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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My machine is ordered, I have the computer and monitor on which to load Mach 4 and have even bought a couple of router bits. I guess I'm getting prepared.

Question to those of you who use Avid. How do you situate your computer in relationship to the machine? I believe that it connects with an ethernet cable so the location of the computer in relationship to the machine can be separated somewhat. Is it better to have the computer right by the machine? If so, (I'm going to use a mini-desktop PC) how do you set it up physically? Is it right there on a stand, or on something similar where you can get to it fairly quick? Does whatever dust created by the machine clog the ventilation system of the computer? I have a dust collection system and plan to make the dust shoe (already have the materials) shown on the Avid website, but there will probably be some form of dust that escapes.

Would it be better to have the computer separated from the machine? I'm thinking whatever you folks suggest, I might have an aluminum stand or attachment constructed to hold the computer and monitor. My next-door neighbor is a retired aluminum welder/machinist and is looking forward to working with me on my assembly project. No, I don't want to cut aluminum on my new router, he has the whereforall to do all that.

Thanks for everyone's help in providing enough information to keep me from making some of the mistakes am bound to run into.

Survived the hurricane and all is well with me. :laugh2:
 
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Mike while I don't have or use a CNC I would suggest that the computer be protected from the sawdust and debris of any machine. At a minimum I would, for myself, probably build a rolling cart that would provide filtered ventilation to the computer and have a comfortable platform for the monitor (covered when not in use) as well as the keyboard and mouse. As long as you have easy access to the monitor, keyboard, and mouse I would think you're golden. Biggest mistake people make with computer is not cleaning them out and I'm not speaking of the inbox and old files although there is that as well. Your CPU is protected by a heat sink and fan, and they only work well when clean and free of dust/dirt. It's wise to open the case and blow out the fan and heat sink periodically depending on the conditions the system is in. In many remote observatories we use sealed smaller footprint computers that do an extremely good job of staying cool and clean. My suspicions are that this computer would be dedicated to CNC operations only so you might be able to go that route however they are more expensive and with proper maintenance you would be fine with a regular desktop model I would think. If it connects via Ethernet then you have no issues with distance between computer and CNC but likely you'll want to be close enough to see what is happening.
 

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I went to WalMart and got a microwave cart. Cut a piece of plywood the size I needed for the top to hold the monitor and keyboard and a few other things. Have the shelves to store accessories, which you will have and accumulate more. It's not hooked to the machine so there's no vibration and can be placed wherever it is the most comfortable and convenient for you.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I went to WalMart and got a microwave cart. Cut a piece of plywood the size I needed for the top to hold the monitor and keyboard and a few other things. Have the shelves to store accessories, which you will have and accumulate more. It's not hooked to the machine so there's no vibration and can be placed wherever it is the most comfortable and convenient for you.
I thought of the sawdust etc. but did not think about the vibration. Thanks guys.
 

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Sawdust is definitely a problem. I use a dust shoe/shop vac to capture 99.9% of the dust. I even placed a piece of plexiglass to isolate the CNC table from the PC and CNC control box. But still the dust finds a way to get in everything. So I occasionally use compressed air to blow dust off and out of the electronics.
 

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Not really an answer to your question but I thought I would throw this out there. On the subject of vibration and moving pc's around. I highly recommend using Solid state hard drives aka SSD's they are getting very cheap now and stand up way better to being banged around IMHO. Plus they are way faster than mechanical drives. Dust is another major concern. Have fun with your new shop item :)
 

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David
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I built a cart for my computer and monitor, both are in the shop and not enclosed. I do catch as much dust as possible with the equipment I have at the source, though, and have had no issues with dust in the computer or keyboard. It is located out of the air flow, though, and I'm sure that helps. The shop is very clean and I choose to keep it that way and that helps, too.

It's been there four years and I have taken the sides off the computer one time to blow dust out. There actually wasn't any more in it that the desktop in the house. It was a different kind of dust - in the house there's just 'house dust' but the one in the shop had a faint film of wood dust.

Another cleaning is due but if I go by what's on the outside of the case then it's probably fairly clean on the inside.

Personal computer Desk Machine Technology Furniture

Machine Electrical wiring

It's rare for there to be anything on the CNC except for what I'm cutting but this photo was taken when I was doing some organizing and I found the CNC can hold a LOT of 'stuff' temporarily. :wink:
Toolroom Machine Machine tool Workshop Workbench

David
 

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Mike
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To start out you might want to use a cart of some kind that can be moved around so it can be positioned conveniently to where you need it. Once you figure out a normal workflow you might find that a stationary location might be better or that the cart will be best for you.

The computer I use for my most used CNC is located remotely from the CNC. I have a monitor on a shelf located above the CNC and a small swing-out tray for a mouse under the front of the CNC bed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Great ideas, thanks! I'm going to use a SSD and a computer with no moving parts, a mini-pc. I don't understand how they can make a PC with no fan??? Anyway, not much larger than a 5x7 frame.
 
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