CNC Control Box done and working

If you ever wanted to see one darn fine looking CNC control box, check out Downing’s project here. He poured all his PC modding talent into the box, and it shows! Not only does the box contain the PC (couldn’t figure out what it’s running but willing to bet it’s LinuxCNC) but the CNC controller as well as the *second* monitor and what looks like a second numerical keyboard. That is pretty dandy considering most of the inputs during a CNC run are numerical. That second keyboard is a great idea, I think I’m going to steal it. Not sure what the second monitor is for but hey, there’s a space there, why not?
There are also some feature buttons (proly the PC reset and power) but perhaps an op-stop (M1) button is also hooked up. And of course, the mandatory hard-to-miss red kill-all mushroom button.

What a lovely sight and professional look! As I’m getting parts together for my own CNC enclosure project (looking to put a small router about the size of Downing’s INSIDE an enclosure to capture dust and chips thrown about) , I think I’ll draw an idea or two from his Control Box.

Downing's Basement

So after suffering from some of the biggest headaches I’ve had to deal with in a long time, the control box for my router is completed. I wanna thank my friend [Dave Russo] for coming over and not only help solve the issue with CNC (which of course was only a single wire connected incorrectly) but also for helping me fix my main PC and upgrading to a Solid State Drive. Much thanks my friend.

So back to the CNC, the general premise of the project was to make up some space that my old PC tower and the CNC control box itself was taking up. Granted now a lot more space on top is taken up, everything is now in one location and even has a nifty little PSOne screen acting as a second monitor for the PC!

Though this isn’t perfect, it does the job. I will be…

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2 thoughts on “CNC Control Box done and working

  1. Cool! Well glad to see that you liked it enough to reblog! Yeah, it was just meant to be a simple design mod to help save space but it became a nightmare to reassemble and get working properly again after that. But all is well now and it’s working great! It’s actually just running XP Pro and being controlled by Mach 3. Though this works for most of my applications, it’s still a pretty limited set-up as the machine doesn’t even have stop sensors to know where it is on the table. But, it’s my first machine, and hopefully soon enough I’ll be able to upgrade. Thanks again!

    • Thanks, Downing, I could have sworn a DIY project like that would run LinuxCNC but there’s nothing at all wrong with MACH3, just more used to seeing it in turn key setups.

      I was intrigued by your second keyboard and the second monitor – did you end up using them?

      Stop sensors (homing switches) are nice but you can do a lot of stuff without them, just be mindful of the working plane you’re in. I just habitually add G0 X0Y0Z0 at the end of each Gcode program so I know if I turn the controller off and start it again next day, the router will actually be parked at the homed position.
      By the way, I’ve just opened a small boatload or broken DVD-RW drives for their laser diodes and each of those had at least one or two of nice miniature end switches you could use for your small router. If you are using a parallel port controller, hooking them up would be a breeze and a pair of broken CD or DVD drives can supply all end switches you may need for the router 🙂

      I have only home switches now and considering adding max switches, too – I find myself mixing metric with imperial units every so often and have ran out of max axis travel a few times. Looks like three simple switches can save a lot of aggravation!

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