Showing posts from August, 2015

Using a tablet to control a CNC machine

I do have some CNC routers using Arduino Mega and Marlin as pulse generators and g-code interpreters. Usually they are connected to a computer for selecting and streaming g-code files to the machine.

Lately I was testing a new machine and I found an old Android tablet laying around, so I wondered if it could be used for the task of controlling the machine. I am aware of programs like Octoprint that can do exactly that using a RaspberryPi and I have seen it does a great job. However, unless some more hardware is added to the mix, no display or user input is possible. But a tablet already has the display and touch screen that can be used for that purpose, plus Wifi and Bluetooth for wireless communication. What was needed was a USB connection but for that a cheap OTG USB cable was all that I needed.

Well, once the hardware side is solved, you need some software and after checking and testing different options I ended up with GcodePrintr. A software that is designed for controlling a 3D p…

Closed-loop motor control for 3D printers

It is been a while since I brought this topic in my blog. I recently bumped into this thread on element14 about the same topic too.

I was naive enough to assume that what shows up on eBay or Aliexpress can be available for quite a long time. It appears that some the units just pop up for a while to never be seen again. That has been the case with some of the motors I have been doing tests with.

Since I realized that steppers could in fact be replaced in our 3D printers by a closed-loop DC motor I have been tinkering. One of the key ideas was to find a steady supply of motors that would enable anyone interested into building the same contraption. And while the brushed motors I used worked as expected and were cheap enough, they seemed a bit too weak (not enough torque for higher accelerations) and I was quite worried about how long they will last.

On one hand there is the argument that if inket printers replaced steppers by closed-loop brushed DC motors, we could do the same and get aw…