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Thread: CNC retrofit

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
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    Albury
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    Default CNC retrofit

    Hello fellow metalworkers,
    I'm wondering if anyone can recommend a good CNC controller to retrofit my [small] mill.
    There are plenty available on eBay/aliexpress, have any of you guys installed one?

    Here is what I'm looking for:
    - 4 axis
    - encoder position feedback
    - graphic user interface
    - 2 axis interpolation
    - hand controller

    I'm also open to purchasing a s/hand unit.

    Any reports on your experience would be appreciated.

    Thank you

  2. #2
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    Sep 2009
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    Newcastle
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    Default

    What mill?

    LinuxCNC is my recommended controller.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pippin88 View Post
    What mill?

    LinuxCNC is my recommended controller.
    Thanks Pippin,
    Mill is Optimum BF20LV

    Are you using Mesa cards?

  4. #4
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    Default

    Yes, I use Mesa cards.

    Will you be using steppers or servo? If servo, what input (analog +/-10v or step/dir)?

  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pippin88 View Post
    Yes, I use Mesa cards.
    Will you be using steppers or servo? If servo, what input (analog +/-10v or step/dir)?
    My setup will have steppers.
    I have investigated the LinuxCNC+Mesa option but the current AUD exchange rate makes this a rather expensive option compared to some of the 3-5 axis CNC controllers available from China, hence my question if anyone has used them.

    If I end up using LinuxCNC I'd like to run it on a Raspberry Pi 4, do you run yours on a full PC?

    I'm even considering something like the Masso CNC controller at A$1k.

    Thanks

  6. #6
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    Sep 2009
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    Default

    $200US gets you a 7i76e. Or a 7i96 for $120US. That's all you need.

    That's a lot cheaper than $1K AUD.

    I personally would not buy a Chinese controller. A CNC controller is not something you want to have bad documentation about.

    You can get started with LinuxCNC for the price of a cheap parallel port breakout board.

    A 3-4 axis converted benchtop mill is not a demanding application for a control. It's not going to move that fast, so software step generation would be fine to start with at least.

    I use an old PC. With a 7i43 and 7i76 (not a standard combination, requires custom adaptor cable, just a result of buying the 7i43 second hand), so latency is not a significant issue.

  7. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pippin88 View Post
    .... A CNC controller is not something you want to have bad documentation about.
    You can get started with LinuxCNC for the price of a cheap parallel port breakout board.
    I fully agree and that's the big stumbling block for most of the Chinese stuff, even the [expensive/local] Masso doesn't have proper manual.

    I will investigate LinuxCNC again ..... did you get your Mesa cards from the Mesa shop in US?

  8. #8
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    I bought a Masso to retrofit my CNC lathe. It's not a bad controller. It's expensive yes but in my situation it was worthwhile as I could use the 1984 steppers drivers and I had a analogue output for Spindle speed control.
    BETTER TO HAVE TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED THAN TO NEED TOOLS YOU DON'T HAVE

    Andre

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by welder View Post
    I bought a Masso to retrofit my CNC lathe. It's not a bad controller. It's expensive yes but in my situation it was worthwhile as I could use the 1984 steppers drivers and I had a analogue output for Spindle speed control.
    Thanks for your reply .... did the Masso come with a good manual? I find the online documentation lacks a lot of detail.

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