What should an open source plasma cnc controller have ? At what price?

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15 Oct 2020 15:17 #186212 by AgentWD40
If we had to pick *one* my vote would be for ethernet (mesa) and thcad :) Seems a little more plug & play or versatile but I may be off base with that assumption.

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15 Oct 2020 15:23 #186214 by tommylight
I think i stated in the first post that everything must have a Mesa THCAD and one of 7i92 for version with cheap drives, a 7i96 OR 7i76E for the one with expensive drives.

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15 Oct 2020 15:42 - 15 Oct 2020 15:42 #186215 by AgentWD40
Just for ethernet capability would you consider making the 7i96 an option for the cheap lower cost version?
Last edit: 15 Oct 2020 15:42 by AgentWD40.

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15 Oct 2020 16:00 - 15 Oct 2020 16:01 #186217 by pinder

tommylight wrote: A much better way would be to use ESP32 as IO and use multiplex/demux to a parallel port, that would still remain in the real time domain.


this is the real way to do it.
I never thought of multiplexing inputs in linuxcnc.

My new target is now
parport+esp32(isolated arc to freq)+esp32 as multiplexer.
Last edit: 15 Oct 2020 16:01 by pinder.
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15 Oct 2020 17:07 #186223 by AgentWD40

AgentWD40 wrote: Just for ethernet capability would you consider making the 7i96 an option for the cheap lower cost version?


Bah!! I just realized the 7i92 IS ethernet. Please excuse my ignorance.
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15 Oct 2020 18:36 #186225 by rodw

AgentWD40 wrote: I'm curious what you have in mind for this as a project. Are you thinking of just spec'ing some known to work components with some working config files? Or full on control panel box, optimal layout of components, assembly instructions, etc.?


My idea was always to provide a fully assembled solution in a plasma cuttable box with a configured PC. The one I did for my power supply upgrade worked really well. I surprised myself.





This one used 2 x toroids because that was what was available, next time I will have a single custom made toroid.
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15 Oct 2020 20:04 #186228 by AgentWD40
Rod, do you also intend it to be open source schematics, spec'ed parts list, etc.?

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15 Oct 2020 21:11 #186235 by thefabricator03

tommylight wrote: But i am sure i do not want to end up like some other vendors that are mentioned often here for putting 500$ of stuff in a box and asking 3000$ for it with no support and with no bloody shielding and proper grounding.
I would rather spend two days assembling and two more days testing on a real machine then ship knowing that it is fully functional and ready to use. I prefer the "set it and forget it" way of doing things.


Seeing your builds Tom, I would comfortably say that your not going to end up like the other company!. Would it be possible to build a testing device that could replicate a real machine. That way you could just set the controller up and say let it run over night.

Then come up with some baseline parameters the customer can use and write them a instruction guide on how to fine tune the settings for their specific machine?

I personally believe that if you were to sell them for $3000 but if they did not break down or have any issues, you would have a hard time keeping up with demand once word got around.

If I can build a controller from reading your forum posts and have it run 10 hours a day for over a year with no issues, I am sure with your knowledge you will do much better than I can.
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15 Oct 2020 21:26 #186236 by rodw

AgentWD40 wrote: Rod, do you also intend it to be open source schematics, spec'ed parts list, etc.?


To tell you the truth, I don't really know. I have had this idea for a couple of years becasue I thought there were a lot of people who could build a plasma table but their eyes glazed over when they saw the insides of the control box. But a lot of pieces have fallen together for me in the last little while so I thought I'd better get on with it!

I have two custom made toroid power supplies getting made for me which are dual wound 110v/240V and I just found the perfect IEC connector with a voltage selector switch, fuse and RFI filter so I ordered a couple of them this last hour. So already I'm probably sitting at AUD $500 and I still have to order the Odroids and touch screen monitors. That will be another AUD $700 maybe then there will be AUD $1200 for the stepper controllers and AUD $800 for the motors and AUD $250 for a safety relay. Add another AUD $300 for the 433 mHz pendant hardwired into the 7i76e. So there is probably no change out of AUD $5k in parts alone. Scary! I think its in the AUD $7000-$10000 range (USD $5k-$7k)

So there will also be a custom Z axis to go with it that an associate is building his first prototype of and it will be USD $1500-$2k.
And we still have not added the planetary gear boxes which at up to AUD $500 each, will add another AUD $2k

So in answer to your question, this is probably not going to be a DIY cheap as chips kit of components. Its going to be rolls royce high end OHS compliant gear and maybe thats not really conducive to open source, particularly where we want to lock the motors in to our engineered model to guarantee performance. We would not want to have people complaining their $20 chinese motors melted at 90 volts!

I know Tommy is the master of building amazing machines on the cheap and I think if he could lock down a similar build in a bigger market with much lower buying prices than we get, he would be on a winner. I have no idea if my concepta will sell. But I do know there is nothing on the market like it!
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