Introduction: PocketNC Quickstart Guide for Windows and Mac

About: Hey! I'm Xander Luciano, a professional CAD/CAM engineer, web developer, and photographer. I love making stuff, drones, and programming. I have 5 years of engineering experience and am happy to help out in any…

The PocketNC is a versatile desktop 5 axis CNC machine built for hobbyists and innovators looking to get started in CNC machining, or advance their current knowledge of 3 axis machining to 5 axis.

Sounds a little daunting at first, but I promise you that by the end you'll see it's not too challenging. If you already have knowledge of 2 or 3 axis machining, this will be a breeze.

Step 1: Installing Software

Software installation is fairly straight forward for windows, however some additional debugging and software may be required for users running OSX 10.11.4 El Capitan.

Windows Installation

Beaglebone Driver:

-- Alternative Software --


The first piece of required software is an X server, this application allows the Linux computer embedded in the PocketNC to forward GUI Windows to your computer. My suggestion is MobaXterm, as it also supports SFTP, which allows you to easily transfer, delete, and overwrite files.
The Beaglebone Driver is required to allow communication over USB.

PuTTY is a Terminal application that allows windows to connect to a Linux computer over SSH, and Xming is an X server that works in conjunction with PuTTY as an alternative to MobaXterm.

Mac Installation (pre 10.11.4)

If you have yet to upgrade to 10.11.4 El Captian, you are in luck! This process will be simple and straight forward.

Beaglebone HoRNDIS:
Beaglebone FTDI:

Everything else you need is already included with your mac!

OSX 10.11.4 El Capitan Installation

Once again you will need Xquartz, but we will have to run some beta drivers that work on most macs, but there is no guarantee that it will, and additional troubleshooting may be required. Additional info can be found in this issue thread on Github:
It's possible that the developers patched the issue, so check there for the latest information if the following steps do not work for you.

HoRNDIS rel8pre2:

You do NOT need the FTDI driver (in fact it should not even install on your system).
After installing both, reboot your computer.

If all went well, you should see the Beaglebone connected under:
Settings->Network when you plug it in over USB.
note: it may take a few minutes to appear so be patient

Step 2: Connecting to the PocketNC Over SSH

PuTTY Setup

The IP/Hostname is: pocketnc@
Port: 22
Password: pocketnc

Enter the hostname and port into the sessions tab
Go to Connection->SSH->X11 and check the Enable X11 Forwarding box

Mac Terminal

Open terminal and copy/type: ssh -X pocketnc@

Starting the Machine

Once you have connected and are inside the terminal, enter the command: linuxcnc
A new window will popup asking for a configuration, simply hit OK.
Once the Machinekit UI pops up, click the Orange Button to turn on the motors, then click Home All to zero the machine out.

You are now ready to machine your first part!

Step 3: Transferring Files to the PocketNC

Transferring files to and from the PocketNC can be achieved through multiple methods, USB, SFTP, shared folders, network drives, and more. However I find the simplest and most reliable method to just be transferring over SFTP via WinSCP (Windows only, Mac users may want to use Filezilla).

This quick 1 minute video shows how to transfer and overwrite files to the PocketNC with WinSCP

Connection Settings:

Setting up the WinSCP/Filezilla connection is identical to setting up putty, with the exception that you do not need to mess with any X11 settings. Simply use the following settings:

User name: pocketnc
Password: pocketnc

And for convenience, you can choose to save these settings so you don't have to type all this in every time.

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