I am wondering what the state of the art in controllers is?

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(Colin Kaminski) #1

I am wondering what the state of the art in controllers is? Is Grbl 1.1 running on the Gradus M1? Is the new HobbyFab controller running a Gradus?

(Brandon Byrne) #2

I think it depends on what you mean by state of the art. Features or hardware? I’m partial to boards that run smoothieware, it’s coded much better than grbl and runs on an ARM micro. I’m using an azteeg with smoothie and would recommend it, but it also might have a steeper learning curve to set up than grbl.

(Colin Kaminski) #3

Thank you. I will study up on it.

(Aaron Troxel) #4

Yea I’ve been debating a smoothie board as well, I like that they support bCNC so I can keep my RPi as my CNC PC.

(Colin Kaminski) #5

I really want to move to bCNC and RPi. That is a big part of this move. I not sure if bCNC supports Grbl 1.1 yet however.

(Brandon Satterfield) #6

I see people talk up smoothie often. There is certainly nothing wrong with it. But I’ve never found a use for it and find it very limited for both 3D printer and CNC use. If on a CNC router you must use external stepper sticks, no one currently makes anything big to stick on a smoothie board.
I mention limited. How much does one really need? Open up GRBL and look at available settings. Open up the one text page of smoothie.
I also can’t recall if there a laser mode that turns off PWM on G0? This is useful for lasers and plasma.
There is GRBL for ARM. I’d run it long before smoothie on a CNC. I like options.
@Colin_Kaminski that is just this little world bother. Check out LinuxCNC, EMC, that old Mach 3. Lot of options out there.

(Colin Kaminski) #7

@Brandon_Satterfield Does the Hobtfab controller use the M1?

(Brandon Byrne) #8

Another thing to look at, motion control boards being driven by things like bCNC on an RPi are great but still very much in the hobby realm. Like Brandon mentioned, check out LinuxCNC or Mach 3 using gecko drives to power them. LinuxCNC and Mach 3 are basically a combination motion controller and gcode feeder in one program. I’m not up to date on the latest with Mach 3, but when I used to use it you needed an older PC with a parallel port; usb to parallel port adapters had inherent issues and delays.

You can also take the step/dir pins from a Smoothieboard and route them to external stepper drivers, you’re not limited to what is on the board itself.

(Colin Kaminski) #9

I spent the afternoon setting up a bCNC RPi3 and ripped GRBL 1.1 onto an Arduino. I don’t have any stepper motor drivers to play with but it allowed me to use the bCNC interface. It was interesting. I am still short a few features I need but I like how fast everything reacts. bCNC talkes to GRBL 1.1 just fine and the speed overrides seem to work well. Is there a $$ dump for GRBL 1.1 fo the R7 setup?

(Colin Kaminski) #10

Here is some good information on stepper motor/driver limitations.
https://www.micromo.com/technical-library/stepper-motor-tutorials/why-stepper-motors-lose-steps

(Brandon Satterfield) #11

Morning @Colin_Kaminski as your test showed I’ve never had a problem with the speed in COM and ridiculously light weight. I’ve uploaded huge files, just turned down the 3D viewer, and the combo has never once choked.
Just runs.
So what other features are you needing?
The clock my son and I did was mostly with the CAM in bCNC. We used the flatten, then pocket. Kind of neat.

(Colin Kaminski) #12

I use speed override and I finally found it. I also use macros a lot and last night he allowed more user buttons so that is solved. Bit by bit I am finding what I need. I read through the code last night and adding things is very simple. I actually implemented my own version with 12 user buttons before he made that changes.

(Brandon Satterfield) #13

@Colin_Kaminski the one thing I am really missing with the boxes that run these is getting it to fire up on boot. I have not been able to get the Py to execute on boot. If you could accomplish that and send me the image I would be forever grateful. :slight_smile:

(Colin Kaminski) #14

@Brandon_Satterfield I have a contract to do exactly that. The RPi is required to boot into bCNC, Home and then zero the cutter on a fixture and load the file. This machine will only cut one file it’s while life and needs to run nearly autonomously. I’ll share the solution.

(Brandon Satterfield) #15

@Colin_Kaminski Nice man, don’t need the home and load function but can see the advantage of that. I tried rc.local and bashrc but could never get a smooth integration. Appreciate the help~

(Brandon Satterfield) #16

You mentioned he added some extra macro buttons? You mean VV did? I haven’t looked to see if there was an update, but pretty smooth stuff isn’t it? I mean I cant write in Python but can play with the interface enough to get these kinds of things to run.

(Colin Kaminski) #17

Open this file:

sudo nano /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart

Append this to the end:
@/path/bCNC

I have not tested this yet. You might need to run a script that sleeps first. If you do have it display a HobbyFab logo for a few seconds and then run bCNC.

(Brandon Satterfield) #18

Thanks man, will try this later when I can turn one of the boxes off. Path would be the location of the bCNC.py here?
I know timing was an important note about the local and bash, I put a delay on them before but made no change. Sleep maybe what’s required.

Oh the box does not run an M1. Just a simple GRBL board with external drivers. We can talk on it more offline if you want to build one.

(Colin Kaminski) #19

@Brandon_Satterfield I don’t have an email for you. Colink at designerinlight dot com works for me.

(Brandon Satterfield) #20

Figured I’d post this here in the event others want to try @Colin_Kaminski that didn’t give the desired effect.
@/home/pi/Documents/bCNC-Master/bCNC.py didn’t cause the program to start, but I really don’t know what I am doing in Python.