cheap and easy hardware for a student

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20 Nov 2010 22:36 #5476 by michaelpollak
hy all.

i'm new to this community, at least i did never write but read a lot. it's amazing how much great information you put out there, and i hope i can be a part of it soon.
my name is michael, i'm a student from vienna|austria, you can find more info about me on my website and my blog .


i looked into the topic of building my own very cheap X-Y-table to find a cheap entrypoint in this huge cnc-world. but after A LOT of testing and trial and error, with stepper motors, old floppy drives and RC-Servos i'm pretty much at the point where i just want something that works.
i'm willing to do a lot of diy work and really like this stuff, but i just can't see process - if i continue at this pace i'll never get a working machine.

so i decided i want to spend some money on the hardware - spend more time working with the machine than working on the machine.


i really want to start slow, as a student i dont have a big amount of cash available. so i'm looking for a 2D x-y-table, where i can start to plot things, get to know the system and learn the basics. in the next step i really would love to be able to engrave sth., maybe with a dremel-tool or a router - so if possible the machine should be extendable by myself.
i don't have a problem with building my own machine too, but i need a good kit (at least for the electronics), that is compatible with emc2, to get it running.
i would really like to hear your opinions, any help will be highly appreciated.
    compatible to emc2
    >= 2 axis
    affordable (<500€ if possible...)
    extendable (by myself, with available tools and material if possible)
    available (imports from china are not really my thing)


thank you for your answers.

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21 Nov 2010 09:46 #5481 by eslavko
Hello...

You should check www.cnczone.com as there are many finished machines with photos in steps.
If you have 'recent' scrapbox then you can got working CNC for 500Eur all made from metal!

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21 Nov 2010 10:32 #5483 by michaelpollak
of course i went through a lot of posts on cnczone.com.

are they in general compatible with emc2?
also there are so much different designs out there, i had hoped sb. could point me to a few good ones or the right direction. maybe sth. they build and where happy with.


thank you for replying.

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21 Nov 2010 11:06 #5484 by eslavko
At 1'st decide what you wan't

As machine has nothing to do with EMC. But interface has!
So mechanicaly you can build machine by own wishes, needs and material available.
.. so at this point you have machine with some wires from stepper motors and limit switches(if any)

Now you need electronics.
On one side the EMC is connected (probably trought LPT port) and in other side all stepper motors. So this one is chalenging as this can be complicated and expensive or simple as one ULN chip. Here are a lot of question.
Do you want to build electronic or to buy and what steper you have.
Printer's and similar stuf has in most cases small motors with low torq. I don't recommend that but if you wish to try then welcome.

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21 Nov 2010 12:21 #5486 by michaelpollak
thank you for your reply.

i'm pretty confident that i can manage to build the mechanics - there are really good build-blogs out there.
software is also no problem, because i want to use emc

the question is now, what driver and what steppers to use. and that's where i need your help.
i'd like to build a cheap testing system. which would be possible to build with only printer-steppers and some easy to use chips.
the problem here is that this systems are (afaik) not really extendable, because of the lack of power to controll heavier machinery.
are there driver boards available, that can work with cheap and small printer steppers - but also would be able to control stronger equipment when the stepper motors are exchanged?

i'll get some uln's on monday and test my motors, check if they are working and if i understand their working correct.
can i really use emc to control such a minimal test-environment?


thank you again for reading and replying, your forum is a great help to me.

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21 Nov 2010 13:40 #5491 by BigJohnT

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21 Nov 2010 15:57 #5492 by step4linux
Some very cheap DIY router solutions :

http://www.rc-network.de/forum/showthread.php?t=173243

(german language)

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21 Nov 2010 17:42 #5493 by michaelpollak
@john
the videos are not really usefull to me. as i said i really took my time to look into the mechanics of this tools.
the case studies are pretty old, and most links are not working anymore.

@gerhard
thank you very much, this threat is really usefull to me. there are some good ideas for the mechanics and the links to use.
the problem is that those guys don't talk about the electronic - the real hard part for me.

mostly they just talk about "some pollin stepper driver card". are all cards ok to control with emc2? i'm from austria, so my prefered shop would be "conrad electronics". i'll check some stepper-interface cards tonight, and post the links here. i hope somebody can help me with the right card to use.


i decided to write a build-blog about my new toy. hope i'll get this thing up and running till christmas.

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21 Nov 2010 18:22 #5496 by step4linux
There are also guys around with experience with different controller cards.

one of the most popular (and cheapest) controller in our region is this one:
http://rc-letmathe.de/product_info.php?cPath=61&products_id=1113&osCsid=dbb3d5cc8c640549e943124aee0e788d

you will find some guys in the mentioned forum, which use it, I think some also with EMC.
But anyway it should be not a problem to connect it to EMC.
Myself I use a DIY controller.

There's another guy planning to build a controller based on this:
http://cnc.dappach.at/schrittmotorsteuerung-4a-mit-l6203

Gerd

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22 Nov 2010 01:31 - 22 Nov 2010 01:31 #5514 by andypugh
michaelpollak wrote:

the question is now, what driver and what steppers to use. and that's where i need your help.


I started with a kit from eBay. The driver I got worked fine, but I did manage to blow chips on it a few times. In the last year the quality seems to have improved.
There are dozens on there now priced at around EUR60 for a 4-axis, and other packages with motors and power supplies in the EUR150 bracket.

Of the drives I have seen on eBay, this one looks significantly better quality than most single-board designs, and has a good, clear manual.

cgi.ebay.com/4-Axis-CNC-Stepper-Motor-Dr...r-mill-/330497504530
Last edit: 22 Nov 2010 01:31 by andypugh.

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