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Old Fri 12 February 2010, 09:37
Just call me: Jeff #31
Montesano, WA
United States of America
Inexpensive machine controllers

Researching another idea, I found this;

No fan to collect dust! Configured with hdd and ram, the price of the MT-T10 system is less than $200 US. (The literature is a little ambiguous, but I understand the "MT" to be the case style, and the "T10" to be the motherboard/cpu. The T10 guts are supposed to include a parallel port.

Load EMC and plug in a freebie crt and keyboard and away you go. When my flea market computer finally chokes on its dust diet, I'll probably do this.

EMC/Ubuntu requires 800mhz and 256mb. For a truly minimalist system, you could build EMC onto a lighter-weight version of Linux, e.g. Puppy Linux, and use the flash memory "disk" on their $100 systems.

Last edited by lumberjack_jeff; Fri 12 February 2010 at 10:03..
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Old Fri 12 February 2010, 19:21
Just call me: Ross #74
Hi Jeff

First up - followed your build thread and have to say you are certainly inventive to say the least and I admire such creativity.

The site is a little vague but they seem to be building the systems around three main chips namely the Via C3 and C7 and the Atom. I have built up many server "appliance" type machines on C3 and C7 chips in the past and used them fanless on a continual basis for many months. So they work fine, my testing and installations go through to the Via C7 1.5 gig motherboards after which I went over to the Intel Atom chip.

The performance of the C7 systems is not equal to the Intel machines on a clock speed to clock speed comparison, but many people on the web have dared to make equivalence comparison if you search around.

Flash memory booting has long been popular on these systems. The only down side is the write cycles of this type of medium are not as high as hard drives, so make a backup copy (disk image) of the boot medium before putting it into production.

Now you have entertained the thought of your "market" PC failing, you have guaranteed it will last for many years to come. I sometimes think they know what has been planned for them and refuse to offer up their place.

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Old Fri 12 February 2010, 20:21
Just call me: Jeff #31
Montesano, WA
United States of America
Heh. Ain't that the truth! The stuff that fails is the good stuff!

The noisy, rattly, half-assed things stick around forever, just marginally good enough that you can't justify replacement.

EMC doesn't require much in the way of hardware, anything on which Ubuntu will run (provided it has an appropriate parallel port, and you don't try to do lots of simultaneous things) will run EMC just fine.

I just think it would be really nice to have a fanless, inexpensive solution for machine control.

And thanks for the kind words, your build is really spectacular. My next one will be like your first one.
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Old Fri 12 February 2010, 22:10
Just call me: Irfan #33
some ones thinking out of the box
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Old Fri 12 February 2010, 23:29
Just call me: Jeff #31
Montesano, WA
United States of America
Interesting you mention that Irfan. The idea I was working on was the design of a CNC bandsaw blade sharpener. As you can imagine, sawmill blades get sharpened in a less than ideal environment, and the current crop of machines are both expensive and devlishly difficult to get into proper adjustment.

A band-sawmill blade tooth consists of three parts, the back, the front (what we would normally think of as the cutting edge) and the gullet. To properly sharpen a blade, the entire profile needs to be ground. Once all the surfaces are sharpened, the teeth need to be "set" so that it yields an appropriate kerf.

Bandsaw teeth are on a predictable pitch, but with 170 -200 teeth in a blade, a slight miscalculation of the pitch will result in complete destruction of teeth after (x) repetitions.

Because people equipped with only hammers are apt to see all of their problems as nails, I've been thinking that CNC is a good solution, provided a couple of problems could be solved;
a) the electronics must be tolerant of the sawmill conditions
b) although different manufactures of sawmill blades have different blade profiles, a sawmill operator will generally use only one or two blade styles. They should be able to select which of the 2 or three kinds of blades they ordinarily use from the menu, set the blade in the start position and select "go".
c) the machine must advance the blade precisely one tooth, prior to running the g-code subroutine which defines the tooth profile.
d) this blade advance mechanism could be very simple (grab the next tooth and advance it one tooth pitch) were it not for the fact that the tooth is shaped like a hook, meaning that the blade has to move both directions to satisfy the X-axis motion requirements.

Things the machine doesn't need:
- office applications
- fancy gui
- multimedia support
- file storage except for a collection of blade profiles which could be loaded via flashdrive

Bandsaw blade sharpeners are essentially identical to chainsaw blade sharpeners, except for the angle at which they grind the profile. An inexpensive one, guided by motion control, is a natural solution.

I believe that one of these could be built for half the price of the least expensive analog profile sharpener.

Heh. Hopefully I just coined a new phrase; "analog blade sharpener".

The below threads were inspiration.

Last edited by lumberjack_jeff; Fri 12 February 2010 at 23:32..
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Old Sat 13 February 2010, 06:54
Just call me: Mike
Columbiana AL
United States of America
Interesting reading !!.

I am interested to see where the Port (Serial/Parallel/USB) evolution goes. I purchased the add on parallel port and I figure the market will have them available for many years to come.

Last edited by MetalHead; Sat 13 February 2010 at 06:59..
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Old Sat 13 February 2010, 14:27
Just call me: Jeff #31
Montesano, WA
United States of America
The other thing that is intriguing about cnc sharpening is that the tooth profile can be customized to the specific wood and moisture content being sawn.
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