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Old Jun 21, 2013, 11:19 AM
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Hemet, CA
Joined Aug 2010
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Doing my homework, have a question

Hey all. I am currently doing my homework on CNC routers and software packages and I have a question about some attachments. I am not sure if their function is simply dealt with in software or if there is something specific to the CNC router hardare setup, meaning that the attachment is only compatible with that particular CNC routher setup. First off, let me say this: I have no interest in scratchbuilding my CNC setup. My intent is to purchase one that will meet my needs.

Originally, I was looking at the CNC sShark Pro HD2 from Rockler woodworking (http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?p...7&site=ROCKLER) as I have been to some demos and was liking its capabilities, but I was not satisfied with the work bed size. I need a 48"x48" minimum bed. The shark as two optional accessory attachments that I was really needing:

Touch Plate
http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?p...7&filter=43803

Touch probe
http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?p...2&filter=35610

This is along the lines of what I am looking for: http://www.ebay.com/itm/CNC-ROUTER-4...item4d0d423e1c

My intended software is the Vectric VCarvePro, PhotoCarve, and Cut3D package. I know these programs work on the Sahrk as well as the CNC setup I am looking at from Canada. But I am nto sure if the attachments listed above will work with anything other than the Shark. The connect via USB, so I am thinking that they are simply a matter of plugging them in to the computer and the software is where they are controlled rather than plugging into the CNC driver board.

Hopefully someone can clarify this for me. Thanks in advance.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 03:42 PM
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Denver, CO
Joined Dec 2005
6,466 Posts
A touch plate, and a touch probe can be made to work with most modern machines.

A touch plate does not have to be directly connected to the control. On my old mill I use a multimeter, manually jog the Z down, when the end mill touches I get a continuity reading. Then manually zero the machine settings from there. If your router can use modern control software like Mach3 you can control it from the computer. You can use subroutines that lower the Z, and Zero.
The Touch probe is almost the same idea, just multi dimensional, and breaks the electrical connection as it touches. So it can be used manually with a multimeter, or wired to a light. For automated usage the control software needs to have a utility for running the probe. Mach3 has a utility for making a point cloud with a probe. Some people use it to find edges, and other unique things. So you really need to be sure your control software has the features you want. And that the control software is compatible with the machines controller.
If you buy a probe made for your machine it can be an easy plug, and play. If you buy a machine that is not setup for it, but can use compatible control software, it can be more work. You would need to find out how to connect the probe. You do not want to connect it directly to the computer cable, as that can damage the computer. A breakout board is needed. Most modern controllers have connectors accessible to its built in break out board.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 04:06 PM
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Hemet, CA
Joined Aug 2010
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OK. That is exactly what I needed to know. I was a bit fuzzy as to what is run from the CNC controller and what the software like Vectric's would control. Now that I know, I will be able to better figure out just was hardware and software I need. TNX for the help!
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 05:14 PM
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Are you aware that the Vectric software can be downloaded and the tutorials can be worked through before you buy the software.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 07:41 PM
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Hemet, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heli_bee View Post
Are you aware that the Vectric software can be downloaded and the tutorials can be worked through before you buy the software.
I am. I do not have my CNC equipment yet. I am doing my homework beforehand and making sure I know how things are connected before dropping the $$$. Thanks!
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 08:16 PM
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Denver, CO
Joined Dec 2005
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The controller software varies based on the control. Many manufactures use custom control software. That can be nice since it may be tweeked just for that router. This can limit your options with probe software. But the controller might also be compatible with Mach3, giving you another route.
If you get a controller compatible with Mach3, you can get plugins with probing utilities. it really depends on what your doing. Some commercial digitizing software can have many features. Like checking dimensions, for quality control, and more advanced scanning paths.
I'd start with the router, then look at its controller to find the options available. See if you can get compatible software. If not decide if its cost effective to get a new controller that's compatible with the software desired, or if its better to get a different router. Some manufactures are flexible with what controller they will install.
A laser scanner is another option.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 09:26 PM
Mini-Me is watching you...
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Hemet, CA
Joined Aug 2010
513 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roto Rob View Post
The controller software varies based on the control. Many manufactures use custom control software. That can be nice since it may be tweeked just for that router. This can limit your options with probe software. But the controller might also be compatible with Mach3, giving you another route.
If you get a controller compatible with Mach3, you can get plugins with probing utilities. it really depends on what your doing. Some commercial digitizing software can have many features. Like checking dimensions, for quality control, and more advanced scanning paths.
I'd start with the router, then look at its controller to find the options available. See if you can get compatible software. If not decide if its cost effective to get a new controller that's compatible with the software desired, or if its better to get a different router. Some manufactures are flexible with what controller they will install.
A laser scanner is another option.
Hmmm.....had not considered a laser scanner...heading off to drool over some new ideas!
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