Open CNC ECU Continued

I wanted to follow up on my post about the Open CNC ECU Reference design with a few points of clarification and additional details.  The first thing I wanted to discuss was the front-end interface.  Although the system would allow for continued use of Mach3/LinuxCNC,  the goal is for the primary interface to use a whole new software architecture.  The functions currently performed by Mach3 would be split between the new tablet-centric front-end and the software running on the embedded CPUs within the controller itself.   This architecture provides great flexibility in configuring the front-end for very different devices (tablets, PC, etc.), as well as ensuring true isolation of the real-time functions:

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 10.12.14 PM.png

One point to consider is that some users may still want a local user interface directly connected to the CNC machine.   An optional keyboard/monitor interface could be provided directly on the CNC machine that access the user interface functions just like the tablet/remote UI.  This would provide identical functionality to existing local CNC control systems.  However, it is anticipated that once the tablet UI is fully implemented, the need for having a dedicated monitor/keyboard per machine would go away.

Another function that might need to be incorporated in the system is preprocessing and/or conversion of the files while in the cloud storage.  This functionality could be provided in a modular, extensible pipeline interfaces for manipulating files via a preprocessor module running either locally or directly in the cloud itself. This enables the front-end UI to remain very lightweight, while leveraging cloud-based processing services to do the (potentially) heavy-duty conversion work.

Here is the revised system diagram:

Posted on May 20, 2014 .