Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Great Midwestern CNC Road Trip

What started as a simple plan to head up to Madison, WI for the first Machinekit meetup has grown into an epic road trip.

First I'll head off to St. Louis, MO to meet with Jon Elson of Pico Systems.  Jon and the Pico Systems folks will be building and selling assembled CRAMPS boards, which will hopefully be available for sale in the next couple weeks.

Then it's off to Peoria, IL and Probotix, makers of the excellent Fireball series of CNC routers (powerd by LinuxCNC).  They also sell a BeagleBone breakout board available, and I look forward to seeing what other projects are being cooked up in the R&D lab!

Chicago is the final stop before Madison, where I'll be attending a special meeting of the CNC build club to discus running Machinekit on a BeagleBone, the CRAMPS cape I designed, and where Machinekit is headed.

I should finally make it to the Tormach facility in Madison sometime Friday, where I look forward to an exciting weekend of discussions with everyone else who can make it.  A preliminary agenda was posted to the Machinekit list.  While the event is mostly informal, there are a few talks planned.  We will try to live-stream the video (or at least record something and post it online later) for those who cannot attend in person.  Monitor the list for updates or changes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Packages (not tied up with strings)

If you don't monitor the Machinekit group (you should), over the weekend John Morris announced the availability of binary packages for Machinekit and it's required dependencies (at least the ones that are not already in the Debian archives).

If you're trying to build a minimal system (particularly helpful on the BealgeBone with it's limited eMMC rootfs), this is welcome news indeed!

I will be updating my build scripts and the resulting images to use the pre-built packages soon, meaning you'll be able to simply "apt-get update" and "apt-get upgrade" to get the latest official Machinekit release.  Until then, feel free to add the pre-built packages to your existing install, the run-in-place development version and the installed packages should work side-by-side and should not interfere with each other.  Instructions can be found at the package repository website.

If you run into any problems, let us know on the Machinekit list.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

CRAMPS Kits Available!

I am pleased to announce that I have a limited number of CRAMPS V2.1 DIY Kits available for sale.  This includes a PCB and all the parts required to build a functioning board.  Assembly details are on the RepRap wiki, and the design files are on github.  Please review the known issues, and be sure that you are comfortable soldering 0603 surface-mount chip components prior to ordering a kit.

I apologize in advance for the somewhat clunky shopping cart, but it is the best open-source solution I could find that dynamically calculates shipping rates based on destination (which is required, since the rates for international package shipments vary dramatically).  Yes, you will have to create yet another web account you will likely never use again, but it keeps me from having to charge everyone some obscene amount like $25 for shipping.

I currently have about 20 kits available, and I do not expect to make any more (it is a LOT of work!), so act quickly if you want one.  Also, I am doing this to help with the adoption of the CRAMPS design, so there is a one-kit-per-person limit.