Monday, January 17, 2011

Upgrading Ubuntu & EMC2

This weekend I upgraded from Ubuntu 8.0.4 to Ubuntu 10.04 & EMC2_2.4.4 Release.  The install went without a problem.  However, I couldn't get the steppers to move.  I recall having parallel port configuration issues the first time.  I wasted 4 good hours of shop-time with no success.  Then the proper information turned-on the light for me, and all is working well.  This page on HAL drivers did it for me.  I mistakenly thought the "in" and "out" parallel port settings meant the parallel port was installed (in) or not (out).  Since I was using an add-in parallel port, I was attempting to set parallel port 2 as the port to drive the steppers.  Wrong.

The "in" and "out" refer to the signal directions of the parallel port (I wanted "out").   Here's a hint how to find the address for your parallel port setting (the 'stuff' after the "0x").

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Router Table as-is

Here's how the stand looks so far. Only two drawers, but it covers the basics. I've got the keyboard/mouse tray and computer/control electronics. I left room around the router table for an eventual plastic cover to control dust and noise.

A large challenge was mounting the monitor - I wanted it convenient, but not in the way of the plastic dust cover. I decided to mount the monitor on top of an extra length of steel pole I had around. Consider using a heavy-duty closet pole from Home Depot. You need to make sure that the power and video cables will fit through the tube first!

Monitor Mount: I made the monitor mount from a couple of scraps of plywood. The bottom and middle parts are bored-through with a 1.5 inch hole (the same diameter as the support tube). The top hole is a 1/4 inch smaller. This design allows the cables to be fed through the center of the tube and for the monitor to spin 90 degrees so it's out of the way during storage. There is a similar block under the surface of the table to support the tube.

Electronics Drawer: The drawer is roomy enough to hold the computer, power supply for the steppers and the stepper electronics. I added a master "mains" switch and a switch to control the router to the front panel. Also a big "stop" switch (Rockler) at knee height - for those times when things don't go as planned.
Hitting "stop" kills power to the router and to the stepper motors. A pair of filtered, computer case fans provide positive pressure to (hopefully) keep dust out of the drawer. An aluminum cover sits over the drawer.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New CNC Router table

I need to re-build my CNC router from scratch - taking into account all I learned during the first build. I decided to start with a stable, portable stand that would house the computer and electronics in a clean, safe space. I went with a simple MDF carcass with drawers. The computer drawer would contain all the electronics and would be positive-pressurized via two filtered case fans.

I can provide the sketchup drawings for the stand and the cutting guide if you're interested. Just drop me an email at woodworkerb [at] gmail [dot] com. The core case is built and the electronics installed. Not all the drawers are made yet, but that's coming - I am tired of leaving tools & such laying on the router table - just begging for trouble.