Piranha FX Electronics Rebuild
I’m upgrading the Piranha FX CNC router that belongs to the makerspace. The main “problem” with the machine is the electronics. It’s a proprietary system created by Next Wave Automation, the creator of the Piranha FX, and it lacks several features. Most importantly it lacks a real emergency stop switch support (their solution to this problem is to plug the machine into a power strip, and to use the power strip switch as an E-stop, which completely screws up everything since the machine doesnt have endstops, so you can’t rehome after a power cycle to return to the previous position), no way to control the spindle speed via the electronics, and no endstop/work offset support.
I have replaced the original electronics with a Gradus M1 Pro from Panucatt, which runs GRBL, an open source CNC control software. In addition, I will be using a Raspberry Pi as a host computer to send Gcode to the machine, since it now requires this (GRBL is not able to act “headless” in this configuration). The Pi is running OpenBuilds Control, though once we get the 10.1” touch screen we will be switching over to using UltimateCNC since it has a better interface for touch screens.
A video is hosted on Dropbox showing the machine moving and the spindle being controlled electronically. The stepper driver currents aren’t tuned as of yet, so in the video the Z axis stalls. This will be fixed before the machine is put back into use.