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I just joined the forum and I'm particularly interested in getting a small hobby CNC, preferably for under $1000. I've seen some of the Chinese ones like the 3040T in that price range but everything seems to require a computer with a parallel printer port. I suppose I could buy a control box or PCB that connects to the computer using USB but I was hoping that a simple USB to parallel printer adapter cable would work. Has anyone gone this route?
 

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Ok, I've been doing more digging into this issue and have found that a simple cable solution won't work - for a variety of reasons. What apparently works is one of two things. First, if you want to stay compatible with Mach3 SW, then you need a rather expensive ($150+) smooth stepper control board. A cheaper solution ($35+) controller board replacement will prevent usage of Mach3 SW but will apparently work with the USB CNC SW from Planet-CNC. One caveat that I found regarding using a laptop is that you may have to fiddle with the settings to keep the processing speed at a high level so that the command stream doesn't get interrupted by something like a power savings mode.
 

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I just joined the forum and I'm particularly interested in getting a small hobby CNC, preferably for under $1000. I've seen some of the Chinese ones like the 3040T in that price range but everything seems to require a computer with a parallel printer port. I suppose I could buy a control box or PCB that connects to the computer using USB but I was hoping that a simple USB to parallel printer adapter cable would work. Has anyone gone this route?
You lost me at hello! Can you add a parallel printer interface card to your PC? Is that what you are asking? Not sure.

It would require an available slot on your motherboard.

They make 'em for laptops also.
Mike
 

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You lost me at hello! Can you add a parallel printer interface card to your PC? Is that what you are asking? Not sure.

It would require an available slot on your motherboard.

They make 'em for laptops also.
Mike
I'm trying to get by without having a computer and monitor in my already overcrowded garage. If I could just take my laptop out every once in awhile that would be ideal. Unfortunately, my laptop does not have any provision for adding a parallel printer port.
 

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Ah so. I see what you are saying. I watched a demo Saturday at Rockler and the guy had two laptops setup. I have no idea what he was doing, but he managed to produce an inlay and something else, I forgot.

I wish I had room for a setup like that, but I don't.
Good luck.
Mike
 

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have experience here

purchase a standalone pci parallel port and use a destop ,nothing fancy
Unless you have a very new cnc machine lap tops are not to control the cnc machine .
It will cause trouble
 

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I just joined the forum and I'm particularly interested in getting a small hobby CNC, preferably for under $1000. I've seen some of the Chinese ones like the 3040T in that price range but everything seems to require a computer with a parallel printer port. I suppose I could buy a control box or PCB that connects to the computer using USB but I was hoping that a simple USB to parallel printer adapter cable would work. Has anyone gone this route?
The short answer is that it can not be done this way. A parallel to USB cable will not give complete control over the computers timers. There are add on boards that will allow you to do this but they are called motion control cards.

I used one in my machine that is made by warp9td. Mine is an ethernet version but they also make a USB version.

Here is a blog post about my installation. Hope this helps. Motion Control - THE MAKERS GUIDE.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
The short answer is that it can not be done this way. A parallel to USB cable will not give complete control over the computers timers. There are add on boards that will allow you to do this but they are called motion control cards.

I used one in my machine that is made by warp9td. Mine is an ethernet version but they also make a USB version.

Here is a blog post about my installation. Hope this helps. Motion Control - THE MAKERS GUIDE.

Bill
Thanks Bill. Hadn't heard of an Ethernet version. That would actually be preferable to a USB version.
 
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