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SmoothieBoard vs. TinyG for CNC milling

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by Calamari, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. Calamari

    Calamari Well-Known
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    Need a controller / CAM solution for my new Ooznest Ox...


    Just building my first CNC machine an Ooznest Ox (http://www.openbuilds.com/builds/first-ooznest-ox.2208/) to mill carbon fiber, aluminium & breadboards! :)

    After much research (my head really hurts now) I'm more confused than ever! I could use some experienced advice, so here I am... :)

    I've considered using an arduino shield (have lots of arduinos laying around) but they seem pretty rudimentary...

    I've looked at a number of solutions and think I've narrowed it down to two...

    The SmoothieBoard & the TinyG

    Here's where I stand:

    SmoothieBoard (http://smoothieware.org/smoothieboard):

    Plus:
    - The commitment to open source
    - The extensibility (I'd like to do traditional CNC cutting then maybe pick & place SMD later on - maybe laser too...)
    - Expansion possibilities (both hardware and software)
    - Connectivity options
    - Up to 5 channel driving
    - The well thought out system overall

    Minus:
    - Focus seems to be 3D printers
    - Poor support (I've had a couple poor pre-sale experiences already)
    - Anemic (at least from what I can gather) Allegro A4982 stepper drivers soldered on the board (can only supply 2A) which works great for fairly small machines & 3D printers, for larger nema23 CNC machines not so much... :(


    TinyG (https://github.com/synthetos/TinyG/wiki):

    Plus:
    - Broad user base
    - Lots of resources and seemingly more industry & user support
    - 6 full axis supported

    Minus:
    - Not as extensible
    - Not 100% open source

    Thoughts / experiences you guys have would be really welcome!

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Charlie_M

    Charlie_M Well-Known
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    Calamari likes this.
  3. Dave Landry

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    Wow - that seems like a nice bundle....

    I have a smoothie, it runs my current (non OX) CNC but it is a little underpowered and can be fussy at times. I am shopping for driver boards for each axis with the hope of milling my own plates for an OX build

     
  4. Calamari

    Calamari Well-Known
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    Hey Charlie, that's a great system and price too!

    I'm looking for a 4 channel solution (I have two Nema23s slaved on the Y - gantry axis) that means adding another driver (not really a bit deal) and figuring out how to slave the "A" or "T" axes (probably fairly easy) and go from there...

    Do you know how the software side with the PiBot?

    Dave:

    I SOOO wanted to fall in love with the SmoothieBoard, looked at it from every angle... LOVE the concept, how open and extensible it is, having said that, it's clear that the project, even though purported to be multi-platform and may still get there, is obviously very 3D printer centric at the moment and with the anemic Allegro A4982 drivers it unsuitable for an OX sized project. If they sold a board without the drivers and supplied connectors for external drivers I would be right in for one! I'm still going to purchase a bare board and possibly populate it later on without drivers and see if we can make something work there...

    It looks like the TinyG is what I'm going to go with for now, mostly for the simplicity and wide support - I'll definitely keep an eye on the PiBot and SmoothieBoard for the future though...

    Thanks for the input gentlemen!

    Appreciate it!
     
  5. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    Really advise against this kit, Its 4.5a drivers dont power nema 23's. Found i lost steps under cutting loads. Probably due to actual current output is probably only 2a. when i raised this with pibot they had no evidence to support thier claims of 4.5a and stated that they will not run all nema 23's so basically only the 2a versions. The breakout board linked with thier non microstepping drivers gave constant chatter and jerky movement. Really i could only see this kit working for a nema 17 3d printing setup. Not for cnc.
     
    Synths and Mark Carew like this.
  6. arthur wolf

    arthur wolf Well-Known
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    Hey there !

    Arthur from the Smoothie project here.

    It's most definitely not. The first machine it ever ran was a laser cutter, then came CNC routers, and then only long later, came 3D printers.

    The motion control part of the code is a fork of GRBL's which is CNC-centric, instead of Marlin or one of the other 3D-printer centric firmwares.

    There are plenty of people using Smoothie in CNC routers ( including big ones ) with no problem.

    We are also working on supporting RS485 control of spindles, and several other CNC-centric features, which we'll be the first ones to support.

    Could you tell me more about that ? This is very very surprising, and doesn't match with what users usually report.

    You can contact me directly for support at [email protected] ( my email is all over the website ).

    We also have what is probably the best documentation around for an open-source CNC controller : smoothieware.org , we put a lot of effort into it.

    Also, there is a -huge- community, more active than any you'll find anywhere else ( possibly because the project joins together cnc/laser/3D-printer users ) : very active forums and mailing lists, a 100-strong IRC channel ( #smoothieware @ irc.freenode.net ).

    It'd be surprised if you could find another project that has better overall support.

    It's to be noted that due to the large heat-sinking surface on the board, the drivers *will* go up to 2A, which is not the case of some other boards, which will overheat bellow their rated current. And 2A is enough for the smaller models in the NEMA23 family. We have people running NEMA23 shapeokos, OXes and chinese machines directly with Smoothie, they just don't get full torque/speed out of their machine ( which is fine for some uses ).

    If you want to get full usage of your motors, just use external drivers : Smoothieboard has connectors for external drivers, and chinese microstepping drivers of good quality are fairly cheap.

    You'll be "wasting" the on-board drivers by not using them, but depending what you compare it to, it's probably still a very reasonably priced solution.

    It really isn't :) Just delete all of the 3D printer files from it, and it'll still compile fine and be a very good CNC-router ( you don't actually need to do that, just don't enable them in config ).

    My point is : it is a -general purpose- controller, and a LOT of work has gone into making sure it works as well for CNC routers as for 3D printers or laser cutters.

    And the fact it supports all of those at the same time, means you get the biggest community, and the most active development around ( which was the project's intent ).

    The boards all have connectors for external drivers. And a board without the stepper drivers wouldn't be much cheaper, you can probably just ignore the fact they are there :)


    About the PiBot, those are crap-cheap Toshiba drivers, search the internet for info about them, they have very bad stepping quality, and tend to burn easily. I strongly recommend against using those.

    If you want to use an arduino-based solution, an arduino + screw-shield + chinese microstepping drivers, will cost you less than the pibot, for the same firmware, and better drivers ..
     
  7. Dave Landry

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    What would people recommend as cheap external Stepper drivers? I have the smoothie (I am very pleased with it except for poor Stepper drivers) - I am driving 3A nema 23s
     
  8. arthur wolf

    arthur wolf Well-Known
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    Hey.

    If you can be happy with 1/16 microstepping, those are a cheap solution : http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free...e-Hybrid-Stepper-Motor-Driver/2034559754.html ( those are toshiba drivers with good heatsinking and protection. You won't burn them, but they'll sound "rougher" than the Allegros on the Smoothieboard ).

    And if you are ready to put some more money into your drivers, for higher quality and microstepping, look at something like this : http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Best...-driver-50V-4A-free-shipping/32264347801.html

    I mostly use the CW5045 on my machines, which are another valid option.

    Cheers.
     
  9. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    hexfet drivers or dsp hexfet if you want better repeatability :) tho these can run upto 100khz so your going to want a 100khz motion controller n bob and mach 3, grbl wouldnt do them justice.
     
  10. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    what are those sanyo chips like? same price as mosfet (hexfet). Not a powerful as mosfet, mostfet equivelent at same money is 5.6a. cant see the difference between the sanyo and toshiba, if im honest.
     
  11. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    beg your pardon.. I misread the price as £. they are a bit cheaper. expect to pay $50 for mosfet.
     
  12. arthur wolf

    arthur wolf Well-Known
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    Smoothieboard does 100khz fine, for information.
     
    silopolis likes this.
  13. Charlie_M

    Charlie_M Well-Known
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    I think the software is similar to gbrl controller.
     
  14. Charlie_M

    Charlie_M Well-Known
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