Ok. I guess it's getting time to jump in.

(Cedrick Gousse) #1

Ok. I guess it’s getting time to jump in. I’m a complete noob at a lot of this stuff, but I pick up on things pretty quickly and am super excited to get into the CNC world!

I spent the first few days of research completely and utterly overwhelmed and confused but I think now I’m zeroing in on what I need, and things are starting to look less like Acronym soup and more like English.

So here is what, I’m thinking and I’d like to hear your thoughts on it.

I’d like to build an OX in a box from smw3d with all the trimming (large format, extra v wheels, belt and pulley upgrades ,etc, etc),

for the controller, I’m thinking to use an Arduino + gShield to go the TinyG2 route. I think I’d like to use Mach 3 a couple years down the road (as thats what I see my ‘heroes’ on youtube using with thier fancy tormachs), but I don’t really know for sure. Is this really something I need to be concerned with? the TinyG certainly looks more stable and tested. Would love to hear someone’s input on how future proof I need to make this machine to grow with it. (Edit: this is probably the main question I need to answer right now)

I’ve found a line on some refurbished dell precision laptops so will be using one of those to control things and run software.

I’d also like to be able to work on pieces up to about 3" in thickness so going to need some serious Z capability. If I can’t get it out of the machine, it would be useful to figure out how to get the top of the work table itself to lower to accomodate for thicker work pieces.
Currently I build high-end furniture but as my business evolves I see it heading towards part machining. Would like something the capacity for a coffee table top and the accuracy to do detailed, palm-sized pieces.

@Brandon_Satterfield , would it be very difficult to customize my kit to build an OX with a 2’x4’ working area? what’s involved?

total budget for the project will be somewhere around 2700 bucks:
1600 or so for the OX, 700 for the laptop, 250 for the table and 150 for fans, odd and ends etc.

Wow, that’s a lot of words. Is my thinking correct?

Thanks in advance guys, this group has been really helpful in wrapping my head around some concepts.

(Ray Kholodovsky) #2

For 2’ x4’ work area you’d probably want the stock 1000x1500 mm frame lengths that openbuilds carries and your mdf spoiler board would sit on the supporting crossbeams.


I would run a raspberry pi 2 as your controller instead of the Dell precision and go with TinyG v8 not G2.

(John Cutburth II) #4

700 sounds pricey for a used laptop.

(Jace Richardson) #5

Disclaimer: I’m a noob at this too so take my advice with a grain of salt.

I got a free older thinkpad from a friend and bought a PCIe serial port card to use with an older 4 drive cnc controller board. I didn’t end up using it though and I’m using my current laptop (macbook pro) with my OX and TinyG, just not dedicated. All you need is the ability to run the gCode so if you want a super simple setup, you could do a raspberry pi running a command line gcode interpreter and just send the gcode to it. Otherwise I would just get an older pc tower or laptop. There’s really no sense spending $700 to get a top of the line anything for a dedicated CNC computer.

As far as future proof, don’t worry about that now - just get it up and running and mess around with it. As you learn more about using it, you can just swap out pieces as you go with no real downtime persay. If you want a longer axis later, just take it apart, add longer pieces (or some C-Beam as I plan to do later for more rigidity) and get back to work. Just make sure to leave your wiring longer.

Brandon’s kit is excellent but it’s designed to mount the controller to the X axis so if you want it someplace else (like on the side or under the table) I would recommend buying a bunch of extra wire to run longer lengths for the steppers and spindle.

(Cedrick Gousse) #6

That is pretty helpful advice

this is the laptop that I had considered, mostly so I could mess around with stuff in the shop instead of having to run back in the house whenever I wanted to change something. You say Rasberry Pi? I will take a look.

I like the idea of mounting all electronics in a control box under the table somewhere. My shop is FULL of wood dust so having that stuff hidden away is attractive. Will get the extra wire…

(Cedrick Gousse) #7

@jlauer I have swung back to the TinyG v8. Recompiling and debugging stuff, and flashing hardware through borderline sorcery is really intimidating at this point for me. Trying to keep it simple as possible…

(John Cutburth II) #8

You could get a computer for allot less that would run it fine. Seams like too much money for a “I might need” type of thing.

(Jérémie Tarot) #9

Thank you @Cedrick_Gousse ​ for asking these as I’m exactly as the same stage :slight_smile:
For the PC, this is twice what’s worth CAD workstation on ebay !..

(Cedrick Gousse) #10

All right lets abandon the laptop idea for now. I have an awesome machine in my house with plenty of grunt from time working in visual effects.

So after some more searching it seems the Raspberry Pi 2/TinyG route isn’t too painful. As I understand it:

  • install Serial Port JSON server to RP2

  • Connect TinyG to RP2 USB (in the shop)

  • back in the house on my work machine, fire up ChiliPepper

-scan for the ip of the RP2 and connect to the USB
connection of the TinyG (usually ‘ttyUSB0’ @ 115,200b)

-stream GCode from chilipepper running on the box in the house, to the USB connection of the TinyG and move the machine around.

My question - is it the function of the JSON server to store and send incoming information to the USB connection? Or do I need something else?

(Brandon Satterfield) #11

@Cedrick_Gousse good morning.

It appears everyone has voiced on the laptop/rPi thing. As an avid user I will agree that you will not need serious computing power to drive the machine.

Concerning size. I have stopped creating larger machines than the 750x1000. Well, not complete stopped but advice against it strongly.

On the Smw3D V-slot page there are a number of variables I pulled out of solidworks. I believe I used to have a post somewhere about calculating deflection. I always encourage makers to run through this on any build, but really highlight it on something like the OX where people tend to want to stretch things way out and use excessive mass on the beam (think 1500mm X gantry with a 1.5kW spindle).

Basically if you want the larger build you will sacrifice cut quality.

(Matt Herrera) #12

Cedrick, I know you have more questions aside from the PC issue but I wanted to share something I’ve been looking at that is really affordable. I have an RPI B+ that I was able to install JSON on but my personal beef with that route is the lack of the 3d viewer that I like to use when in JSCUT and Chillipeppr. The RPI B+ does not out of the box support webGL which is needed to view 3d images in a browser. I also have a spare laptop running Linux Ubuntu that will work but because of the saw dust and table space I really don’t want to leave it out there sucking in dust all day. The RPI is great because it is a fanless PC but I realized there are lots of fanless PC’s on the market. I found this one that is much more powerful than an RPI, it’s fanless, comes with windows 8.1 and I’m positive this would support webGL. You could probably even design your parts on this little PC using cad software or vector graphics software. It’s only $120. I honestly do not own this yet but it looks promising and has decent reviews. I plan to pick one up when funds allow. The only downside I see is you need a standalone monitor but I have a spare one anyways. A monitor is super cheap, these days and they are all over Craigslist.

Here is the link to the PC I’m looking at.
VENSMILE® iPC002 Wintel Mini PC Compute Stick Atom BayTrail CR,Z3735F Quad-core (4C/4T) So… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00REGG6QU/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_sn51vbKSN0TAQ

In regards to length of your OX I would take Brandon’s advice, although the new C-beam design may help counter the deflection issue.


@Matt_Herrera you just run Serial Port JSON Server on the Raspberry Pi and then run ChiliPeppr on your powerful laptop. It sounds like from your writeup you’re thinking you can only run ChiliPeppr from the same machine as SPJS, but that defeats the whole purprose of how SPJS was designed.

(Matt Herrera) #14

John your correct, so your saying I can run Chillipeppr from my laptop say in my living room and have it connect to my Raspberry pi through my wifi and the JSON server on my RPI will communicate with the TinyG. That would be pretty awesome.


You got it.

(Cedrick Gousse) #16

@Matt_Herrera @jlauer that is the route I am going for sure. May pick up a cheapo laptop or tablet in the future to have something right next to the machine or work from a couch, but right now i’ll just stream the GCode from the beast in the office. Thanks for clearing that up .

@Brandon_Satterfield Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll stick with the 750x1000 OX for now until I learn more about the challenges of the machine and dealing with deflection. It will probably just require I break larger jobs down into panels and re-join them later. No big deal though. If you’re coming with a CBeam OX kit any time soon let me know, I’d def be interested in scoping it before I pull the trigger on this.

Currently the plan is this:

750x1000 OX from smw3d, all available upgrades.
TinyG + RP2 with SPJS for in shop GCode streaming
Home machine in the house for generating CAD/CAM

Im scrapping the adjustable table because the I don’t like the kinds of hardware needed to keep a moving table top perfectly level and rigid. Instead just going to build two levels where I can remove the top and have a 2" lower ‘second top’ that will let me use stock up to 4.5" in Z.

Hopefully i can pull the trigger on all of this mid September, I’ll be working on the table design in the meantime.

(Cedrick Gousse) #17

@Matt_Herrera I like that box you posted! looks like another option would be putting an intel nuc in the control box to be able to run Chilipepper in the shop. Still cheap enough that you can also use like a RP2 to stream when you want to for whatever reason (+movies and or music)… look at something like this?


(Jace Richardson) #18

I just wanted to note that Fusion360 is a great program for CAD and CAM and is free for hobbiests. Look up NYC CNC on YouTube for some examples of full idea to finished piece.

(Cedrick Gousse) #19

it’s gone onto the ideas sheet @Jace_Richardson . I use solidworks for my woodworking designs already, but will look into it.

(Matt Herrera) #20

Thanks! I created the box for two reasons first just for keeping everything thing tidy and protected in one place. Second to have a fan system to keep things cool. I have heard of some people having issues with the chips heating up on TinyG and causing motor issue. I figured I would nip that in the butt before it ever happens. The Nuc looks pretty cool too, it’s amazing the PCs they are coming out with these days. Not to derail the topic but I just bought a VERO XBMC player, it’s a tiny cube but does some amazing things. My whole theater system is now tied into it and I’ve been pretty happy with it.