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Member postings for sam sokolik

Here is a list of all the postings sam sokolik has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Electronic Indexers - How Is Cumulative Error Avoided?
05/07/2019 16:42:52

BTW - it isn't like things are not getting improved.. This was less than 1 month ago... Related to spindle synced motion..

Code improvements..

05/07/2019 14:17:52


Posted by Joseph Noci 1 on 02/06/2019 21:18:16:


Linux CNC 'tries' to implement this same process, but the clan missed the boat.. It has warts and can bite you in the backside if not careful. I did raise the issue with the devs, who said thanks , we will look into it, but the latest but one release still has the issue...It works ok, 99.9% of the time, but you can crash a machine..





Edited By Joseph Noci 1 on 02/06/2019 21:24:49


I am confused.. What does linuxcnc fail at .1% of the time?

Also - linuxcnc has a robust hardware abstraction layer that allows for some pretty amazing setups. All with a cheap computer... All double-precision floating-point calculations..

Things like hobbing...

Edited By sam sokolik on 05/07/2019 14:19:34

Edited By sam sokolik on 05/07/2019 14:20:44

Thread: The Alternate Glossary
11/11/2016 02:28:06

Remember when WYSIWYG was big? Pronounced wizy-wig. What you see is what you get.

Big times when what you saw on the screen is exactly how it would print.

Thread: halloween
01/11/2016 17:01:44

Heh - no. Not that remote. We live near lock and dam #6...


Posted by Daniel on 01/11/2016 16:48:40:
Posted by sam sokolik on 01/11/2016 15:34:06:

we left a bowl of candy on the front steps (as we have done the last few years) with 2 lit pumpkins. We get back and the bowl still has most of the candy in it.

(not all places are bad..)

Where do you live, Sam ?

Foula ? devil

Edited By Daniel on 01/11/2016 16:49:10

01/11/2016 15:34:06

we left a bowl of candy on the front steps (as we have done the last few years) with 2 lit pumpkins. We get back and the bowl still has most of the candy in it.

(not all places are bad..)

Thread: Alternative to PC based Cnc controllers
26/10/2016 18:39:49

any update?

12/10/2016 14:37:38

John, Does this help at all? (sorry about my voice - I am fighting a cold)

10/10/2016 01:53:46

wow - really? He released it yesterday. Yesterday! I think it says a lot that it is to 6 pages - people are testing and working out the bugs. Did you look at the videos to see how powerful it is?


Posted by John Stevenson on 10/10/2016 00:59:45:


Confirms what I have been saying all along.

I looked at the first link and 6 pages on the forum between very experienced Linux guys and it took 6 pages for one guy to get it working, plus loads and loads of code. Don't know about the others, possibly given up ?

09/10/2016 19:28:27

This looks promising..  It is called 'NativeCAM'  for linuxcnc.  It uses the linuxcnc preview to show actual stock and such.  Pretty neat.


The developer made some videos.


It is based on some previous work (it is really new - released last week)


Edited By sam sokolik on 09/10/2016 19:30:01

Edited By sam sokolik on 09/10/2016 19:31:44

08/10/2016 03:16:25

Yes - you would need a breakout board of some kind. I was just comparing bare bones smoothstepper to a similar mesa product. (both would require a bob)

I have used both the mesa daughter boards and generic bobs with mesa - obviously the mesa daughter boards have a lot more functionality but cost a bit more.

I have used quite a few of the mesa daughter boards and think they work great. This is the lasted conversion of a matsuura from the mid 80's. We re-used the servo, servo drives, spindle and spindle drive. We got extra servo drives from ebay in case of failure - if the spindle drive fails we will probably replace it with a normal vfd.

(this was early on in the conversion - the estop was just sitting on the table and fell off the vice at the end of the video and activated..  



Posted by Zebethyal on 07/10/2016 09:28:21:


You say that 5i25/7i76 is an over the top combination and go on to mention that a 7i92 is all that you need, yet this is the combination most mentioned anywhere I look for information on what Mesa boards to use.

I have re-read the description and manual of the 7i92 and yes, it would appear that it can be used stand-alone parallel port replacement - it would still need some form of breakout board even if it is a basic $4.00 Chinese one, since most home-brew conversions aren't parallel port ready

This also re-affirms my earlier point about it being difficult for someone new to work out what Mesa cards they need - no guidance on Mesa's own site, the LinuxCNC Wiki is amazingly vague on the subject, merely mentioning a large number of possibilities that should work and doesn't even mention the 7i92 card!

If I specifically search for the 7i92 card, I see very few posts about it, and many of those I do find are from the LinuxCNC forum which seem to be cries for help with using one - hardly a great advert.

To buy one I would need to order from the US, not necessarily an issue, but Mesa quote 6-8 week lead times, EUsurplus have no stock, and I have yet to find a UK supplier.

I like the idea of this board in that it de-couples from the required PC, making some form of laptop more of an option, or a mini PC that can fit behind the monitor.

One thing I am not so keen on with the Mesa breakout boards is that their screw terminals are too close to each other to use crimped ferrules, and pretty awful from a strain relief point of view - 90 degree plug in screw terminals would be a better option in that regard.

Edited By Zebethyal on 07/10/2016 09:33:53


Edited By sam sokolik on 08/10/2016 03:18:49

06/10/2016 20:16:20

Couple of things...

1) I have not changed the source code of linuxcnc for any of my machines conversions. I used the integrated ladder and the configuration files. (that says a heck of a lot about the flexibility of linuxcnc).

2) I don't understand why 'none of the gui's' are usable by beginners. They obviously work. It really is your opinion. (and I am sure others). The axis gui that you so hate is all I use. What is it that you don't like about it? it resets the estop, turns on the machine. homes, loads gcode, edits tool table, touches off the coordinate system, runs the gcode and so on. (I think it is a clean interface - but that is my opinion)

3) I am not understanding your last point either. Tormach took linuxcnc and to use a geeky term - 'forked it' They then modified it to their liking. (Because it is open source) They added stuff and removed stuff modified stuff. The side effect of this is the changes they made make hard to bring their gui back into linuxcnc. This is good from Tormach standpoint. They for obvious reasons want to keep their gui out of the main stream for as long as they can. There has been hints that someone is working on integrating tormachs gui back to linuxcnc but who knows how long that will take. The bad thing for tormach is because they based their work on linuxcnc - any changes built upon it needs to be released (which they have). So it is probably only a matter of time before someone works it out.


Posted by John Stevenson on 06/10/2016 17:13:31:
No Sam you misunderstood. There are probably thousands using Linux but possibly only a hundred or so able to delve inside and change the code.

Again I'm not bashing Linux, far from it but why can't the masses have access to an easily set up program with a workable GUI. None of the screens I have been pointed to are viable screens to put on a machine to sell to a begineer.

By your own admission it's not easy to incorporate path pilot with Linux, even though path pilot IS Linux. Does that mean the Tormach guys are better than the Linux guys ?
Because they have done it.

06/10/2016 16:44:32

I have a feeling that linuxcnc has a greater user base than you think...

The linuxcnc forum satistics.. (the forum hasn't been around as long as mach)


Look at the youtube videos sorted by upload date. Lots of activity. As of now - someone posted a video within the last 24 hours.


I think more than 100 people are using the advanced features of linuxcnc (it isn't as hard as people make it out)


Posted by John Stevenson on 05/10/2016 15:20:47:
Can't fault that logic or argument at all.
These features are probably only available to 100 people max who can implement them. I know that you are one of them, seen the video of your large matching centre but you are top shelf with probably thousands of hours delving inside Linux but mere mortals don't stand a chance.
05/10/2016 20:27:47

Bobs article was originally posted back in 2011....

Note: I originally published this two-part series some time ago, and it has been hugely popular ever since. I recently went through it and added a lot of new information and updates. I am republishing so new folks will get a chance to see it and so folks that have already seen it can take advantage of all the new information.

05/10/2016 15:48:12

(if you think linuxcnc is hard to configure - pathpilot is doubly so...)

05/10/2016 15:44:17

Pathpilot is based on linuxcnc but tormach did a bunch of stuff to personalize it. It is made to work with their line of machines. I have not played with it but have looked a bit in its guts. If someone thought it was linuxcnc and could configure it accordingly they where probably blind sided. Quite a few people now have worked though what needs to be done to configure it for other systems. It certainly isn't as easy as linuxcnc prime to setup. (it wasn't designed to be)


Posted by John Stevenson on 05/10/2016 15:20:47:
Can't fault that logic or argument at all.
These features are probably only available to 100 people max who can implement them. I know that you are one of them, seen the video of your large matching centre but you are top shelf with probably thousands of hours delving inside Linux but mere mortals don't stand a chance.

Personally I'd like to just get a two axis lathe running and threading with something like a Path Pilot screen that will sell to the punters. Sounds easy doesn't it, but it's not and wasn't for a Linux guru either.

Mind you I could put a Chinese lathe controller on it like Steve Blackmor has and just spend a night wiring it up ?

05/10/2016 14:41:50

The 5i25/7i76 combo is way more than just the smooth stepper. The 7i76 is in all effects a break out board on steroids. 48 isolated i/o, 1 analog output, 1 high speed encoder counter (ttl/differential) 5 axis of stepper output and expandable.

If you can really even compare - the closest products to the smooth stepper would be

PCI 5i25 for $87.50

PCIe 6i25 for $107

Ethernet 7i92 for $87.50

(sorry - linuxcnc doesn't do any usb interface cards)

So - smoothstepper + mach3 is around $340 vs Linuxcnc with a 7i92 for $89.

sssssit---sssssit--sssssit (broken record)

The motion and realtime is all done in the computer with linuxcnc. The communication to the external interface boards are realtime (not buffered). This allows you to have some really cool access to the realtime subsystem. It allows you to connect the guts of linuxcnc any way you want.. Try to do that with dedicated motion controllers. You are stuck with what is implemented in them.

Lets be real here - for basic 3/4 axis machines that are nothing fancy - almost anything will work to control them. It comes down to what features above and beyond that you want. Linuxcnc is the 'above and beyond'. Gear hobbing? Large machining centers with tool changers and pallets? Threading and Tapping? kinematics? 9 axis tool length compensation? True Closed loop servo control? Open source? Integrated realtime PLC? Real time trajectory planning and path tolerance? and more and more..


Posted by Zebethyal on 05/10/2016 12:12:15:

> 2) The Mesa boards seem to be about half the price of the Mach-3/4 based solutions;

I am not really seeing how the LinuxCNC + Mesa solution is half the price of a Mach 3 + Smooth Stepper solution.

Both require a PC of some sort, both will require steppers, stepper drivers, etc, so we will ignore all of that.

For LinuxCNC + Mesa, a base setup would be something like: 5i25/7i76 plug and go - $199.00 + shipping

(Trying to locate what Mesa hardware you actually need is a mission in itself! - the Mesa website offers little help in this regard, plus they claim a 6-8 week lead time from placing an order)

For Mach3 and Smooth Stepper: SmoothStepper $165.00, terminal board $29.55 + shipping

So from a hardware point of view there is nothing in it.

From a software point of view, LinuxCNC is free and Mach3 is $175.00 from ArtSoft (various discounted prices exist all over the web), although not everyone pays for a genuine license and many hacked copies exist (I am not advocating the use of hacked software - just stating what is available if you care to look), so yes, you can argue additional cost here, but not a particularly strong argument. for 50% cheaper from the home cheapskate point of view.

27/09/2016 20:12:03

heh - it seems everyone is looking for a silver bullet. That magic device that does exactly what they want and how they want and it has to be easy.

The thing is with all these new systems you hope that there are not any bugs. Look at how long mach3 was developed - it still has bugs. Will those bugs get fixed? No. Mach4 is so new that IMHO I would not trust it to run any of my machines. I have enough trouble making stupid mistakes then having to worry about the control doing it for me. One of our machines has 8 tons of cutting force.

I guess I really don't understand why if a system is working and is stable and free - time wouldn't be spent to figure it out. Even if the GUI isn't pretty. Do you think everyone using linuxcnc are computer experts? Again - it isn't rocket science. How much time have people spent working on or waiting for threading/rigid tapping on other systems? Chased around USB bugs? Single index threading problems? Unwanted/random motion? Path following issues?

This is exactly why Tormach went with linuxcnc - it wasn't just the threading issue. From feedback that I get from forum post - people love it. Is it the interface? partly - mainly it is the stability of it. Many times now people talk about how they used to bite their finger nails when they used to run programs helicopter mom'ing their cnc's - now they have no problems running lights out.

Why didn't Tormach use any of the existing ui's? A few reasons. They wanted their own product. They wanted something that would transition people from Mach. People that have gotten used to mach's screens seem to have great problems with default Linuxcnc screens. It really seems to come down to what you are used to. Starting out with Linuxcnc - I like the default screens and don't like the mach look. It is what it is.

But I digress.. As I stated above - why waste time with partial solutions that sort of work most of the time when there is a robust free solution out there. Scalable and configurable.


21/09/2016 01:56:34

I am the wrong person to comment on axis. It is the first gui I used when I started linuxcnc - and I still use it. I love it. I can add tabs and panels to customize it to my needs.

there are a ton of example configs in linuxcnc. Here is a sample.

Linuxcnc config picker

Here is axis with the DRO tap active

Axis Dro

Here are some of the other gui - Gmoccopy (a bunch of views)

Main screen




Gscreen is one of the build your own frameworks


You can easily add your own panels to existing gui




Some older ones


20/09/2016 04:22:14
Posted by John Stevenson on 13/09/2016 09:47:16:

Linux is possibly a better system but run by a team of developers not users who frankly don't listen to anyone and this has been well documented over the years. With Linux everyone is free to do what they want and return any modified code to the developers but then it falls thru the cracks.

All these systems require hardware like breakout boards, external controllers computers etc.

Everyone tells you Linux is free, technically yes but the time taken to set it up isn't. No two computers whether free, bought or whatever are the same. The result is when a system is shipped out to a customer you can get all sort of problems that have to be supported

this is a bit unfair. I know of a hand full of situations that you are describing. The developers of linuxcnc do it as a hobby. They work on bits that they are interested in. Simple as that. To come in and demand something be done isn't going to get you very far. One of the developers gave this link as an example of understanding open source development.

in another post you said Mach/linuxcnc needs expensive hardware to work like the dedicated control. (Rigid tapping, threading...).

linuxcnc will do these things with only the printer port. If you need something faster than the printer port then a whopping 89us will get you a pci or ethernet external hardware. (2 printer ports worth and expendable). For about 200us you get a 5 axis stepper Bob with spindle encoder interface + analog out, 48 i/O and also expandable. The control interface options are almost limitless (and very inexpensive).

Linuxcnc is a mature cnc control software that is actively developed. Stable and flexible. If you apply a bit of elbow grease and invest a bit of time - linuxcnc won't let you down.


Edited By sam sokolik on 20/09/2016 04:25:24

Thread: Electronic Artisans ELS Article
25/03/2016 13:57:31

Many many people have been using linuxcnc to thread single and multi line encoders. Are they all geeks? Or did joe blow user try it and find out it wasn't so bad? For a system that is free, flexible and works - a little bit of elbow grease is going to be required on your part. Also - the linuxcnc forum is a great place to ask questions. There are many many knowledgeable people on there to help.

To say that the developers have not listened is a bit of a stretch. There are a few things that have been done to make setup easier.

Printer port setup wizard

mesa hardware setup wizards (very inexpensive and popular hardware interface solutions for linuxcnc)

Those are there to get you an initial setup.

There are also other gui's now that people have written. (under User Interfaces)

A lathe config for say the printer port or mesa hardware could be setup entirely with the wizards. It would be pretty hard to make a wizard to configure every possible setup with linuxcnc. Getting your fingers dirty in the configuration files of linuxcnc will really show how much you can do. (The integrated ladder logic also works very well)

The documentation has been getting better and better and linuxcnc is a constantly getting bug fixes and improvements. (and that is just the 2.7 release)

My emco compact 5 pc lathe is running linuxcnc with the 100 line + index encoder perfectly. (without the circuit board hack - just using linuxcnc to do the required latching of the octal chip)

As far as pathpilot - it is tormachs design for their machines. It is going to be even harder to configure than linuxcnc prime. There are components that are missing that might be needed for other setups. That being said - I have seen on the forum someone setup pathpilot using the printer port instead of mesa hardware - so I am sure it is possible.


(Edited to fix the links)

Edited By sam sokolik on 25/03/2016 14:04:41

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