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yowillyjj

Apr 16, 2012
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I am looking to build a small inexpensive 3-axis CNC machine.
Thinking of using a dremmel tool as the cutter.
I would like to be able to have an effective cutting radius of about 12"x12".
I would like to be able to cut thin plastic and thin sheet metal.

What type stepper motors and controller should I be looking for?
Also why use a stepper motor controller rather than a microcontroller?
 

CocaCola

Apr 7, 2012
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There are plenty better forums to asked CNC questions...

NEMA 23s seem to be a popular choice for smaller machines...

As for the controller there are multiple designs, most people go with a generic Asian import controller you can find them all over Ebay even paired up with the motors...

Also why use a stepper motor controller rather than a microcontroller?

A better question is why would you use a micro when all you are doing is taking pulses sent from the host computer that is acting as the central control and handling all the cpu crunching?
 

yowillyjj

Apr 16, 2012
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Apr 16, 2012
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Thanks for replying.
Forgive me if my questions seem stupid, I am an electronics beginner.

There are plenty better forums to asked CNC questions...
A better question is why would you use a micro when all you are doing is taking pulses sent from the host computer that is acting as the central control and handling all the cpu crunching?

Would I be able to allow control if desired with potentiometers if I use a stepper motor controller?
 

CocaCola

Apr 7, 2012
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Would I be able to allow control if desired with potentiometers if I use a stepper motor controller?

Again why? If you are building a CNC the idea is to run it from a computer with G-code that is generated from CAD software models...

Most CNC driving software like MACH 3 for example will allow you to press buttons on the computers keyboard and move the appropriate axis...

But yea if you really wanted you could implement a manual drive system but that really is contrary to building a CNC machine...

One thing you might quickly find out is that building your own as a newbie might be very overwhelming, but there are many DIY kits to be found or ready built basic machines on Ebay that are very reasonable... Several years ago I picked up a Sable-2015 on Ebay, a little home build all aluminum machine from Asia, $ for $ when I factored in my time,materials and R&D it was honestly a great deal fro an almost ready to go machine...
 

CocaCola

Apr 7, 2012
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i guess with a microcontroller the machine could perform tasks without being hooked to a PC.

Yeah in theory, but not really practical when you can get an off lease computer for about $50 that will do it all...

Doing it with a micro will require, you develop a reading interface to something that will hold the G-code like a flash memory chip, you would then need to write the interpreter that actually reads the G-code, and would need to write a UI front end for basic task like zero centering to start with... Do-able, sure... Practical?
 
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yowillyjj

Apr 16, 2012
8
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Apr 16, 2012
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I see your point.
I've been reading/watching videos the past few evenings on CNC.
For some reason I have it in my head that I want one, mainly to learn.
I really currently have no practical use for it.
 
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