Reconsidering the Electronics…

After consulting with folks on WeldingWeb and cnczone, I’ve redone my trusty electronics comparison chart.  A new entry that I was previously unaware of uses Mesa Electronics’ breakout cards and torch height control with Keling stepper motor drivers. It also uses the open source Linux CNC instead of Mach 3. The consensus among those polled who had used both Mach 3 and LCNC was that LCNC provided better performance in terms of speed, flexibility, and reliability… AFTER you conquer the somewhat steep learning curve.

Ad Hoc Mesa/LCNC Ad Hoc Proma/Mach Partial Kit/Mach Turn Key Kit/Mach
Motors $220 $220 incl. incl.
Controllers / BOB $280(KL5056)+ $199 (7I76+5I25PNG) $260 incl. incl.
Power Supply $120 $120 incl. incl.
Enclosure $100 $100 $100 incl.
Torch Height Control $70 $268 $268 incl.
Misc. Cables, Switches, Cooling $250? $250? $200? $100 (recently learned limit switches not included)
Time 60 hrs? 30 hrs? 20 hrs? incl.
Kit $0 $0 $668 $1575
Support Community None None Included + 2 yr Warranty
Software $175 – SheetCam $350 $350 $320
Total $1414 + time $1568 + time $1606 + time $1995

I’ve seen LOTS of folks using Mach 3 and the CandCNC kit who are doing great. I’m sure I’d be up and running quicker if I went that route. However, I’m going to take the $600 bet on LCNC and Mesa and hopefully have a more robust machine in the end. I’ll undoubtedly learn a lot in the process.

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