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very, very, very new to the CNC world.

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by Kevin Bruner, Jun 29, 2018.

  1. Kevin Bruner

    Kevin Bruner Well-Known
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    ok, like it says, i am a totally new, green horn, rookie, wet behind the ears about the CNC world. My lovely wife bought me a Sphinx 1050 for fathers day and i have the mechanical side together. i have downloaded sketchup make and sketcucam to my desktop. the grbl thing i have down loaded several times but can not for the life of me figure out how to "open" it to be able to use it. I am totally at a loss. i wired up the xpro controller and the power converter, plugged it in and it all comes on, but i still do not know how to access it. i know this all sounds dumb and i have looked for info on the web but i can not find a more detailed instruction on how to access it, set it up and then use it.
     
  2. Andreas Bockert

    Andreas Bockert Journeyman
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    Hi

    Welcome to the CNC world. First of all, congratulations for having an awesome wife! (But she might come to regret it once you get hooked. :) )

    I hope I'm not going in to too much detail here.

    First thing you need is a CAD software. Sketchup is good choice to start with. Using CAD you will generate the thing you want to create.

    The next piece of software is CAM. It will take the drawing of your thing and generate a tool path to carve it on your machine. This tool path is using a special programming language called g-code. I don't have much experience with sketchucam but I suspect it will do good to get your feet wet.

    To communicate with your controller you would hook it up to a computer with an USB cable. Then you need software on your computer to send the g-code you generated to the CNC. There are a lot different programs available. I'm using bCNC and like it. It is a bit overwhelming at first but it is very feature rich and is still in active development.

    grbl is the software that is running inside the CNC-controller (xpro in your case). It parses the g-code and transforms it into pulse sequences that drives the stepper motors.

    Software recommendations

    1. CAD/CAM: Fusion360 - It's a bit of a steep learning curve but if you follow a few tutorials and invest some time to learn it you will never want to go back. The best feature is that it has integrated CAD and CAM. You update your design and a few clicks later you have generated g-code to carve. The CAM part of F360 is also very powerful. Fusion 360 is free for hobby use. (And also for startups with less then $100k in revenue I believe).

    2. EstlCAM: If you want CAM software that is easy to use I would recommend checking out EstlCAM. Not as feature rich as F360 for good and bad.

    I hope this clears some things up!

    Best regards,
    Andreas
     
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  3. Kevin Bruner

    Kevin Bruner Well-Known
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    I am out of town for the week but I will try and get something done when I get home. Thank you for the input.
     
  4. Kevin Bruner

    Kevin Bruner Well-Known
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    so i have downloaded the grbl software to my computer and can not figure out how to get to the control panel to make the x/y/z movements or to jog it around (is the the correct term?). if the program is in the xpro already, shouldn't it pop up when i connect it to my computer? i have been given several different options to try and the more options i have the more lost i feel. I am just a bit overwhelmed at this point.
     
  5. Giarc

    Giarc Master
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    Read the entire grbl wiki. gnea/grbl. It will answer pretty much all of your questions. You need an interface to run grbl. Grbl should already be loaded on your Xpro. There is a list of programs listed in the wiki that will run your machine. I chose GRBL Panel. Others work as well.
     
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  6. Kevin Bruner

    Kevin Bruner Well-Known
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    ok, i must be a complete idiot. i can not figure out how to get the control panel to open up. maybe i am not exactly sure what i am looking at or looking for but i have spent hours trying to figure out how to connect to and control the machine. i havent even began to start looking into trying to figure out how to design something and then start on tooling paths because i think it would be silly to try without being able to verify that i am even connected to the machine. pretty frustrated right now.
     
  7. Scotty Orr

    Scotty Orr Master
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    Did you download grbl-Panel here?: gerritv/Grbl-Panel
    If not, download the GrblPanel-Release-1.0.9.17.zip file and unzip it. The executable is within. Note: This only works on windows. (If you have a Mac, you might try UGS-Platform instead.)
     
  8. Kevin Bruner

    Kevin Bruner Well-Known
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    I have windows not Mac. And that is where I downloaded from. I think I’m just not doing something right. Idk. I have to work tonight so I will mess with it tomorrow morning when I get home.
     
  9. Giarc

    Giarc Master
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    Here you go, do this:

    Go to gerritv/Grbl-Panel Your ultimate goal is to get to, then open the GRBL Panel "Application" file. I sent a shortcut to my desktop (step 6). But it is not necessary.

    1:
    Untitled1.png



    2:

    Untitled2.png


    3:

    Untitled3.png
    4:
    Untitled3-5.png
    5:
    Untitled4.png

    6:

    Untitled5.png
     
    #9 Giarc, Jul 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  10. GrayUK

    GrayUK The Secret of Life is ..... Choice!
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    Hi Craig.
    Any chance you could put a copy of this in the Resources Section as well? :rolleyes:
    We really don't want to lose something as important as this in the depths of a thread!! :banghead:
    Good Job :thumbsup::thumbsup:
    Gray
     
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  11. Kevin Bruner

    Kevin Bruner Well-Known
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  12. Kevin Bruner

    Kevin Bruner Well-Known
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    alright! thank you SO MUCH! it is alive and moves. no funny sounds or acting like its binding or anything like that. now i can move on to the next step... learning everything else. lol again, thank you for your help and i am about 100.1% sure i will be asking more questions.
     
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  13. Giarc

    Giarc Master
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    I will add it to the GRBL Panel page if no one objects.
     
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  14. Kevin Bruner

    Kevin Bruner Well-Known
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    99CE1CD3-BE15-49B7-A64F-3C9C37878E6F.jpeg 63C93920-DFDB-4B04-B985-9B4911631020.jpeg 72A9725F-BDA3-43D3-9505-26F7F065940A.jpeg 99CE1CD3-BE15-49B7-A64F-3C9C37878E6F.jpeg 63C93920-DFDB-4B04-B985-9B4911631020.jpeg 72A9725F-BDA3-43D3-9505-26F7F065940A.jpeg I know it’s pretty terrible but it is working. Now I need to learn the programs better and order more stuff. Like wire looms, wire extensions, cutting bits, some limiting switches and such. I have a bunch of sheets of packing foam boards that I will practice cutting on when I get the bits and figure out a little better of what I am doing. Also, not sure why it printed upside down and backwards. And tiny too.
     
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  15. Giarc

    Giarc Master
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    It could be that the x stepper is reversed.
     
  16. Kevin Bruner

    Kevin Bruner Well-Known
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    I’ll check that when I get home.
     
  17. Kevin Bruner

    Kevin Bruner Well-Known
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    checking my wiring with the wiring guide, it does not appear to be wrong.
     
  18. Kevin Bruner

    Kevin Bruner Well-Known
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    ok, so now i can connect to my machine. i even drew a jeep. but it was upside down, backwards and about 1/3 the size it was supposed to be. i have tried to draw a simple box on sketchup and have a few different cut outs in it like a circle, a strait line and a wavy line. all with different depths. but when i try to run it, it does absolutely nothing that i would be expecting it make. i have watched maybe 65-70 hours of YouTube videos and quite frankly i cant put any of them together to make any since. i am using sketchup with sketchucam and then the GRBL panel that was listed in the original ad from open builds. i am not by any means trying to say the physical product is inferior, but i am saying that i am having an extremely hard time finding some sort of logical support on how to use the programs. maybe it is just me but i am usually pretty good at catching on and understanding technical things like this but i have been road blocked at every step beyond the physical assembly of my machine. in short..... HELP ME PLEASE!!!!
     
  19. bubba

    bubba Well-Known
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    Not sure how much help I can be but I'm going to throw out these ideas and hopefully 1 or more will help you.

    Do you have the latest version of GRBL on your controller card? I think most xpro's come with V0.9 pre installed. Not sure if GRBL Panel requires a higher version or not. I think the current version is around 1.1f.

    Have you tried different software? I'm doing Laser cutting/engraving and tried about 4 different packages before settling on the one I'm currently using.

    Have you calibrated your stepper motors? There are GRBL settings that control steps per mm and this will affect the size of the final output. If this is wrong then even though you have a line 10mm long in your drawing the machine might only physically move 6mm.

    Is it possible your mixing mm and inches? Again their are settings in GRBL that set this.

    Not sure why your image is reversed. That might have something to do with the software that produced the image and nothing to do with your controller.

    I'm not at home so I don't have any links to post but some searching should get you the info you need.

    And finally, don't give up! The best way to tackle a big problem is to break it down into little problems and fix them one at a time.
     
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  20. Giarc

    Giarc Master
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    I thought I asked before, but did you calibrate your steps per mm?


    If you type in G0 x100, does your x axis move 100 mm to the right? If you tobthe same for the y axis, does it go in the direction you expect and the correct distance? I would abstain from sending it things to cut until you have figured out that it is calibrated and going the proper direction.

    The grbl wiki explains how to do all this.
     
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  21. Kevin Bruner

    Kevin Bruner Well-Known
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    I haven’t yet. Thank you.

     
  22. Kevin Bruner

    Kevin Bruner Well-Known
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    Latest update I believe. Now when I try to select “Get GRBL settings” nothing happens.
     

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  23. Giarc

    Giarc Master
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    Did the settings get erased when you installed the new GRBL on the board?
    What would be helpful is if you listed what it is that drives your machine:

    It looks like a Sphinx, so I assume you used the Openbuilds Tr8*8-2p (4 starts) screws, right?
    What microstepping setting did you select?

    If you chose 1/8 microstepping and your GRBL Panel is set for metric your settings should be similar to these from the Cbeam product page:
    $0=10 (step pulse, usec)
    $1=255 (step idle delay, msec)
    $2=0 (step port invert mask:00000000)

    $3=6 (dir port invert mask:00000110) Yours may be different read this page to know what to chose: gnea/grbl
    $4=1 (step enable invert, bool)(Board V1, V2, V3 Matte = $4=0 - Glossy board V3 = $4=1)
    $5=0 (limit pins invert, bool)
    $6=0 (probe pin invert, bool)
    $10=3 (status report mask:00000011)
    $11=0.020 (junction deviation, mm)
    $12=0.002 (arc tolerance, mm)
    $13=0 (report inches, bool)
    $14=1 (auto start, bool)
    $20=0 (soft limits, bool)
    $21=0 (hard limits, bool)
    $22=0 (homing cycle, bool)
    $23=0 (homing dir invert mask:00000000)
    $24=2000.000 (homing feed, mm/min)
    $25=1000.000 (homing seek, mm/min)
    $26=250 (homing debounce, msec)
    $27=1.000 (homing pull-off, mm)
    $100=199.100 (x, step/mm)
    $101=199.100 (y, step/mm)
    $102=199.100 (z, step/mm)
    $110=1000.000 (x max rate, mm/min)
    $111=1000.000 (y max rate, mm/min)
    $112=1000.000 (z max rate, mm/min)
    $120=100.000 (x accel, mm/sec^2)
    $121=100.000 (y accel, mm/sec^2)
    $122=100.000 (z accel, mm/sec^2)

    These will be customized for your machine:

    $130=270.000 (x max travel, mm)
    $131=270.000 (y max travel, mm)
    $132=80.000 (z max travel, mm)


    Then, take screen shots of Grbl Panel settings. To do this, Open up Grbl Panel then push your computer's PrtSc (print Screen) button. Open Microsoft's Paint program (all microsoft windows computers have it) then paste the picture into Paint (Ctrl+V) save the picture files and upload then so others can see what you have entered. Do this for each page of GRBL Panel and take two shots of your settings. The first will be just PrtScr, the second you will have to scroll the settings down to the bottom before PrtScr. Having a good screen shot makes it easier than a off-angle photo with a phone camera where critical parts may get cut off. Plus, once you have everything dialed in and you do it again, you can save the photo files of these settings in multiple places should something happen and you need to reload them.
     
  24. Kevin Bruner

    Kevin Bruner Well-Known
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    At supper. Will work on this when I get home. Thanks again for all the help guys.
     
  25. Kevin Bruner

    Kevin Bruner Well-Known
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    Ok, my setup is the Sphinx 1050 with the standard NEMA 23 motors, 24 v power supply, CNC xPro V3 controller Driver and Dewalt DWP611 router. I’m using sketchup with skethucam plug in and the GRBL controller panel. I had set it based off the setting when I first connected but didn’t know how to measure it and set it for my machine specifically. Now I do not know how to access the settings because when I tried to measure the x axis I started at “10” and sent to “100” but it actually went to 319, or 309 mm, instead of 100. I’m not giving up but it is not progressing any at all really when the question of “what can you make on it?” Comes up. All I can say is “nothing, I don’t know how to make it work”. I almost think I should delete everything and start over. Is there a better program that is more beginner friendly or did I really just bite off more than I should have?
     
  26. Giarc

    Giarc Master
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    That is weird. It should be a multiple of two I believe.
    What microstepping is your board set at. I believe there are jumpers on it which will change it from 1,1/2,1/4,1/8, 1/16, or perhaps 1/32. I am not an expert on the Xpro though.
     
  27. Giarc

    Giarc Master
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    I think your best bet is to set the board jumpers to 1/8, and enter in the steps/mm I listed above. The xpro should have documentation on how to set the steps/mm jumpers (microsteps). Once you get it close, then calibrate.

    Does Grbl panel give you the option to enter in the settings listed above? Or does the program not open correctly? sometimes I had issues with GRBL Panel not connecting if I opened the program prior to hooking the sun cable to the board. Personally, I think Estlcam is the easiest to use once it has been researched throughly. Install grbl on the board, plug it in and go through the set-up. It explains every selection you choose. However, there are fewer of us using it so less brain power to help folks out.

    But until you figure out your jumper settings so you know the steps/mm, nothing will work right.
     
  28. Kevin Bruner

    Kevin Bruner Well-Known
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    They look to be set to 1/8 already.
     

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  29. Kevin Bruner

    Kevin Bruner Well-Known
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    Ok. After messing with for a while I tried the estlcam controller thing. Now the red lights on the controller are turned off and absolutely nothing is happening. Fml. This has been the most frustrating hobby I have taken on. I have no idea what is happening now and I have no idea how to move forward.
     
  30. Giarc

    Giarc Master
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    Did you program the board with Estlcam? If so, there is the option to reverse it. I use an arduino with independent drivers and have had no issues at all. I thoroughly read both the GRBL and GRBL panel wikis to have a good understanding of what the $ settings did and what I needed to do to my settings for my particular machine. Once I had things moving the right direction, I calibrated it.

    I am not a fan of the "all in one" board option. But you already invested in it so, I would stick with it.

    Before switching to estlcam, did you calibrate the x,y, and z axis as suggested earlier?

    You say you do not know how to move forward, but I would suggest going backwards to where you had it moving. Then make sure it goes the directions you want it to. After that, calibrate it. Calibration is easy but many folks seem to skip that step for some reason.

    Also, you may have had your gcode sender set to imperial, but your project was in mm. I suggested you take screen shots showing us all your settings so we could see if that was part of the problem. I bet you may have entered some of the $ settings wrong which would lead to these problems. Again, the GRBL wiki and the GRBL Panel wiki should be thoroughly studied.
     

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