Tag Archives: CNC USB Module

CNC – Update 5: Jog Box

The USB CNC Controller has a 14 pin connector for connection to an external “Jog Controller”. This controller allows the user to move the spindle along each of its three axis, and control the speed at which the movements are made. While there were no instructions for this, a little trial and error established the connections and the necessary circuitry to perform axis movement.

Even though I’m waiting for the 14 pin connectors and big fat momentary switches (on order from China), I made a prototype. It consists of a sloped-top wooden enclosure with an engraved fascia (CNC’ed, of course). I have populated it with LEDs, small momentary switches (which I have previously found to fail intermittently !!) and the jog speed control. The Jog Box connects to the CNC USB Controller with a 14 conductor ribbon cable.

CNC-USB Jog Box-Final

CNC USB Controller Jog Box: Final version with large toggles

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CNC – Update 4: Limits & homing

I have been playing with the CNC machine and all too often I’ve accidentally hit both X and Y extreme limits of travel. I don’t know if there is any damage being done but felt I should do something about it.  The controller software has a panel in the setting menu for both positive and negative limit switches for all three axis so I needed to find the associated hardware connections. The company I bought the machine from claimed not to have hardware schematics for the CNC controller or the USB interface. However, I did receive an image of the CNC Driver Board board indicating where limit switches may connect (top left).

CNC Drive Board

CNC Drive Board

Through trial and error, I found that the model of my controller only provides one input per axis for a limit switch. This means that in the X and Y axes, a limit switch only works when the unit is traveling in a positive direction (i.e. towards the back and right edge). For the Z-axis, the limit switch only works when the spindle moving downwards.  In normal operation the limit switch input is open circuit. If and when the machine moves to a limit, the switch shorts the input to GND and this stops the movement immediately.

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CNC machine (or “drool, but don’t touch”)

Enter stage left, my new Model 3040 CNC Machine. Ta da!

CNC 3040 Machine

CNC 3040 Machine

Now, this is what I would call a real man’s toy!

For those of you (myself included) who are not very clued up about computer numerical control (CNC) machines, I guess we’ll teach each other.

The unit basically moves a high-speed rotary tool in three different orthogonal (90 degree) axis. The unit sits on a substantial aluminum base with an extruded aluminum bed. A heavy-duty gantry straddles this bed and rides up and down on the base (Y-axis) while the rotary tool assembly on the gantry can move from side to side (X-axis) and up and down (Z-axis). Hence, the three axis!

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