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Author Topic: Need help with motion controller  (Read 884 times)

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Need help with motion controller
« on: July 13, 2019, 10:00:13 PM »
I'm building and I'd thread grinder for a specific project and would like some advice on a motion controller for 3 axis 3 limit switches. 2 home switches. 3 position (like tool height sensors). A spindle control and 2 relay switches. Any suggestions appreciated. I would like to keep it under 100. But have some flexibility. Also I will be running either mach 3 or mach 4.
Re: Need help with motion controller
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2019, 02:11:51 AM »
if you want a motion controller under $100 that pretty much precludes any European or US made controller,
thus you are talking Chinese. The Chinese controllers are Mach3 only and buggy as hell at that. They might be
cheap but they are rubbish and many a buyer has had to throw them out because they don't work and the
manufacturer is in China....that's China in a distant galaxy!

If you want to have three position sensors then you need to consider Mach4 very closely. Mach4 allows up to
four probe channels whereas Mach3 only allows one. Thus with Mach3 you have to use some hardware multiplexing
to achieve more than one probe channel.

If you come to the conclusion that Mach4 is right by virtue of the number of available probe channels then your choices are:
1) Ethernet SmoothStepper by Warp9 approx. $190, three ports IO.
2) UC300 or UC400 by CNCDrive, approx. $150 and $140, 5 and 2 ports IO respectively.
3) UC100 by CNCDrive approx. $120, one  port IO only, and don't buy one of the many Chinese fakes, buy direct or from the
    nominated distributor.
4) PMDX-411 by PMDX, approx. $120, one port IO only.
5) PMDX-424 by PMDX, approx. $250, two ports IO, built in power supply and breakout board.
6) 57CNC by PoKeys, approx. $150, 57 inputs/outputs or 3.25 ports IO equiv.
7) 57CNCdb25 by PoKeys, approx. $120. one port IO only.
8 ) Hicon Integra by Vital Systems, approx. $600.
9) CSMIO/S by CSLabs, approx. 600 Euro, Mach4 plugin still a bit buggy, hard to recommend at the price despite superb build quality
10) Gallil, various models, approx. three axis start price $2000.

All of the manufactures listed support their products, there is little to pick and choose between them it that regard.

While the single port (12 outputs, 5 inputs) controllers (UC100, 57CNCdb25 and PMDX-411) may all appeal on the basis of price
they don't have enough inputs to satisfy your project requirements. You might get away with some complex hardware
multiplexing to get around the dearth of inputs. I think that would be false economy.

The PMDX-424 and the UC400 have two ports, ie 32 inputs and outputs, whereas the Ethernet SmoothStepper, UC300 and
57CNC all have more. I would recommend any of them to be a match with your project requirements.

The three more expensive units are just that.....way more expensive, not surprisingly they are good quality.

Of these my preference is the Ethernet SmoothStepper (ESS), partly because of familiarity but also because it has the most up to date
and fully featured Mach4 plugin with features like realtime THC, Laser rastering/vectoring and spindle PID. If may be you don't require
any or all of the extra realtime support features, but then again you will have this controller for years and it may well be you
wish you had A,B and C features down the track.

A note of caution the UC100, PMDX-411m 57CNCdb25, ESS, UC300, UC400 require a breakout board or boards, the 57CNC benefits
from breakout board or more than one.

Breakout boards can be very simple like a C10 at $23.00 (bi-directional non-opto isolated) up to a MB3 at $180 specifically
for an ESS with all three ports developed. May I suggest you consider a minimum of $50 for two simple breakout boards.
Best to allow for it now than try to squeeze the budget later!

My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Need help with motion controller
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2019, 04:26:06 PM »
I think I'm going with the UC 400. Thanks for the info.  I'll post a little of my build adventure when all the parts come in.
Re: Need help with motion controller
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2019, 10:37:06 PM »
From what I understand UCCNC dose not support Lathe so if you ever want to grind threads be sure your motion controller supports Lathe. I made the mistake of buying a 300eth that has no Lathe support only for milling.