Cool engineering

OnShape logo

Web Browser based CAD? OnShape seems to think its OK

It is not often that the CAD industry gets shaken up as much as it has in the past 12 months. First we had Autodesk Fusion 360 coming out with a Cloud based service and we have recently received word of OnShape.

The pedigree of OnShape could not be purer, it is spearheaded by the founders of Solidworks, an industry favourite for as long as I can remember.

(more…)

Smoothstepper series: Lets send some pulses

Welcome to the third instalment of the Smoothstepper series of posts. In this post we discuss what you need to do to make the computer communicate with the Smoothstepper over Ethernet.

When you connect you Smoothstepper to you computer you will need to make a very important decision: Which IP range do you want to use?

This decision will be influenced on whether you want the computer you have running the CNC machine to easily access you home network. In home networks we usually expect the router to do all the work assigning the IP addresses to each computer using the DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol). For those not familiar with the term IP address, it is the numeric address assigned to a node on a network. Home networks will usually use the form 192.168.0.xxx where xxx is a number from 0 to 254. Do be aware that some routers will issue addresses 192.168.1.xxx.

For a SmoothStepper to be able to talk to your computer you need to have the IP address of the Smoothstepper and the PC on the same range. This means that they need to have an IP address that only differs in the last of the 3 sets to digits. We have set ours as 192.168.0.50 for the Smoothstepper and our computer as 192.168.0.10

From the factory, every Smoothstepper is programmed with an IP address of 10.9.9.9 which means that you would need to set your computer to have an IP for example 10.9.9.8. This is easy enough however should you wish to plug an ethernet cable into the PC, it may not communicate with the home router.

I will let the Andy over a Warp9TD.com do most of the talking. The next two videos show two different methods which can be used to set up your Smoothstepper. Most people that have a computer dedicated to the CNC machine will be covered by following the first video. More advanced users should follow the second.

Autodesk Fusion 360 Logo

Autodesk Fusion 360: Good start but not there yet

Some would say that finally there is a CAD/CAM package that is suitable for the small/medium enterprises that are looking to make it in the makers world. I must say that I am inclined to agree...partly. Autodesk Fusion 360 came along at the tail end of 2013 with significant power behind it and some of the high impact factor blogs and vlogs (like CNCCookbook and NYC CNC) talked about it at length. (more…)
ESS with C25 and cheap BOB

Smoothstepper series: Mounting

As users of the Smoothstepper in our machine, we thought it would be good to share our findings and some tips.

First and foremost let's debunk a myth that has been going round the various CNC communities saying that Smoothsteppers have bad support from the manufacturer. This is drummed on about on a number of fora/forums but it is not exactly the case. There has always been a forum on Warp9's website to assist people and the designers of the board have actively been trying to keep up with the demands and needs of their customers. It is true however that some of the responses have been slow in the past, thankfully the organisation of the company has changed and they are now up to speed. The Smoothstepper is by a long shot the best value for money feature packed motion control board on the market and that is why here at Emvio use it.

So with that out of the way lets get to some tips

Have you seen the new Smoothstepper Configuration Utility? If not then head on over to Warp9TD.com to find out more on this amazing development!

ESS with C25 and cheap BOB
external
Relays and connector block on DIN rail

Mounting

Both the Ethernet and the USB Smoothsteppers share the same mounting hole pattern. The hole pattern and dimensions are both available in the user manuals. What if you just want to hold it done on a plate without drilling and tapping? As part of our series of tips, we will show you what we do on semipermanent installations!

Industrial cabinets have long used the DIN rail to mount all sorts of automation and safety component.

Luckily some lovely person has also made models for 3D  printing of brackets specifically to be used with the Smoothstepper.

external
Relays and connector block on DIN rail
external
ESS Smooth stepper DIN rail mounting clip
external
Ethernet Smooth Stepper Enclosure

The Gallery below details a quick method with which we have mounted the Smoothstepper in the first photograph of the post.

We are sure you will come up with your own methods of mounting. If you would like us to include photos in this section to show them off, we would love to hear from you.
Stay tuned for more tips!

Close up of titanium part

Titanium: Milling, drilling and tapping

This month we were approached by Eagleisystems Ltd of Dundee to assist in the design and prototyping of brackets that would go into a bespoke fixed wing Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). More info on the UAS can also be found at: www.raptoruas.com/ In order to achieve minimum footprint and optimise the strength weight ratio, the designers at Eagleisystems requested that the brackets be made from titanium alloy. Titanium needs little introduction since it is used in nearly every high end application or industry. Examples of course are the medical implants through to acidic environment machinery. The one thing most machinist know but design engineers sources necessarily, is that it is a interesting material to work with. From its self igniting dusts to the propensity to gall to other metals and even to the fact that it springs back. We have had the opportunity to experience these challenges first hand and would like to share some tips with you.
(more…)