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November 15, 2010

Table Top CNC Machine & Controller Computer

I bought a table top CNC machine from Ebay. It came in a kit form. I wanted to use it to make my own PCBs, I was sick of the cost of having a board house make prototypes. So i made a small investment, now I can make my own (other stuff too).

The computer is a 1Ghz ITX from factor computer. I made the housing that the computer, power supply and touchscreen are in. I took sheet metal, and bent it to the shape you see, made some sides, and welded it all together.

The controlling program is called Mach3. The stock Mach3 is not very touchscreen friendly, so I looked at the other screen layout available for it. I couldn’t really find¬† “free” option i really liked. I did find one that was $300+. FortunatelyMach3 allows Flash built screens to be used to operate the software. So i built my own screen, based on the $300+ one, and added all the functionality and touch compatibility I needed!

My very first board was a Power Supply Distribution Board for the controller cabinet. The machine needs 24VDC to operate,  so I bought a switching power supply, with more amp output then the machine required. The computer and touchscreen both need 12VDC to operate. I designed a board, in EagleCad, to distribute the power needed for the computer and screen from the switching power supply.

I used the machine to make the Power Supply Distribution Board. At the time i had 3 AC plugs for the machine:

  • Switching PSU
  • Computer
  • TouchScreen

After installing the Power Supply Distribution Board, i now have only one.

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