CNC Sherline conversion from Linux to Windows

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Auzzie53

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Hi All,
Sorry I have posted this in a couple places but has anyone done a conversion from Linux to Windows for a Sherline CNC Mill
 

CFLBob

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I've bounced back and forth between Linux and Windows with my Sherline mill and lathe. I realize this is a couple of weeks late, but I can try to help.
 

Auzzie53

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I am having to replace my controller box as its has died, I have also just purchased all the components to upgrade my sieg lathe (C3) it came with Nema 23 motors, so I am just trying to work out which way to go as everything is heading or seems to be Windows 10, any help or suggestion greatly appreciated.

Cheers
John
 

CFLBob

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If the questions mostly concern getting Windows 10 to cooperate, I can see I'm not going to be of much help. I'm using an older Windows 7 PC without a WiFi adapter or any other way to connect to the network. Before that, it was a 15 year old XP machine. Thankfully, most anything we ask of a machine controller doesn't put much of a load on the machine.

Do you have software you're going to control the CNC machines with? I'm assuming you've crossed the bridge of not using the parallel port to drive the machine.
 

Auzzie53

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If the questions mostly concern getting Windows 10 to cooperate, I can see I'm not going to be of much help. I'm using an older Windows 7 PC without a WiFi adapter or any other way to connect to the network. Before that, it was a 15 year old XP machine. Thankfully, most anything we ask of a machine controller doesn't put much of a load on the machine.

Do you have software you're going to control the CNC machines with? I'm assuming you've crossed the bridge of not using the parallel port to drive the machine.
I am thinking of going back to a desktop with a parallel port unfortunately I have anew notebook which only has usb, I have read Mach3 seems to still be the best way to go, any suggestions
 

CFLBob

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I think Windows 10 messes the parallel port timing up.

My situation is probably different because I have (as my signature shows) three machines: my Sherline mill and lathe, plus a Grizzly G0704. The PC has one parallel port but handling the three was messy. Partly because I keep telling myself I'm going to switch to Mach4, I bought a Warp9 Ethernet Smooth Stepper. This takes the Ethernet off the builtin network card in my old Dell and converts it to three parallel ports, one for each machine. What it does is buffer the machine instructions so that the motion is smoother. If Windows takes control of the printer port, the machine doesn't hiccup.

Warp9 also makes a USB Smooth Stepper.

I've heard that Mach4 is better for threading than Mach3, and threading was my goal when I built the CNC lathe and got it running. Mach3 can use one pulse per revolution and Mach4 can use more. That's supposed to make the motion smoother. But I'm still using Mach3 and really haven't run into any issues with it.

I have no idea what's available in Australia, so maybe there are brands I haven't heard of.


Bob
 

Auzzie53

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Thanks Mate, most of the stuff I have to get from o/seas, what are you thoughts on Mach4, more research need from my end
 

kf2qd

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I am using Windows 10 and Mach3 without any problem. I bought a small COOFUN PC and my mill came with a Ethernet Smoothstepper. That and a 2 port breakout board works great. Want to try Mach4, but that will have to wait for retirement in a couple years...
 

SmithDoor

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Hi All,
Sorry I have posted this in a couple places but has anyone done a conversion from Linux to Windows for a Sherline CNC Mill
Just all Linux can found on Windows
You may find software using a 16bit installer, if this happens i can email installers that are 32bit. I use on lots software from 1990's including Autocad.

Dave
 

stanstocker

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I used linuxcnc with a parallel port and PMDX340 driver box for several years. Mach3 is really long in the tooth, a 32 bit Windows7 machine is the last standard build setup that works well with Mach3. Yes, there are many patches and workarounds, some have it running on Win10 64 bit. I wouldn't buy a new Mach3 license these days, too much bubble gum needed to hold it all together post Win7 32 bit for my taste. I don't mind saying hope this works about my design or feeds and speeds, but having to hope the machine itself is predictable isn't something I want. I can screw up fine without random bits of help!

These days I'm using Mach4 with PMDX step generators. The Sherline mill is run with a PMDX 411 dongle type step generator and a PMDX 340 driver box. Very stable and satisfactory. I'm also using a chassis mount PMDX step generator to drive the motion controller for my G0704, just using 5A stepper drivers.

I wanted the conversational modes offered by Mach as most of the work I was doing at the time was quick little bits or lengthy gear cutting jobs to support a clock restoration business. Simplicity and stability was my goal, a machine that needs babysitting for hour+ jobs was useless to me, there were other profitable things to do. It was also nice for me to have the entire software chain on a single machine, which made Windows the OS for that machine. Lathe support with conversational modes was wanted, as none of my CAM software speaks lathe, 4 axis yes, 2 axis lathe - no. The upside it it lets me keep my primary office machine on linux. Always compromises to be made.

If you prefer linuxcnc, buying a Mesa card will cost less than most of the step generators for Mach. Ethernet seems preferred over USB these days by the hardcore linuxcnc folks. I have to say linuxcnc was always rock solid once configured, if building a machine to just plop in a USB stick and hit go it would likely be my choice.

Don't overlook uccnc either, over the years at nerdfests I've heard many people say they like it.

Just to horrify the real cnc folks, gRbl is really advancing nicely too, I'm running several routers with it and have been very impressed with it's performance and stability. There are turnkey ESP32 based controllers with 3+ amp/phase drivers for around $200 out there. Lot's of routers out there doing 200+ IPM on gRbl. It's not a comprehensive full feature motion control app like linuxcnc, Centroid, or Mach, but I'm pretty sure it would handle just about everything I've needed to do over the years in the 3 axis world. The router world has really accelerated hardware and software development. Even has 4 axis finally, it will be interesting to lash up a few tests and see how gear cutting on a 4 axis gRbl machine plays out.
 

ddmckee54

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To stick another oar in the water, think about the DDCS standalone CNC controller. It's inexpensive, eliminates the need for a PC and a breakout board, and it's available in 3 or 4 axis versions. It's had quite the following for several years on Madmodder, and together several coders over there have rewritten the original code, eliminating the original bugs. They offer the fixes to anyone - including the manufacturers. I've talked to one of the authors of the code and he's pretty sure that all of the newer controllers that are sold come with their code already loaded.

The 3 and 4 axis versions both use the same hardware and you can turn your 3 axis version into a 4 axis by uploading the 4 axis firmware. You can also turn your 4 axis into a 3 axis unit if you aren't careful.

I've got one of these controllers for my CNC router. I haven't got the router built yet, but I've got the controller in the box just waiting to be used.
 
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stanstocker

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To stick another oar in the water, think about the DDCS standalone CNC controller. It's inexpensive, eliminates the need for a PC and a breakout board, and it's available in 3 or 4 axis versions. It's had quite the following for several years on Madmodder, and together several coders over there have rewritten the original code, eliminating the original bugs. They offer the fixes to anyone - including the manufacturers. I've talked to one of the authors of the code and he's pretty sure that all of the newer controllers that are sold come with their code already loaded.

The 3 and 4 axis versions both use the same hardware and you can turn your 3 axis version into a 4 axis by uploading the 4 axis firmware. You can also turn your 4 axis into a 3 axis unit if you aren't careful.

I've got one of these controllers for my CNC router. I haven't got the router built yet, but I've got the controller in the box just waiting to be used.
Those are quite interesting devices. Several folks on another forum have used similar controllers, other than finding the manuals a bit quirky they have been pleased. Once your router is all up and running, kindly pass on your experiences with these controllers.

Thanks,
Stan
 

ddmckee54

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Stan:

I was waffling on what CNC controller to get, I didn't really want to have to have a dedicated PC just for the router. It was the ongoing support on that other forum that convinced me to try the DDCS controller. (Along with its' price, since I'm kind of a cheap SOB.)

It'll be a while yet before the router is in operation. I'm in the midst of a major shop re-organization to make room for the router. Part of that re-organization is installing the the dust collection that the router will need, along with everything else that should have gotten dust collection years ago. CNC routers make a Helluva a mess if you don't have decent dust collection. My little CNC router that I had years ago was bad enough until I got the dust collection hooked up - and it was tiny, less than a 1 square foot work area. The new router will have a 24"x48"x6" work volume, which isn't HUGE, but it's big enough for my purposes.

Don
 

Auzzie53

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To stick another oar in the water, think about the DDCS standalone CNC controller. It's inexpensive, eliminates the need for a PC and a breakout board, and it's available in 3 or 4 axis versions. It's had quite the following for several years on Madmodder, and together several coders over there have rewritten the original code, eliminating the original bugs. They offer the fixes to anyone - including the manufacturers. I've talked to one of the authors of the code and he's pretty sure that all of the newer controllers that are sold come with their code already loaded.

The 3 and 4 axis versions both use the same hardware and you can turn your 3 axis version into a 4 axis by uploading the 4 axis firmware. You can also turn your 4 axis into a 3 axis unit if you aren't careful.

I've got one of these controllers for my CNC router. I haven't got the router built yet, but I've got the controller in the box just waiting to be used.
The more I look into all this the more things open up, I have been a long time cad user and instructor and I have been using Sketchup for some time as well, so at the same time of doing research. I cam across a software program call Fabber, you can import a 3D model out of Sketchup straight into it and it the generates all the cnc code so no need to go from 2D to 3D then for example Mach3. Sketchup is so easy to use I can produce a model 6 times faster than any other method, I haven't gone into setting up the machine side yet, it does have default options and costs $25 mth
 

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