Chinese CNC 3020 / 6040 - USB variant

More
25 Mar 2018 15:46 - 25 Mar 2018 15:54 #107823 by cncn00b2018
Hello there,

so, reading through some of the basics of "LinuxCNC", from what I gathered, this all started using CNCs which are controlled via LPT parallel port, using a real-time linux kernel, to get around having an extra control box which buffers g-code commands and can execute them safely in real-time.

Now I browsed some ebay offerings for Chinese 3020 CNC routers.
Some today do come with USB (and a demo version of Mach3).
For this to work at all reliably, I would assume they must have a command buffering "on board" already with this setup?

So my actual question is - does LinuxCNC support those thingies with USB instead of parallel port?
*If* it has a command buffer / real-time command issuing built-in, that would nicely eliminate the hardware restrictions of the PCs I can use to run the software. And it costs like 15..20 bucks more than with parallel port...

Thanks in advance!
Last edit: 25 Mar 2018 15:54 by cncn00b2018.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Mar 2018 17:46 - 25 Mar 2018 17:53 #107829 by Todd Zuercher
No Linuxcnc does not support motion control via USB. The whole idea of using a command buffer violates one of the main tenets of Linuxcnc.

PS it didn't start with lpt interfaces. It started with proprietary servo interfaces. Step/dir over lpt came later.
Last edit: 25 Mar 2018 17:53 by Todd Zuercher.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Mar 2018 18:08 #107832 by cncn00b2018
Now I'm confused!
Violates "tenets"?
The mere existence of the page listing hardware combos that do not screw up the real-time constraint tells me that having a command buffer is a good thing, not a bad one.
What am I missing?
What's actually a *virtue* of this setup?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Mar 2018 18:41 #107834 by PCW
One virtue is that complex real time motion control is located in the host. This allows things like
spindle synchronized motion (threading and rigid tapping) and real time reaction to other external
data (say for plasma torch height control or adaptive feed) etc to all be available and identical at
the control level regardless of the external hardware used.

It also means that down to the lowest level, almost any possible motion control strategy is achievable
(and fully open and extensible and not dependent on closed source external devices)

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Mar 2018 20:38 #107841 by curtisa
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the Chinese 3020/6040 USB models do not actually talk via USB. They still have the parallel port connector to interface with the PC for motion control.

The USB port is provided only to tap off a 5V supply from the PC to the control box. It's no different to those cheap, generic parallel port breakout boards you can get on eBay.

The 'demo' of Mach3 that is provided with those machines is usually a cracked copy of the software. When I bought a 3020 several years back, I just chucked mine in the bin when it arrived.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Mar 2018 21:06 #107845 by cncn00b2018
Ah! Makes sense.

Can you tell how relevant it would be for some chinese CNC 3020 thing with at most 800W (or less if I can get away with it)? If it can't even do those advanced things because it's too weakly or inaccurately built, it may never be relevant ...

Just so that there's some idea about that...
My vision of what I'm going to do with the CNC router is:
1) mill PCBs, to try out a mildly complex* schematic on a weekend (I'm aware of Seeed Studio as a more pro option)
Especially larger, lower density PCBs which are unduly expensive even with chinese PCB makers.
2) front panels: prototypes from PVC or so, or if the machine can do it, thin aluminium: make LCD "windows", slits for fader potentiometers, drill holes etc.
3) perhaps plot labeling onto panels, with an ink pen or what have you
4) make some not too complex plastic parts, like angled distance pieces of a certain size, to hold PCBs in some case

There are also arduino-based motion controllers, not looked into it, but if they are open source, it would be possible, in theory, to modify this stuff to one's needs, right? Although this probably comes with a dozen caveats :-D

Don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely open to going the route as it has been explained here.
Just mapping uncharted (to me) territory, to be able to make good decisions.
I haven't bought anything yet, but the fingers are itching to get going finally ;-)

I mean... I'd want this thing in another room than where I'm residing anyway, so it "needs" an extra computer.
I have a couple old PCs in the cellar: Duron 600, Athlon XP 2000, I think even an AMD 64 ;-)
But I doubt it's gear that is in your list.
If I could get that to work, though, I'd tell my father on the next visit: "see, I told you I shouldn't throw those out prematurely!" But let's see, next couple evenings or so...

* too error-prone for perfboard + spaghetti wires & no DRC ;-)

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Mar 2018 21:11 - 25 Mar 2018 21:12 #107847 by cncn00b2018
Hehe, curtisa! Is Mach3 *that* bad? :-D
That's quite peculiar, that they'd deliver a cracked copy...

Good hint, maybe it's true and they don't have real USB. At least on the china ebay sellers' offers I saw, their info wasn't laid out very well, I found it somewhat hard to follow / figure out what's what. And they all seem to share that.
I won't even complain that their spindles reportedly have "8000 rpm / min" (acceleration?) and anti backFlash mechanisms which apparently produce long life circles. ;-)
Last edit: 25 Mar 2018 21:12 by cncn00b2018.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
25 Mar 2018 22:21 #107856 by curtisa

Hehe, curtisa! Is Mach3 *that* bad? :-D
That's quite peculiar, that they'd deliver a cracked copy...


Mine was certainly delivered that way. I've seen other people on the internet say the same thing. It was just a burnt CDR with some poorly translated instructions about how to enter the provided unlock code for the Mach3 installer. I didn't bother.

My experience from using a 3020 for a few years was that for the money it's a good little entry-level unit. You'd be hard pressed to make something from scratch for the same price. I do note that there appears to be two versions floating around. The one I got was this one. I don't know how well the other one stacks up. It will mill/engrave PCBs, plastic and wood quite happily with the right cutters. I milled aluminium twice on it, but it definitely struggled doing it.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
04 Apr 2018 09:35 #108364 by Maitland
David Suffield of Eckler Software has done almost what you are looking for- he's extracted the GCode interpreter and trajectory planner of LinuxCNC (or EMC2 as it was when he started) and pythonised it as PyMini, and added his own hardware for the realtime functions- a PIC based PCB called rt-stepper that implements the realtime bit, and you can attach direct to a D25 connector, or direct to stepper PCBs etc if you have the energy. They aren't very expensive ($30-100 depending on model), but for us cispondians the postage adds a big chunk to that.

It's diverged a long way from LinuxCNC, and isn't half as good to look at, but it shows that LinuxCNC doesn't have to be tied to the realtime kernel, and that when LPT ports and PCI slots finally disappear, all the good work on the non realtime part (i.e. everything but the bit that pokes the motors) doesn't have to be wasted.

Since he has correctly retained the GPL2 licensing and made the source code available, it should be possible to rewrite the USB functions to work with the Chinese interfaces - IF you can find details of the USB protocol used. Being Python, it's pretty well OS agnostic.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
06 Apr 2018 01:02 - 06 Apr 2018 01:02 #108474 by Grotius
About the usb machine controllers, i have something to say.

3 years ago i had ordered a usb controller for mach3. but it was dangerous to use.
(5 Axis USB CNC Motion Controller, Mach3 Breakout Board for Stepper Motor Driver) i see it is no longer available.

1. It lost connection to machine when you use it not for 30 minutes or longer. After that machine is not controllable anymore and machine was shaking. So pressed emergency brake.
2. The usb controller can't make torch height control. So for me no usb controllers in the room please. :blink:
Last edit: 06 Apr 2018 01:02 by Grotius.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 0.119 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum