:

    I like the sound of that, Would hoping for linuxcnc support be to much haha :D
     
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  3. NthAxisWorkshop

    NthAxisWorkshop Well-Known
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    Hello OB team! Thanks for the road map. Now that goals have been identified, how about a question and answer? O.k. Here are questions that maybe you all can answer without giving too much away.

    1. Will the software component of this "ecosystem" run on conventional hardware? If it's something like Easel, using JAVA and has JSON to hardware hooks, will network performance factor too? Or is the solution locally hosted? Is it OS independent or will we be locked into Win/Mac/Linux?
    2. RS232 / usb serial uart? Could the interface be modular? Why not ethernet? Wifi, Bluetooth, USB v3.1 with power?
    3. If it's built on a flexible, firmware independent, open platform, could be know which so we can begin building configuration files for it? If it's a proprietary one, maybe a hint to the scripting / programming language?
    4. Lastly, how much? Ball park figures fine.

    Thanks again for all of your hard work and expertise. Looking forward to seeing it in action.
     
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  4. kelvin sudlow

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    look forward to seeing and hearing more about this
    thanks
     
  5. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
    Staff Member Moderator Resident Builder Project Maker Contest Winner! Builder

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    Hey guys.

    I'll try my best to answer without being too specific, but here's a little bit more of the info i can let out

    1+2. Conventional PC hardware (or SBC). Mac, Linux, Windows. USB -> Uart was chosen as the primary interface (Most friendly option to new users - built in drivers for all platforms, easiest configuration, etc), with expansion provided for additional solutions down the line (already in the pipeline). We are working on our own host software, but it is not a proprietary interface, so you are also free to use other applications if you choose (;
    3. It's powered by an NXP Cortex M3 - and supported by Smoothieware, Grbl, and Marlin 2.0. Our firmware devs are stuck into ensuring we provide builds for all 3 so you are not locked into a flavour you don't like.


    Although only 4 axes are provisioned on-board, there are dedicated Expansion ports that will allow connecting additional drivers - so you will be able to run up to 6 Axes (Under Smoothieware, support for A,B,C Axes under Grbl is unlikely, and Unknown under Marlin 2.0 at this time. Using the expansion ports for additional extruders will be supported (Smoothieware and Marlin 2.0), the expansion headers include signals for additional thermistor, mosfet and drivers too.)

    Key here is that we spent a LOT of time drilling down features, playing the pros/cons game till we were blue in the face, to make sure that what is onboard, is exactly what 99% of our userbase needs. But at the same time, as hackers-by-heart we also made very sure that the platform doesn't restrict those 1% of users that want to do cool things either!
     
  6. NthAxisWorkshop

    NthAxisWorkshop Well-Known
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    Thanks Peter! I've been looking into Smoothie for a bit now, but am gonna wait for your hardware. Kudos for sticking with an open platform! I'm sold. Studying up!
     
  7. zobo1942

    zobo1942 New
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    Is there any chance this could be compatible with DragonFrame software, using the in-application motion control software?
     
    MaryD likes this.
  8. Hal Jackson

    Hal Jackson Well-Known
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    My machine is still waiting and Jack and I are speechless!...But we’re excited!
     

    Attached Files:

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  9. Szymon L

    Szymon L New
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    Looking forward to.. :)
     
  10. Rob Shaver

    Rob Shaver Well-Known
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    I'm not that familiar with CNC hardware/software, but I am interested. I do have experience with electronic communication standards, though. Standards like the OSI model with seven layers, which look like this:
    The idea is that each level can changed out but the layer above and the layer below will not require change.

    For example, layer one, the physical layer would consist of a set of specifications to support various drive electronics. Control for motors, limit detectors, heaters, heat sensors, position encoders, etc. If you wanted to build a machine that had stepper motors then you have one or more boards with electronic driver circuits that could drive such motors. It would likely need inputs for limit switches for each axis also.

    If you wanted to build a machine with closed loop servos then you would need one or more boards with drivers suitable for driving servos and inputs for position encoders.

    Having written this much, I'm thinking that this level of modularity might not be easy to achieve. However, I'm hoping that you are keeping some form of modularity in mind.

    Are you building electronic drivers only? Since you mention "4 super powerful smart axes onboard", does this mean I can build a 3-axis machine and give it G-code to execute a 3-D path accurately?

    Well, I guess I'm just looking for more info ... and I guess it will come.

    I'm waiting with worm-on-tongue (baited breath :) Cheers
     
  11. dennisn8tkk

    dennisn8tkk Well-Known
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    Yes !!!!! Can NOT wait...... Great job
     
  12. NthAxisWorkshop

    NthAxisWorkshop Well-Known
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    Ok. Sorry about that guys, but I think this forum thread should be for members with legitimate questions and posts about the topic, not rants or flames or spamming.
     
  13. owenv

    owenv New
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    Wow,

    This looks like a huge project and very exciting.

    Will users be involved in any of the processess.

    Dont shoot me Im new to this group.


    Regards
     
    Mark Carew likes this.
  14. NthAxisWorkshop

    NthAxisWorkshop Well-Known
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    Ok. Apologies. Usually, though, adhering to good forum practice, you present a question or an answer for a question in a post. Bashing the forum thread or host normally doesn't qualify. Wrong forum.
     
  15. Kevin Kuehn

    Kevin Kuehn Well-Known
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    I think our "rant" was completely justified and added to the discussion. That's what a forum is for, its not to just stack up the hype, we are allowed to criticize it.
     
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  16. NthAxisWorkshop

    NthAxisWorkshop Well-Known
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    Ok. You can rant. You can voice your opinion on anything you want. Start another thread, post a link to this one. It could be I'm the only poster who's gotten a satisfactory answer to my questions.
     
  17. Luciano Burtini

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    Is this what trump means by "fake news"? I got all excited about - nothing? I think.
     
  18. Bob K

    Bob K Journeyman
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    NXP Cortex M3

    I hope it's not one of the LPC176x processors. They're OK for minimal systems. They just don't have enough I/O pins once you start getting into 6 stepper motor systems or SPI/I2C based peripherals. Boards like Smoothie and Re-ARM had to make compromises which results in "fun" if you stray from the base hardware/peripheral configuration.

    I personally like the LPC177x series. More I/O pins and similar enough to the LPC176x series that most LPC176x software can just be dropped on it.

    ----

    I'm one of the Marlin developers. I can help with bring up if wanted.
     
  19. Bob K

    Bob K Journeyman
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    If it's not too late, please attach the endstops to pins that have pin change interrupt capabilities. This can relieve the CPU of having to poll the endstops. Most of the LP176x boards currently use pins without that capability.
     
  20. Bob K

    Bob K Journeyman
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    Yet another item from my wish list …

    It would be nice if the standard 10 pin debug header footprint is on the final board. A J-Link is a wonderful tool when investigating obscure problems.
     
  21. David Sandanger

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    Why not team up with Hind Technology and their MASSO controller? No PC required, 5 axis control, easy setup, and what ever input/output ports you need.
     
  22. GinoTheCop

    GinoTheCop Master
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    Fantastic news..

    Just an idea, almost everybody has an iPad or similar tablet laying around with so many mounting options on the market. It would be sweet to be able to use one as the screen for BlackBox. A USB port to power the tablet and an Android/iOS compatible app would be simply perfect in my humble opinion.

    Good Luck!
     
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  23. Bob K

    Bob K Journeyman
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    Very, very nice but $400 USD
     
  24. Tracy Ranson

    Tracy Ranson Journeyman
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    I might purchase one but I do not care too much for the limitations of GRBL and other similar limited software. I prefer the more advanced software such as Mach3 and Linuxcnc, I purchased 6 N.O.S. IM483 industrial grade drivers for less than $150 just so that I could use the better software. If you can make the device compatible with what I like to use then perhaps I will put the controller on my wish list. If you need a beta tester I am willing to test it. I have a fast growing Facebook group with more than 7000 members who would be interested in something like this. Send me a message if you need a tester with a bunch of followers.
     
    Mark Carew likes this.
  25. NthAxisWorkshop

    NthAxisWorkshop Well-Known
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    I'm interested in the tablet / pendant as well. One that might incoporate touch x/y zeroing and park presets would be cool.
     
    Mark Carew likes this.
  26. MaryD

    MaryD OpenBuilds Team
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    It’s confirmed! Those who suggested BLACKBOX (or similar) will also be receiving an OpenBuilds Black Box Motion Controller when available!


    Congratulations! We will be in touch to confirm details when the shipping time approaches.


    Black Box @Scott H.

    BlackBox @GingerBeard

    BlackBoxCNC @Ariel Yahni

    The Black Box @Brandoneous

    THE BLACK BOX @PAULE

    OpenBuilds BlackBox @James Archer

    OpenBuilds BlackBox Controller @mytechno3d

    The Big Black Box and The Big Black Control Box @Adrian West

    Black Box HPG CNC Conroller @momodrus


    If I somehow missed you, please drop me a pm using that little envelope icon in the upper right hand corner of your screen.
     
  27. GrayUK

    GrayUK The Secret of Life is ..... Choice!
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    You can always rely on Openbuilds to do the Right Thing!! :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
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  28. James Archer

    James Archer Well-Known
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    I haven't logged into OpenBuilds for a long time and only just read this message. I guess it it too late for me to revive my Black Box Motion Controller now?
     
  29. MaryD

    MaryD OpenBuilds Team
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    James, you will be among the very 1st to receive the new BlackBox controller...no ETA at this time but as soon as it's available, we will email you.
     
    Kyo and GrayUK like this.
  30. jukeman60

    jukeman60 Veteran
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    Hi all
    any tidbits for us it's getting quiet here....I here cricket's.....pictures, nuts, bolts, lights????
    thanks
     

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