Couple of Pictures 07/03/2010
We've managed to get all of the motors hooked up and ready to go on my dads machine with the exception of the Z axis due to some coupling problems. That should be simple enough to fix and we made our first cuts sending one command at a time through cutecom. The last two pictures are of 4 hours of processing tool paths on my EEE pc. Not the power house of computing as you can see. Now for the pictures!!!
Progress....sort of progress. 06/25/2010
My dad has been interested in the CNC machine since I decided to build one. Hes always lent a helping hand when I was working on mine so it comes at no surprise that he decided to build his own. Whats amazing is that he built the whole table in a matter of two days. With that said Ive donated my hardware to him since hes ready to get cutting and Im not. In return hes agreed to replace my hardware when the time comes to finish my build. I spent a couple hours helping him mount the motors and hook up the stepper drivers. One of the motors I had is missing a connector so hes working on figuring that out but it shouldnt take him long. And now for your viewing pleasure, here is a video of the first motion of his machine.
Check mar Ckeck mark CHECK MARK!!! 06/17/2010
The best news I have is that I finally have a working gcode streamer!!!! Big thanks to Edward over at Edslifedaily. Hes been working on a way to build a hardware flow control into his setup by writting code to implement into grbl I think. He was kind enough to throw together a processing sketch to replace the woes of the ruby streamer we've been having. Keep an eye out on his page for that code to be released. Its time to move on to the next item on the list....well I got excited and did that as well so its on to the one after that. I cooked up the other three stepper drivers that I had components for. So now I have 4 total. Ive been thinking about making a couple more just for robotics purposes but that may come later down the road, as I would also have to come up with more motors. On another side note my dad has decided to build his own CNC now that the software kinks have been worked out. We now have a direct path to get from a drawing to movement on the CNC. Alright back on topic to tie this all up. Heres a couple of pictures of the drivers. Be on the look out for the mounting of at least one motor in the near future!!
The Softer side 06/04/2010
The past couple of days have been fun. Ive tried to piece together the software side of the CNC. I originally wanted to use the reprap firmware for a gcode interpretor and replicatorg for the host but it seems that they wont talk to each other on a standard arduino. possibly on a sanguino or arduino mega but then I would still have firmware problems because replicatorg checks the extruder FW since its built for the reprap project. I turned to Eds build over at EdsLifeDaily to get guidance since he's already been through this for the most part. His current set up is using GRBL as a gcode interpretor and a ruby script that comes with GRBL when you download it from github. It took awhile but Ive managed to get the script up and running enough to test the one motor I have hooked up. Currently Im still using the reprap FW, so it stops after running the first line or two of g code but Ill be switching to GRBL as soon as I have time to figure out the flashing method used to get it on the arduino. A small victory for now but things are looking good for the days to come.
Back to Where it Began 06/02/2010
We have not reached the point where this all started. November 3rd of 2008 I posted a video of the HobbyCNC pro board I built driving a stepper motor I found on ebay. It was the first check marks I got to put on the wall of my CNC list. Here is that video for reference.
The next day I fried the board and that was that. I took several months of trying to figure out what I was doing. What went wrong. Where to go from there. I eventually decided to start on the table since I couldnt destroy it so fast. Now, almost two years later I present you with the latest in Steve-O tech. Straight out of the hot plate, with the solder still solidifying (not really), a single RepRap stepper driver v2.3 driving that same stepper motor.
Here is the inside scoop on my choice of the RepRap driver board. Stepper motors are pretty high dollar. As they should be. the driver boards for them are high dollar as well. When I killed the HobbyCNC board it was going to be close to a hundred dollars to replace it. No way to fix it. Now schematics. Nothing. I figured it shouldnt be that way. So I set out in search for a replacement that was open source to I could test, repair, or modify the circuit. It also needed to be strong enough to handle the motors I currently had. The RepRap design turned out to fit the bill and I went with that. Ed over at EdsLifeDaily seems to have found a similar solution. with that said, there are tons of solutions out there for this same problem. Even more if you know how to design your own circuits. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, need some direction, or just plain want to share your project with me.
So whats next? Well I still have to finish the table. It still needs a drive system. I also need to come up with a way to get drawings to g-code and then to the arduino. I may have stated it in the past but a friend of mine has volunteered to help out with finishing this up and no0w that I have a working stepper drive we can move on to the next check mark.
Now we hurry up and wait. 02/25/2010
Latest news in my quest to finish up the CNC is that I've placed the order for the PCBs. I had to order 21 of them to meet the minimum order but Id rather have done that than to have paid 70 bucks for just 4 of them. It turned out to be close to 140 shipped with a 2 week turn around. I figure I can put a couple up for sale on ebay and connect with people looking to build their own RepRap. In my opinion its cool what the RepRap team is doing but its abit unstructured. For the average builder, not being able to acquire the stepper drivers or the bare PCBs to make them would be a dead end. Especially if they looked around and found out how much it would cost to have them made.
Head on over to Edward Fords page and check out his project CNC. Ill be looking into the software side of what he has dug up when I start pulling my electronics together and testing them.
Started the Ball Rolling 02/16/2010
Ok, I took the first step. I thought I had sourced everything to make the Reprap driver boards. I ordered all but one part from Mouser (11.58) and the driver came from Digikey (5.81). I ordered four sets of components so I could have enough to have one as a spare. Then I went to order the PCBs. MakerBot used to have the whole board assembled and everything for 30 bucks a piece but thats been discontinued. They used to have the bare PCB as well in this nifty red but it as well had been discontinued. I found another site selling the bare PCB but it turned out to be discontinued there as well. So I spent the spare moments of the day looking into "fab houses" (places that make bare PCBs). Sparkfun has one that comes out to be close to $70 for three boards and I found a larger company that could make 12 for not much more than that. Im pretty sure that Im going to bite the bullet and get the 12 and either sell them on ebay or on here if any one is interested. A parts list can be found in the Reprap link I posted in my last post. The drivers are run off of a computer PSU and can run up to a 2A motor. Just so everyone knows, I didnt design this circuit. Props to the Reprap community for all they have accomplished for the open source community.
Possible Motor Driver 02/13/2010
I think I may have come across a suitable stepper driver board that will provide the 1.75A that my steppers need. Some of you may have read about the reprap projects. Basically the reprap is a cnc that lays plastic down rather than cutting material away. After doing some reading I found out the reprap boards will handle up to 2A it looks like.