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cnc:cnc_adventures:6-get_pc [2019/01/08 12:49] (current)
jin created
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 +====== Step 6: Get a real computer! ======
  
 +LinuxCNC comes as a complete system - a specially compiled realtime Debian Linux operating system with the LinuxCNC software installed. That means you have to either re-format a computer to install it or get fancy and install it alongside your existing OS in a dual-boot setup - which I won't go into here, if you have to ask then you probably shouldn'​t do it.
 +
 +Anyway, the ideal approach is to just dig up an old PC that has a [[https://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Parallel_port|parallel port]] on the back((for my eBay controller)) from somewhere and just install LinuxCNC on it as a single-purpose machine. If you're not into computers, find a friend who is and ask if they'​ve got an old PC in their junk collection (they will, we all do) and drag it home, ideally with a keyboard, mouse, and monitor etc.
 +
 +The computer doesn'​t have to be very powerful - something 10 years old will likely be entirely OK, and you don't want an expensive PC if it's living in the workshop. £50 on eBay should more than sort you out.
 +
 +If you don't need a parallel or serial port for your CNC device then almost anything will do - old laptops are perfect.
 +
 +I discovered my collection of old crap didn't quite meet the criteria (the PC with a parallel port had no graphics card, the PC that worked didn't have a parallel port) so I wandered round to the IT department and relieved them of an old Dell base unit from their pile - an OptiPlex 760 with an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 @3Ghz and 3G of RAM, Radeon 3450 graphics card, and a 250G hard drive. It's not going to set the world on fire but it's a perfect score for our needs. Being Dell it's physically well constructed too, and quiet, which is nice.
 +
 +===== Step 6a: Install LinuxCNC again! =====
 +
 +Guess what! You've now got to install LinuxCNC on this machine.
 +
 +**Wrinkle #1:** I discovered that this will NOT work from an [[http://​www.easy2boot.com/​|Easy2Boot]] stick which is a real shame, so I burned it to a spare USB stick and fired it up.
 +
 +**Wrinkle #2:** After installation,​ the graphics was glitching and flickering and very low-res. The graphics card came with a dual-head VGA adapter, swapping to a DVI one seems to have cured it and makes the world less fuzzy.
 +
 +Procedure is pretty simple - download ISO, write to USB stick, boot PC and follow on-screen instructions like we did in [[2-install_vm|step 2]].
 +
 +===== Step 6b: Get more software! =====
 +
 +Yes, this is also [[4-more_software|Step 4]] so I won't detail it here - read the Debian manuals for how to do it.
 +
 +I will be installing:
 +
 +  * [[https://​kate-editor.org/​|Kate]] text editor
 +  * [[http://​pycam.sourceforge.net/​|PyCAM]]
 +  * [[http://​www.openscad.org/​|OpenSCAD]]
 +  * [[https://​inkscape.org/​|Inkscape]]
 +
 +<WRAP center round todo 60%>
 +Work In Progress here!
 +</​WRAP>​
 +
 +===== Step 6c: Playstation! =====
 +
 +Well, a knock-off USB Playstation controller anyway. Very handy for moving the mill.
cnc/cnc_adventures/6-get_pc.txt · Last modified: 2019/01/08 12:49 by jin
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