This page is to show some of my journey from an assembler of neat stuff to a hobbyist CNC machinist. My equipment It all started with a 8 inch drill press with a XY table, Taig manual lathe, Lathemaster 8x14 manual lathe, and a Baby Bee milling machine that is under going CNC conversion. The ball screws are on 3 axis now so I'm figuring out the electronics and various machine controlling programs, converting from graphic images to actual machine executable instructions.
There is a dedicated group of hobbyist machinist group that meets in Edmonton, Alberta that I am a part of. One the members Jim Strong, has help guide me on this journey and it was him who encouraged me to build one. He had design a driver and circuit board assembly that could be easily made by someone. Main problem for me was the need to use a 486 computer! I never did get an old computer up and running in DOS. First let me say that I don't enjoy soldering! So I look for an easier (at least for me) and started with a DIY kit from HobbyCNC.com. This is seemed like a nice board but I occasional suffer from brain farts and fat fingers. A shorted wire killed the chip, luckily my friend, Jim Strong came to the rescue and repaired the PCB. During this time I went looking for a better way and wanted to start using LinuxCNC. (to get around using DOS)
I came across a controller board offered by SOC-Robotics.com and knew that it was a better solution so I got the MK5 5 axis motion controller. It worked right from the get go! life was good until I started building a new and improved(!) case for it. Fat fingers struck again and I shorted out 2 of the stepper driver PCBs. Nice thing about this arrangement is that I just removed the two damaged driver PCBs and I was back in business.
This board works great but still has the limitation of using the parallel port and parallel port computers are getting harder to find. Linux has its own set of particular and specific quirks that continue to torment me.
I haven't mastered LinuxCNC yet as the options that are given to me are using old computer again! I have yet to find a reliable computer for my Linux endeavour.