[Coco] George's CNC Machine (WAS: Something else)
georgeramsower at gmail.com
Wed Sep 24 18:34:22 EDT 2008
> On Wednesday 24 September 2008, Chuck Youse wrote:
>>On Tue, 2008-09-23 at 22:24 -0600, Ron Bihler wrote:
>>> The speed all depends on how fast you want it to interpret the moves and
>>> how accurate you need this to be. Trade off, accuracy requires more
>>> and processor time hence slower movements.
>>Is it not possible to precompute the math? I.e., do something akin to
>>compilation - take the time up front to do all the calculations, before
>>the CNC machine gets any commands at all? Or does it require feedback
>>from the machine?
And Gene Heskett replied with this:
> The output files used as cache would be quite large, and the bandwidth
> the disk to the driver interface could still limit things. The main loop
> my emc install, runs at a period of no slower than 50 microseconds per
> through the loop. The loop itself takes about 15 microseconds on that
> and emc runs its other, not so time critical control loops run in that
> time and do the rest of the calculations on the fly. There is also a
> loop that runs at about 10 hertz to keep the realtime display reasonably
> up to date.
> In my present configuration, there are 2, 8 bit wide outputs to the
> and at least one read, just to monitor whatever the machine may be
> That is 40k a second going out the parport, and 20k coming back in. I
> think the coco can manage that data rate since its best bandwidth is 11
> seconds for a megabyte moved. Bear in mind it has to keep the data
> even when it is also refilling the output buffer, no pause in the data
> or even a bit of jitter in the timings can be allowed else the max
> speed must be reduced until it can manage a steady data flow AND do the
> housekeeping too.
> With steppers, there is no feedback to the program, so if the stepper
> misses a
> step, it doesn't know about it, and the part may well be wrecked if the
> operator doesn't hear it. Usually, if it misses a step, it will stop, and
> not able to accelerate enough to get back to speed, so its stalled, and
> operator can't miss hearing that unless the spindle is screaming too loud.
> I think George is doing amazingly well, given the limitations of the
> speed. And he is doing it for the sheer love of doing it with a coco.
> that folks, IS what its all about.
Thanks you, Gene.
It's been quite an adventure and an amazing chance to re-learn old rules
This afternoon, after struggling with duplicating a darned S for four days,
it occurred to me to fall back on my old training in a college class I took
many years ago in mechanical drawing.
All I have to do is make a mechanical drawing using my drafting tools (I
haven't used them in years) to accurately draw the letter. The measurements
used in making that drawing can then be used to transpose onto my program in
Doh! I was approximating using a printout from this PC. The letters aren't
fine lined and I had to just guess at where the centerline of the wide
printing path is.
Mechanical drawings give a much more accurate account of exactly where the
line is supposed to be. I just started this so the results aren't in, yet.
I'll keep ya' posted. Later, I'm going to put more information on the my
Coco CNC website to show more details on the machine, the electronics and
Folks, there is no external circuitry to step those motors other than the
power transistors to drive the coils. The coco is doing the actual stepping
as would a circuit that takes input from a parallel port in a PC. The coco
is doing it all. If I used one of those circuits on my Coco CNC, it could
speed it up somewhat, but not much. The external circuit would keep track of
which coil the stepper is on and this little detail would not be an issue
for the coco any longer. This is a small detail that takes little time or
I think I could emulate this to see what difference it would make. However,
right now I'm working feverishly trying to finish up the alpha characters I
need to engrave aluminum ID plates for the equipment we have at the rental
company I work for.
This effort may not work out for me as they are so tight with money, they
may not wish to spend a few dollars for a professional looking ID tag but,
choose to just stamp numbers into them by hand at work.
I'm hoping to make a buck or two on this project.
Yeah, the coco is slow. But, while it's doing it's thing, I can do other
things. If I had to make a bunch of parts in one evening, then this may be
an issue. However, I don't expect to ever have to do mass production with
Should this evolve into something like that, I garonteeya that a PC and
other circuitry will be forthcoming.
I already have the Linux stuff to do it. Been accumilating things for
Ah, the old Boy Scout training...... "Be Prepaired"
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