PathPilot hardware recommendations?

14 Jan 2016 19:20 #68403 by Lcvette
Hello guys and gals,

I am a long time mach3 user bit want to make the change to Linuxcnc and Pathpilot. In doing so I decided the best course of action would be to use it on a new Lathe cnc conversion I am building and therefore have complete flexibility to acquire the best hardware components for the machine.

My question to all is if you were in my position. What would you be buying for a scratch built control setup that will handle the following machine hardware and functions:

- 3 phase AC inverter duty spindle motor and Vector duty VFD drive.

- Tool turret 8 position

- Bar feeder and/or puller

- Cnc tail stock

- pneumatic or hydraulic chuck

- threading

- possibly live tooling

These will be various stages of the build and I will of course start with basic Lathe functionality and grow from there but want to ask the experts what they would be buying to avoid pitfalls or short comings as needs grow and to make the transition as a mach3 users to linuxcnc and Pathpilot as painless as possible without having to delve too deeply into programming to initially get the machine up and running?

Any and all input is greatly valued and appreciated!

Newbie to Linuxcnc, Chris
14 Jan 2016 19:24 #68404 by andypugh

Lcvette wrote: what they would be buying to avoid pitfalls or short comings as needs grow and to make the transition as a mach3 users to linuxcnc and Pathpilot as painless as possible without having to delve too deeply into programming to initially get the machine up and running?

To make life as easy as possible I would suggest not using PathPilot.
Making PathPilot work on anything other than the Tormach machines is not trivial.

Other GUIs and conversational interfaces exist.
15 Jan 2016 10:03 #68435 by cncbasher
i would start with Linuxcnc , and once you have the machine up and running , then look at Pathpilot .
as i would consider you will need help in transferring your configurations , and programming help at that stage .

although pathpilot is a derivative of Linuxcnc , there are some areas that are not covered or some features missed out
not that these can not be recovered at some stage ,

most of what you describe as requirements are covered in Linuxcnc , the rest is easily added
may i suggest you go with a mesa interface , i presume although not stated this is a servo operated machine & not steppers .

welcome to linuxcnc
15 Jan 2016 15:58 #68461 by Lcvette
Andypugh and cncbasher,

Thank you for your input, I am not opposed to starting with linuxcnc and learning my way through. As stated this is a blank canvas which I figured would be the best time to ask these questions of the professionals. Being completely new to LinuxCNC I have as many questions as I did 6 years ago with mach3 knowing nothing about DIY cnc. Furthermore, I have never seen a Linux based OS in person and will need to invest time to research a good system to run it on. It will be a very steep learning curve I have a feeling and it is all a little overwhelming. But I know that it will be a worthwhile commitment to make.

As an avid user with alot of experience and time with Linux, what parts would you fill your electronics cabinet with?

As an example, I bought enough parts with mach3 to make 3 machines based on various tranes of thought from cost to performance and reliability before I finally wound up with a system I was happy with. I would very much like to avoid doing that again as it not only is a terrible waste of money but also time for refitting and rewiring everything.

I still have hopes to use pathoilot, I suppose the reason I was leaning towards Pathpilot was its excellent exposure on YouTube for its interface and appearance and praise. I honestly don't see alot of alternative Linux screens discussed on YouTube from searches but then again my search criteria is probably to broad and vague to turn up good results.

Anyways, I'm writing a novel here. I seriously appreciate your input! Can I ask what interface you might point me towards to research that is similar to path pilot?

Thank you very much!

15 Jan 2016 16:12 - 15 Jan 2016 16:14 #68462 by cncbasher
Linuxcnc , comes with a number of screens , the most active is probably the default everyone uses to start with , which is Axis .
it is I admit becoming old , the newer screens if you want to call it that are Gmocappy , gscreen , Touchy .

if your looking for something close to Mach3 then Gmocappy , within gmocappy their are configurations ranging from Lathe to mill
and including Plasma , they are easily switched within your configuration , they are not fixed as in Mach3 . so if you want to change to try a different one , then chances are it's a one line change in a file .
i'd recommend you start with downloading the Live cd , and have a play , it works also in simulation mode , even without any hardware attached .
if you already have hardware based on Mach 3 we have available an importer utility that can take your xml file and produce a linuxcnc configuration , so with a little work you'll be up and running if your using the parallel port , unfortunately as stated earlier Smoothstepper is not supported ..
we have an active user base and Moderators , so if your stuck just ask your not alone , by any means . and no doubt you can see by looking over the forum .
if you have used mach3 , then I do not think you'll have too steep a curve , and over a period of time , the rest will come .
learning your way around Hal will be informative .
So play with the Live cd , and see how you go ,
getting up and running from a parallel port in mach 3 , should take you no longer than say 30 mins .
then you can fine tune from there .

everything you need is in the Live cd ..
Last Edit: 15 Jan 2016 16:14 by cncbasher.
15 Jan 2016 16:16 - 15 Jan 2016 16:17 #68463 by cncbasher
we can help walk you through the setup and making a config Chris , but you'll find all the information is in the Wiki.
it's quite comprensive ,
Last Edit: 15 Jan 2016 16:17 by cncbasher.
15 Jan 2016 16:38 - 15 Jan 2016 16:39 #68468 by Todd Zuercher
To but in, Linuxcnc IMHO, is so flexible that, what will most likely work best for you will most likely be what you are most familiar/comfortable with using now.

I've had good luck with both simple parallel port software stepping (driving both step-motors and servos), and I've used analog servos, and hardware step generation using Mesa's interface hardware.

So lets start with what hardware do you like to use with Mach3, it should all work fine with Linuxcnc with the exception of external motion controller stuff, like a Smoothstepper, and some USB stuff (USB is OK for non real time things).
Last Edit: 15 Jan 2016 16:39 by Todd Zuercher.
15 Jan 2016 16:44 #68469 by Lcvette
I have been to the wiki, and read through it until my eyes glazed over with words I didn't understand. I am by no means a programmer type which is by far the most frightening thing about making the jump to LinuxCNC.

I will dig in with some more research and find a machine to put Linux on and get the CD.

I have a very old Hewlett Packard desktop (circa 2004) in the closet that still runs, just got a bit out dated and was replaced, maybe I will fire it up and get the specs off of it to see if it will run linuxcnc ok.

I will go review the hardware requirements now!

Thanks again!

15 Jan 2016 16:47 #68471 by cncbasher
Dont worry Chris , your in safe hands
email me off list if you wish , and i'll help you get going
any resonable machine with 4gig idealy of memory , but you'll get away with 2

let use know what machine and interface you already have , so we cah get you going easily
15 Jan 2016 17:57 #68475 by Lcvette
Ok, to answer a few questions asked...

Existing hardware on my existing Mill system is all ESS based so won't work.

However, in my toybox I have the following:

Mill remnants,
- C10 BOB
- C11G BOB
- KBM DC motor controller
- G0704 stock spindle motor w/stock motor control setup for CNC control with 0-10v signal to potentiometer.
- 6 optical sensor pickups I plan to upgrade my current mill with for home switches, limit switches and spindle encoder feedback.
- Tool setters (one wire)
- Touch probes (wild horse models)

For my Plasma table build I have,
- G540 4-axis kit
- (4) 425oz steppers
- 48v power supply
- db9 P-n-P motor cables
- Parallel port cable

So I have enough parts to put a pretty complete motion system together as a test bed for a simple parallel port setep.

My old desktop is anemic HP Pavilion 533w..complete specs below in link, brief overview without clicking link are:

256 Mb ram (266mhz)
2 GHz intel celeron processor
Intel 845GL chipset
400mhz data bus speed
60gb hard drive
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