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Alternative to PC based Cnc controllers

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Nigel B13/10/2016 07:37:22
356 forum posts
2 photos

Chris Richards asked the original question about a stand alone device. He has since bought one of the £400 two axis lathe controllers

Hopefully Chris will report back with more details of his experience when he is up and running.

sam sokolik26/10/2016 18:39:49
25 forum posts

any update?

Simon036226/10/2016 22:19:56
117 forum posts
33 photos

Well my DDCS1.1 is installed and functioning - a bit Heath Robinson at the moment because the workshop is still in a state of flux but it runs.

Installation replacing an existing Mach3 solution took about an hour - 20 mins to wire it and 40 to find the tools...all the parameters were taken from or derived from the Mach3 setup which helped a lot.

It has now machined half a dozen items, seems fine, no obvious faults nor any instability - it just works. Only issue so far is that I don't think it supports a tool change pause - in Mach 3 you can force a pause at a tool change to manually exchange tools but I cannot see any support for this. Part programmes are an obvious way around.

Frankly, happy. One small box replaces a large and clunky PC plus all of the paraphernalia - the screen is a lot smaller but I haven't missed all of the extra Mach stuff.

Will now think seriously about the lathe controllers for my Compact5PC - awaiting the reports with baited breath!

Simon

John Stevenson26/10/2016 22:54:15
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Had my two cheap controllers wired up to steppers and working on the bench whilst playing but it's not really a good test.

So far I have seen post on various forum where about 5 of these things are running. So far no bugs reported although as Simon has said above they might not work how you are used to.

Still early days as some are getting the manual into a better layout with explanations.

On the higher end controllers Steve Blackmore has now finished his lathe and it's busy churning out brass guitar tuning screws as he's been without sock for ages due to not being able to get a lathe to thread.

My lathe controller just sits in a box as the lathe hasn't been started yet and is about 3rd machine in line to convert.

I don't think the high end controllers will have an issue as the NEW990TD-b and the Alteck, CNC Workshop, and GSK offerings have been around in the Chinese home market for about 8 years.

If you look at the industrial side of Optimum and Sieg, not the hooby side these controllers are offered as standard together with the Siemens controller.

Edward123416/11/2016 16:18:21
1 forum posts

Hello all, new guy here.

Regarding the NEW990MDb 4 axes for the milling machine, it sounds great. I have enquired costs with a view to buy from the Newkye website using their embedded message system, but no reply yet. Maybe, John, you enquired directly by email?

Anyway, I am converting a Sieg SX2.7 to CNC, I haven't seen many of these around yet, it's a bit smaller than the X3, but with improved Y axis movement.

Edward

richardandtracy10/01/2017 09:51:17
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427 forum posts
3 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 13/09/2016 14:13:25:

John's just popped round to show me the magic box, just PSU, box, stepper driver and a stepper on X happily whirring through a program that's been uploaded to it.

I've asked him to pull together an article on these boxes to answer the questions and provide an introduction for those not familiar with CNC.

Neil

Neil,

Has the article been published yet (may have missed it - repeatedly because I've looked) or is it pending [and if so roughly when]?

Regards,

Richard.

SteveI10/01/2017 14:44:25
127 forum posts
12 photos

Hi,

Do these controllers support servo motors? encoder inputs? tool changers? 4th axis? I am inclined to think they must since they are used industrially in china. Is there any one using it on a bridgeport interact or similar type machine?

Thanks,

Steve

richardandtracy10/01/2017 15:16:09
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427 forum posts
3 photos

Servo motors, yes. Encoders, most of them no. One or two, possibly, but the documentation is not easy.

Regards,

Richard.

Muzzer10/01/2017 17:28:55
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1947 forum posts
337 photos

Depends how far you want to go. $800 plus delivery will get you one of these with loads of encoders, 4-axis control etc. There are lathe and milling versions, 2, 3 and 4 axis.

This one looks similar in many ways. I forget the price but probably very similar. Obviously the price varies according to how many channels you want and you can also buy additional panels, MPG etc.

The Chinglish varies in strength too and some of the Western users appear to have done their own translations.

Clive Foster10/01/2017 18:39:41
841 forum posts
19 photos

The folk in your first link, Adtech, have a UK stockist and associated website. This is the page for the controllers; - **LINK** .

They sell either direct or via E-Bay. Prices don't seem remarkably different from direct import, unless the VAT and duty thing has been "fudged" by the direct supplier. Don't forget that not only are you supposed to pay VAT and duty on individual import but also the delivery company makes a significant change for collecting the tax. Paying a bit more for local delivery and support is probably worth it given just how complicated retro-fit can get if things don't hook up relatively simply. They also supply servos and drive kits so, presumably, you get a turnkey package ready to fit and certain to work assuming you get the wiring right. Having downloaded the various manuals for direct from China units I figure guaranteed to work is worth a couple or three hundred pounds over ordering what ought to go from on-line specifications. In wage slave days I had a certain professional background in similar sorts of stuff so I don't frighten easily but full DIY looks too much hassle. Mimbling around t'net I'm amazed how hard folk are willing to work in order to get something going. Maybe its age but I expect this sort of computer stuff to just work. OK it might not do exactly what one might expect but it should at least do its thing like the book says.

Major question mark for any of the sophisticated systems is availability of posts for CAM software. Fusion 360 looks to be the most likely requirement for neophytes.

Clive.

Who's is currently taking a serious look at going from a manual Bridgeport to proper CNC in the near future.

Edited By Clive Foster on 10/01/2017 18:56:10

Edited By Clive Foster on 10/01/2017 18:56:51

Jat Grewal10/01/2017 20:55:49
10 forum posts

We started making PC independent CNC controllers here in Australia and also have online documentation. We have Lathe, Mill and Plasma versions with up to 5 axis control.

Online Documentation Link

Video by Neo7CNC: VIDEO

 

Please email us at support@hindtechnology.com for any queries

Edited By Jat Grewal on 10/01/2017 20:57:29

John Stevenson10/01/2017 22:18:28
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4931 forum posts
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Posted by Jat Grewal on 10/01/2017 20:55:49:

We have Lathe, Mill and Plasma versions with up to 5 axis control.

Online Documentation Link

Not according to your documentation, they haven't been released yet.

Also does lathe accept multi line encoders and not single pulse ?

Although you don't need a PC you need everything else like monitor, keyboard, mouse etc so it's hardly saving anything.

Jat Grewal10/01/2017 23:07:44
10 forum posts

John,

All controllers upto 3 axis have been released and only the 4th and 5th axis versions are due for release this month.

Yes you can connect an encoder with A,B and Z singlas on the spindle for threading. Please note that an encoder is only required for threading.

The reason we have a separate monitor and keyboard is that the user has the choice to use any type and in case of any replacement the users can replace the screen or keyboard themselves.

John Stevenson10/01/2017 23:22:20
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4931 forum posts
3 photos

At the moment [ things might change ] its an expensive untried piece of kit that still requires all the clutter the stand alone controllers have managed to do away with.

Sorry but just my views.

Neil Wyatt10/01/2017 23:34:09
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9572 forum posts
474 photos
59 articles
Posted by richardandtracy on 10/01/2017 09:51:17:
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 13/09/2016 14:13:25:

John's just popped round to show me the magic box, just PSU, box, stepper driver and a stepper on X happily whirring through a program that's been uploaded to it.

I've asked him to pull together an article on these boxes to answer the questions and provide an introduction for those not familiar with CNC.

Neil

Neil,

Has the article been published yet (may have missed it - repeatedly because I've looked) or is it pending [and if so roughly when]?

Regards,

Richard.

John?

Jat Grewal10/01/2017 23:44:32
10 forum posts

John, no need to be sorry mate, everyone's views are very important and I myself started designing these after having too many issues with PC based controllers and I might have my own point of view but also need to have everyone's take on this.

If you can please spare a couple of minutes and share what you think would be a good price point for the units and also what you like and dislike about the units the this can really help us understand what you as a user want so that we can keep improving the designs.

John Stevenson10/01/2017 23:58:38
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4931 forum posts
3 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 10/01/2017 23:34:09:
Posted by richardandtracy on 10/01/2017 09:51:17:
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 13/09/2016 14:13:25:

John's just popped round to show me the magic box, just PSU, box, stepper driver and a stepper on X happily whirring through a program that's been uploaded to it.

I've asked him to pull together an article on these boxes to answer the questions and provide an introduction for those not familiar with CNC.

Neil

Neil,

Has the article been published yet (may have missed it - repeatedly because I've looked) or is it pending [and if so roughly when]?

Regards,

Richard.

John?

Sorry Neil, the courting has been getting in the way, plus blowing the engine up in the Donald over Christmas on the "Great trek North " TM

Normal service should be resumed from next week on.

richardandtracy11/01/2017 08:28:14
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427 forum posts
3 photos

Jat

I have a PC controlled engraver/router. It's all about ease of use, making the most of limited time & maximising equipment life.

Standard keyboards, monitors & mice do not survive well in a workshop. In 2 years I'm on my 3rd pc, 2nd monitor, 2nd mouse & third keyboard. The keyboard picks up all sorts of crud even when covered up. The wires trail and get snagged.

Then the single skin steel roof of my workshop gets condensation & drips on cold days. I put plastic sheeting over the top, and the puddles dip all over the place, between the separate units making plastic sheet removal hazardous. Even then the equipment under the sheeting gets condensation on its surface. Not good for monitors etc. designed for non-condensing conditions in the home. So, if I take the things into the house to protect them from workshop conditions, I have loose bits I need to store somewhere in the house and have to find a way to placate an annoyed wife. Then to use the cnc, I need to load myself up with this stuff, put a bag over it and walk to the end of the garden, in the dark, in a howling gale, pelting with rain, re-assemble the machine and suddenly 50% of my available machining time is gone, so it's almost time to disassemble it & bring it back to the house without ever having started doing anything. Pointless, irritating & timewasting.

Basically, home computer equipment, whether accessories or peripherals are not workshop compatible. That's the point. I cannot be the only one with these sorts of problems.

If it's possible - as with the Chinese controllers mentioned with built-in screen, data entry & memory stick port - to do away with having to cart all the computer gubbins back & forth and have it all in one workshop conditions-proof box, then you are a long way down the road to making happy bunny's of us all. Especially if it can use any size micro SD/USB for the program so the data transfer will be future proof for the next 5/10 years.

Regards,

Richard.

richardandtracy11/01/2017 13:27:28
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427 forum posts
3 photos
Posted by Muzzer on 10/01/2017 17:28:55:

Depends how far you want to go. $800 plus delivery will get you one of these with loads of encoders, 4-axis control etc. There are lathe and milling versions, 2, 3 and 4 axis.

This one looks similar in many ways. I forget the price but probably very similar. Obviously the price varies according to how many channels you want and you can also buy additional panels, MPG etc.

The Chinglish varies in strength too and some of the Western users appear to have done their own translations.

The Tomatech 3 axis lathe controller (model TAC-1003T) is available on Aliexpress: **LINK** for US$588 delivered (plus 20% tax + tax collection ransom). I have never used AliExpress, but I know a number of people who have bought fountain pens successfully using it. Alternatively on the Bay for a tiny bit more: **LINK**

The specs look good for a lathe controller.

Regards,

Richard.

John Stevenson11/01/2017 13:41:43
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Moderator
4931 forum posts
3 photos
Posted by richardandtracy on 11/01/2017 08:28:14:

Then the single skin steel roof of my workshop gets condensation & drips on cold days. I put plastic sheeting over the top, and the puddles dip all over the place, between the separate units making plastic sheet removal hazardous. Even then the equipment under the sheeting gets condensation on its surface. Not good for monitors etc. designed for non-condensing conditions in the home. So, if I take the things into the house to protect them from workshop conditions, I have loose bits I need to store somewhere in the house and have to find a way to placate an annoyed wife. Then to use the cnc, I need to load myself up with this stuff, put a bag over it and walk to the end of the garden, in the dark, in a howling gale, pelting with rain, re-assemble the machine and suddenly 50% of my available machining time is gone, so it's almost time to disassemble it & bring it back to the house without ever having started doing anything. Pointless, irritating & timewasting.

Basically, home computer equipment, whether accessories or peripherals are not workshop compatible. That's the point. I cannot be the only one with these sorts of problems.

If it's possible - as with the Chinese controllers mentioned with built-in screen, data entry & memory stick port - to do away with having to cart all the computer gubbins back & forth and have it all in one workshop conditions-proof box, then you are a long way down the road to making happy bunny's of us all. Especially if it can use any size micro SD/USB for the program so the data transfer will be future proof for the next 5/10 years.

Regards,

Richard.

Richard in all fairness this isn't an equipment problem we all share but only affects you because of the single skin steel roof.

Do yourself and your tools a favour and spend a weekend gluing 40mm if Kingspan insulation to the underside of the roof. This will improve life for you and your equipment. Any condensation is no good in a workshop but it can be helped quite easily.

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