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Question #: 342

Question: CAN I USE A MAC TO CONTROL THE CNC?

Current Solution

There are several CAD/CAM programs out there for MacOS. Here is a list of a few: http://www.macuser.de/forum/f53/3d-2d-cad-395058/#post4499316
I've also read good things about punchCAD: http://www.punchcad.com/
Of course, there is always SketchUp if you are in a pinch. There are a few CAM plugins for SketchUp as well, but I've never used them, so I can't vouch for them.

CAD/CAM will get you as far as designing your parts and producing the g-code, but if you also want to run the CNC machine with your Mac, you will need a piece of software similar to Mach3 or EMC to run the g-code. I haven't been able to find anything like these programs that runs on Mac, so you may have to run Mach3 or EMC in Windows using Boot Camp or a virtual machine such as VMware or Parallels.

Personally, I would use the Mac to do all the CAD/CAM, then use a cheap PC to run the CNC machine.

Additional Information:


Additional Information:
EasyDNC for OSX
www.dnc-x.com

Additional Information:

Respond:

Other Possible Solutions to this Question

  • CAN I USE A MAC TO CONTROL THE CNC?

    Mach 3 CNC software can do the following:

    Converts a standard PC to a fully featured, 6-axis CNC controller
    Allows direct import of DXF, BMP, JPG, and HPGL files through LazyCam
    Visual Gcode display
    Generates Gcode via LazyCam or Wizards
    Fully customizable interface
    Customizable M-Codes and Macros using VBscript

    SET:

    Spindle Speed control
    Multiple relay control
    Manual pulse generation
    Video display of machine
    Touch screen ability
    Full screen eligibility

    EQUIPMENT:

    Lathes
    Mills
    Routers
    Lasers
    Plasma
    Engravers
    Gear cutting

    Additional Information:
    how to wire relay with mach board. I have mach interface board with one relay

    Click the link to respond:
    CAN I USE A MAC TO CONTROL THE CNC?

  • Can the USB CNC Controller be used with LinuxCNC?

    The USB Interface can only be used with the Planet-CNC software which runs under the windows operating system.

    Click the link to respond:
    Can the USB CNC Controller be used with LinuxCNC?

  • Is there a way to use Mach4 to control my VFD?

    The best way to determine how to control your VFD using Mach4 is to read the MAch4 manual found here:
    http://www.machsupport.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Mach4%20Installation%20Manual.pdf

    You will find that there a a few ways to control the spindle/VFD on your CNC machine or CNC Router.
    - The first and easiest is to have your VFD's power controlled by a relay. This will allow your spindle to have on/off control through Mach4 with an output pin.
    - The second is to have a controller output a DAC voltage between 0-10 volts to control speed on the VFD/Spindle. There is a termial on the VFD to receive this signal line. The controller will also have an output that outputs a high or low and that can control the on/off on the VFD.
    - The third, and more difficult of the three methods is to use a USB to Serial adapter (USB to USART or RS-485). The Computer plugs into the adapter using a USB cable and the adapter uses the RX/TX to connect to the VFD's terminals for communication. This will provide a great amount of control. Mach4 will need a plug-in to make this option work.

    Click the link to respond:
    Is there a way to use Mach4 to control my VFD?

  • Can I add a relay to the Mach3 USB controller?

    Yes, you can add a relay to the Mach3 USB controller. The relay must be a 24V relay on it's input side and be able to be set to active low. I demonstrate this in a video on the following page:
    https://buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-breakout-Mach3-USB-Board

    The video is titled: Mach3 USB Controller Outputs

    Click the link to respond:
    Can I add a relay to the Mach3 USB controller?

  • Can LinuxCNC EMC2 control the spindle?

    LinuxCNC has excellent documents; however, I would like to offer our help in case you don't understand the information on that page. So, please use this FAQ (Question #: 13233) to state your questions by submitting additional information below.

    The LinuxCNC spindle control page is found here: http://linuxcnc.org/docs/html/examples/spindle.html

    Additional Information:
    After reading the LinuxCNC page my first questions would be can the spindle be controlled by PWM signal? Also, what pin on the parallel port would I set to Spindle Enable and FRW?

    Additional Information:
    To connect your computer to the VFD, use a USB to RS-485 interface. RS-485 is just a serial interface protocol that uses standard 0 to +5 voltage TTL signal levels for communication (as opposed to RS-232 which uses -12v and +12 for signal level changes).

    Get a high quality interface to reduce any issues during the process. The VFD should have two terminals labeled RS+ and RS-. The USB to RS-485 adapter should have this labeled on it as well so the connections should be relatively straight forward.

    In the VFD parameters:
    PD001: 2 to accept RS485 commands
    PD002: 2 to accept frequency comands
    PD163: 1 to RS485 slave address:1
    PD164: 1 RS485 baud rate 9600
    PD165: 3 8bit, no parity, 1 stop bit

    Make sure LinuxCNC is also set accordingly:

    The PIN14 and PIN16 in the stepconf wizard should be set to unused because you don't want LinuxCNC to be outputting unnecessary signals.

    In the options step of the stepconf wizard:
    - Check the Include Halui user interface component.
    - Check the Include custom PyVCP GUI panel.
    - Check Spindle speed display

    You will want to edit the custom.hal text file located in the folder that was created from the stepconf wizard. Add these following lines:
    loadusr -Wn vfd hy_vfd -n vfd -d /dev/ttyUSB0 -p none -r 9600
    net spindle-cmd-rpm-abs => vfd.speed-command
    net spindle-cw motion.spindle-forward => vfd.spindle-forward
    net spindle-ccw motion.spindle-reverse => vfd.spindle-reverse
    net on motion.spindle-on => vfd.spindle-on

    The dev folder in linux is typically used for interfacing devices and peripherals to the computer as these devices are communicated by simple memory addresses and these files are linked directly to these addresses.

    Under the custom_postgui.hal file, change this line:

    from: sets spindle-at-speed true
    to: net spindle-at-speed => cfd.spindle_at_speed

    and add the line:

    setp vfd.enable 1

    When you start LinuxCNC, you will a spindle section with the reverse and forward buttons, a stop button and - and + buttons. Use these buttons to conform that the spindle is functioning properly. The spindle speed indicator in LinuxCNC will show the spindle speed and you can confirm that this is equal to the speed indicated on the VFD.


    Credit for this helpful information goes to:


    Additional information was also added by us to provide a better understanding.

    Click the link to respond:
    Can LinuxCNC EMC2 control the spindle?

  • How can I connect an inductive proximity sensor to the Mach3 USB controller?

    I would suggest using the NPN proximity sensor for the Mach3 USB or the Pokeys57cnc. The proximity sensors have a top DC voltage limit of 30 volts, so it would be best to use the 24V power supply that is used to power the controller. Both controllers have a 24V power requirement, so that is convenient.

    The blue wire of the proximity sensor is the GND wire and is connected to the 24V power supply's V- terminal. The brown wire is the positive wire and is connected to the V+ terminal of the 24V power supply. The black wire is the signal wire and is connected to the input terminal of the controller.

    Click the link to respond:
    How can I connect an inductive proximity sensor to the Mach3 USB controller?

  • How can I connect the Pokeys57CNC controller to a DRV8825 / A4988 expansion board?

    The DRV8825 driver IC by TI (Texas Instruments) has two main connections called STEP and DIR. These are the two main connections that you need to use to connect to the Pokeys57CNC controller. You also need to connect the positive digital voltage pin (5V) from the Pokeys57CNC controller's motor connector to both the reset and sleep pins. The GND pin from the Pokeys57CNC motor connector is connected to the GND pin of the DRV8825 driver. The enable pin of the DRV88525 can remain unconnected.

    There is a trimmer potentiometer on the DRV8825 that can increase or decrease the amperage setting for the motor. Depending on the DRV8825 board you purchased, there may be two pads to determine the amp setting while turning the trimmer (in the voltage setting on your multimeter).

    The A1 and A2 is connected to one of the motor's coils and B1 and B2 is connected to the other motor's coil. There is a pin on the DRV8825 called VMOT that you will connect to the power supply (max 45VDC) and the GND pin next to the VMOT is the V- for the same power supply.

    I hope this helps. If not, please add additional information on this thread.

    Additional Information:
    I followed (to the best of my ability) the instructions provided to my original question, but I did not receive successful results. When I followed the instructions and connected the ground pin from the Pokeys57CNC motor connector to the DRV8825 / A4988 expansion board, it stops the communication between the Pokeys57CNC board & the motors 1-3 that I had working previously. The DRV8825 / A4988 expansion board will be the fourth driver I am connecting to the Pokeys57CNC. The previous three drivers are PoStep-60's if that helps understand the issue.

    Prior to hooking up the ground pin (I used pin 10 from the Pokeys57CNC motor connector) to the DRV8825 / A4988 expansion boards ground pin, I was able to see the power being applied via the red LED being illuminated on the DRV8825 board; after this new configuration the light is not turning on.

    With the new recommended setup, I used a heat shrink solder piece to add the shunt for the connection to the sleep pin. The connection to the sleep pin is where I believe my issues are stemming from. I must be connecting it to the incorrect pin (within the 9 pin layout on the DRV8825 / A4988 expansion board). Do you have any reference to the 9 pin pinout on the A4988 expansion board? I double checked the pinout provided on the Texas Instruments page, but it only gives clarity to the pinouts on the DRV8825 board itself. After reviewing their documentation, I tried connecting the 5v (pin 9 from the Pokeys57CNC motor connection that's split to connect with the reset pin on the DRV8825 / A4988) wire directly to the terminal on the DRV8825 board and that didn't work either.

    Any help or clarification you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

    Click the link to respond:
    How can I connect the Pokeys57CNC controller to a DRV8825 / A4988 expansion board?

  • Are you using Mach 3 or 4? Do you ever use the etherenet outlet to control drivers?

    We still use Mach3 with a parallel port. We are looking into newer boards with USB/ethernet communication.

    Click the link to respond:
    Are you using Mach 3 or 4? Do you ever use the etherenet outlet to control drivers?

  • Can I use Mach3 or 4 with your USB controller PCA?

    The USB controller board is currently only compatible with Planet-CNC software.

    Click the link to respond:
    Can I use Mach3 or 4 with your USB controller PCA?

  • Can I please buy a vectored drawing of the redleaf control box to cut out on my cnc?

    At this time, we don't offer drawings or digital files for the redLeaf or redSprout CNC computer system.

    Click the link to respond:
    Can I please buy a vectored drawing of the redleaf control box to cut out on my cnc?

  • Can you control the VFD from mach3?

    Yes, you can control the VFD using the a relay.  You will need to connect the relay output (NO) to the forward terminal of the VFD and the gnd terminal.  You will need to look at the diagram for your VFD to determine which gnd to use in the set of terminals that is associated with the forward terminal.  The forward terminal may be called something else, but the manual will tell you (something like X1, or D1, etc.)

    You will also need to change a parameter in the VFD to use the external terminals as opposed to the control from the control panel.

    Click the link to respond:
    Can you control the VFD from mach3?

  • How do I use the outputs on the Mach3 USB controller?

    I created a video to demonstrate how to use the outputs on the Mach3 USB controller. You can find this video on the following page:
    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-breakout-Mach3-USB-Board

    Scroll down to the 5th video on that page. The title of the video is: Mach3 USB Controller Outputs

    Click the link to respond:
    How do I use the outputs on the Mach3 USB controller?

  • How can I control my VFD using Mach4 cnc control software?

    The best way to determine how to control your VFD using Mach4 is to read the MAch4 manual found here:
    http://www.machsupport.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Mach4%20Installation%20Manual.pdf

    You will find that there a a few ways to control the spindle/VFD on your CNC machine or CNC Router.
    - The first and easiest is to have your VFD's power controlled by a relay. This will allow your spindle to have on/off control through Mach4 with an output pin.
    - The second is to have a controller output a DAC voltage between 0-10 volts to control speed on the VFD/Spindle. There is a termial on the VFD to receive this signal line. The controller will also have an output that outputs a high or low and that can control the on/off on the VFD.
    - The third, and more difficult of the three methods is to use a USB to Serial adapter (USB to USART or RS-485). The Computer plugs into the adapter using a USB cable and the adapter uses the RX/TX to connect to the VFD's terminals for communication. This will provide a great amount of control. Mach4 will need a plug-in to make this option work.

    Click the link to respond:
    How can I control my VFD using Mach4 cnc control software?

  • where on your mk1 usb controller is the input port i can use for pause or estop comand thanks

    On our USB breakout boards, the pins available for any inputs (e-stop/limit switches).
    Are x++ - a-- (x++,x--,y,z,a(same)) in the settings menu you will have to specify the pin!

    Here is a good forum on Planet-CNC.com to help setting up Planet-CNC software:(http://www.planet-cnc.com/faq/machine_setup/)

    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:
    In the planetcnc software the inputs are greyed out I have a licenced copy and I have all limits setup and working correctly id like to use the a++ or a-- as a manual program pause if my plasma fails torch ignition and id like it to continue after re ignition. When the mk1 controller is unplugged the inputs are available but when the controller is plugged in there greyed out is these options unavailable with your controller please help.

    Click the link to respond:
    where on your mk1 usb controller is the input port i can use for pause or estop comand thanks

  • Is there a kit or actual product that can be wired into the Mach3 controller to give me virtual zero

    The mach3 control software will work with all major CAM software (CAMBAM, Aspire and Vectric, BobCAD/CAM, ArtCAM, Dolphin CAM, CAM software that integrate with SolidWorks and AutoDesk Inventor, and many more).

    Click the link to respond:
    Is there a kit or actual product that can be wired into the Mach3 controller to give me virtual zero

  • 4 axis kit can I use 2 motors for the gantry with one controller card? or I buy the 3 axis kit instead?

    Yes, you can use the 4 axis kit and use two of the motors on the gantry. You will need to wire the gantry axis motors to the same step and direction signals on the controller interface. For example, if the gantry axis is the X axis, then on the controller step and direction terminals (CP and CW) is wired to both of the stepper motor drivers for the X axis.

    Click the link to respond:
    4 axis kit can I use 2 motors for the gantry with one controller card? or I buy the 3 axis kit instead?

  • CAN THERE BE CLOSED LOOP CONTROL WITH STEPPING MOTORS?

    I haven't delved into using encoders with stepping motors too much. From my research, you need to have a controller that can provide the closed loop control, rather than software handling that process. I have also found from my research that using encoders on stepping motors is generally used to stop the machine in the case that the motor failed to achieve the commanded position for some reason and gives the user the chance to correct and continue with the job.

    If you want proper closed loop control, it may be best to go with servos and servo controller that provide the closed loop control within the real of those two components.

    Click the link to respond:
    CAN THERE BE CLOSED LOOP CONTROL WITH STEPPING MOTORS?

  • What settings does I use for controlling the spindle in StepCon/Linuxcnc?

    LinuxCNC has excellent documents; however, I would like to offer our help in case you don't understand the information on that page. So, please use this FAQ (Question #: 13233) to state your questions by submitting additional information below.

    The LinuxCNC spindle control page is found here: http://linuxcnc.org/docs/html/examples/spindle.html

    Additional Information:
    After reading the LinuxCNC page my first questions would be can the spindle be controlled by PWM signal? Also, what pin on the parallel port would I set to Spindle Enable and FRW?

    Additional Information:
    To connect your computer to the VFD, use a USB to RS-485 interface. RS-485 is just a serial interface protocol that uses standard 0 to +5 voltage TTL signal levels for communication (as opposed to RS-232 which uses -12v and +12 for signal level changes).

    Get a high quality interface to reduce any issues during the process. The VFD should have two terminals labeled RS+ and RS-. The USB to RS-485 adapter should have this labeled on it as well so the connections should be relatively straight forward.

    In the VFD parameters:
    PD001: 2 to accept RS485 commands
    PD002: 2 to accept frequency comands
    PD163: 1 to RS485 slave address:1
    PD164: 1 RS485 baud rate 9600
    PD165: 3 8bit, no parity, 1 stop bit

    Make sure LinuxCNC is also set accordingly:

    The PIN14 and PIN16 in the stepconf wizard should be set to unused because you don't want LinuxCNC to be outputting unnecessary signals.

    In the options step of the stepconf wizard:
    - Check the Include Halui user interface component.
    - Check the Include custom PyVCP GUI panel.
    - Check Spindle speed display

    You will want to edit the custom.hal text file located in the folder that was created from the stepconf wizard. Add these following lines:
    loadusr -Wn vfd hy_vfd -n vfd -d /dev/ttyUSB0 -p none -r 9600
    net spindle-cmd-rpm-abs => vfd.speed-command
    net spindle-cw motion.spindle-forward => vfd.spindle-forward
    net spindle-ccw motion.spindle-reverse => vfd.spindle-reverse
    net on motion.spindle-on => vfd.spindle-on

    The dev folder in linux is typically used for interfacing devices and peripherals to the computer as these devices are communicated by simple memory addresses and these files are linked directly to these addresses.

    Under the custom_postgui.hal file, change this line:

    from: sets spindle-at-speed true
    to: net spindle-at-speed => cfd.spindle_at_speed

    and add the line:

    setp vfd.enable 1

    When you start LinuxCNC, you will a spindle section with the reverse and forward buttons, a stop button and - and + buttons. Use these buttons to conform that the spindle is functioning properly. The spindle speed indicator in LinuxCNC will show the spindle speed and you can confirm that this is equal to the speed indicated on the VFD.


    Credit for this helpful information goes to:


    Additional information was also added by us to provide a better understanding.

    Click the link to respond:
    What settings does I use for controlling the spindle in StepCon/Linuxcnc?

  • Can I use Mach4 with the Fabricator Pro?

    Yes, you can use Mach4 wtih the Fabricator Pro CNC machine.

    We have not designed a metal machine like the Fabricator Pro to lean more in the vertical orientation. Unfortunately, we haven't gotten any requests for that style of machine, and the greenLean, although a great machine and space saver, has not been our best seller.

    If we get more interest in this type of machine, we would have no problem designing a machine like this.

    Click the link to respond:
    Can I use Mach4 with the Fabricator Pro?

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