Friday, August 28, 2009

How is this going to work?

Before I get too much farther I guess I should discuss how I intend to make this work.
Let me start by listing my liabilities;
  • I don't have the first clue how to program a pic.
  • Python might as well be a really big snake.
  • Scripting is something i do to make my handwriting look nice on Christmas cards.
  • Everything I know about electronics I learned from the Radio Shack " Getting Started in Electronics" book.

OK , now that that's out of the way, this is the plan.

  • I will use software obtained elsewhere to "slice" my .stl file into images that will be sent from my laptop to the printer. ( more on this later)
  • I will use the inkjet's firmware to handle the printing and the motion of the gantry (formerly the paper feed, now the x axis) during the printing phase
  • Another PC (a worthless old PIII running TurboCNC in DOS) will control all other actions via g-code, steppers, optical sensors, switches, and a tanlge of wires. (don't worry I'll have more details when the time is right)

That's the basic idea anyway, The best part is that I didn't need to learn a whole new skill set. I was already familiar with TurboCNC, available here , and G code is no more difficult than old school BASIC (I think I just gave away my age).

One important note about TurboCNC. It allows the use of a PLC handshake (both input and output) that is vital. I didn't see the same command listed among the codes in Mach3. Be sure that whatever program you chose has the ability to pause and wait for a handshake. The importance of this will become clear when I explain the control sequence later. Oh yea, It also runs in DOS so you can use that old dusty computer you never got around to throwing away, and best of all It's Shareware.

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