Sparkfun CNC parts. Need a head start with project, need help with shopping list. Answered
First off, I know practically NOTHING of robotics and I have a plumber's understanding of electronics. This has to be a "For dummies" project. It's also important that most or all of the electronic parts come from Sparkfun, because I wish to take advantage of the great bargain they have coming up and because I cannot find anything locally.
That said, I have been looking at building a small CNC milling machine. Something that can engrave and cut light materials like circuit boards, foam, and softwoods. I want to at least be able to engrave steel as well, but I feel that is up to the tool attached to the milling machine.
The machine itself is not a problem. I understand the mechanics of it, have the tools and know-how to produce, find or buy all the required parts.
The trouble is the steppers, driver, and software. The more I look at it, the less I understand. Let's get to the questions I guess. There's a lot, I'm very sorry.
-Are there any well-documented projects here or on the web using mostly Sparkfun parts?
-What is typically involved in setting up a stepper controller/driver? Will I need to flash anything?
-What software is best for operating a CNC from a windows or linux PC? As a printer driver?
-Out of the motors available on Sparkfun, which will give me the highest resolution and which will be strong enough to move up to five pounds of material without trouble?
I know I need a lot of hand-holding here, but I really want to get started on this and I really want to take advantage of that sale. It seems like the perfect time to begin. Please help!