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Picture of Raspberry Pi Alamode CNC Controller
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This is my first attempt at an instructable. I hope it helps someone else.

Switches and Lights and fans, oh my...

Please read through the comments for more details.

I bought a CNC machine some time ago and I was never happy with it. It used a traditional parallel port controller and of course no modern computers have those. So it was always a point of frustration. I used an old Pentium based computer and ran LinuxCNC on it for a while but was still not happy with that. So I started looking for another solution. I decided that I would try to put together an Arduino based controller and try to use USB to communicate with it.

After studying that for a while I came to realize the Arduino was just not going to be able to do all that needed to be done on its own. The Arduino UNO just does not have enough memory or processing capacity to process a design file by itself. So I modified my solution and started working on using a Raspberry Pi as my host computer.

I created a Visio drawing of what I intended to do: It didn't turn out that way and the drawing continued to evolve as I learned more. It kept on changing until I finally got my project completed.

I have now built an Arduino based CNC Controller system that uses a Raspberry Pi as its host computer. The Raspberry Pi processes an "nc" file that contains a design that is described in GCode commands that can be understood by the Arduino. I have used a few tools on my Windows 8.1 Pro laptop to design a few simple things (like tutorials in makercam here: http://www.makercam.com/). This is a great introduction to designing things for CAD/CAM and it is really easy to use.

After creating a design that I wanted to use I wirelessly connected to the Raspberry Pi using WinSCP to transfer design files to the Raspberry Pi. You can get WinSCP here: http://www.soft-now.com/listing/123823/WinSCP?did=11055&pid=1&ppd=search,44532390848,winscp20download,e,,c,0,,,&gclid=CJuIkNHds74CFagWMgodpxMAJw. Its great, you can just drag a file from one window to the other to move files between systems. You will have to know the IP address of your Raspberry Pi to connect to it. If you have gone through the initial setup of the Raspberry Pi and setup a network connection you can get the IP address by using the ifconfig command on the Raspberry PI. A really helpful tool for getting your IP address and seeing that your Pi is online is a tool called the Advanced IP Scanner here: http://www.advanced-ip-scanner.com/. Another great tool is Wireshark: http://www.wireshark.org/

I then used Remote Desktop Connection (Remote Desktop connection is part of Windows and should be on your Windows machine. It can be run by entering mstsc in the Run Open: box) to connect to my Raspberry Pi. Otherwise you could use VNC or TightVNC: http://www.tightvnc.com/. TightVNC is what you need to put on your Raspberry Pi to allow you to use Remote Desktop Connection from another machine. I can now run the Grbl Controller on the Raspberry Pi which in turn connects to an Alamode (an Arduino like board that plugs directly into the GPIO connector on the Raspberry Pi and provides automatic voltage level translation. So that the Arduino can communicate with the Raspberry Pi directly. The Alamode also provides Arduino headers to allow for Arduino shields to be plugged directly into it. So I ended up with a stack of three boards that are tightly integrated due to being plugged directly into each other. The Alamode (Arduino) processes the GCode commands from the Raspberry Pi into signals that are sent to the CNC Controller shield to run the stepper motors and passes the various function signals on to the CNC Controller shield too. They can then be accessed from the external world. All is well so far... But now I have to connect these things to the external world.

 
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JohnM578 days ago

Thanks for you response. My machine is simiIiar in table design to a plasma, or router CNC except it is being used for pressure testing of foam materials. That's why the Z axis is just a actuator with a load cell. The table moves to a location and then the actuator drops to mutliple depths while the load cell readings are recorded. I was expecting that the drivers and power supply would be outside of your enclosure design and in a separate one. Ultimately, I'm wanting to input the control signal into my set of drivers. It seems like this should work. The signal going to the driver should be the same regardless of the driver correct?

Can you tell me what value your current limiting resistors are and also the model of your fans.

cdtaylor51 (author)  JohnM578 hours ago
The model number of the fans is in the parts list that I posted in response to a previous comment. Nothing special, just 40x40x10 mm 12VDC case fans.
cdtaylor51 (author)  JohnM578 hours ago
I believe that you are correct about there driver signals but you need to confirm what your particular drivers are expecting. The current limiting resistors for the leds are about 500 Ohms. Just check out an led resistor calculator on the internet and decide how much current you want to light up the led and the led calculator will give you the value of the resistor to use. I didn't want leds to be very bright and I want them to last a long time so I used the resistors that I used. You might want the leds to be brighter or less bright. I would suggest that you use a breadboard and try some different resistor values and see what you prefer. I hope this helps.

That is an awesome CNC controller and your wiring is perfect! Thanks for the explaination..
How do you find the grbl controller software? have you compared it to something like LInuxCNC or Mach3/4? Also this would work with a larger stepper motor driver for the likes of a Nema23 or 34 right? or is the output voltages not enough to fire the drivers? Thanks!

cdtaylor51 (author)  troy.dawson.7798529 days ago
Thanks for the feedback. You can just Google for grbl and then read the Wiki pages for info on grbl. Grbl is available on github. As for larger motors: the grbl controller board is designed to handle 12 to 36 volts (you would want to read their pages too). There are a few different Pololu stepper driver modules that you can use at different voltage and current settings. Of course you would need to modify the wiring and perhaps provide better cooling if you used different power levels than I did. Just changing the power and the driver modules would be pretty easy to do. My build just used 5 volts and 12 volts. To use 36 volts you would have to bring 36 volts in from an external 36 volt power supply to the CNC controller board and you would need to replace the stepper driver modules with appropriate 36 volt modules. I also used 12 volts for my spindle functions. You may have different requirements than I have.

This is really an awesome CNC project. Thank you for sharing all of this hard work. I'm working on a 3 axis gantry style CNC project now and have been thinking about how to use your design. Instead of a spindle on the z axis i'm using a actuator powered with a servo motor (so I'm not needing any relays for spindle speed, direction or coolant since there is no spindle motor), and stepper motors for the xy. A load cell is set on the end of the actuator. I'm looking to use nema 34 steppers with R1025 drivers. I'm still researching the servo for the Z axis since I need more torque for the actuator. Any thoughts or suggestions?

cdtaylor51 (author)  JohnM579 days ago
Thanks for your interest in my project. There are a lot of things in my project that might be applicable to yours. However it is clear that your project would not fit into a small enclosure like mine did. As for the z-axis, you might be able to use a rotory solenoid actuator to get higher torque. I don't really know what you are doing so I can't really say that would work but it might be worth looking at. Thanks again for your comments and questions.

Sweet Thanks for the reply. I know I would need to use external motor drivers. But I wasnt sure if it works as a relay and therefore could be driven by a lower voltage or if I need to run the actual voltage through the board.

My requirements are to convert a Optimum BF20L Mill which would require Nema34 motor and 2 Nema 23 motors. But the raised voltage may mean I need to use a conventional board as opposed to a GRBL/Arduino setup.

cdtaylor51 (author)  troy.dawson.7798523 days ago
You could certainly try using a CNC controller just like mine if you wanted to. As I mentioned previously you would need to provide the right voltage for your motors but there are driver modules that can handle up to 36 volts and 2.2 amps per coil. You could try that and Grbl if you wanted to. If it's too much then you could do something else and still have this controller as a backup or to test with or to use on another project. Personally I think my CNC controller would work (use the 8825 drivers at the correct voltage for your motors and leave the top off of the box until you understand the thermal issues). Alternatively, you may need functions that are not available in Grbl. So you might want to go with Mach or EMC or LinuxCNC or something else and that would mean that you wkuld not be able to use this controller. By the way, I really like the mill you chose. I would suggest that the first thing you do is install a good Digital ReadOut (DRO) on it. Then learn to use it manually. Then upgrade it to a CNC controlled machine. Make the parts to adapt it yourself. Learn all you can about using the machine first. Then you will understand what happened and why it happened when something goes wrong and you will be able to compensate for that intelligently.
cdtaylor51 (author)  cdtaylor5123 days ago
Check out this site for a great DIY DRO project:
http://www.yuriystoys.com/?m=1

This is an awesome CNC controller - thank you for spending time and effort sharing the results in such great detail.

I too am going to make a similar CNC controller and if possible would like to know a bit more about your S port and the relay(s) you used and how you have them wired in.

cdtaylor51 (author)  mark.buttle127 days ago
I am not sure what you are asking me here. I reread what I wrote and I don't know what else I could add to that. Here is where I got my relay modules: http://imall.iteadstudio.com/im120710007.html.

They are just relay boards that are controlled with 5 volts and can switch up to 24 volts DC or 120 volts AC. You can get more information on their Wiki page here: http://wiki.iteadstudio.com/5V_Relay.

I replaced the 3-pin header on each module with a polarized locking connector that I had.

As I said, you can do whatever you want or need to do with the relays. I connected them to the functions that are broken out on the CNC controller board. If you needed to do something else then you certainly could but I believe that those are the functions that Grbl is expecting. You could also connect any of the relays to an external solid state relay to control a higher power device.

One thing that I do not yet understand is how to deal with variable speed spindles. The connector that I used for the spindle functions has eight pins, and I used six, so adding additional functions or features should not be too difficult. But I don't know how the Grbl guys are going to bring that function out yet either. There are new versions of things all the time.

I hope that this is what you wanted to know. Thanks for your comment and for reading about my controller.
cdtaylor51 (author)  cdtaylor5127 days ago
I just looked at the relays again. The relays get +5V and ground from the power distribution board. The relay control signals are in the white expandable sleeving and connect to the CNC controller shield. I then tied +12V from the power distribution board to the common pin of each relay. Then the normally open pin is connected to the "S" connector. Then I connected ground from the power distribution board to the "S"connector too. I could have tied all of the grounds together and just ran a single ground wire to the "S" connector but not doing so allows for more current and more modulatity. I could have also gotten ground from the CNC controller board but chose to get ground from the power distribution board instead. The pictures don't show this very well. I hope this helps. Keep asking questions and I will keep trying to give good answers.
Sekai1 month ago

nice cnc controller. and very compact.Do you perhaps know how to connect a raspberry pi with a standart paralel port.I have a cnc machine (router) with L297-L298 combination, and i am using an old pentium 4 pc, but i want to make the cnc more compact.so i was thinking of doing with a raspberry pi.

cdtaylor51 (author)  Sekai29 days ago

I think that I misread your comment. One of the reasons that I built my CNC controller was because I was, like you, using an old Pentium based computer because that was the only machine that I had that had a parallel port. That's fine if that is what you want to do and LinuxCNC works very well in that environment but if you want more latitude and to be able to do other things then this environment is very limiting. So I built a completely new controller based on a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino. I have not tried to use an RPi as a parallel port adapter. Here is another situation where the RPi is running Wheezy, which is a time sharing, multiuser, operating system but you would really be better off using a real time operating system. Try Googling "raspberry pi real time os" or "raspberry pi parallel port". My solution completely eliminated the parallel port from my CNC machine and now I just use a wireless connection from my laptop to my CNC controller (RPi). I could also use an Ethernet connection if I wanted to but the wireless connection is just a lot more convenient for me.

cdtaylor51 (author)  Sekai1 month ago
I believe that I addressed this topic before but the way I see it you would need some way to get the higher voltage and current to the stepper motors. Other than that I am pretty sure that the RPi can handle everything else. However the bigger issue is the software and that would take a big effort to create. That is why I did what I did instead. Please see the other comments for more information. Thanks for your comments.
BertieS11 month ago

Nice would you be able to link to any resources for building the rest of the machine? Thanks

cdtaylor51 (author)  BertieS11 month ago

I am not a sponsor of any make of CNC machine. This is a really hard question to answer. I do not know what you intend to do with your machine and this controller is able to control pretty much any 3-axis machine. You could, for example, make a laser engraving machine with this controller. I am not sure what sort of machine you want to get into. Personally, I purchased a 3-axis CNC milling machine from MyDIYCNC when it was a Kickstarter project and paid about $500.00 for it. You can look at their site if you like. http://www.mydiycnc.com/ I believe that their current offering is much better than the one that I purchased. (They offered me an upgrade for $250.00. I have not done it yet but might. I have made some big changes to my machine because I was not able to accomplish what I wanted to do with it but for what it is its okay). I am also impressed with the shapeoko offering. http://www.shapeoko.com/ I believe you can get a machine from either place with or without electronics. If you do that and build a controller like mine you would still need to have stepper motors and limit switches. The two machines are really different in their approaches to motion control. The MyDIYCNC machine uses threaded rods that I believe are inherently not very accurate and they also use their own anti-backlash mechanism that I do not believe is very good either (just my opinion). I have replaced the threaded rods with Hayden Kerk anti-backlash nuts and lead screws that are very accurate (about $50 per axis plus couplings). On the other hand the shapeoko offering uses belts instead of lead screws. A lot of machines have used belts in the past but I like lead screws better. I believe that belts stretch over time and that the machine will become less accurate over time as the belts age. But that is just my opinion too. I think that maybe the best way to go is to get a good, heavy, manual milling machine. Something like this for example: http://www.micromark.com/microlux-high-precision-heavy-duty-r8-miniature-milling-machine,9616.html And then add the CNC stepper motors and limit switches to it along with the CNC controller of your choice. Here is a website that shows how to convert a manual mini milling machine into a CNC mini milling machine. This would be a very nice, very stable, very accurate and repeatable machine and would handle pretty much anything you might want to do in a mini-machine shop. Lastly, look at this site for more information about everything that has to do with home / hobby size machine shops: http://littlemachineshop.com/default.php The more you learn about how all of this CNC stuff works the better you will be able to choose a machine that will do what you want to do with it. Remember that there are also CNC controlled lathes, milling machines, engravers, cutters and even 3D printers (since I published my instructable I have learned that my controller won't quite do all that is needed for a 3D printer. You really need at least 5-axes for that). Grbl only supports 3-axis machines. Good luck, I hope this answer helps. If any one else wants to comment on these ideas please do so.

phuketbot1 month ago

what you realise chang a lot of think about home cnc ,distant control and distant fix ,price , control cnc not in the noisy same room.......

it for that try to do the same, i have a lot of difficult to preparre cart programme; nobody who have realise the cart can upload the img of the raspberry cart per torrent to make the work in some simple clic.

cdtaylor51 (author)  phuketbot1 month ago

There is a good tutorial on building the Raspberry Pi software on the Adafruit site.

Try this: https://learn.adafruit.com/raspberry-pi-kernel-o-matic/overview

Make sure that you have SSH installed first. Also I had a couple of questions and they got back to me right away. Took a LONG time to install Cygwin (SSH) to work with this process.

CharlieZed1 month ago

Great work!

I was wondering if you could provide a circuit diagram for the Power Distribution board in step 8?

cdtaylor51 (author)  CharlieZed1 month ago
I have attached a simple schematic showing how the switches and leds and the Power Distribution and Inverter Board is wired. I hope that this it makes it easier to understand. The connectors on the left side of the schematic get connected to the CNC Controller board. The CNC Controller board provides the four function pins and a ground for each function. Only four of the six inverters in the 7404 chip are used. The connectors in the middle of the schematic represent the 12 pin header that is on the Power Distribution Inverter board and is connected back to the four switches too. The +12V and +5V parts of the schematic represents the power distribution buses on either edge of the board. I connected the power from the external power supply to the rails. I then connected the+5VDC from the rails to the RPi and the Alamode. Followed by connecting the +12VDC to the CNC Controller. Then finally I connected the ground pins for the spindle signals (the three relays) to ground. Again the +12VDC ground is connected to the +5VDC ground. +5V is also the Vcc for the Hex Inverter chip. Let me know if you find anything wrong with my schematic. Good luck on building your own.
PowerInverterBoard.JPG
cdtaylor51 (author)  CharlieZed1 month ago
Thanks for your comment. I thought about a schematic for the power board but it was so simple I didn't do it. You can print big copies of the pictures (both sides) and just build an exact copy of what I did if you want. I will add a schematic in the next couple of days. There is a small schematic showing how the switches and leds are connected that I included in a previous reply too. That might help in the mean time. The other things on the board just simply provide power to different things. There is a +12VDC rail on one side and a +5VDC rail on the other side. Then the grounds are tied together. That is really all there is to it. As I said I will post a schematic in the next few days. I am really busy right now.
cdtaylor51 (author)  cdtaylor511 month ago

Here is the little schematic about how the switches are wired to the functions and to the Hex Inverter (7404 chip) and the leds that are in the swiches. I hope this helps until I can do a complete schematic of the power board.

SwitchWiring.jpg
joaoji2 months ago

Very good your work, worthy of a good teacher!

Could you post a video on youtube of your CNC showing some details mainly featuring the g-code transfer process for processing?

cdtaylor51 (author)  joaoji2 months ago

Well, I am not in a position to do a video so here is an explanation about what is going on with the software.  I made a few assumptions that I guess I should not have made.  Hopefully, this will clear things up for anyone who is confused by what I previously posted.     In Step 13: Testing, I showed how the software works.  As I said, I used Remote Desktop to connect to my Raspberry Pi from my laptop. 

1st Picture:

The first picture that has a large raspberry in the middle of it is the desktop of my Raspberry Pi.  Notice that is just shows a few icons.  Notice that one of the icons is for the GrblController.  To test the system I clicked on the GrblController icon which brought up the GrblController window that you can see in the next image.

2nd Picture:

 In this image you should be able to see that the Port name is populated with the name of the port that the RPi is using to talk with the Arduino/Alamode.  It should be ttyS0 and the Baud Rate should be 9600.  If all of this is right then you would next click on the “Open” button to establish a connection between the RPi and the Arduino/Alamode and that will take you to the next image. 

3rd Picture:

The text on the Open button will change to “Close/Reset” and the button will go red.  Notice that the Port name and the Baud Rate are greyed out and cannot be changed at this time.  Once the connection between the RPi and the Arduino/Alamode is established the GrblController will automatically send a message to the Grbl Interpreter on the Arduino/Alamode and the Grbl Interpreter will respond with the information that you see in the window under the Command box.  You can get the Grbl Interpreter to send that information again if you enter $$ in the Command window.  Notice that anything sent to the Grbl Interpreter is preceded by a right arrow symbol “>”.   The system is now waiting for something to do. 

You can use the arrow keys in the Axis Control window to move the desired axis of your machine or you can go to the advanced window to manually enter Gcode commands or you can go to the Visualizer window (more about that later) or you can select a design file that contains Gcode. 

4th Picture:

I loaded a design file that I made with makercam (see the introduction).  As you can see I chose a design file the ends with the .nc suffix.

5th Picture:

 In the next picture I clicked on the Begin button.  That causes the “Choose File” and “Begin” buttons to get greyed out and the “Stop” button is now available.  The visualizer will automatically show you what the design will look like.  Notice that the image of the “T” is blue and the machine and work coordinates are all zeros (before the Begin button is clicked). 

6th Picture:

The next image shows more data in the window on the left.  Notice that Gcode commands are showing up in the list.  Also notice that a statement telling you that the GrblController is “Sending” a file to the Arduino/Alamode/Grbl Interpreter.  Also you should notice that the Queued Commands bar is showing some depth.  This is because several Gcode commands have been queued up for execution.  Further, the Machine and Work coordinates have changed and they are no longer zeros.  Lastly note that the image in the Visualizer window has some green lines that are replacing the blue lines.  This shows you what segments of the design file the system has completed and where it is currently working.  As work progresses through the design file the lines will continue to go from blue to green and the coordinates will continue to update and the lines in the information window will continue to appear.  You can click on the stop button anytime you want to interrupt the system.   You can see that eventually all of the blue lines have been replaced by green ones indicating that the design file has been completely processed. 

7th Picture:

Finally in the last picture, after the design has been completed the system moves back to the origin and the coordinates go back to zeros and the design is finished.  Now the system is once again waiting for something to do. 

vtstruct3 months ago

Very interesting project, thanks for posting this!

A couple questions:

1.) if I already have individual commercial stepper drivers, can I eliminate the shield board?

2.)
Does GRBL provide look ahead buffer capabilities for motion control --
how square would corners be if this system was running a mill, and does
the feed rate slow down from a straight line on doing arcs an circles
made of polylines?

cdtaylor51 (author)  vtstruct3 months ago
There are many ways to drive the stepper motors. As for information about GRBL I would suggest that you contact the GRBL authors. I am a relative novice and still don't know as much as I need to know and I do not feel confident in answering your questions. Thanks for taking a look at my project.
cdtaylor51 (author)  cdtaylor513 months ago
You would probably want to use an Arduino prototyping shield to provide an interface between the Arduino and you drivers.
EricP53 months ago

Well Mr. Taylor after reading your instructible I have FINALLY
decided to take the plunge and build a CNC. I have the plans, about 96%
of the parts, and have been working with the Arduino/Raspberry PI boards
for a year or so now. I guess, after reading through your instructions,
I have a few questions that I am somewhat fuzzy on

1) You mention
a power distribution board but I don't recall if that is a part that I
need to purchase or make. If I need to make it is there a schematic
available?

2) It looks like I maybe misunderstood how the
Raspberry PI works with the Arduino... I thought that I needed to run
LinuxCNC as the OS on my PI and then control or send the Gcode to the
Alamode via the GPIO so that the GRBL would intrepret it and then send
the stepper motor instructions to the CNC board. Do I NOT need to use
LinuxCNC? If not how do I send the Gcode to the Alamode - via the IDE?

Those
questions posited I have to add on to the choir that this is an
excellent and well thought out instructible and your end result was
elegant. Hell, it impressed me enough to finally get off of my butt and
get this done. Plenty of folks would tell you that is a feat in itself.

cdtaylor51 (author)  EricP53 months ago
The power distribution board that I mentioned is not completely necessary but just a convenient way to get power where I want it and I also put the hex inverter that I used to drive the LEDs on it. You obviously do not need to have illuminated switches either. The power distribution function is really simple. I just used the power rails on either side of the board to pick off the power where I needed it. The rails are on either side with +5V and ground on one side and +12V and ground on the other side (with the grounds tied together). I included a small schematic showing how the switches and LEDs are wired up in a previous comment. Take a look at the other comments. They present some good information too.

As for the software I used: GRBL is implemented by putting the GRBL interpreter on the Arduino (Alamode in my project) and the GRBL Controller on the Raspberry Pi. I am not using LinuxCNC at all. I would refer you to the GRBL authors if you want to use the interpreter in a different way. The screenshots in the last step show what you would see on the screen of the RPi while running the GRBL Interpreter on the Arduino and the GRBL Controller on the RPi. You would need some other piece of software to make a design file to process with the GRBL software.

I hope that makes things more understandable. Good luck with your project and thanks for looking at mine also thanks for the comments too.
DanB74 months ago

Cool!...I multiplied every long word by 10 minutes as I read....Impressed but I think I have to find a quicker solution - I have only so many years left and need to get my project up and running too......I am working backwards from the steel frame.....and have a long way to go (further now than I first envisaged..;-).) But thank you especially for your organisational skills.....

cdtaylor51 (author)  DanB74 months ago
DanB7 - I am not sure what you meant with your first sentence, maybe you could clarify that and then I might be able respond. if there is anything that is mot explained well enough let me know and I will try to help. Not sure what the second sentence means either. I guess you believe that my instuctable is too long. Working backwards from a steel frame might mean that you have a machine with a steel frame and you are now looking for a controller for it but I am not sure as the context does not provide any way to know for sure. If that is the case then you could simply purchase a CNC controller system through ebay or elsewhere on the Internet and completely skip building your own. This instuctable is my first attempt to put something like this together. It was meant to help others who might want to do something similar and it is just the way I did it and did not intend to restrict anyone from doing something differently. It also shows some of the prototyping techniques that I have learned and used over the years. My hope was to help others to raise the quality of their projects to a higher level that they would be happier with. I am still learning too. When I read through an instructable about something that I have not done before I always learn about things that I previously did not know. Sometimes the learning curve is high and it is difficult to understand. I am always grateful to learn more especially about things that I knew nothing about before. I hope that my little instructable has added a bit, and elevated the journey's of, the more than 100,000 people who have read it. Thanks for your comments and just ask if I need to explain something better and I will do my best to do so. Please be as specific as possible and I will do the same.
DanB7 cdtaylor514 months ago
I am in awe at your knowledge, learning and application. You must have spent a long time on it. Your clear words must have been magnified 10 fold in the actual application of your knowledge. I am very impressed by your result but doubt I could emulate it and may have to initially think "simple" to start with.
cdtaylor51 (author)  DanB74 months ago
Well DanB7, I believe you could do this too. Just take one step at a time. Get all of the parts and tools that you need and take you time. I recommend that you start by getting the software working on the Raspberry Pi and the Arduino/Alamode. Then add on the 100% GRBL Compati le CNC Controller. At that point you could temporarily attach you stepper motors and verify that everything works as it should. Then you can start thinking about packaging everything. Thatis really what instuctable is abou. Use expandable sleeving to bundle wires together in a logical way. Expandable sleeving needs to be cut with a hottool to melt the fibers together but further you need to reminate the expandable sleeving with heat shrink tubing. That will help to hold the sleeving in place and protect the ends too - it also looks better. You need to be careful though because you can easily melt the pin housings by getting them too hot (read, voice of experience here). Putting the holes in the box and making the carrier plate were the hardest parts because I had to do those things by hand with my Dremel tool. Read the other commentsfor more info about that. I am sure that youcan do it. Thanks fir your comments.
cdtaylor51 (author)  cdtaylor514 months ago
I read my reply twice to make sure there were no typos, etc. Then posted and read again and there are typos. What can I say?
dgaynor5 months ago

Why didn't you use the 12-36V stepper power supply on the GRBL board? Aren't the stepper motors going to be under powered now?

cdtaylor51 (author)  dgaynor5 months ago
My stepper motors are all 12 volts and so is my spindle. Changing the wiring for other voltages would be pretty easy to do and the CNC Controller board is already able to handle 12 - 36 volts.
branilson6 months ago

Very nice and organized assembling. Congratulations!.

Today with the the new raspberrry Pi B+ with more GPIO lines, i am thinking in use the raspberry to control the drivers directily. I think in use some kind of simplified version of linuxcnc to run into the raspberry pi.

cdtaylor51 (author)  branilson5 months ago
Using the RPI to directly drive the stepper motor drivers should be possible. You would need to use a real time operating system and some custom programming to do that. You would also need to provide some sort of mechanical and electrical interface. The RPI is a low voltage and low power device whereas the steppers are higher voltage and higher power. It could be done and would be a great project but it would also be a lot more complicated than what I did. Good luck, if you decide to do it. I would be interested in seeing how it all came together if you do it.
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