Hey mister, wanna buya board?
OK. So, I have been using my pendant for a couple weeks now with both my mill and lathe. There are a few significant things still to do, but the basics have all held together very well so I think it’s time to move things forward. To that end, I’m going to offer the prototype PCBs I have left for sale, for those of you who don’t mind the alpha-ness of this.
The big things which are still open:
- Make DRO use current work-system coordinates rather than machine coordinates
- Implement the Pause and Block mode buttons
- Implement spindle control
- Implement adjustable speed setting for continuous-feed buttons
None of these are hardware questions, nor particularly difficult. This was really meant to be a platform for people to build what they wanted in a pendant anyway, so hacking your own is integral.
At this time I don’t have any plans to sell kits. I will provide a BOM and all parts are very common items available from the usual suppliers. I’ve thought about commercializing this more aggressively, but I’m not sure if the demand is there to justify it right now. The messiest part of this project is the enclosure. The approach I’ve taken works, but it’s a bit demanding on the builder. I can’t machine the enclosures myself at a reasonable cost, and sending them out would add a lot of cost unless I did a lot of them. A membrane keypad would be much better in the long run, but also has a large upfront engineering cost.
At some point I might try getting this to work with Mach 3, since the user base for that seems much larger, and more inclined to spend money on things. If I could get that to work, then I might look into doing a Kickstarter project to get some membrane keypads made. Price estimates for those range from $500-$2000 in tooling plus $5-$20 per keypad in quantities of 100. The low end is a shady supplier in some back alley in Shenzhen and the top end is a company in Peabody, Mass. Draw your own conclusions.
Anyway, here’s the deal: boards are $20 each including USPS shipping anywhere in the US. I’ll take international orders, but the postage will be extra, and you’ll have to send me a money order. I’ve just read too many horror stories about PayPal scams and international shipping and don’t want to deal with it. I will provide a BOM and suppliers list and do my best to help build it and get it running. THIS WHOLE THING IS BETA.
If you’ve never used the Arduino or edited a HAL file by hand, you will need to learn a few things to get this to work. I originally spent $130 for 13 boards. Shipping will cost five bucks, and going to the Post Office and back will take me twenty minutes during my lunch break. If these sell out quickly, I might order more, or I might not. I’ll provide the Eagle files to anyone who wants them and you can make your own. I’ll provide the Arduino and Python EMC code too.
Anyway, if you’re interested, just leave a comment and I’ll mail you a PayPal invoice.