RPi 2B as gcode sender host... Advice?

I’ve got a Raspbery Pi 2B and a touch screen sitting here doing nothing. Was considering using it as a local sender for a grbl based controller… but before dumping a lot of time into it, I’d like to know my options and limitations

I know there are multiple programs I could use, (and apparently that now includes Easel). does anyone have experience with particular ones on the RPi? are there any limitations or drawbacks I should be aware of?

I used a RPi 3 for the first 1.5 years of my Xcarve. I was using UGCS.

The visualizer wouldn’t work, the JVM wouldn’t use all 4 cores (not a UGS issue) and loading bigger files was slow. Otherwise, it worked great and I had very few problems.

I tried bCNC and just never “got” the interface.

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Check out CNCJS

Tyler Winegarner has a great video

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I use Genuine Protoneer board to have full control of my CNC. I upload gcode from any device through web interface

Is the UGS visualizer still broken for Pi? if so that might be a no go for my use. I like breaking up jobs to have secure stop points, so having a visual of which segment is going to run next is helpful.

any experience with CNCJS?

I did see that, but building my own controller is a bit farther than I’m looking to go at this stage… my electrical knowledge needs a bit more polish before I dive into that.

Try octoprint it support GRBL :wink:

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The last build I tried was late 2017 and it was still broken.

I haven’t seen anything in the commit logs at Github to indicate it’s been fixed either but I haven’t checked on a Pi.

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Yup…It’s what I use if I don’t send from Easel. It’s fairly easy to set up via the command line…even if you are inexperienced…I actually just ended up copying and pasting from different sources on the web…the Github page has pretty much everything you need. I like it because it’s similar to Octoprint…which I like…but it’s tailored to CNC. I can open it on my phone and view a webcam feed if I need to walk away from the machine for a minute. I have it setup on a Pi3 but it should work just fine on a Pi2. GRBL Web was my initial choice. The RPI image should work fine on your Pi2. It wouldn’t boot on my Pi 3 so I was going to install it via command line…but ended up finding the documentation for CNC JS better so I went with that.

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List of options at: https://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Communication_/_Control#Raspberry_Pi

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I just set up a Pi3 for a code sender and it works great. I found bCNC, it is programmed in python and works well with Raspian on my Pi. There is a visualizer that works and it also has a tool to profile your work surface.

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when you say “profile your work surface” do you mean like virtual leveling like is used for PCB’s to ensure constant depth of cut from the surface.

That is correct, I have not tried it yet but it was designed for etching circuit boards where line width is important, I believe it will also work when v-carving smaller letters to get a consistent depth across a less than perfectly level work surface. I did see a video where they did a v-carve on a baseball bat.

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Here is my really dry videos on how to build a RPI CNC controller. I have been using it on my machine for the last 8 months or so. Other videos I saw on the subject were not very informative and I was trying to fill in the blanks.


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I tried the Tinker Board S by ASUS ( a Pi look alike with better specs - https://www.asus.com/us/Single-Board-Computer/Tinker-Board-S/ ) and visualizer works on it. Not a solution for an existing Pi, but it make me happy to have a Pi-like solution.

Hello @GaryKey
I did moved from the RPI back to a conventional Win/Pc setup because of the visualizer not working, but also because UGS was so slow to boot. Thanks to you I know about the Asus Tinker Board. Glad to read that the visualizer is working on it. What about boot time? Is it fast?
Also, what OS do you use?
Thank you.

The Tinker S board is significantly faster than the Pi2 B+, but understandably still slower than a PC, but not that much. My current CNC controller is Pi 3B+ based, but I will be swapping in the Tinker S soon.