First post but I have been looking around for a week or so. I know how annoying it is when people ask questions that have already been asked on forums but I need to. I'm having a bit of trouble sorting through the information out there and am frankly new to the CNC DIY scene. I work on campus in a machine shop and we use CNC machines and I have axis to 3D printers and play with those occasionally. Recently a couple friends and I decided that it would be a good use of our free time to design a CNC machine to take to local high schools and do demonstrations. It would be a good way to introduce younger students to engineering using 3D modeling, CAM software, and then CNC machines. Students would have something to take home from their work too so it would likely help the info stick in their minds and keep them wondering about Purdue and perhaps the field of Technology as a career.
I do not have a lot of experience with the Arduino so the code will have to be provided as I can't code that well and neither can the other two. I know how to play with the Arduino just not to the extent of developing my own code for a machine of this caliber.
The design is not an issue. The three of us are decent 3D modelers and have professional programs that we get for being students and have designed several machines that we could produce. The electronics are hanging us up for now. There is no shortage of DIY CNC stepper controller boards, such as the linistepper. However there is a shortage of electronics setups that are USB driven or SD Card. The Arduino at least has the capability to drive a setup like this using something like the GRBL or the rStep but I am having trouble finding schematics for either. As I mentioned we have access to CNC machines and will likely cut our own boards or etch them ourselves and populate them with what we have laying around or can purchase from the EE building. But I need help figuring out what I actually need to know. If someone can point in the right direction I would appreciate it. I'll list what I feel is needed in the information department.
1. What type of software is used to run the setup. For instance the Linistepper uses Mach3 or Linux CNC. Does the GRBL or rStep use a simple GUI?
2. Is it possible to use a polou driver such as the one used in the Reprap design? Can the same setup be used and then drop the GRBL code into the arduino.
3. I have read that the GRBL is capable of driving a cnc machine using an UNO while the Reprap uses a Mega. Seeing as the UNO is cheaper that is ideal so could someone mention more info on this?
4. Are there any other bits of info that I need to know for this project?
If you are interested in joining our effort let me know, we are always looking for new ideas. If you want to do something similar for your school or want help with a design to donate to a school let me know and we can work something out. We are considering building them and selling them to schools for about cost (might wanna make something to help with the student loans