HobbyCNC Blog

Where has all the power gone?

Most (all?) stepper motor driver instructions include the warning "do not connect/disconnect motors while power is applied". Curious why? A brief-yet-incomplete intro to stepper motors is appropriate. Stepper motors contain several windings. These windings are very...

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We all make misteaks

I recently assembled 5 PRO 4-axis boards. I'm pretty careful. I follow directions. I am quite familiar with the boards. Only 60% (three out of five for you non-math types) worked first time! Oh the shame.  Careful(er) visual inspection revealed the problems: One...

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Tech Support – The Voltages Are All Wrong!

Had an interesting tech support problem last week. The 5 Volt test point measured 4.85 Volts. The test point should be between 4.95 and 5.05 Volts (5 Volts +/- 1%). The output of the LM317HV should be 31.6 Volts, but was measuring out at 30.6 Volts. All the resistor...

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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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