Find T3 using the Law of Cosines. We want the left one of the two T3 angles, but since the linkages form a parallelogram that same angle shows occurs in several places. We will use the right one and the dimensions associated with it.
Determine A1 and A2 from the angles we figured out.
A1 = T1 + T2
A2 = A1 + T3
I think I will switch the code to use this method. I think I can optimize it better in C code. The speed of the code is important. The faster it runs, the most times per second we can run it. The more often we run it, the smoother it will run.
Last week I made a Line-us drawing robot clone. Unfortunately I had no good way to make it draw easily. I thought I would give the CNC toolpath a shot. My goal is to have a super portable thing to generate conversation at meetups. If I used Easel it would allow anyone with a web connection to easily make something.
The most compact machine controller is Grbl and I have a lot of experience with it. Grbl is designed to send step and direction signals to stepper motors. The draw ‘bot uses hobby servos. The nice thing about hobby servos is they don’t need to be homed. They have feedback to tell them where they are. They also don’t care about speed, acceleration or steps/mm. They just go wherever you tell them as fast as they can go. It occurred to me, the easiest way to hack this into Grbl was to not modify the Grbl code at all. I would let Grbl think it is using stepper motors. I would just add some extra code that runs on regular interval to tell the hobby servos where the stepper motors are in 3D space and they would be told to go there. I played around with some intervals and 8 times per second (8Hz) seemed to work pretty well. The ‘bot uses machine coordinates. The work coordinates are offset to the left because the ‘bot cannot draw at 0,0. The pen would crash into the frame.
I recently port Grbl to PSoC. I used (3) 16bit PWM components to control the hobby servos. See this blog post on how I did that. I then attached a 8Hz clock signal to an interrupt. The interrupt sets a flag when it is time to update the servos. When the main code sees this flag it does the calculations and and sets the PWM values. Keeping the code out of the interrupts gets Grbl happier.
Easel is already setup to use Grbl. You can either import gcode or create a design right in Easel. I started out with importing gcode because the Benchy design was not in a format I could import. I created a template that shows the allowable work area. This will allow anyone to quickly create a drawing.
I wanted to have a little fun with the first print. ”Hello World” was not good enough. 3D printers use benchmark prints, so I thought I would do a 2D version of the classic 3DBenchy. To get a 2D drawing of 3DBenchy, I traced over an image with the line tool in CorelDRAW. I then exported a DXF of that.
Grbl is a high performance CNC controller. It is used on a lot of small scale CNC machines and is the motion control code behind a lot of 3D printers. It was originally targeted at the Arduino 328p hardware (UNO). It is developed by Sungeun “Sonny” Jeon. He is a good friend. He is always very helpful and this port would not have been possible without the quality of his code and his advice.
PSoC Mixed Signal Controller
I love working with the PSoC (Programmable System on Chip) family of micro controllers. You can configure them on the fly with many analog and digital components. The analog components are not basic ADCs and DACs, you have OpAmps, PGAs, filters, MUXs and more. The digital blocks includes basic logic gates, all the way up to FPGA like components you program yourself in Verilog.. There are over 200 ready to use components you can wire together on the chip.
I have always used them for small prototype projects, but wanted to test my skills by porting a major project like Grbl. At the same time I wanted to take advantage of the features of the PSoC. The dev board I used was the CY8CKIT-059. This has ARM Cortex M3 processor a lot of I/O and costs less than $10! It has a built in programmer and debugger.
Here is a comparison between the the ATMega 328p (Arduino UNO) and the PSOC5
(ARM Cortex M3)
Up to 80MHz
Flash (program size)
up to 62
Grbl’s flexibility allows you to tailor it to your hardware. With a few limitations, you can move the pins around and change things like whether switches are active low or high. This is all done using #define values in configuration files. That is great, but the code gets a little messy every time you access hardware. It has to do a little logic gymnastics each time.
With PSoC you can do all of that in a visual schematic and pin wiring feature. Here is a PDF of my schematic. Have you ever swapped transmit and receive on a UART? In PSoC you can just swap the pins on the schematic.
Here is an example of the difference in firmware code.
I used some special features to move functions out of code and onto the hardware. One of them was the step pulse. Stepper drivers typically require a pulse of a minimum length to take a step. In normal hardware you have to raise the pin, then figure out a way to turn it off after a given period of time. This is typically done via an interrupt. It works fine, but the code is messy and interrupts can cause timing issues. PSoC control registers have a pulse feature that automates this. You attach a clock and the clock determines the length of the pulse. The code sets it and the hardware clears it. It looks like this on the schematic.
Another feature I used was hardware switch debouncing. This can be done completely in hardware. See the image below. The clock sets the debounce time. The debouncers are all fed into a status register where they are read as a single value. There are digital “nots” after the debouncers because my switches close to ground. The firmware could invert the logic, but it is so much easier to read on the schematic. It then feeds an interrupt.
If you would rather do this with an analog filter, you can design custom filters in the hardware. You could fine tune the filter right from your keyboard.
PSoC has a built in character LCD Component that makes using and LCD very easy. The code for the LCD is in the main loop and not an interrupt. This allows the time critical stuff to have higher priority. I used an interrupt to just set a flag so the LCD does not update every time through the main loop. I found the LCD to be an awesome debugging tool. I could display stuff while the code is running.
I also used a hardware Quadrature Decoder for the LCD rotary knob. This works great to monitor the encoder in hardware. I just need to read the value in the LCD update routine. The clock feature on the QuadDec is a debouncer, which helped debounce my mechanical encoder.
I have been testing for a while and so far it is working great. I want to test it a while longer then post it on GitHub. I also have some plans to use the extra power on some cool projects.
I have been going to the monthly Amp Hour, Hardware Happy Hour meetup. A lot of people bring something to show. My projects are too big. Also, you need to bring your own power. The meetup standard seems to be running off a USB cord. I was brainstorming ideas, when I saw the Line-us project on Kickstarter. It looked like the perfect size and power. I also love the challenge of non linear kinematics.
I decided to make a clone of it. I started by importing one if their drawings into CorelDRAW and scaling it up to 1:1. I then added some measurements. I rounded them up to 80mm for the pen arm and 30mm and 50mm for the linkages.
I looked into hobby servos and found that the “mini” size looked about right. I ordered 4 of them from Amazon. I made sure to get metal output shafts because I thought I might have to press them into the 3D printed arms.
I created a basic design in PTC CREO. I added a lot of construction sketches for the linkages to help me with the kinematics later. I downloaded a model of the servo from GrabCAD to use while I waited the delivery.
I used 3mm bearings for all the joints. These are pressed into the linkages. This would allow me to firmly tighten the joints and not have to worry about slop in the joints.
When the servos arrived, there were slight differences in from the model. The mounting holes we much smaller at about 2mm. I had to reprint with some changes.
My concept was to press the arms onto the servo shafts. This sort of worked, but after a few crashes, they loosened up. I ended up using a drop of thick super glue to secure them. They were able to stall the motor without slipping. It is important to mount the arms at the precise angle. I made an Arduino sketch to hold the servo in the precise position while attaching the arms at the angle I wanted. Each servo has a 180° travel. The upper arm travels from 135° to negative 45°. The lower arm travels from 45° to 225°.
In order make the pen go where you want it to go, you have to figure out what angle to set the arms. This is not a simple linear equation. You have to solve a multi-step geometry problem for each new location. I’ll walk you through the basic process. I placed the axis of the two servos at XY 0,0 to simplify things. You know the desired Pen Tip location, so start working back towards the cranks.
Step1: Find the Pen A point. You know the lengths of the linkages between the 0,0 point and the pen tip. They are both 50mm. Each arm end has a set of points where it can exist that scribes a circle. If the desired pen point is within reach of the machine, the circles (green ones) will cross at two points. The solution is a well documented process. I used the C code from this page. So far, I found that using the location, of the two, with a higher Y value is the one to use.
Step 2: Find the Pen B point. Pen B is easy to find because you now know the slope of the Pen Arm. Multiply the X distance from the pen tip to the Pen A point by the ratio of the length of the pen arm (80mm) over the length of the arm from Pen Tip to Pen A (50mm) and add it to the pen tip. Do the same for the Y axis.
Step 3: Now that you know the Pen B location, you can do the intersecting circles (red ones) trick again. This time I used the left most point of the two.
Step 4: Find the angles. Use the X and Y distances of the crank tips and the atan function to get the angles. ( angle = atan(deltaY / deltaX) )
Another problem with non linear machines is that moving between two points will not be a straight line. The points will typically be connected with a slightly curved line. You need to constantly recalculate points along the way to keep it straight. If you break a line into smaller segments, the connecting curves also get smaller to the point where they are not notices.
Everything I chose was for prototyping ease and probably not the final solution. I used an Arduino UNO as the controller. I used a PCA9685 based servo motor controller for the servo. The Arduino could probably handle it on its own, but the wiring is so clean and simple with this. I used a breadboard power supply to power the servos. It had a handy switch to kill the power to the servos without killing the Arduino.
Here is a video of the machine running. The rectangle is hard coded via some for loops recalculating at 1mm increments. The results are shaky, but consistent with the Line-us results. The machine is quite rigid. Most of the shakiness comes from the servo motion. I also do not have the machine held down. If I get some magnets like Line-us, it might help.
Open Source (sorry)
I don’t think it is fair to the Line-us folks to release any files at this time. I think there are plenty of resources in this blog post if you want to clone it yourself. So far I only have about 5-6 hours into the project, so it is pretty a pretty easy project.
The real Line-us looks very polished and they are selling it at a good price. I am sure a lot of the work they did was on the UI, which I did not replicate at all.
I need a way to stream drawing data to the machine. I would like to use g-code. It also needs a UI and I thought Easel might be best. For the gcode I might try hacking Grbl. I would just add a timer that reads the current location at about 5hz, send it through the math and set the servos. Any value above Z 0 would be pen up.
For Easel, I could create a template that shows the usable work area. You would then just click Carve
It’s ORD Camp time again this weekend. Every year I have done a gonzo build of some type of CNC machine. This year I only had a few hours to spare, so I wanted something simple. These are never meant to be practical machines, just conversation starters.
This was hacked together and programmed in about two evenings with stuff I had laying around, but working at Inventables means there is a lot of cool stuff “laying around”. It was inspired by the RepRap Wally 3D printer, but vastly simpler in construction. This only uses a couple of fabricated parts. There are (2) sets of indentical actuator arms. The inner arms are hard mounted to small NEMA 14 stepper motors. The other end is attached to a wood base, but free to rotate on a bearing. The outer arms are mounted to the stepper motor shafts using Actobotics hubs. The other ends have 1/4″ I.D. flange bearings. These are bolted together, but free to rotate using a screw with a holed drilled for the pen. That is basically it for the mechanics.
The stepper motors are driven with some high resolution stepper drivers. These are driven by stock grbl 0.9 firmware running on an Arduino UNO. The UNO does not know what the heck it is driving though. The resolution is done in degrees. I wrote a quick conversion tool that converts Cartesian gcode to bipolar gcode using these formula.
L = 150mm
A = 90mm
I have my CAM software output circles as multiple lines, so circles don’t need to be dealt with. It has an odd, shield, shaped work area that you need to stay within. Before powering on the steppers, you place the pen at the top middle of the work area. You then tell grbl that both angles are at 51 degrees with G92 X51 Y51.
Here are a few more pictures taken at this weeks Beer and Making session at Inventables.
The shield has a solenoid driver that I was going to use for pen up, but I never got around to that. I kind of like how it runs so silently.
Here is a video of it running. It is rerunning over an old plot to show the repeatability. I think if I used true inverse kinematics the plots would look even better. Maybe Machine Kit on a Beagle Bone is in its future.
A few people have asked if the motors could be moved to different locations. Yes, I think you could put the (2) motors on any (2) joints and still have a controllable machine. Not all work areas would be the same size and some might have issues with much higher torque requirements. I believe separating the the motors by one linkage, like this one, yields the best results.
We build a lot of skateboards for fun at Inventables. Some of the guys even sell them at local craft fairs. They thought it would be cool to have a CNC router optimized for skateboards that was easily portable. I first thought about putting wheels at one end, then realized the machine itself could be a skateboard. We thought it would make a perfect Gonzo Build.
A Gonzo Build is something we came up with at Pumping Station OneCNC Build club. The concept is that we try to build an original, “one off”, CNC machine in one evening. They also tend to have a whimsical aspect to them, so we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We usually get about 8-12 people to help build. If parts need to be fabricated, they must be done that night on -site.
Building a stock Shapeoko 2 in one night is a challenge in itself, but we decided to up the challenge by totally tricking this out with every feature we could think of. We did have a few master CNC building ringers in the group, like Tait Leswing and David Ditzler.
Here are the stats of the machine.
1200mm x 250mm work area
Skateboard specific wasteboard supported by additional extrusions. It is narrower than a stock Shapeoko 2 and about 3 times as long.
Portable dual 24V/48V power supplies with master power switch.
Most of the Shapeoko parts came from reject area at Inventables, so there are a few dings and scratches.
The wasteboard was cut from 5/8″ particle board on the PS1 Shobot. It has a grid v carved into the work area. There are threaded inserts for clamps, primarily around the perimeter, but there is a truck bolt pattern strategically placed so a cut out board can be flipped or remounted accurately . It is supported below by 2 additional MakerSlide pieces and tied to the MakerSlide rails above. It is the bed turned out very rigid. It does deflect a little with heavy rider but pops right back. After the build, I added several coats of spar varnish to ward off the dusty footprints. Biggest guy to ride it so far tips in at about 230lbs.
We set our selves a goal of completing before midnight. Done or not, I was going to ride it at midnight. We thought we were finished about 20 minutes early. Everything worked fine except the Z axis was not moving correctly. It had the classic stutter and random motion of one coil wire not connected. We tried to find the problem, but over 2 meters of drag chain slowed us down. Midnight came some we dropped it to the floor and I rode it across the shop.
As a skateboard, it is pretty much a joke. On the first ride, we didn’t even have long board trucks, so the turning radius was huge and you can easily scrap an edge. The front has a handle cut into the nose of the bed. The ideal way to move it around is to lift the front and drag it on the back wheels.
The newest version of the CNC controller software, grbl (0.9g at this post) has a lot of cool new features, but the two that caught my attention were the ability to compile and upload from the Arduino IDE and support for multiple Arduino types including the Arduino Mega 2650. I have always found the I/O count and memory of the Arduino UNO very limiting. I quickly compiled it onto a Mega and hand wired a RAMPS board for testing. It worked great.
The RAMPS board is a famous open source RepRap 3D printer controller. It is an acronym for Reprap-Arduino-Mega-Pololu-Shield. It is so simple and hackable that I have used it for dozens of CNC projects. The RAMPS board made it easy to hook up all the wires, but you can’t just plug it into MEGA because grbl requires that certain I/O is grouped into a single I/O port. RAMPS was designed for 3D printer firmwares that do not have that limitation, so things like X,Y and Z step are not all on the same port. I am sure you could hack grbl to break that limitation, but I wanted to only touch the config files.
The RAMPS also has a ton of features, like (3) thermocouple inputs that are not needed, so I decided to make my own version of a RAMPS with just the features that a CNC router like the Shapeoko needs. When I realized I could use the name grAMPS (grbl+RAMPS), I wanted to get it done as quickly as possible. Here are the features I implemented.
Stepper drivers for X, Y and Z.
The Y axis is setup for dual drive with two ganged stepper drivers (like Shapeoko). If you wanted dual on a different axis, you just need to modify the pin mapping a little.
A spindle control circuit. This uses a high power MOSFET. I have it hooked up to a 10 bit PWM channel. It works great with no thermal issues.
Separate power inputs for the Stepper Drivers and the Spindle so these can be run at the optimal voltages.
There are terminals to hook up a fan to cool the drivers using the motor power supply
X, Y and Z limit switches are brought out to a terminal block.
The Z probe function is brought out to a terminal block.
There are buttons for Feedhold, Resume, grbl Reset and Arduino Reset.
IOREF is used for the stepper driver logic voltage, so you could try this on an Arduino DUE board. There is a jumper in case you have an old Arduino that does not have the IOREF pin.
Microstep selection jumpers.
I hand assembled one in about 30 minutes. The part count is quite low.
The only thing I would change is the power terminal blocks. There are a little small for heavy gauge wire. Everything else I like. I like the clean layout. I love how fast and easy it is to assembly. The parts cost is quite low except for the 0.10″ pitch terminal block. That is a couple dollars by itself.
I have about 15 raw boards. I would love to get them in the hands of some CNC builders. I will be at Maker Faire NY. Find me or tweet me, @buildlog, during the faire for a free one. My hackerspace, Pumping Station One, will have a booth there. I might spend some time there.
When our Hackerspace, Pumping Station One, had it’s mini router repossessed by a member who was leaving, I decided to design a replacement. As always, I wanted to try out some new ideas on the build. I also wanted a project made primarily in metal to force me to get up to speed on using my CNC Bridgeport. The result is Bridgie.
Bridgie was inspired by the Bridgeport’s sliding X axis, so the working name became Bridgie. The other inspiration came from a sliding chop saw. This was used on the Y axis. The Y axis is remarkably stiff and makes the Z far stiffer than many other routers I have used.. All rods except for the Z are 20mm hardened steel and the 12mm ball screws add strength. The X is even stronger and the bearings always stay directly under the spindle. The entire machine weighs about 45 lbs..
I wanted a very clean design, so I designed it so it is totally self contained. The power supply, controller, limit switches and motors are totally contained inside the body of the machine. The only external interfaces are power and USB on the back. There is also a fan on the back that blows directly on the motor drivers and flushes any hot air out of the interior.
Spinning Ball Nuts
It uses 12mm ball screws on the X and Y axes. In order to bring the motors inside, I decided to use spinning nuts and stationary lead screws. This actually simplifies things because you don’t need to put expensive bearings on the lead screw, you just firmly attach it to the end plates. The lead screw becomes a structural member in the machine. The bearing on the nut is important for reducing backlash, so I used a large dual angular contact bearing. These were about $10 each from VXB. I did not take too many pictures during assembly, so here are some screenshots and renderings of the design.
Exploded view of the nut assembly.
Top view of X axis nut area
Bottom view of X axis
Controller and Firmware
The controller is an Azteeg X3 with a Viki LCD. I have used the X3 on a lot of projects. It worked really well on this project because it has the on board SD card and works well with the Viki LCD. The firmware is a highly hacked version of Marlin. Here is what I changed.
Totally altered the LCD menu system to be right for a router.
Tore out all the temperature stuff.
Left in the extruder features in case I want to add a rotary axis. I have used the extruder as a 4th axis successfully on other projects.
Added a Z zero touch plate feature.
Added a G54 machine offset like feature in EEPROM. You you set a 0,0,0 for your workpiece, you can recall this later if there was a power failure or other crash.
The arrow keys on the Viki jog the machine. In jog mode the up and down keys jog in XY. The rotary encoder is still active and sets the rate of the jog, so you can jog XY in fast, slow and micro mode all from one screen. Z can be jogged as well on it’s own screen.
There is a feedrate override feature on the main screen to speed up or slow down the feedrate.
All features are accessible via gcode, so pendant use is not required.
Homing and Work Offsets
The machine can be homed at any time. The Z homes first at the top of travel before homing the X and Y so this is less likely a chance to hit a clamp. Homing at the top of Z is not too useful for setting up your job, but the machine will now know the limits of travel and will never crash into the ends of travel.
The machine then homes at minimum X and Y. There are also two other configured locations called “park” and “access bit”. Park moves to center X, zero Y and top of Z. The head is out of the way in this spot so it is easy to clamp the work piece in this location. It is also has the minimum footprint in this mode for easy transport. It also has an access bit location that moves the spindle to the front for easy access to change the bit.
You can jog and set a work 0,0,0 anywhere you want. The machine resets it’s soft limits so jogging or G Code cannot crash at either end of any axis. If you restart the machine, you can recall the last work 0,0,0 so a previous job can be completed accurately.
Work area 12″ x 8″ x 3.5″
T Slot table (larger on all sides than the work area for clamping).
Sliding X table – Like a Bridgeport.
Spinning lead screw nuts.
Jogging with the pendant arrow keys
Z touch plate. You can manual set the Z zero on the top of the workpiece or it can be done automatically with a touchplate.
X,Y,Z limit switches.
Park feature that moves the machine into it’s smallest size for transport.
Weight: heavy…about 45lbs
Soft limits. If you set a new work zero, the machine still knows the new limits of travel.
Does not need a PC. It can run completely off the SD card with control via the pendant.
No exposed wiring.
Super quiet DC spindle.
Cooling Fan directed on drivers, but flushes the whole interior.
“Park” command shrinks the size to smallest footprint to help with transport.
Freaking heavy at over 45lbs
It would be nice to have easy access the the SD card. It is buried inside the unit now and you need to upload files to it via USB.
Add a real feed hold (immediate deceleration like grbl does now)
There a few thing I would do to make it a little easier to fabricate. A few holes were difficult to drill and tap and some simple changes would make that a lot easier.
I added an e-stop button since taking these pictures that cuts the DC power.
I wrote a couple post processor files for the Southwest Industries TRAK AGE3 CNC controller for my Bridgeport mill. The post processors should work for all Vectric programs, like Cut2D, V Carve Pro and Aspire. My Z driver has an problem, so I am currently working in AGE2 (2 axis) mode and these were written for that mode. There is an inch and a metric version of the post processor.
The files are output with a .CAM file name. They need to be saved with a numeric filename, so they can be read by the controller. Once imported, they are editable like standard hand input AGE programs. I think AGE is limited to 2000 events. You could have the post processor limit it to that many lines, but I did not do that yet.
Warning: Test this with air cuts and a hand near the e-stop.
Every year I make a new thing for ORD Camp. This year I made a delta router. The ORD contraptions I make, have one primary function; to spark conversation. This means they have to be interesting, a little whimsical and a little cool looking. They are generally rather small for portability and to keep the costs down. Practicality and suitability are way down the list, so go ahead and snark away. If you do, you are missing the point.
This year there happened to be a session on creativity with constraints. The question we debated for an hour was, do constraints help or hurt the creative process. Constraints can move you out of your comfort zone and maybe that is a big part of creativity. The topic was perfect for me because I had intentionally challenged myself with a few constraints on this project.
Use non captive stepper motors. Not a lot of people have seen these in use, they are cool to watch and they simplify the design.
Limit myself to 3 unique fabicated parts. People keep thinking deltas are more complicated than . This was to demonstrate the simplicity. Go ahead, design a Cartesian machine with only 3 unique fabricated parts. All other parts had to be commonly available parts.
Use stock reprap software. I could only touch the configuration files.
I met all the constraints except for one. I designed a common top and bottom bulkhead, but at machining time I decided it was silly to to spend the time to add holes only used on the top to the bottom and the same with the top. So the four unique fabricated parts are the top, the bottom, the carriages and the end effector. The top and bottom are 3/4 inch Baltic birch. The other fabricated parts are 3mm carbon fiber. All parts were setup and cut in less than 30 minutes on my homemade CNC router. A 3D STEP of my design is here.
The vertical rails are MakerSlide. I used steel V wheels because I had them laying around. The rest of the mechanical parts are Actobotics parts from Servo City. I thought they were an awesome discovery and then the next day I saw that Sparkfun started to sell them. They really worked out great. My only complaint is that they are imperial thread based parts. I prefer all metric on my designs.
The non captive stepper motors are really cool. The thread is a 2 start 8mm trapoidal, so it moves 4mm per rev. They are quite fast and strong. I custom ordered them at Robot Digg. The only drawback is you cannot move them by hand. You can’t spin the rod or the motor. In this design they are a little vulnerable too. If they get banged hard they could bend.
I used some mini arcade style switches for the limit switches. They are pretty nice snap acting switches, but probably a little less accurate than microswitches. I chose them because they would be super simple to mount without adding mounting brackets.
The controller is my favorite reprap controller; the Azteeg X3.
The spindle is a brushless DC hobby motor. It is a Turnigy Trackstar. The speed controller is a Turnigy Plush 30. The shaft is 1/8″. I used a simple shaft coupler to mount the bit. This added a lot of vibration so the motor could not run at full speed, but that was OK becuase the full speed is close to 30,000 RPM and 550Watts!. I eventually manually balanced the coupler and it runs a lot smoother now. I did it by drilling through the existing set screw holes to the other side with a small bit. I enlarged that hole until it was balanced.
Later when I got home, I thought it would be cool to add a rotary axis to it. The challenge was going to be using the extruder motor logic for the rotary axis. I had this attachment laying around that was bought from eBay a few months ago. A typical 4 axis machine simply disables one of the axes while using the rotary. That is not possible with a delta, so all 4 axes need to run at the same time. It is quite fun to watch.
It was perfect because it was so small. It has a 6:1 reduction gear inside. I made a simple base for it that would allow it to be quickly mounted to the router.
The firmware changes to Repetier were pretty simple. Extruders use millimeters as the feed unit, so I just converted that to degrees. The motor is 200 steps/rev with 16x microstepping plus 6: 1 gear reduction. This yielded 53.333 steps per degree. I changed the safe extruding temperature to a very low value and then just wired a 100k resistor across the thermistor pins so it read a constant value above the safe temperature.
I don’t have any high end CAM software that does anything really cool on a rotary. I did have an evaluation copy of DeskProto, but that timed out. I did have Vectric V Carve that does have a wrapped rotary feature. That would be good enough to do my Hello World project. I had to write a post processor for it. I basically hacked the Mach3 wrapped rotary post processor. I had to make it really simple and tell it convert “A” moves to “E” moves. There were a couple other changes too. The post processor is here.
Changes and Issues
I really need a tail stock to support the stock and help set up the job level.
The feed rate on rotary axes are tricky because millimeters per minute is quite different than degrees per minute and there is no way to deal with that in GCode. The actual feed rate through the material depends on the radius (Z). Programs like Mach3 can compensate for it. I could really hack the firmware or maybe write a post post processor to compensate the speed based on the Z.
I need to get some real software to some interesting carving with this thing.