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Question #: 835

Question: What resolution and level of repeatability can one usually expect from a kit-built cnc, and is there a significant difference between timing belt and chain drive systems?

Current Solution

Repeatability is very good for these machines and can be as low as .001" depending on the way you control the machine. If you use the spindle, you can be moderately aggressive, but you will want to use a finishing pass to make sure the edges are exactly what you would expect. since this is a kit, there will be varying levels of repeatibility depending on how well the kit is assembled and maintained. Calibration, as with all machines, is a critical aspect of keeping repeatibility over time.

Timing belts and chain are about the same when it comes to precision as long as the chain wraps most of the drive sprocket. There are differences to each of these systems as Kevlar with steel cables impregnated within the Kevlar and the steel used in roller chain have different coefficients of linear expansion (the expansion and contraction over temperature change), and roller chain may stretch over time, so it is important to maintain the machine by tensioning the chain and timing belt, and calibrating the machine over time and when the temperature changes significantly.

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Other Possible Solutions to this Question

  • What is the difference between a NEMA 23 and NEMA 24 motor? can I use either one on a machine?

    The frame size difference of the NEMA 23 and 24 is very slight and, depending on the motor mount both will most likely fit. The bigger difference between these stepping motors is the torque. Make sure that the motor that you purchase has the appropriate torque for the axis that it will move.

    Is is safe to go with the higher torque? Or if the torque is too high for what i need is that bad?

    You can use a motor with higher torque. Just make sure to select the correct driver for that motor.

    Additional Information:
    The frame size has nothing to do with torque. Nema 23 means a 2.3" frame. Nema 24 means a 2.4" frame. That's all. Either could have more or less torque depending on speed and power.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    What is the difference between a NEMA 23 and NEMA 24 motor? can I use either one on a machine?

  • What is the difference between the 3 Blacktooth laser packages offered? Specifically, one with/without a computer? Why do I need one? Also, is the $2100 assembled vs the $1700 which is not? What am I paying $400 more for?

    If you read the description the first uses a parallel interface for computer hookup. The second uses USB interface for computer hookup. The third utilizes an integrated computer which is built into the package thus you do not need an external computer.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    What is the difference between the 3 Blacktooth laser packages offered? Specifically, one with/without a computer? Why do I need one? Also, is the $2100 assembled vs the $1700 which is not? What am I paying $400 more for?

  • WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PRINTER CABLE PORT AND USB MOTOR KITS

    The parallel (printer cable) port is uses the computer as its main source of pulse trains to operate the motor driver directly. Parallel ports are a direct connection from the processor commonly referred to as GPIO pins (General Purpose I/O pins) and provides a convenient and powerful way to interface with the computer. The parallel breakout board is included in those kits only to condition those signals for use with the drivers.

    The USB serves at the actual controller, sending the pulse trains, but the computer sends simple human readable instructions to the USB controller to tell the controller how to send pulses.

    The non-technical differences that may serve as the most important information to you is that the parallel configurations allow for a wider variety of industry standard software that can be used to control the cnc machine. The USB that we offer requires the operator to use a software called Planet-CNC software which is a very well made and feature full cnc control software.

    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PRINTER CABLE PORT AND USB MOTOR KITS

  • WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PARALLEL AND USB ELECTRONICS COMBOS MOTOR KITS

    The parallel (printer cable) port is uses the computer as its main source of pulse trains to operate the motor driver directly. Parallel ports are a direct connection from the processor commonly referred to as GPIO pins (General Purpose I/O pins) and provides a convenient and powerful way to interface with the computer. The parallel breakout board is included in those kits only to condition those signals for use with the drivers.

    The USB serves at the actual controller, sending the pulse trains, but the computer sends simple human readable instructions to the USB controller to tell the controller how to send pulses.

    The non-technical differences that may serve as the most important information to you is that the parallel configurations allow for a wider variety of industry standard software that can be used to control the cnc machine. The USB that we offer requires the operator to use a software called Planet-CNC software which is a very well made and feature full cnc control software.

    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PARALLEL AND USB ELECTRONICS COMBOS MOTOR KITS

  • In my 4'x8' Blackfoot rig, there is a maximum wire length of 16" between drivers, breakout board, and power supply as well as a maximum wire length of 10' from drivers to motors. What AWG wires should I use to connect power supply to drivers, drivers to motors, and drivers to breakout board?

    What we intend our customers to use for wiring the motors to the drivers will be 4 conductor 20 AWG cable, now for the PSU to Drivers; 16-18 Gauge wire should be used, and drivers to BB(Breakout Board) should be a 24 AWG wires.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    In my 4'x8' Blackfoot rig, there is a maximum wire length of 16" between drivers, breakout board, and power supply as well as a maximum wire length of 10' from drivers to motors. What AWG wires should I use to connect power supply to drivers, drivers to motors, and drivers to breakout board?

  • I ordered an 80w tune on Amazon for a good deal, it took over a month to arrive and was broken on arrival. Get what you pay for I guess :( of I order a tune from you can I expect it to be better packed and arrive quicker?

    We double box our tubes. The inside box contains the tube that is surrounded by foam. This inner box is wrapped with bubble wrap and then boxed again.

    Carriers are not very careful with packages, but it is not typically from personnel handling, but the machines and conveyors that maneuver the boxes at their distribution centers.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    I ordered an 80w tune on Amazon for a good deal, it took over a month to arrive and was broken on arrival. Get what you pay for I guess :( of I order a tune from you can I expect it to be better packed and arrive quicker?

  • WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MACH3 AND MACH4?

    Standard Version Features Mach3 Mach4 Hobby Mach4 Industrial
    Number of Planners 1 1 1
    Number of Axis 6 6 6
    Out of Band Axis (OBA) 0 1 6
    Slave axis (uses up coordinated axes) 3 N/A N/A
    Slave motors (does not use up coordinated axes) N/A 4 per Axis 4 per Axis
    API Interface - Open to All Hardware Yes Yes Yes
    Extended Plugin Support Yes Yes Yes
    User customizable GUI Yes Yes Yes
    Unified (GUI) Interface - PLC, CNC, etc.. Yes Yes
    Unlimited IO Yes Yes Yes
    Modbus PLC Yes Yes Yes
    PMC (Ladder Logic addressing for cnc/plc) Yes Yes
    Unlimited File Size Yes Yes
    Tool Path Display Yes Yes Yes
    Tool Path Speed & Quality Low High High
    Scripting - Customization Yes Yes Yes
    LUA Scripting - simple, fast, cross-platform Yes Yes
    - Lua sockets (ftp, http, smtp,..) Yes Yes
    - SSL (security layer) Yes Yes
    - LFS (manage large files and data storage) Yes Yes
    - Seriel port Yes Yes
    - Enraving of part numbers / serial numbering of parts Yes Yes
    - Plugin panel objects Yes Yes
    IPC Library for Data Sharing/tracking (Interprocess communication) Yes Yes
    Full Feature Screens/Controls Per Machine Type Yes Yes
    Currently Availabe: Mill, Router, Lathe, 3d Printer Yes Yes
    Multiple gcode Interpruters (Per Machine Type) Yes Yes
    Probing - Intergrated in standard screens Yes Yes
    Simulated 3d Machining (with additional plugin license) Yes Yes
    Tool Life Management (G10 L3 command) Yes
    Screw Mapping Yes
    Professional Screen Designer (advanced G.U.I.) Yes
    - Screen Animation Control Yes
    - Screen Integrated Tool Table Control Yes
    - Screen Integrated Work Offset Control Yes
    - Screen Integrated gcode editor Yes
    - Screen Artsoft Wizard Package Integration Yes
    Macro B gcode Programming (#variables) Yes
    - User definable gcodes via marco calls Yes
    - Macro Calls: G65, G66, G66.1 Yes
    - gcode via marco call (custom G codes via macro B) Yes
    - mcode via macro call (custom M codes via macro B) Yes
    - mcode via sub code (custom M code via sup program) Yes
    - Conditional gcodes Yes
    - set VN call - define variable names Yes
    gcode Editor Included Yes
    Scripted M code (custom M code via LUA script) Yes Yes
    Variable Speed Spindle Yes Yes Yes
    Spindle Relay Yes Yes Yes
    Coolant relay Yes Yes Yes
    Mist Relay Yes Yes Yes
    Threading Yes Yes Yes
    Rigid Tapping Yes Yes Yes
    Single Block Yes Yes Yes
    Block Delete Yes Yes Yes
    Optional Stop Yes Yes Yes
    MACH CNC CONTROL SOFTWARE MAIN FEATURES AND VERSION DIFFERENCES
    Standard Version Features Mach3 Mach4 Hobby Mach4 Industrial
    MACH CNC CONTROL SOFTWARE MAIN FEATURES AND VERSION DIFFERENCES
    Cutter Comp Yes Yes Yes
    Fanuc Type C Cutter Comp Yes Yes
    Fixture Offsets Yes Yes Yes
    G51 Scaling Yes Yes Yes
    G92 Offsets Yes Yes Yes
    G52 Offsets Yes Yes Yes
    Event Driven Yes Yes
    Multi Line MDI Yes Yes
    Subs In MDI Yes Yes
    OpenGL Optimization Yes Yes
    Multi-platform OS Compatibility Option Yes Yes
    Online Support Yes Yes Yes
    Phone Support Option Available Yes
    Support Priority Yes
    Available to End Users as "Do-it-yourself" Yes Yes
    Summary - Mach3 versus Mach4 :
    Mach4 Hobby is the closest comparable version to Mach3, yet it is still much more advanced. The price point of these versions is nearly
    identical. Mach3 is very popular for hobby enthusiest and is used in highly modified form by some great OEM's. In general, Mach4 is more
    complex than Mach3 and follows cnc industry standards. Mach3 has many customizations to make it easier for hobby users, but can lead to
    difficulties if users plan to apply their knowledge to more advanced systems. Mach4 is built as a full featured cnc controller capable of high
    speed machining for servo and stepper systems. Mach3's feature set is complete, while Mach4's will continue to expand. If you are new to cnc,
    Artsoft highly recommends using and learning Mach4 even if it appears that Mach3's feature set will be adequate for your needs.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MACH3 AND MACH4?

  • IS THE "#25 ROLLER CHAIN" ADJUSTABLE TO ANY LENGTH? LIKE IF I ORDERED TEN FEET OF IT, CAN MAKE TWO 3-FOOT LOOPS AND ONE 4-FOOT LOOP USING SOME SORT CHAIN JOINER?

    Roller chain in general is adjustable by using "master links", which are links which have horseshoe clip holding the pin and thus allow connections to be made or broken. The #25 is a designation of the type of roller chain. ANSI codes designate that the first digit(s) specify the pitch in eights of an inch, and the last digit is 0 for standard chain, 1 for lightweight chain, and 5 for bushed chain with no rollers. So #25 is 2/8 = 1/4 inch pitch bushed chain with no rollers.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    IS THE "#25 ROLLER CHAIN" ADJUSTABLE TO ANY LENGTH? LIKE IF I ORDERED TEN FEET OF IT, CAN MAKE TWO 3-FOOT LOOPS AND ONE 4-FOOT LOOP USING SOME SORT CHAIN JOINER?

  • I AM PUTTING TOGETHER THE BLACKFOOT AND USING A PORTER CABLE ROUTER. CONFUSED ON HOW TO RELAY ROUTETR WITH USB BOARD. IS THERE ANOTHER SWITCH THAT GOES BETWEEN BOARD ROUTER SO PLANET CNC CAN TURN PERHAPS VACUUM OFF?

    We are currently working on a relay board that will connect to USB breakout board, and the router/spindle for both the on/off function. Unfortunately we still do not have it completed or ready to be placed on our website, but it is in the final stages of testing. Please check back regularly for updated stock!

    Here is a link to a tutorial for a DIY relay circuit:



    There is no vacuum control on the Planet-CNC program, however you could use the same concept of the router/spindle on/off using the relay circuit. Although you will have to use either the flood or mist function for the vacuum.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    I AM PUTTING TOGETHER THE BLACKFOOT AND USING A PORTER CABLE ROUTER. CONFUSED ON HOW TO RELAY ROUTETR WITH USB BOARD. IS THERE ANOTHER SWITCH THAT GOES BETWEEN BOARD ROUTER SO PLANET CNC CAN TURN PERHAPS VACUUM OFF?

  • What tolerance can I expect from your largest cnc machine and the laser cutter? Also, what depth can I get on the z axis?

    The largest CNC machine we make at this time (12/04/2015) is the GreenBull 6'x12' model. This model has 2 options for Z-axis travel.

    The short-z option has a total Z travel of 5.75 inches. From that you would subtract the length of the end mill used and the thickness of the spoil board to determine the maximum material thickness. (Example: If the end mill extends 1.25" from the collet and the spoil board is .75", then the material could be up to 5.75 - 1.25 - 0.75 = 3.75 inches in thickness). This is good for most sheet-type materials.

    The long-z option, used mainly for large 3D carvings, requires a custom frame and allows for up to 36" of travel.

    The tolerance of our machines, like any machine, depends on several variables. The major variables include the manufacturing tolerance, the type of machine control used, the precision of assembly, the thoroughness of maintenance, and the initial and ongoing calibration of the machine. Because we sell kits only most of these variables are outside our control. Therefore, we are hesitant to guarantee a certain level of tolerance for an end user. However, in our experience, tolerances of .001" are readily achievable with our machines.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    What tolerance can I expect from your largest cnc machine and the laser cutter? Also, what depth can I get on the z axis?

  • WHAT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 3 AXIS AND 5 CNC?

    3 axis machines cannot create undercuts in the part.

    These videos show the capabilities of 3 and 5 axis machining:

    3-axis CNC:

    &feature=fvwrel

    5-axis CNC:
    &feature=related

    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    WHAT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 3 AXIS AND 5 CNC?

  • I have a lead screw machine I built from the book plans (i know, ancient history) and I'm thinking of converting the X and Y axis to rollerchain. Assuming I can configure my controller appropriately, is there anything I should buy besides chain, drive cog, tension cog and mounting hardware?

    You want to make sure that the motors will be able to provide the necessary torque since there will not be mechanical advantage using roller chain. You will need a way to fix the chain to each end. I like to use #4 - 3/4" screws and #4 nuts. You will need a drive sprocket for each axis and a couple idler sprockets on each axis to serve as tensioners and guiding the roller chain.

    Additional Information:
    OK cool. I have NEMA 24 steppers rated 425 oz-in. Is there some rule of thumb I can use to guess if that's enough? I'm not planning to push against hard stock material.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    I have a lead screw machine I built from the book plans (i know, ancient history) and I'm thinking of converting the X and Y axis to rollerchain. Assuming I can configure my controller appropriately, is there anything I should buy besides chain, drive cog, tension cog and mounting hardware?

  • WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ROCK CRYSTAL ?

    The first number is the amount of chromium that is contained in the stainless, i.e., 18 is 18% chromium. The second number is the amount of nickel, i.e., 8 stands for 8% nickel. So 18/8 means that this stainless steel contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. 18/10 is 18% chromium and 10% nickel. The higher the numbers the more corrosion resistant the material. 18/0 is a misleading designation. Both 18/8 and 18/10 contain nickel and are part of the grade family "300 series" stainless. 18/0 means that there is 18% chromium but zero nickel. When there is no nickel the stainless grade family is the "400 series". 400 series are not as corrosion resistant as the 300 series and are magnetic, where the 300 series are non-magnetic.

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    WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ROCK CRYSTAL ?

  • Planning to Buy Greenbull or Blackfoot 4'x 8' Long "Z" Axis. My questions are: what is the hight between the table and the Gantry ? what maximun Z can useful engraving? if I instal a rotating 4 Axle. what maximun diameter can be useful.

    Only our greenBull CNC machines will be able to use the long Z-axis, due to structural construction of the greenBull over the blackFoot.
    The height from the table top to the bottom of the gantry is: 4.25"

    Both the maximum cutting height and diameter, will be dependent on the specific end mill/router bit you plan on using, since they can vary in length.
    The maximum cutting height (useful to engrave or cut material)is: with spoil-board 3.875", without a spoil-board is 4.625"
    The maximum diameter will (estimated) is: 3"

    Specifically dealing with our greenBull long Z-axis CNC machines, depending on how you specifically design the table you can have more cutting height and a larger diameter clearance. If you only create a frame for the machine with a hollow center(adjustable midsection), allowing you to have a greater clearance.
    Similar table image here: (https://buildyourcnc.com/Item/cnc-machine-greenBull-v4-6X#prettyPhoto/5/)

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Planning to Buy Greenbull or Blackfoot 4'x 8' Long "Z" Axis. My questions are: what is the hight between the table and the Gantry ? what maximun Z can useful engraving? if I instal a rotating 4 Axle. what maximun diameter can be useful.

  • I am interested in the "Design Your CNC" page. However I need an extra long table. Is there any possibility of designing a custom 2' x 16' CNC, or can two 2' x 8' tables be combined some how?

    Yes, we can customize almost any size of a machine. 2'x16' is within the possible dimensions. For a customized machine that you do not see in the "Design Your CNC" section, you will need to contact customerservice@buildyourcnc.com and make the request there.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    I am interested in the "Design Your CNC" page. However I need an extra long table. Is there any possibility of designing a custom 2' x 16' CNC, or can two 2' x 8' tables be combined some how?

  • WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PARALLEL BREAKOUT BOARD AND USB ITERFACE?

    The parallel (printer cable) port is uses the computer as its main source of pulse trains to operate the motor driver directly. Parallel ports are a direct connection from the processor commonly referred to as GPIO pins (General Purpose I/O pins) and provides a convenient and powerful way to interface with the computer. The parallel breakout board is included in those kits only to condition those signals for use with the drivers.

    The USB serves at the actual controller, sending the pulse trains, but the computer sends simple human readable instructions to the USB controller to tell the controller how to send pulses.

    The non-technical differences that may serve as the most important information to you is that the parallel configurations allow for a wider variety of industry standard software that can be used to control the cnc machine. The USB that we offer requires the operator to use a software called Planet-CNC software which is a very well made and feature full cnc control software.

    Additional Information:


    Additional Information:

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PARALLEL BREAKOUT BOARD AND USB ITERFACE?

  • I am having a significant amount of trouble getting the 1/2" ID bearing to fit over the 1/2" 5 start lead screw. I can only get it about half an inch onto the rod. Any tips to get it to slide further?

    There should be no problem with getting the 1/2" ID bearing on the lead screw, unless there is a bent in the lead screw or it has a piece of debris that is causing a issue.

    Unless one of these items were purchased from a 3rd party, then there might be tolerance issues from the original manufacture which might cause this issue.
    If possible please send photos to customerservice@buildyourcnc.com

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    I am having a significant amount of trouble getting the 1/2" ID bearing to fit over the 1/2" 5 start lead screw. I can only get it about half an inch onto the rod. Any tips to get it to slide further?

  • Since you don't sell the hardware only package for the Blackfoot 4'x8' can you tell me what items I should look for for the chain sprockets, spacers to mount them to the 1/2" rod, and chain? All the other parts I can source from elsewhere

    I'm not sure I understand the question. You are looking for spacers or sprockets?

    Additional Information:
    Nevermind, I found my answer. Thank you

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    Since you don't sell the hardware only package for the Blackfoot 4'x8' can you tell me what items I should look for for the chain sprockets, spacers to mount them to the 1/2" rod, and chain? All the other parts I can source from elsewhere

  • WE ARE ALWAYS CONCERNED THAT THERE WON'T BE ENOUGH VACCINE TO VACCINATE OUR PATIENTS IN THE FALL. WHAT CAN DO ASSURED WE'VE DONE ALL POSSIBLY AVOID THIS TYPE OF SITUATION?

    It is never too early to begin planning for the coming fall's influenza vaccination program. The most important thing you can do initially is to place your order for vaccine from your usual source. Some manufacturers often stop taking pre-orders in mid-May. Be sure to include vaccine for pediatric patients needing two doses and also for your facility's healthcare workers as part of your overall campaign.

    Click the link to add information to this solution:
    WE ARE ALWAYS CONCERNED THAT THERE WON'T BE ENOUGH VACCINE TO VACCINATE OUR PATIENTS IN THE FALL. WHAT CAN DO ASSURED WE'VE DONE ALL POSSIBLY AVOID THIS TYPE OF SITUATION?

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