Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 21

Thread: Computers, OS, etc. for CNC

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Escondido, CA
    Posts
    5,175

    Computers, OS, etc. for CNC

    Research leads me into computers and operating systems. Not to mention spindles. Or software.

    OK, Leo. I am curious. I could not find computer and OS specs for VCarve Pro. Windows only or also Apple?
    I am thinking VCarve Pro bundled with PhotoVCarve. Also Mach 3 for control software.

    And then there are spindles. I am looking for something tons quieter than a woodworking router and software controlled RPM would be a joy. So would eventual tool changing capability.

    Thoughts?
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    1,367

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,022
    Jason got you the stuff for V-Carve.

    Hold off on the PhotoVcarve. We can talk more on PM about that but for now - you don't need to spend any money there - YET.

    Now - on the V-Carve Pro. There are only a few features that Pro has over Desktop - look at the comparison chart and make sure it is what you want

    This is a comprehensive comparison chart.
    http://www.vectric.com/media/docs/pr...re-Compare.pdf

    As to the computer minimum requirements.

    V-Carve Pro can now work with 3D reliefs. It cannot "create" anything in 3D.

    You can import (1) STL and several Vector Art 3D models. The limitation there is that only one import from other than Vectric supplied models. I don't have V-Carve pro any longer and never had the ability to import 3D reliefs in the versions I had. I am a bit unclear on the limitations.

    You can do some 3D relief modifying.

    All in all it is a very powerful package. There is a LOT that you CAN do with it.

    NOW - to the computer - BECAUSE it IS a lot of graphics - it does take a fair amount of power. It is not as hungry as Solidworks - but then again it is not a full 3D graphics software like Solidworks is. Even so - it DOES benefit from a 64 bit computer.

    I am SURE - your Apple will have enough power.

    I have no idea about running on Apple. The folks at Vectric are pretty smart and I don't think they would miss the market. I sent the question off the Vectric anyway - I will let you know what their response is. Probable get an answer on Monday - But I would not be surprised to get an answer sooner, as they are monitoring the support lines all the time. They are just amazing folk there in the UK.

    The quietest spindles are going to be the water cooled spindles. I don't have any sources of information on comparison. I have seen youtube videos of side by side comparisons - but - I am not yet convinced. I guess the jury is still out on that one. Mine is a 2hp Perske German spindle - air cooled - NOT quiet. Compared to a hand held - I don't think there is much difference in the noise level. It is possible even louder because it has a bigger fan. I think - you will have noise no matter what you do - it's just the nature of the beast. You could fully enclose and sound proof the entire machine.

    Mach3 is great.

    Remember I use Fanuc and all sorts of industrial controller at work and have seen, and used TONS of machines and controls. Siemens, Yasnac, Fanuc, Haas, Mitsubishi, Heidenhein, Studer, Okamoto, Mazak, Chevilier, Brother, Cobra, Kellenburger, Okuma, CR Onsrud, MaxNC, Larken and Mach3. I have been around!!

    Mach3 is Great, not better than the industrial ones, but cheaper - and very operational. I like it to the point where I will be requesting in on a new machine if I go Chinese.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    1,367
    Pretty sure there's no Mac version from Vectric - But if you have Parallels or feel like running a VM, if your mac is powerful enough it should handle it just fine.
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    13,464
    Pretty sure Mach3 is Windows only also since it uses a windows print driver.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,022
    You do NOT need a lot of computer to run Mach3.

    I am running on Win XP without any trouble at all.

    The computer running my machine is a $40 used computer I got from work when they auctioned off a bunch of computers. I bought a few, just to have backups. They are NOT high end computers. I think the highest RAM is 2 gigs or maybe 1 gig

    You can get refurb computers from places like Best Buy - WITH warranty

    Here are 6 pages of computers from $89 to $150 - ALL of which will run your machine.

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/searchpage.jsp?id=pcat17071&nrp=15&cp=1&sp=+curren tprice%20skuidsaas&seeAll=&_dyncharset=UTF-8&ks=960&sc=Global&list=y&usc=All%20Categories&typ e=page&iht=n&browsedCategory=pcmcat212600050009&st =categoryid%24pcmcat212600050009&qp=currentprice_f acet%3DPrice~Less%20than%20%2450^currentprice_face t%3DPrice~%2450%20-%20%2499.99^currentprice_facet%3DPrice~%24100%20-%20%24149.99

    I would NOT go crazy on a computer to run the machine. It does not need to be 64 bit.

    Monitors, Mouses, Keyboards - ALSO - really cheap - EBAY, Yard Sales, friends, neighbors. People try to get rid of that stuff when they upgrade. I have a nice 17" flat LCD on my machine --- er, I wanna say $15 - or maybe $25

    I have 2 - 24" flat screen monitors on my desk. One of them I bartered for by making a sign. I got the monitor AND a nice computer. I broke the computer but kept the monitor. The Dollar value of the monitor is FAR more than the value of the materials I put into the sign.

    Computer stuff can be really inexpensive - sometimes.

    If yer of the mind that you need to have really nice and powerful computers on your machine - I cannot be of any help there. I am not in that camp. I am a bit of a cheapskate at times. I spend money only where it matters.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    1,367
    I'll agree that mach3 doesn't need a ton of horsepower to run your machine. With one caveat: Your machine's speed will be affected by the ability for the computer driving it to pump out pulses if you are driving via parallel port (which i think is still most common but USB seems to be gaining ground, if slowly). In a parallel port driven machine, the computer can only push so many pulses before it tops out - this means your top speed will be affected.

    Now - having said that - i have my wifes 10+ year old gateway running my machine just like Leo has - 1gb ram, xp, maybe 1600mhz processor. So not fancy... not fancy in the least. It handles my setup JUST FINE. I just wanted to point out that there is a bottom end when it comes to computers - you want something that was at least kinda speedy 10 years ago. Don't fret on this TOO much, like Leo said. It's a dang old and slow computer that can't handle this stuff. Like something that barely runs XP, for example.


    For those interested in the technical reasons - here's why:
    My machine tops out at 47,000hz out the parallel port which gets eaten up pretty quickly when you've got microstepping on a low-lead screw. For example, my Z uses 9600 steps per inch. JUST running the Z, tops me out at around 293ipm feed rate. I would never run that fast, but if you consider that in 3D carvings, you're moving all 3 axes at once, and if X and Y take up 2400 steps per inch, you'll quickly see how you can saturate that 47khz.

    The painful part is this top speed of the parallel port isn't really published anywhere. I've only been able to test directly by running the parallel port program that mach3 recommends. Not many retailers will let you run an exe to see the parallel port speed so you kinda have to hedge a *little* on the newish side. But again, anything less than 10 years old with a parallel port should work okay. There are some parallel ports that don't hold a true voltage - this is usually laptops that have odd power management but when's the last time you saw a laptop with a parallel port? lol

    3D Carving really is where the majority of this will come to light. Between this factor and acceleration, your 3D carving speed will most likely be hitting the ceiling of the driving computer - but there are lots of other factors involved with that, too.


    This all changes if you go USB - either via smoothstepper or a native USB breakout board. USB is buffered so you can pile up a fair bit of data pretty quickly and the machine won't be as taxed - this helps relieve your machine from having to be quite so "realtime" functioning at higher speeds. I don't know a TON about the USB stuff yet. I haven't delved into them very much but I do notice that most folks who do run on USB do so on machines that are considerably newer than the one I run mine on - not sure that's a factor or not.
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Escondido, CA
    Posts
    5,175
    Finally got around to checking out Leo's computer link and it bombed, though there are tons of other places to look. Now the question is what features to look for. I confess to not understanding what all the numbers mean. So maybe this is question for Jason. Ideally, what might I look for in terms of speed, capacity, whatever. Refurb computers are not necessary old and I am not as obsessed with spending as little as possible. How does this one sound?

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/dell-ref...uId=1304420747

    I have a flat screen in storage. Price is reasonable to me, so no comments there are necessary. Its refurbed, not just used, FWTW. Win 7 seems to be stable enough for this application; Vectric products and Mach 3, dedicated to a CNC. I can reasonably guarantee that it will never be subjected to MS automatic updates! That's what drove me to become a Mac person.
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    1,367
    I'm of the mind that your design computer and your CNC computer should be separate machines, to put it out there. I find myself drawing things up at night - i wouldn't be out in the shop all the time (and don't need to be for the drawing aspect) so I would prefer two machines. That said, ain't nothin' wrong with one machine if you're okay with that. Just means you can't be drawing while it's running a job, either. I've heard best results when mach3 is pretty much the only thing running when machining.

    As for that particular model - it's probably fine but I don't see any mention of a parallel port - if you've chosen your CNC and it requires a parallel port, you *might* be able to get a card to plug in but I've heard more bad stories than good with that. Especially those who try to get a box that plugs into the USB port and somehow converts it to parallel. Unless you get something like a "smooth stepper" board which works with mach3 just fine. I confess I don't know a ton about that aspect - my cnc controller has a parallel port built in.

    I think that computer would be fine as a design box if you only want it for 2D and 2.5D machining. A beefier box might do better if you got into 3D modelling much. If it has a parallel port, it's probably overkill for driving the CNC (and not a big problem if it is).
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Thomasville, GA
    Posts
    6,000
    If I may, I'd like to jump in here with a quick question. I've been thinking about adding a tablet computer to my CNC so I can set up a job and still have my shop desktop for other tasks. My CNC uses USB, so I assume that would be no issue. The only thing I'd run on the tablet would be UGS or similar gcode sender. Am I on the right track there?

    I'll add that I've had no issue running my CNC on a USB port while doing other things on my desktop - just looking at options.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

Similar Threads

  1. For Rob Keeble: Decommissioning Laptop Computers
    By Vaughn McMillan in forum Off Topic Discussion
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 04-02-2013, 12:14 AM
  2. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 03-20-2013, 10:18 PM
  3. Old Computers whats your take
    By Rob Keeble in forum Off Topic Discussion
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 09-04-2010, 07:48 PM
  4. Cut Optimization Program for Macintosh Computers
    By gary curtis in forum Designs, Plans and Sketches
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-09-2008, 02:11 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •