Looking at LinuxCNC (EMC2) or Mach 3 so far. Some aspects of the software may limit or modify our plans so feel free to discuss the software here.
EMC2 seems quite capable. Monroe, have you used both? What are the pros/cons?
As far as I can tell, one of the differences is that Mach3 can generate G-code where LinuxCNC cannot.
Perhaps you should look at some of the other CNC fora.
Mach3 and EMC2 are G code interpreters..they take GCode and drive the stepper motors or servos that make the cutting head move appropriately.
There are three basic functions, CAD, CAM and the Gcode intepreter.
Depending on what you want to do e.g. 2.5 D or 3D you choose your CAD and CAM packages which create Gcode and then give it to Mach3 or EMC2.
This is a well travelled road. I use DevCadCam, DevFusCam and Profili (because I want to do Aero Modelling orientated CNC) and then finish off with Mach3.
Some other people use Sketchup for CAD and the PhlatPrinter Add-in for CAM..EMC2 for Gcode interpreting...mainly because they are free.
Other people use Vectric products for the CAM function.
Real question is what are you guys going to add over all the other solutions?
Just found this group and willing to help with questions along the way. I have built 3 CNC machines and planning an upgrade to my third as soon as my new workshop is complete. I built my quad using my CNC.. if you look at my gallery you can see some of the CNC in the background. Its a 4x4 Bed.
EMC2 and Mach3 are similar products. I have not spent much time in EMC but use Mach all the time. They do not generate G code... that is done in your CAD/CAM software or via other applications that can take a model and generate G Code.
I personally use SheetCam and Vetric VCarve Pro... with VCarve being one of the best products I have ever used.
What are the machines you built? Did you follow plans from somewhere?
Have we considered the interface between PC and 'the machine'?
I am currently using the 'good-ole' parallel port/break-out method. I works but is getting dated.
This requires a parallel port PC. I know the newer softwares support USB so the bridge hardware between the PC and the driver cards should be considered --- unless I missed that part somewhere in all the enthusiasm.
So, anyone know whether either Mach or EMC will work with RS485 or CANOpen protocol?
The motors I'm looking at now has a controller that speaks those.
Thanks! So from my wiki reading, the EIA-485 connected motors can all be connected on the same bus. Sounds like to connect it to the PC, we need a EIA-485 to rs232 converter, which Nanotech sells. I'm assuming that both software can be configured to send the right commands to the motors over a serial link, instead of parallel port.
Yeah, if we can find one. We might have to go 485->rs232->usb.
or we can directly go from 485 to usb (from a google ad.)
update: I'm sure we could find better places for this.
Most CNC machines will run on both, so do we really want to limit it?
cant say I have any preference here.... will have to learn it from scratch so one or the other!
Oh wait... I prefer Window over Linux ... (I know not a real geek anymore!) dont kill me!
Is this of interest ?