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Author Topic: Building or buying, an operator control panel ?  (Read 4010 times)

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Building or buying, an operator control panel ?
« on: October 23, 2013, 10:46:51 AM »
Dear all.

I really don't know what to decide ;-)

Initially I planned to design and build my own control panel.
Green, yellow, red push button with integrated Light. (17x17mm in size)
MPG wheel, and rotary switches for Feed, jog override...
4x20 LCD panel for feeds and speeds DRO


However i can also find "Ready made" control panels from PoKeys and CNC4PC
But, I'm missing som key function, like "Ignore Tool change", Zero XYZ,
Touch probe, and some other functions.

And, these ready made panels, have functions that I never come to use.
"Learn" is one of them.

Regarding price, I think it wil be approx. samesame....

What have you done ?, what would you do different ?
Should it be a combo of the PoKeys 48key panel + my own buttons for my customization ?
Please give me the best of your experience..... show and tell what you have done......
using the std. mach screen, different combos, what works for you....

I'm using the machine in my garage for wood routing, and light alu-milling.
So of course the panel must be 'perfect' ;-)

Best Regards, Bo Andersen.
Hoping to gain more knowlegde.
Re: Building or buying, an operator control panel ?
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2013, 12:35:06 PM »
I have not yet tried to "Reinvent the wheel"- I.E. I am still using just the computer keyboard and mouse to control the machine. I don't yet have a pendant control, but have frequently desired one. The concept of a hard-wired Operator Console sounds like an ambitious task, to say the least. Since there are so many variables which are more easily accomplished by simply using the keyboard and mouse.
Re: Building or buying, an operator control panel ?
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2013, 02:53:30 PM »
Hi adprinter.

Point taken.
I guess one of the reason are that I currently don't have a good setup with my screen, keyboard and mouse. So I move this back and forth....

However, I miss the "hot key" function i.e. having a push button for 80-90% of the functions, so I don't have to use the mouse so often.

Best regards, Bo Andersen.
Re: Building or buying, an operator control panel ?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2013, 02:40:34 AM »
I am running my machine with the Mach3 2010 screen set. The tool change macro which it comes with, is the next best thing to having an automatic tool changer. Since all that is involved in a tool change, is to (manually change the tool), then click the mouse once. The machine moves to the fixed plate position, and slowly jogs down until the tool comes into contact with the fixed plate (in order to measure the new tool offset), then moves back to the position it was running at, (When it encountered the M6 tool change g-code) starts the router back running, and continues cutting.
 Of course, you do have to properly setup Mach3 to sense the tool contact, which only requires 1 input. I actually wired my tool probe (fixed plate, AND moveable plate) to the home switch of my 4th axis. I simply disable the 4th axis in Mach3, and use that port and pin for the probe circuit. Since it is rare that I ever actually use the 4th axis, it works great. Of course the trade-off is that I still have to use the "Feeler Gauge" method (a sheet of paper under the tool) to zero the Z axis for 4th axis work (after enabling the 4th axis and disabling the probe in Mach3).
 My computer only has a single parallel port, so I am limited to the 5 available inputs (1 being used for the E stop circuit, 3 being used for the Home/Limit switch circuits for XYZ axis), and the remaining input is the one I use alternately between the 4th axis, and probe circuits.