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js-cnc

[early stage of development]

CNC controller interface (and supporting logic) written in JS because…it's what I had laying around?

Features

At the moment most of these are desired features, not yet implemented.

  • smooth jog control via ordinary G-code (proof-of-concept working!)
  • nearly-automatic tool change and probing/edgefinding support
  • machine and work coordinate system management
  • scaling and feedrate/spindle overrides
  • toolpath preview [this seems like such a separation of concerns,
  • freehand sketching of motion to be played back?
  • remote library/file browser for selecting G-code from a shared folder/database (see architecture notes below for use cases)

Architecture

Right now this is just a jumble of code roughly divided into a "client" file and a "server" file. However, I think a better division of labor would be something like:

  • interface: directs the engine's operation based on user input
  • engine: processes G-code and other interface commands vs. controller state
  • driver: handles raw communication with the controller, e.g. over a USB port
  • controller: the "CNC itself", i.e. the Grbl or similar board that does the actual work

I imagine the engine is where the "heavy lifting" should end up. By separating the interface from this, and by separating this from the driver, we would allow — latency permitting — various combinations. Perhaps the interface and driver would be hosted on an original Raspberry Pi, reserving its processor for rendering the UI by offloading any significat G-code processing to a faster machine elsewhere on the premises. Or the engine and driver could both be on a Pi next to the machine, with the operator using their phone or an old tablet/eReader as the interface.

About

JavaScript-based CNC controller (primarily intended to send send G-code to Grbl)

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