CNC me pt. 2 – Electronics I

Searching for a control solution for my CNC mill I found a whole bunch of possibilities. My requirements were these:

  • cheap (why, of course!)
  • USB solution
  • ready PCBs
  • open source if possible

Most CNC configurations still rely on a computers LPT port. This is due to the fact that a program can access this port in realtime as opposed to the USB port, which is buffered. There are several solutions on the web using microcontrollers to execute the code given through the USB port. I went for the one done by [planet cnc] in combination with classic l297/298 motor drivers by [PMinMO]. Both provide ready to use parts, kits and schematics to do your own board designs. I went for the kit solution instead of designing my own boards because I wanted to spend more time on mechanical design. PMinMO provides a truly great documentation with his boards, by the way! I got a PCB and a preconfigured chip from planet cnc. He provides a software with drivers for windows (costs though) that should also work under Parallels and such.

I soldered one driver and the controller board together but haven’t gotten around to do any tests yet…

soldering the smd parts to the driver board

the controller (w/o chip) and one driver, waiting to be tested

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