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When it comes to the electronics package what do we mean?   Almost all of this piece of equipment is electronic right?   

The electronics that we are talking about is the motors and the motor controller.    CNC machines require motors to move the various parts of the machine, normally there are 3-4 motors for a machine depending on the size.

The normal configuration is one motor for the “X” axis.  Which is normally set up as the left to right or short axis of the machine.     One or two motors for the “Y” axis which is normally the Long axis for front to back.  And one motor for the “Z” axis which controls the height of the tool from the material.   On some machines the bed or object getting cut moves but normally the tool ie the router or the plasma torch does the moving.

There are two basic types of Motors - Steppers and Servos.  Each has advantages and disadvantages depending on the size and type of machine you are using.   Check out the Steppers vs. Servos link for more info.  There are also many different sizes of each depending on the size and weight of the machine components.

On this build we are going to be using Steppers.   There are a couple main reasons:

Reliability   -  Low Cost -  Plug and play  - small size and weight

On this build the machine is a small bench mount unit and because of its size it

only requires one motor per axis so we are going with a 3 stepper motor kit in

the 300 oz in size.  In the picture you can see the size difference between the 300

And 630 oz in steppers.

There are two common sizes:  300 oz in and 620 oz in.   The larger the larger steppers are for larger and heavier machines.  One of the terms you will hear with steppers is “NEMA”  Nataional Electrical Manufactures Association.  NEMA 23 and NEMA 17 are specific sizes of Steppers.  They have set dimension and mounting locations.   This allows for consistency when building components, and makes for easy replacement of parts.

The controller is the second component of the electronics package.   The controller plugs into the system between the computer and the motors.    It has several functions, its a power supply / transformer to supply power to the motors.  It takes the data from the software and sends it to the motors and controls the movements of the motors and the machine.  The controller can have numerous other features depending on the application like torch height control for plasma, boards and connections for emergency stops, limit switches, homing  switches and numerous other settings.

The controller that we have selected for this build is the BladeRunner from CandCNC.

The BladeRunner 3 Combo is a complete package that includes our 3 stepper motors along with the controller.  The BladeRunner system is easily configurable and upgradeable to work with more motors or larger motors if we upgrade the machine down the road.   

Why the BladeRunner?

The BladeRunner system is extremely easy to set up and use.  The versatility and expansion options are numerous.  Its a reliable quality built piece of equipment.  We have been using the same BladeRunner system on your Plasma machine for a long time with great results.    The price is also great!   CandCNC backs their products and are there if you need them which cant be said for a lot of other companies out there.

For more info on the BladeRunner System check out the CandCNC BladeRunner Link

Summary:   Are these components required?  Yes!  Without motors your machine will not go anywhere and without the controller to provide power and provide the needed signals to the motors from the computer your stuck.   Are there other options?  Sure you can build your own controller and purchase steppers individually and do the wiring or buy another package from another company but why would you.

The BladeRunner package has everything you need in a plug and play package that is very inexpensive compared to other options and is a quality built piece of equipment that you can grow with you and your machine in the future.   You can even order your machine with the software license for Mach3.

As mentioned above this component connects in between the computer and the machine.  Check out the requirements for your Computer Here.