In my OX build thread, Rob asked me about the learning curves I've been working through. I thought I would put together a separate post on it, as it's kind of interesting topic.
The Machine itself is a huge variable. A lot of these machines are unique and there are all sorts of considerations when putting it together correctly. I'm still working through this one. Yes, I've got the parts all put together, but do I have everything adjusted right? My z axis seems to have a little flex. I think it's due to how I have the rollers assembled on that. I think they are too loose, so today I'm going to go out and do just a little dis-assembly and see what I can do to tight things up.
Want to use limit switches? That's a hot topic, some people are able to get them working easily, some aren't. I haven't tried yet, but plan on doing so soon. Quite a bit of research there. The research I did led me to use shielded wiring for all my motor/switch wires. Necessary or overkill? Only time will tell, but much easier to do it now and not have to do it later.
Lots of things to look at like:
- Roller adjustments
- Table flat and level
- squareness of the machine
- And a bunch I'm probably missing
Where to even start with the control hardware, Mach3/4, TinyG, Grbl, and lot of other options I'm not at all familiar with. Each of these has a myriad of cryptic settings that each requires careful research and setting to make sure they are right. Fortunately, there are places you can find on the internet to help determine what they should be. Steps per inch, acceleration, inverse operation, and on and on. I was glad I started with that little laser as it gave me insight how to research what they should be and how to set things up.
Fortunately, if once you get them down, you usually don't have to go back and change them. Bad news, you'll probably forget how/why you set things the way you did.
Want to use a pendant? Lots of options there too, but not all of them will work with all the cards. I've got a little surprise I'm working on with mine I'll probably show soon if I get it to work.
Got a PC? Going to need one. I tried to go the Linux route but ended up giving up and going back to windows. Kept having some issues with the gcode sending programs I used on linux. The ones I'm using with Windows are running fine.
Now that you have it hooked up, how are you going to control it? Again, All sorts of possibilities. Some of them might even provide you a configuration management solution for your control hardware. I'm using Chilipeppr right now. I actually like it quite a lot, all except for the fact you have to be on line to use it. But it has been working very well for me. But I've got other backups I can use. I'm sure there are other ones as well. It's open source, so in theory I might be able to download the source and run it on a server on my local network. I might do that, but that could require another bunch of time.
There are ones specific to Grbl as well.
Now here's a real pickle. Again, options everywhere. You can design and draw in Inkscape, Sketchup, A wide variety of cad programs. And Vectric, probably the gold standard right now as far as I'm concerned. Oddly enough the learning curve for Vectric was not that bad. Not sure if it's because I've used a lot of other drawing programs in the past, or if it's just exceptionally well thought out, or both. But there are a lot of details in there and I've only begun to scratch the surface. I'm just happy that I've been able to use it well enough to see my electronic ideas manifest them self in the real world.
And probably the biggest learning curve of all. What to do with all this technology? Right now I'm consumed with making things for it and for making it work right.
I've got a list of projects I want to do with it.
enhancements to other machines
Really, you're imagination is the limit.
I'm sure the more I use it, the more uses I will find for it.
Well, I hope that gives an overview of the kinds of learning curves I'm been working my way through. All in all, nothing too hard, but a lot of times your choices at one step in the process can limit your choices later on. Nothing that can't be dealt with, but it all depends on how deep you want to dive into any particular rabbit hole.