CNC Control Panel - Winter Project

22 Nov 2022 10:47 - 22 Nov 2022 10:48 #257316 by klopp

I got myself a new winter project and would love some of your feedback on it.
My "quick and dirty" control panel for my CNC never really got finished and now the touchscreen broke, too.

So I decided to design a completely new one. 

I will build a few, as some of my friends really don't like their normal computer setup as control panel. 
This means I will build a small series, so everything has to be cost effective.
Thats also the reason for the sharp corners, would love to have them round, but I think it will add a lot of extra cost.

The casing will be made out of aluminium.

The design is optimized for gmocappy, might create my own GUI later.
Enough switches so you can use the panel without touchscreen, some apparently don't like it, key switch is for locking the touchscreen. 
The selector switch is used to switch between the overrides for the potentiometer.

I came up with some first renders, let me know what you think and if I forgot something

Last edit: 22 Nov 2022 10:48 by klopp.

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22 Nov 2022 12:01 #257324 by tommylight
Looks nice, thank you.
I might add, why so many buttons, and e-stop should be on the right side for right handed users but not a rule, humans are good at aiming with hands,
On the subject, i keep checking time after time shops that sell alu profiles for windows trying to find something usable for control panels, no luck so far, to big/wide, one sided, bulky, etc. Did find something that is barely usable but the space inside the frame is to narrow at under 4cm, so the only way of putting a monitor in is removing the shell and repositioning electronics, not easy with a 30 or 40 pin flat cable.
The search goes on...
Eager to see what you come up with.

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22 Nov 2022 12:45 #257330 by klopp
You are absolutely right about the estop, haven't thought of this, thank you!

There are 10 buttons to make the controller useable without the touchscreen.
Older people often have a problem with touchscreens, working with gloves doesn't work on a touchscreen etc.

Each button will be numbered 0-9 and will map to the buttons in the middle of the screen.
For example, in the MDI page the "spindle left" button will get a small (3) in it's corner. You can then turn spindle left either by touching on the screen or by pressing button nr 3. Hope this makes sense.

I will probably contact a few sheet metal companies and let them do the laser cutting and bending, just have to do some more research
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22 Nov 2022 12:48 #257331 by HansU
I would add some rotating knobs (potentiometers) for feed, rapid and spindle override.
And as Tommy already mentioned the buttons next to the screen should match the number of buttons in gmoccapy.

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22 Nov 2022 14:41 #257337 by spumco
Very nice.  Couple thoughts/suggestions (as I'm working on my own 3rd control panel revision)

Make sure you can easily get a nearly identical replacement monitor before committing to the enclosure.  The good deal on ebay or Scamazon may bite you in the future if the touchscreen dies and you have to butcher the panel to fit something else.  Don't ask me how I know about this...

Ditch the key switch for the touchscreen enable/disable.  Keys get lost or broken off; just use a 2-pos selector and consider mounting it up high to the right of the screen.  That switch likely won't be used frequently and it declutters the 'working' button/switch area.  Keep 'admin' controls separated from 'CNC' controls.

One rotary encoder plus a selector switch can do the function of multiple encoders/pots.  Selector can have SRO/FRO/RRO/MVO.  Or you could even use an MPG handwheel and tie all the overrides to it plus axis jogs.  (like the Haas MPG) Once I realized there was never going to be a situation where i needed to instantly adjust multiple overrides at once, I decided to do this on mine.

Selector & encoder knobs - round ones with a little line are compact & tidy looking, but a 'chicken-head' type with physical pointer makes it easy to know the position without looking at it.

Trackball - nice, but make sure it's easily removable without pulling the keyboard out of the panel.  They get dirty.  I hate trackpads but they're certainly dirt-friendly compared to mice and trackballs.

USB port - don't mount it low on the side or front.  We all drop stuff (tools, coffee cups, etc.) and you don't want to snap off a thumb drive.  Up high on the side would be more protected.

Another personal preference - a couple of dedicated "Oh crap!!!" buttons are nice.  Feed hold, 5% rapids, cycle stop, etc. physical buttons are nice rather than fumbling for the trackball or on-screen controls.  Some of these may not be needed based on your GUI choice.
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