The Machine came with little more than a single sheet and a CD full of Chinese versions of Mach3 and drivers for that. See Unboxing and setup for what else was in the device. The eBay auction also had a link to a MS Word document, which importantly had some of the pin connections so mach3 could be configured. I could cross ref this with the grbl connections to create a wiring plan for attaching it to my machine.
I flashed grbl onto an Arduino Uno R3 compatible board, using the hex file and the recommended windows file to upload this. I was able to use putty to talk to grbl and get responses from it.
I wired this into the parallel connector at the back of the control box, and started up the machine. Grbl resets when the machine is powered on - however, putty is still connected - this may mean some power related fluctation - I had also connected the Arduino to what I think was a ground on that port too - for the signals to make sense - they needed a common ground.
|Arduino Pin||Parallel port CnC Pin|
|A0||Stop/Emergency reset 10|
|2||Step Pulse X 2|
|3||Step Pulse Y 4|
|4||Step Pulse Z 6|
|5||Step Dir X 3|
|6||Step Dir Y 5|
|7||Step Dir Z 7|
I then proceeded to check the grbl settings - and was able to leave them at the defaults - they looked close to the mach3 settings in the screenshots from the manual.
I then issued my first attempt at a gCode command
G00 X 50 which I think should make the X axis move from where it is now (an assumed zero/home point).
Nothing happened on the router - it stayed motionless. I knew from unboxing it that the stepper controllers were talking to the steppers, and I had been able to power up the spindle. I was able to use the
? command in grbl to see that it was trying to move.
I’ve am both awaiting a tiny mini-itx based pc to try with, and going to teardown/diagnose the controller to understand what is in it - and see what I may be doing wrong.
Thoughts - the reset may mean I had the wrong pin as ground - not a ground. Perhaps I have managed to offset or reverse stuff?
Time to build your own robot! Using a Raspberry Pi with parts and some time, you can use my book to learn how to make and program a robot with automatic behaviours.