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Newbie with questions

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by Denis C, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. Denis C

    Denis C Well-Known
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    Good Day All,
    I am a retired guy from Canada and would like to get into the CNC builds. BUT I have a few questions. First I am thinking of a C-Beam XL. That's the easy part. From here I'm stumped. The more I go onto You Tube and these forums I get lost. The mechanical is easy, the electronics are very confusing. I have thought about the following but not sure. Steppers are easy. Next I was thinking of Xpro because it has both the controller and the stepper drivers installed on one board. ( I think). But then I read that Xpro has problems. So I then look at the four stepper drivers DQ542MA. But what do I use for a controller? The power supply is no problem 24V. Then I see something called Chillipr, and get lost all over again.

    I use Sketchup, (Plus I added Sketchucam). I also use Inkscape. I think I would also like to use V Cam Desktop.

    All I need is someone to say "Ok here is what u need". I cannot find anywhere where it says here is what u have to do to get into CNC.

    Thanks in advance,
    Denis C
     
  2. Joe Santarsiero

    Joe Santarsiero OB addict
    Staff Member Moderator Builder

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    Hello Dennis,
    Electronics and software are usually the confusing part.

    Electronics can vary a little depending on the control software, but it's all quite simple.

    Electronics: motors, drivers for powering the motors, a controller to control the drivers, and a PC to control the controller.

    Software: CADesign software to model parts, CAMachine software to program the toolpaths and export Gcode for, control software that talks to the hardware controller.

    As you are already aware there are combinations of software and electronics. Sketchup/ucam is cad and cam software. just need control software. Xpro is a driver and controller package and so on.

    Honestly, I suggest you skip the combination driver and controller packages out there and buy separate robust drivers. Then you'll have every option available for control hardware and software. If you want to start easy then you can buy an arduino and install grbl on it to use as the driver controller. Then use universal gcode sender or other grbl control software(grbl panel) to run the arduino. Ignore chilipepr. You don't need it for anything...

    For cadcam... Sketchucam should work well enough to get you on your feet. Later you can try fusion360 without making a change. There may be some other auxilary programs you'll run from time to time too. I love fengrave personally.

    IF you decided to throw down more dough later on then you could replace the arduino and grbl control software for mach3/4 and a new mach controller or something from planetcnc. There's always free linuxcnc too(same controllers as mach).
    Basically the drivers and power supply will still be there. Get a 48v supply for the dq's if you go that route.

    In the end it's tough to tell someone to go buy a bunch of stuff. Some folks are on tighter budgets, some love the build phase, others like tinkering with different electronics and software, and some just want to get to cutting. I think for a first build separate drivers and an arduino with grbl is a good start. There's plenty to learn about the other control systems/software and that'll be easier to pick up on after you've had your feet wet for a little while.

    Joe
     
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  3. Denis C

    Denis C Well-Known
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    Thanks Joe, this sort of helps a little. I think if I do go for a CNC I will start with the DQ542MA drivers for sure. Not sure why to go for a 48V power supply? Everywhere I look they say 24V.

    Again, thanks for the reply.
    Denis
     
  4. GrayUK

    GrayUK Openbuilds Team Elder
    Staff Member Moderator Builder

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    There are many occasions, where you could find yourself short, when it comes to voltage, :banghead:
    but not many times where you have too much! :)
     
  5. Denis C

    Denis C Well-Known
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    Thanks GrayUK

    Got it. I see what you mean.

    Denis
     
    GrayUK likes this.
  6. ChadRat6458

    ChadRat6458 Journeyman
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    I am in the I like to cut group. I tried the built in drivers and grbl at first. It did not perform like I wanted it to. I got the individual drivers and a c10 break out board. I installed linuxCNC on an old pc desktop. This set up works great for me. I am building a new CNC machine. I am using Mesa 7I76-5I25 PLUG-N-GO KIT cards.
     
  7. Denis C

    Denis C Well-Known
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    Thanks ChadRat6458,

    I will definitely go with the separate drivers. I have that straitened out. Now for the controller, still not sure, but i'll get there.

    Thanks Again,
    Denis
     

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