GRBL builds anyone?

Considering a build based on Avid Pro frame 4x2. My current CNC uses a Windows machine with UCCNC and a custom screenset by , which I moved to after bad experiences with Mach 3. I’d like to liberate myself from Windows and proprietary software, plus moving more of the motion control into a dedicated controller makes sense. I’ve heard good things about GRBL for all these reasons, despite its limitations.

I’m interested in anyone’s experiences here. Which combined controller and stepper motor driver boxes to use, which software has worked well. My current setup works well, so I don’t want to move backwards, but it has its limitations as well.

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Grbl is only 8 bit so be careful.

GrblHAL is 32 but…

I have a posting on two hardware solutions with the one based on the Teensy 4.1 being enough axis and switches to run a AvidCNC Pro series machine.

If you combine that interface with the Teknic motors then you can have a really tiny control box and run it from your phone.

I have been considering this as well as LinuxCNC. I personally would use LinuxCNC right now as the GrblHAL stuff isn’t as mature as I would like for a production system.

But give it time. Right now GrblHAL boasts everything Mach4 does out of the box. But I am not interested in being a beta tester.

See my thread “The Beginning of the End” for the links.

Which series of Teknic motor would you use, and does it get you closed-loop feedback?

I have a NEMA 23 setup, and it looks like the Teknic motors have a little more power than the stock steppers.

I would call and ask them directly. I use their motors in all of the products I make (even the tool carousel will use 3 of them) but I can’t sell them directly so I just funnel everyone over to them. Pick up the phone and somebody will help you better than I can.

You would be using the Teknic SDSK line which do not offer that function. The GrblHAL boards and most low cost controllers do NOT offer closed feedback communication, just step and direction. You have to get into their Meridian line of controllers before you get things like G-Stop and spline based smoothing. All of that is rather expensive.

You can set the SDSK motors up to report extra data using their HLFB / Status pin and use an Arduino to interpret the data. It offers things like torque and revolutions (one tick per) etc but nothing that would improve your accuracy.

The SDSK are probably the best steppers on the market, period. But they are expensive.

Yes, you will tear up the pinion gear real quick if you don’t set things up correctly. Unlike a ball screw, that rack and pinion can slip and when it does it will chew off the teeth on that pinion gear.