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To Shield or Not To Shield (your wiring)

Should you use shielded wire or not? I don't use any shielded wire on my DIY CNC, and I haven't had any noise or 'phantom triggers'. I do notice interference (like a 'fuzzyness') on my computer monitor when I hit the power to my stepper motors, however, but that is...

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KiCAD, FlatCAM and milling slots in a PC Board

I needed a quick-and-dirty 36VDC unregulated linear power supply to drive some HobbyCNC boards on my test system. I wanted the bridge rectifier to mount directly to the PC board.  The beefy bridge rectifier that I had in my stock was the type with the large spade-type...

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KiCAD and FlatCAM to isolation route PCBs

As a follow-up to my last post on Autodesk and Eagle, I milled my first PC board using the KiCAD and FlatCAM to LinuxCNC toolchain. I did schematic capture and board design on KiCAD and Gerber-to-GCode on FlatCAM. It took a few hours to get somewhat comfortable with...

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Eagle and Autocad

One thing I use my DIY CNC machine for is milling PC Boards (it's technically called "isolation routing"). This is fairly fast, inexpensive, accurate and uses zero nasty chemicals. I'd been using Eagle Schematic & PCB design software. Great product, works very...

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What’s all this about BreakOut Boards (BOB)

A BreakOut Board - a BOB for short, takes an input, typically from a computer or a ethernet/USB-to-parallel converter and splits up the signals into individual pins. These pins are then wired to individual stepper driver boards.  Most stepper driver boards require two...

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The Art of Remote Troubleshooting

"My X axis stopped working. What's wrong?" I was in pre-and post-sales technical support professionally for about 20 years of my career. I've provided support over-the-phone, in the shop and in the field. I consider myself to be pretty good at the process of...

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Unipolar vs. Bipolar stepper motors

Why does HobbyCNC use unipolar stepper motors? And what is the difference between bipolar and unipolar stepper motors?  Is one better than the other? Let's start with the differences between the two types of motors*. A unipolar motor works from a single polarity on...

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Drive screws – 1/4-20 threaded rod vs. Acme screw

I have been thinking about my decision to use a 1/4-20 threaded rod to drive the axis instead of an acme screw. The answer is the typical engineering answer: "trade-offs". The primary goal of my HobbyCNC plans is to provide a functioning 3-axis router, with reasonable...

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Autodesk Fusion 360

I finally made some time to sit down to design-and-print a part using Autodesk Fusion 360. There is a lot to learn, but this is one very powerful CAD/CAM software. I was able to go from my design in Fusion 360 straight to my MakerBot printer software. Pretty damn...

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