Ramblin' Dan's Workshop

The Sanctum of Fine Art and Invention

Ramblin' Dan's Workshop Blog

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This blog replaces the original function and intention of the Shop Notes Menu tab. Shop notes will remain available and may be used occasionally for high priority topics. The blog format is friendlier and encourages reader feedback if desired. This is the place where new projects and updates will first appear.

Ramblin' Dan's Workshop Blog

Short stories and reader feedback

Using LinuxCNC

LinuxCNC is now my dominant CNC controller software in my workshop. I have run MACH3 for more than a decade and maybe two with complete satisfaction for my needs. It is the Windows 10 operating system that is my nemesis.

There is more on this subject posted in the THMS Blog so I won’t repeat here. (Follow the link)

I miss the look of the MACH3. It was like working with an old friend. We were comfortable together as we understand each other’s looks and habits. I am getting used to LinuxCNC. It does the job I need done, just not quite so pretty to look at. Ha!

I could probably find a new “face” or build one for LinuxCNC but what is there is working well enough for me. I am all about getting the part made not how pretty the interface.

All the MACHx series and LinuxCNC had their start in code written for the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) called EMC and EMC2 (Enhanced Machine Controller) EMC2 was renamed to LinuxCNC. MACHx is a derivative independently developed to run on the MS Windows operating system by Art Fenerty. Here is a link to the complete story of CNC if interested.

I am currently satisfied with the operation of LinuxCNC. I reserve recommending it for the use of everyone. It is a programmer hobbyist system and requires skill and willingness to hack the code to a certain extent. What I am saying it is certainly not “Plug and Play”.

MACH3 was also not exactly “Plug and Play” either, as the set-up is very detailed. There was no need to hack source code unless one really wanted too. A lot of folks it seems want too…but it is not required.

LinuxCNC is NOT designed to run with External pulse generators. Internal (PC) step generation seems to be the “Holy Grail” with the LinuxCNC coders. It works very well and provides the most control for use with very simple and basic hardware.

I think internal pulse generation will be the eventual downfall for the program but probably not in my lifetime.

There are two interests working with LinuxCNC. One is the person simply trying to use a CNC machine to make stuff. The other is a programmer writing the software to make the CNC machine do it job. The second person needs to be or understand the first person. The first person doesn’t always want to become the second. That’s the way I work. I understand the code and piddle with it, but am not interested in writing new versions. I just want to run my machines with little investment in software.

I Have to Scratch...
Something Fishy


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Monday, 19 February 2018
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