Angus's linuX-Box

Yet another thread to watch with interest.
(You must have picked p those parts from Customs HOURS ago, I’d expect the build to be nearly finished by now …:wink: )

Photographing each step of a build is a pain and it stops you getting the build done in a timely fashion.
Your photos are appreciated - and the quality is excellent.

You can get a media card reader for the front panel to take up the floppy slot i find them quite handy.

Dang Angus, those prices add up quick for just a dual core computer. Still, I do love building computers… so I guess it is worth it! Have fun!

P.S. As a Linux guy, I thought you might be interested in this $9 computer:

A little more robust than the PI. Also, Make Magazine has a full review of several SOC systems (arduino and pi included), and it is amazing what is coming down the pipe.

Check the BIOS, that will tell you if your on board parallel port is ECP/EPP compatible. A lot of boards that still have parallel port headers, have them as a printer port - output only.
Matthius ALWAYS does a new video on Friday, even Christmas day. Just bought his plans for a strip sander.

The VGA input to my Dell monitor is labelled D-Sub so I think you’re on the right track. You could always load up Slackware and watch for DVD activity to see if it boots. Not a lot of use without a monitor though.

But Linux installation is a quiet activity which you can do at night without disturbing the neighbours and what’s wrong with eating over the keyboard? Quitter :grinning:

I too suffer from the lingering influence of System V and can’t install Linux without a swap partition.

Systems here: Zeus, Kraken, Chiron, Centaur among others
WiFi - Valhalla, Valkyries, Folkvangr.

Guess I’m stuck on a theme.

In the 1980s I worked as the system administrator at Honeywell-Bull and I named all the new UNIX systems after breeds of cattle. Doubly appropriate given my surname is Steer.
My CNC computer sits in the shed so is called shed-cnc ( not as if I have more than one CNC computer) The Raspberry Pi in the shed is called - you guessed it -shed-pi. I lost my my system naming-fu when I retired I guess.

The best tests you can run are multiple instance of glxgears while watching videos on Youtube. On board video used to be the killer for latency but is not so much a problem these days. USB interrupts have probably the biggest impact.

My latency results are 4 times worse than yours and the stepconf configurator tells me I can still get a step rate of around 40KHz. That turns out to be an insanely fast rapid rate

If you do an actual install to HD from the LiveDVD you do get glxgears, screensavers etc.
I installed the latest LinuxCNC the other day - from scratch and all of these are available.
I agree it would be useful to have a few more testing tools on the LiveDVD as the main reason that you run it is to see if your PC is up to scratch.

I think you’ll be OK with that motherboard. Here’s a screenshot of latency on my system (Intel® Core™2 Duo CPU E8400 @ 3.00GHz, 2GB RAM). This is after a few hours running videos and glxgears.
As I said, i can get a step rate of nearly 40KHz from this system.

My CNC computer is on all the time just in case I want to do some work on it (playing around with PathPilot at the moment)The last time I booted it was over a week ago and no problems as yet. Don’t worry about updating your OS, you wont need to and Linuxcnc syas not to install any updates, mostly in case the kernel gets updated for some reason.

Dual boot is not an issue even with UEFI. Just be sure to install Windows first.

From your tests so far, I’d say you’ve picked a winner with that motherboard.

Most of my VM stuff is with VMware Workstation but I have kicked the tyres on Virtualbox a few times.

32bit or 64bit will both run fine as a guest OS as long as the host OS is 64bit. If you plan on running Fustion360, you’ll need a 64bit version of Windows in the guest OS.
I run Sketchup under a VM and it works fine, I’m sure Fusion360 would run as well but I only have a (licensed) 32 bit version of Windows 7 to play around with. VCarve, Cut3d and Aspire all work fine n a VM, or at least the demo version does. All are priced outside my budget :disappointed:

Very interested in doing something similar myself. However, I’m confused by the options for hardware to actually drive the stepper motors. Something in me just really does NOT like the idea of using a parallel port for digital I/O and I don’t see how I could use the arduino and GShield that came with the XCarve combined with LinuxCNC. What are you planning on using?


You wouldn’t use the Arduino with LinuxCNC, but you could use the gShield for controlling the stepper motors with LinuxCNC.

Just my opinion but I don’t think that the distribution really makes that much difference once the Linuxcnc install is done. After all, the box is going to be a dedicated CNC controller and not used for running other applications (at least not in my case).
No current monitoring is really necessary on the G540, you set the maximum current that the motor can handle and that’s it. As far as external hardware control goes, investigate the use of pokeys or, use a game controller as a pendant. I’m currently playing around with a PS3 controller for this. (A game controller with a small LCD screen would be great for this)
The TB6560 controllers don’t have a great reputation over on cnczone.

The cheap Chinese ones use an early reference design that does not fully follow the Toshiba specs. Lots of sob stories over on cnczone but some people have managed to get them working correctly.

I was lucky with getting my G540. Shortly after they were released, Gecko had an oversupply of a G540 they made for an OEM that had modified connectors (the G540 not the OEM!). I got one of these, brand new, for a lot less than standard price. Current price here is around $A440

Still for $50, it’s worth giving them a go.