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What is the most recommended controller/stepper drivers?

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by Gaccus, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. Gaccus

    Gaccus Well-Known
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    I'm a new OX owner and bought a CNC shield on ebay. It dosn't cut it since Mach 3/4 isn't compatible.
    What is the recommended controller/driver combo or all-in-one or what ever is out there? Mach compatible of course. There are so many and hard to choose.
     
  2. Gaccus

    Gaccus Well-Known
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    I have been looking at three boards:
    Smotthstepper ESS - Looks great, but is costly and need and extra motor driver-board.
    PMDX-412/416 - Looks like controller and driver in one. Good price if thats the case.
    PoKeys57CNC - Also look slike 2-in-1, but not sure. Great price if so.

    Any recommendations for any of this boards? DO I need extra drivers for all this boards? Or is there some other direction I should look?
     
    Molioni likes this.
  3. svon89

    svon89 New
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    Interested in seeing what people recommend. I am building a machine right now and am looking for an electronics setup.
     
  4. Gaccus

    Gaccus Well-Known
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    Not many opinions on it, it seems. Maybe it's like asking "What is best; pepsi or cola?" "Green or yellow?" Depends on the user.
     
  5. dddman

    dddman Master
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    Rhum&Coke, Red ;)
     
  6. matt_o_70

    matt_o_70 Journeyman
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    I think what you may find is that most users here who go DIY route for router kit will avoid Mach3/4 since it is an added cost for Mach software and has historically required use of parallel port. This may be why you won't get many responses to your question. Nothing wrong with Mach - I have some experience with it and it is solid software. It just seems like things are moving away from Mach as many opensource software alternatives have come up and all-in-one boards that interface with USB.

    Do you require Mach software?

    The GRBL hardware has it's own software stack that can be used in place of Mach if you choose to go that path. I believe many people use GRBL hardware on OX's happily.
     
    #6 matt_o_70, Mar 9, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  7. Gaccus

    Gaccus Well-Known
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    Nothing against GRBL. When I was looking around in the beginning, all I could find about that things like Universial GRBL. And that can't do much. I have later (in here) been show things like bCNC. I'm gonna try it out. I looks like it have some of the things like auto-zero, which is what I liked with Mach. So for now I have ordered some better drivers for the Arduino UNO (cnc shield) and see if I really need more. At least for now. Just need to get i cutting.
     
    #7 Gaccus, Mar 9, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
  8. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    #8 Peter Van Der Walt, Mar 9, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
    Cornerspace, Gaccus and Mark Carew like this.
  9. dddman

    dddman Master
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    OpenBuilds will eventually release a driver/controller package which should be great!

    @MaryD Any news on that? ;)
     
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  10. MaryD

    MaryD OpenBuilds Team
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    I know it's been a long time coming but I can assure you it will be worth the wait! :)
     
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  11. matt_o_70

    matt_o_70 Journeyman
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    Since you have a GRBL board take a look at LaserWeb as Peter has suggested or EstlCam. I think you will find either will do most all that you are looking for.

    I have been impressed with EstlCam can do for generating toolpaths (supports Trochoidal/ HSM!) and It also has the ability to interface with Adruino based controllers for direct CNC control. I see that EstlCam now also supports the xPRO V3 board also!

    Estlcam.de 2D / 3D CAM Software und CNC Steuerung...
     
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  12. Gaccus

    Gaccus Well-Known
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    I'll look into all this freeware programs. They look promising. But it doesn't seems like it's much of good beginner tutorials on any of this programs. And looks like Estlcam is only in german. Hope I can make any sense of them.
    I'll stay with the arduino for now. But I'm gonna check out the suggested boards if/when I feel the need for an upgrade. Now that Mach may take a hike, the choise of controllers just got bigger. And cheaper :D

    Thanks for all the input.
     
  13. Giarc

    Giarc Master
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    I use either Sketchucam or Fusion 360 (both free) to design parts. Both have very good video tutorials and are not difficult to learn. Both generate the Gcode needed to cut what it is you want to make. This also applies to Dmap and Fengrave for engraving (also free). The only thing I use an interface such as GRBL Panel to do is zero the machine where I want it, and send the gcode to the CNC router to do the cutting. Here are other interfaces for grbl: Using Grbl · gnea/grbl Wiki · GitHub All of this can be done with your existing Arduino based equipment. I would try the stuff you have first before investing in Mach 3/4. I have Estlcam, but have not played with it much yet.
     
  14. Gaccus

    Gaccus Well-Known
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    I'm indeed learning Fusion myself to design parts. Have used Sketchup before, but Fusion looks a lot better. And Fusion has many great tutorials on Youtube. I now really just need some info on how to wire the uno to get autolevel/edge and limit-switches to work. Looks like it's much info about it on the net, so should get that to work. Hopefully.
     
  15. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Wire one end of the wire to the PROBE pin (A5) and the other to GND
    When it closes (connects together) it triggers as a "probe"

    In LaserWeb there is probe per-axes in the dropdown next to the DRO for each axis

    I clip the PROBE pin to my endmill, and my GND wire to a metal corner piece. After probing, I jog to correct for the endmill diameter (1/4 inch for example = jog x and y +3.175mm (radius of cutter) to center 0,0

    probe.PNG
     
  16. ashish B

    ashish B Well-Known
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    I always thought GRBL is for linux only. Is that not true ?
     
  17. Giarc

    Giarc Master
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    The program that streams GRBL to the arduino may be OS dependent, but not GRBL. I use GRBL Panel. It only works with Windows, but others work with Linux and Mac. Using Grbl · gnea/grbl Wiki · GitHub
     
  18. Jestah

    Jestah Veteran
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    Im a long time mach3 user and still waiting for GRBL options to be "worth" the move.... Smoothie makes me lean a lot further over the fence .... If you can get over the issue of finding a 32bit windows (xp is best) machine then I think it can be very stable for a basic stepper setup and I love the fact I often save older pc from ending up in land fill and give them a second life running my robot minion army.

    The ESS is a fantastic board if you want to run from a more mordern pc (dont bother with the USB version as it is prone to nosie issues) and will run mach3 and mach4

    I love PMDX boards and used them many times across a range of builds but I think they only support mach4 on their motion controllers.
     
    Joe Santarsiero likes this.
  19. Christian Knüll

    Christian Knüll Journeyman
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    Hi,

    Estlcam will ask you which language to use after the first program start with English as default.
    If your windows installation however has a German language profile installed the default will be German.
    In this case select menu "Einstellungen" -> "Grundeinstellungen" and change "Bevorzuge Sprache" to English.
    (Same for the website - if your browser has a German lanugage profile it will show the German version but the download link is easy to find)

    As for controller / driver combo: Estlcam supports the xPro V3 controller board and almost all other GRBL compatible hardware.

    And it offers the requested features:
    • Cam is built in
    • Automated Edge finding with touch plate support
    • Smooth jogging with mouse, keyboard and Xbox360 controller support.

    Christian
     
  20. Gaccus

    Gaccus Well-Known
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    Thank you, all.
    I'll look into all this when my new stepper drivers finally arrives. Hopefully GRBL have all that I need. Looks that way.
     
  21. Cornerspace

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    Hi,

    Not intending to hijack, but can I run NEMA 17 or 23 directly on the smoothieboard? Or is it a must to get the DQ542MA driver? Thanks.
     
  22. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    If your motors are spec'ed as less than 2A then yes. If the motors are spec'ed for over 2A (for example our NEMA 23 Stepper Motor - High Torque Series at 2.8A - then go for DQ542MAs.... NEMA17/23 just defines the mounting pattern... The question you need to look at is your motors current (amperage) requirements.
     
  23. Cornerspace

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    Thank you very much for the tip. I have 2 units of Nema 23 rated at 2A and several Nema 17 at 2.6A. Which setup would you recommend for a C Beam build?
     
  24. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    (; well, personally, bigger is always better. NEMA17s wont work well on a CBeam (incompatible mounting, and a 2.6A NEMA17 is not as strong as a 2.6A NEMA23 - larger diameter rotor = more leverage...(simplified of course)
    2A NEMA23s will run the onboard drivers to just about their max, so they'll run hot and die early. Or you could under-power them slightly (Say 1.5-1.8A) and lose a little torque. But i like having all my torque I paid for (; If its a small machine like a 3D printer or a laser engraver, then yeah, sure, the onboard drivers are fine. But if you are serious about CNC (ie DUST, Vibrations, Noise! Harsh environment for " bare boards") - then if it was my own money, i'd spend the little extra for some DQ542MAs and sleep easy knowing they and the motors are my two least worries! I have a set of DQ542MAs I bought in 2012 that has been moving from machine to machine as I grew from little DIY machines in the days before OB, through my years with the OPENCNC-ZAs and finally now still run my OB machines here in ZA. They just dont die! (I kinda wish they would so i could have an excuse to get some new ones... all the dings on these make them look shabby by now (; )
     
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  25. Cornerspace

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    Great. Gonna be plonking down more money on a set of Nema23 and controllers. Was thinking of reusing the motors from the 3d printer build. Are the boards and drivers made in the states or china? :(

    That is all i need to complete the build i guess plus the bits and pieces that I already have. Fingers crossed.

    ;)
     
    #25 Cornerspace, Aug 24, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017

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