Shapeoko upgrade (10) – Gecko G540 / Mach3

I actually almost forgot to write a little something about maybe one of the more substantial yet invisible upgrades: I ditched the whole Arduino/Gshield setup and bought a real CNC controller: the well-known and praised Gecko G540.

It was a logical choice to upgrade considering the much sturdier motors I now have, which draw a considerable amount of current, too much for the Gshield to handle. It is supposed to be very stable, and the obvious choice for the control software – Mach3 – is well-documented with more functionality than’t I’ll ever care to learn. The sad part is that my electronics enclosure is already obsolete…

I also bought the very user-friendly EZ connectors, which feature a potentiometer instead of having to solder the appropriate resistor. Below is a picture of one of these connectors opened, but my vendor already matched them to my motors and shipped them all closed up and ready.

ez-g540_sm

Other than that, not much to say, really… I am still learning as I go. I currently use all of this in the most basic of ways (no spindle control, no limit switches, even no emergency stop atm, but don’t worry, that’ll be my first priority!) , but I hope to implement more features as I get comfortable with it.

2016-08-12-16-32-50

Above there are 4 stepper cables attached, but I am currently not using the 4th axis. I plan to use it as a second Y driver, so each motor has a dedicated driver, but at this time I’m running both Y-axis motors on 1 output.

I guess that’s it for today. Maybe I’ll update this article later on, if and when I have more to share.

 

EDIT:

I did some cable management and gave the computer and Geckodrive a more permanent  home 🙂

2016-11-21-16-10-29

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