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Question #: 4702

Question: Can the USB CNC Controller be used with LinuxCNC?

Current Solution

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

Respond:

Other Possible Solutions to this Question

  • Can the Planet CNC USB controller be used with a laser engraver/cutter? Can the build your own CNC based on the Planet CNC USB controller accept a Laser head instead of a router?

    The PlanetCNC USB software, like most machine control software, can be used to control a laser engraver/cutter. The typical modification is to use the Z axis down signal to fire the laser, analogous to an endmill cutting into the workpiece from an initial position above it.

    For the second question, it is important to note that BYCNC machines are not based on PlanetCNC software, or any other particular machine control system. The machines themselves will accept standard signals from a wide variety of machine control systems, not just PlanetCNC or Mach3. This allows maximum flexibility for the customer to choose their own preferred software for this part of the toolchain.

    That said, our machines will accept a laser head either in lieu of or in addition to a spindle. Here is an example of a combination spindle/laser mount for our greenBull machine: https://buildyourcnc.com/item/cnc-machine-laser-spindle-combo-head. We have all the parts you would need to add laser functionality to your machine here: https://buildyourcnc.com/LaserComponents.aspx, if you feel comfortable assembling your own package. Also, feel free to contact our sales department for a quote if you need a custom assembly.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Can the Planet CNC USB controller be used with a laser engraver/cutter? Can the build your own CNC based on the Planet CNC USB controller accept a Laser head instead of a router?

  • How would LinuxCNC be used with the vertical laser?

    It is possible to use LinuxCNC for laser cutters and engravers but not advisable. The efficiency and control with traditional CNC control programs cannot match that of Laser controllers. This is because laser controllers are very good at matching speed with power, especially with raster image burning. Moreover, controlling the laser tube while cutting and engraving is very built in with gcode. Special software can be used, but the processing and execution is not efficient.

    Laser controllers and associated software have matured well and can do cutting and engraving very well and is worth the extra expense.

    If you are still interested in getting LinuxCNC to work with the laser, let me know and we can discuss this in great detail on this FAQ.

    Additional Information:
    A better question might be "What are some good ways to control the vertical laser directly from a Linux machine without having to hop through Windows?" Let me know if you want me to post this as a separate question.

    If I were buying the blacktooth, I'd order the parallel port board for it and skip the anywells controller -- I notice that you don't show that as an option on the vertical, which is what's generating this question.

    Some background: All of our CAD/CAM is done in Linux (openscad, freecad, librecad, cadquery, blender, pycam, python gcode generators...), we use git and Makefiles and other automation scripts extensively, and we need to be able to avoid doing the double-hop from Linux via Windows to get files sent to the laser.

    An example use case is that of being able to say 'make' in a project's directory on any Linux machine on the network to ship the file to the laser, including power settings etc. Needing to ship it to Windows first, and then manually mouse around to set power etc. is what I want to avoid.

    With Epilogs, I used to always bypass the Windows/Coreldraw toolchain by using Gershenfeld's cam.py, sending PCL from Linux straight to the Epilog.

    Something equivalent to that -- being able to run a script in Linux to convert and ship the file straight to the laser -- is what I'm planning to do here. I mentioned LinuxCNC because it's what I'm already using for our mill, and I'm comfortable hacking on it. I'm not wedded to LinuxCNC for a laser, but I am looking for open-source flexibility and future-proofing.

    We don't even have any Windows machines any more -- we got rid of the last of them years ago, and I'd like to avoid going back.

    Additional Information:
    I've split the more general Linux use case out as a separate question at https://buildyourcnc.com/FAQ/13989

    Additional Information:
    Starting to find some answers -- forums have a thread which addresses some LinuxCNC questions at http://www.buildyourtools.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=3452 for instance.

    Additional Information:
    Example LinuxCNC config for the buildlog 2.X laser is at https://github.com/jv4779/2x_laser

    Additional Information:
    I'm going to need some time to digest this information. Curious, are you able to develop a program to change the g-code if need be? Will you be doing vector style cutting operations only? If so, the process may be pretty straight forward.

    Additional Information:
    Before we adapted the blackTooth laser to use the laser controller, we operated the machine using Mach3 and the z-axis direction signal was the chief mechanism to fire the laser (down=on, up=off). It worked like a charm. It would be better to use one of the output triggers to do this for safer operation; however.

    Additional Information:
    Blacktooth adaptation of the above buildlog config can be found at http://www.buildyourtools.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?p=18157#p18157

    Additional Information:
    Answering the earlier comment (is that you Patrick?) -- yes, we'd be doing vector primarily, though my wife (and CEO) is salivating over the potential for raster. I've got no problem writing a python script to massage gcode if that's what it would take to make things work. CAM is always a problem on Linux but I've been using a mix of things to generate gcode for milling (including just writing it by hand), and can get by as needed. Expect to spend this weekend looking around to see what others are doing.

    Additional Information:
    Yes. This isn’t Patrick. I manage the Customer Service section. I will try my best to help with this over the weekend and balance family time. Haha.

    I will check the links. If raster is a must, you can have two controllers controlling the machine using tri-state gates to the drivers. I did this for a customer a while ago to run CNC and laser with an external switch. You could use an external switch to switch between LinuxCNC operation and laser controller.

    Additional Information:
    This is Patrick. Auto correct on my phone turned the "is" to "isn't". Ha!

    Additional Information:
    The buildyourtools links doesn't really have much to do with LinuxCNC and the buildyourtools information on that thread (by MUK) implements a very similar configuration that I introduced when I first started selling the blackTooth (with the parallel control board). That style of configuration may work well with a LinuxCNC scenario.

    I would rather jump-in cold with the LinuxCNC solution and see if we can address each step. What CAM program will you be using? I ask this question because that program may have the ability to inject g-code at specific points where we can turn on and off the laser.

    Also, I'm going to merge the two FAQs once we pick the one we use the most often to figure this out. I'm also more comfortable using this Customer Service system to address the question for many reasons, one of which is I can tie these questions to the products directly to benefit many others.

    Additional Information:
    For laser CAM on Linux we have used cam.py in the past; it's just a python script, so modifying the gcode it generates is easy.

    I think we've reached a purchase decision; your responsiveness here has helped a lot with that, Patrick. It looks to me like we're going to be able to make this thing work, one way or another.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    How would LinuxCNC be used with the vertical laser?

  • 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 add information to this solution:
    Can I use Mach3 or 4 with your USB controller PCA?

  • Do you sell the 3 axis electronics combo , for heavy gantry , with the new Planet CNC usb controller ?

    Unfortunately, we don't sell the planet-cnc controller anymore. They made a change to their software that prohibits us from creating the open source board.

    We do sell three other boards that may work for you.

    The Pokeys57CNC board is the mose feature rich and will work with both Mach3 and Mach4:
    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-breakout-Mach4-mach3-USB-ethernet-Board

    The MAch3 USB board is a good inexpensive interface that will work well if you need the interface to be USB only:
    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-breakout-Mach3-USB-Board

    Our in-house parallel breakout board (ytou need a parallel port for this interface to work):
    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-parallel-breakout-relay
    Most motherboards have the parallel port connector on the motherboard, but not as a connector on the back of the computer case.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Do you sell the 3 axis electronics combo , for heavy gantry , with the new Planet CNC usb controller ?

  • 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 add information to this solution:
    Can I add a relay to the Mach3 USB controller?

  • where can I find wiring instructions for the Mach3 USB controller?

    You can find all of the wiring instructions for the Mach3 USB controller here:
    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-breakout-Mach3-USB-Board

    Scroll down until you see the videos. The wiring instructions cover wiring all of the axes, setting up the inputs to sense limit switches, setting up the outputs and how to diagnose the outputs, setting up an external relay to control external devices, and setting up spindle speed.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    where can I find wiring instructions for the Mach3 USB controller?

  • How can i get a complete list of all the components (electronics) I need for a CNC laser cutter with the laser controller? A wiring Diagram would probably be very helpful.

    All the options for and variations of our blackTooth laser cutter/engraver are available on our website here https://buildyourcnc.com/blackToothLaserCutterAndEngraver.aspx#prettyPhoto. The wiring diagram is available here: https://buildyourcnc.com/blackToothLaserCutterAndEngraver.aspx#prettyPhoto/0/
    We do not offer plans or a bill of materials for our machines at this time, but if you are interested in doing your own from scratch you can learn a lot about the design and build process from our tutorials. We wish you success in your endeavors.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    How can i get a complete list of all the components (electronics) I need for a CNC laser cutter with the laser controller? A wiring Diagram would probably be very helpful.

  • Is there a way to use an X,Y plate that will only be responsible for corner finding in Mach3 with the Mach3 USB controller?

    Yes, you can use a corner plate very easily. You will want to make a corner plate that has three independent plates that do not conduct with each other. Each of these plates will be connected to a different input (i.e. IN1 for X, IN2 for Y and IN3 for Z). The end mill or tool that is inserted into the spindle will connect to V- of the 24V power supply, or the DCM on the controller, which is connected to the 24V V-. Then, you can use the ref all home button on the program run screen of Mach3.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Is there a way to use an X,Y plate that will only be responsible for corner finding in Mach3 with the Mach3 USB controller?

  • Are there plans to release a USB Controller to work with the Planet CNC Output Board for more advanced spindle control from within Planet CNC?

    At this time we are working to release a new USB controller board that will be compatible with Mach4 software and do not have any immediate plans to update the Planet-CNC USB board.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Are there plans to release a USB Controller to work with the Planet CNC Output Board for more advanced spindle control from within Planet CNC?

  • Can I run two stepper motors off the same axis output on the USB controller?

    Yes, you can use 2 motors in the same axis output, however you will still need a driver for that motor! Also depending on the orientation on which you mount the motor you might have to invert the direction of the motor, and that will be simple by swapping the A+,A-, to the B+,B- locations and vice versa, from the driver to the motor wiring.

    Also you can run a slave motor using another axis on the board, and setting it up in the Planet-CNC settings.

    Planet-CNC/File/Settings/Axes, here you will enter 3 in the Number of Axes location, and then change the Function of the Axis 4 to Slave 1. There you will have the 4th axis or A-axis be a slave for the x-axis.
    Slave 1 - X-Axis
    Slave 2 - Y-Axis
    Slave 3 - A-Axis
    Slave 4 - B-Axis
    Etc...

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Can I run two stepper motors off the same axis output on the USB controller?

  • 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 add information to this solution:
    How can I connect an inductive proximity sensor to the Mach3 USB controller?

  • How do you zero the z axis using a plate with the planet-cnc software and your USB controller?

    The instructions on how to use a plate for z-axis homing (moveable sensor) can be found here:

    http://www.planet-cnc.com/faq/moveable_sensor/

    Additional Information:



    Additional Information:



    Additional Information:

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    How do you zero the z axis using a plate with the planet-cnc software and your USB controller?

  • What is the pinout of the 12-pin keyboard jog header on the V2.1 CNC USB controller?

    The pinout of the USB interface's keyboard job interface can be found here at the usb interface page:
    https://www.buildyourcnc.com/item/electronicsAndMotors-electronic-component-USB-Controller-Breakout#prettyPhoto/2/

    Scroll down to the instructions below the description and it's the first instruction step. Click on the picture. Just copy and paste that link into the address bar and the diagram should appear.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    What is the pinout of the 12-pin keyboard jog header on the V2.1 CNC USB controller?

  • I am building a cnc mill using your USB controller and i would like to know what is the specification of potentiometer used for adjusting manual axis jog speed

    Dealing with our USB BoB, the potentiometer that will be used in the key jog, is a 5V, 5k - 10k Ohm potentiometer.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    I am building a cnc mill using your USB controller and i would like to know what is the specification of potentiometer used for adjusting manual axis jog speed

  • Can I purchase a computer off Amazon (I have a machine I want to use) and still use the USB interface to drive it with LinuxCNC?

    You will need to build the table unit for your machine. There are instructions on how to do this at the bottom of the product page here, https://www.buildyourcnc.com/Item/cnc-machine-blackFoot-v4
    There is no estimate on how much this will cost though, since there are too many variables involved to do this.

    - PC with parallel port and USB port
    - 20awg stranded wires for the motors - http://www.buildyourcnc.com/electronicscombo.aspx
    - 18awg stranded wires for power supply to drivers
    - 24awg stranded wires for breakout board to drivers
    (location and spacing of components varies from one person to another, so we do not provide cables/wires)
    - General purpose extension cord (cut the female end off) to provide power to power supply
    - USB cable to power breakout board
    - Parallel cable to communicate to breakout board
    - Router
    - (optional - instead of router) Spindle with power inverter http://www.buildyourcnc.com/SpindlesAndAccessories.aspx
    - (if purchasing spindle with inverter) General purpose extension cord (240v) (cut the female end off) to provide power to power inverter
    - End Mill(s) http://www.buildyourcnc.com/ProductsEndMills.aspx
    - CAD, and/or CAD-CAM software (to produce geometry, machine operations, and g-code) http://www.buildyourcnc.com/CNCsoftware.aspx
    - CNC control software (to read g-code and control machine) http://www.buildyourcnc.com/CNCsoftware.aspx

    This answer is applicable to most of our machines with the exception of the greenLean and the blueChick since those machines are equipped with a table structure.

    Additional Information:



    Additional Information:



    Additional Information:

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Can I purchase a computer off Amazon (I have a machine I want to use) and still use the USB interface to drive it with LinuxCNC?

  • Using USB Controller Board with Planet-CNC software. The S/W recognizes limit switches but not soft limits. Help?

    "Soft limits are used to decelerate machine to stop before machine is stopped hard way at limit switch or before it crashes. I recommend "Soft Limits Decelerate" and "Soft Limits Strict" settings are also checked. Sometimes we need to disable soft limits and there is a command for this in menu "Machine/Soft Limits". When soft limit is triggered position display will be yellow."

    Are the soft limits "grayed out"?
    Here is a link to a very useful forum post from the Planet-CNC crew:
    http://www.planet-cnc.com/faq/machine_setup/



    Additional Information:
    i keep getting scratches when engraving pictures on dog tags

    Additional Information:



    Additional Information:



    Additional Information:

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Using USB Controller Board with Planet-CNC software. The S/W recognizes limit switches but not soft limits. Help?

  • Any timing on the USB Controller board for Mach-4

    The board has been developed and we are currently waiting to receive developer info from the makers of Mach4 so we can proceed with testing compatibility. There is no definite time frame but we are hopeful it will be released within the next couple months.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Any timing on the USB Controller board for Mach-4

  • 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 add information to this solution:
    How do I use the outputs on the Mach3 USB controller?

  • Is it possible to add proximity sensors with your USB Controller Board

    Yes, proximity sensors work similarly to limit switches. There are three connections that connect to the signal (input terminal) and two power connections that is connected to the 24V power supply that supplies the Mach3 USB controller. I have only tested NPN proximity switches with that controller in NO (normally open mode).

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Is it possible to add proximity sensors with your USB Controller Board

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