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Rick
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Guys I was wondering what the best computer and software options are for running a CNC router table.
I will be dedicating this computer to the CNC router table , and use another computer in the house for modelling .
I have a copy of XP and 7 , but I don't think modern day computers motherboards will support XP , and not sure about windows 7 .
I'm concerned that there's to many applications running in the background for windows 10 to work reliably .

At CNCrouterparts , one of there recommendations was installing a PCIe card with a parallel port ,and another was to use the USB port with a Smooth Stepper .
I like those options better than buying an old refurbished computer with a parallel port ,and ideally I'd like to intergrate a computer into the same case as the rest of the electronics using one of those smaller mother boards.

I was originally going to go with Mach 3 or 4 , but heard that CUCNC was a better program ? I don't know if that influences the choices of computer or operating software though .
Anyways I'm curious to hear what has worked out well for others
 

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Doug
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Rick,

Mine runs https://planet-cnc.com/milling/ CNCUSB on a Win 10 machine. The CPU isn't much, it was a very inexpensive government surplus machine, 2 core I think, most always not connected to a network.

The inside machine runs the CAM software, it is a quad core 64 bit machine. It needs to be a robust machine to generate the 3D models. Once it generates the g code I put it on a USB stick and take it out to the other computer.
 

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Rick
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Rick,

Mine runs https://planet-cnc.com/milling/ CNCUSB on a Win 10 machine. The CPU isn't much, it was a very inexpensive government surplus machine, 2 core I think, most always not connected to a network.

The inside machine runs the CAM software, it is a quad core 64 bit machine. It needs to be a robust machine to generate the 3D models. Once it generates the g code I put it on a USB stick and take it out to the other computer.
Doug I have a fairly good computer for the modelling part , and like you I will be using another computer for running the CNC machine , and also keep it off the network .

If your having no issues with windows 10 , that's good to hear . I was concerned it had too many things running in the background to work properly for a dedicated CNC computer.
How I miss my XP :(


I'd give serious consideration to the Roxul2017... ;)
Dan I looked everywhere and can't find that one . Not even at NCIX in Van ? :D
 

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Doug
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Doug I have a fairly good computer for the modelling part , and like you I will be using another computer for running the CNC machine , and also keep it off the network .

If your having no issues with windows 10 , that's good to hear . I was concerned it had too many things running in the background to work properly for a dedicated CNC computer.
How I miss my XP :(
I have the machine in the garage full time, I ran the CNC from a Toshiba Satellite dual core 2 ghz running windows 10 for a while, but worried that the machine would go to 'sleep' on a long cut.

The CPU is disconnected from the internet when I am doing anything so the system can't download any updates, etc when an operation is going on. Plus, a desktop is a lot easier to clean out than a laptop. The computer functions as a great stereo when the machine isn't running. The keyboard and mouse are wireless, VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, since I can actually have the mouse right close to me when I am setting the 0,0,0 points.

So far no issues with sawdust getting into anything as far as I can tell.
 

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All of the CNCs made by Probotix come with a PC running Linux and LinuxCNC as the controller software. I was not familiar with Linux before buying my Meteor CNC from them but have to say that I trust end respect how reliable and useful it is now that I've been running my own and 2 other CNCs from them. The greatest feature I hadn't expected was Linux's ability to read keyboard jogging input from more than one key at a time. Up arrow to move +Y, Down to move -Y, Right to move +X and Left to move -X or you can press down and left at the same time to move -X-Y at the same time, etc.. You can dynamically lift one finger off a key while leaving the other on, then use your second finger to hit a different second key to move in a different direction, all without being frustrated by windows key interrupt single key at a time strategy.

LinuxCNC also has a great dynamic real time 3D preview of the g-code and machine progress while cutting. The OS and LinuxCNC are both free. You can buy a PC (less monitor/keyboard/mouse) pre-configured with Linux and LinuxCNC from them here if interested: PROBOTIX LinuxCNC Control PC. They also sell a controller you can use to drive your own steppers that works great with LinuxCNC over parallel connection.

4D
 

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Rick
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
All of the CNCs made by Probotix come with a PC running Linux and LinuxCNC as the controller software. I was not familiar with Linux before buying my Meteor CNC from them but have to say that I trust end respect how reliable and useful it is now that I've been running my own and 2 other CNCs from them. The greatest feature I hadn't expected was Linux's ability to read keyboard jogging input from more than one key at a time. Up arrow to move +Y, Down to move -Y, Right to move +X and Left to move -X or you can press down and left at the same time to move -X-Y at the same time, etc.. You can dynamically lift one finger off a key while leaving the other on, then use your second finger to hit a different second key to move in a different direction, all without being frustrated by windows key interrupt single key at a time strategy.

LinuxCNC also has a great dynamic real time 3D preview of the g-code and machine progress while cutting. The OS and LinuxCNC are both free. You can buy a PC (less monitor/keyboard/mouse) pre-configured with Linux and LinuxCNC from them here if interested: PROBOTIX LinuxCNC Control PC. They also sell a controller you can use to drive your own steppers that works great with LinuxCNC over parallel connection.

4D
That's interesting 4D, as I believe I read something about someone using a Probotix configured computer at CNC Zone .
Thanks, I'll have to check it out . Never worked with Linux before , but I've heard of it for years , and it would certainly make more sense , as I suspect it's not running a bunch of unnecessary crap in the background like Windows




I have the machine in the garage full time, I ran the CNC from a Toshiba Satellite dual core 2 ghz running windows 10 for a while, but worried that the machine would go to 'sleep' on a long cut.

The CPU is disconnected from the internet when I am doing anything so the system can't download any updates, etc when an operation is going on. Plus, a desktop is a lot easier to clean out than a laptop. The computer functions as a great stereo when the machine isn't running. The keyboard and mouse are wireless, VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, since I can actually have the mouse right close to me when I am setting the 0,0,0 points.

So far no issues with sawdust getting into anything as far as I can tell.
Doug I'm really liking the wireless idea ;)
I was also concerned about the computer going into sleep mode . With my old XP computer I knew how to configure it so that would never happen . Not so confident with Windows 10
 
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Rick, beltramidave is using Linux to run his new machine from Nate. I do believe they are old Probotix controls, but not sure. I'm waiting to see how it works to see if I want to attempt something like that or stick to the much easier "plug and play".
 
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Rick
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Guys I didn't know windows 7 was still available and supported. I'm thinking I should buy a copy before there long gone .

I also watched a video on Linux , and it looked a lot like working in DOS to me ?
Just different command lines
 

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Rick,

My dedicated CNC computer in Linux looks just like windows on the monitor. No real difference in using it.
And I'm using Windows 7 right now on this computer.
 

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Mike
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I know one problem I have with windows 10 is after I set certain settings everything works great for a while then I check the settings and they were changed back to the defaults.

The CNC Shark machines were having problems with windows 10 trying to turn off the USB port they were hooked to even after configuring for the machine to stay active. That is part of Windows 10 trying to conserve power. Next Wave recommended using a powered USB hub but I know some people had more problems with the hub.

XP is no longer supported by Microsoft and 7 support expires in 2020. I haven't heard of CUCNC. Mach 3 & 4 are well documented so there is plenty of support.

Really depends on the machine you decide to buy because some have their own control software.
 
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Rick
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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I know one problem I have with windows 10 is after I set certain settings everything works great for a while then I check the settings and they were changed back to the defaults.

The CNC Shark machines were having problems with windows 10 trying to turn off the USB port they were hooked to even after configuring for the machine to stay active. That is part of Windows 10 trying to conserve power. Next Wave recommended using a powered USB hub but I know some people had more problems with the hub.

XP is no longer supported by Microsoft and 7 support expires in 2020. I haven't heard of CUCNC. Mach 3 & 4 are well documented so there is plenty of support.

Really depends on the machine you decide to buy because some have their own control software.
As for windows 7 , Well the good news is I'll probably be 6' under in 2020 , so no worries there .

I want the mechanical part of the machine only , whether it's from FLA or CNCrouterparts .
Tell you the truth I'm kinda veering towards CNCrouterparts Pro machine right now ,as I can always upgrade it to a larger machine in the future .
I was going to follow David's example and build the electronics myself , and use the same spindle and VFD .

I'm kind of concerned with CUCNC also , as there's a lot of support here if I require configuring if I'm using Mach3 .
Which is a given :)
 

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Rick, beltramidave is using Linux to run his new machine from Nate. I do believe they are old Probotix controls, but not sure. I'm waiting to see how it works to see if I want to attempt something like that or stick to the much easier "plug and play".
I am using some of the controls from my Probotix controller. I had to use larger power supplies and stepper drivers as I have larger motors now, but the brains of the controller are still Probotix and use a parallel port and Linuxcnc.

As 4D state, you can purchase from Probotix a controller and fully configured PC quite reasonably, I think.

Sorry I haven't given an update to my progress. I have ran a couple test projects on my Saturn. I am waiting on some new motor pulleys as my motor shafts are 12mm and the pulleys that came with the machine are 1/2". Not a mistake by FLA, but mine as I didn't check..

Dave
 

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Rick
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I am using some of the controls from my Probotix controller. I had to use larger power supplies and stepper drivers as I have larger motors now, but the brains of the controller are still Probotix and use a parallel port and Linuxcnc.

As 4D state, you can purchase from Probotix a controller and fully configured PC quite reasonably, I think.

Sorry I haven't given an update to my progress. I have ran a couple test projects on my Saturn. I am waiting on some new motor pulleys as my motor shafts are 12mm and the pulleys that came with the machine are 1/2". Not a mistake by FLA, but mine as I didn't check..

Dave
12mm? Dave are you running Nema 23 steppers , as David has Nema 34 steppers and I believe his shafts are 14mm .
Wish they'd standardize this stuff a bit more :(
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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12mm? Dave are you running Nema 23 steppers , as David has Nema 34 steppers and I believe his shafts are 14mm .
Wish they'd standardize this stuff a bit more :(
Yes, they are 14mm - good memory, Rick. Maybe you're good to 2025 at least... :wink:
 
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