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 Forum index » Advanced Topics » Additional Software (PETs, n' stuff) » Engineering/Science/Simulation
LinuxCNC (EMC2) on Puppy
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vtpup


Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Posts: 1141
Location: Republic of Vermont

PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep 2014, 10:20    Post subject:  LinuxCNC (EMC2) on Puppy  

It's been a long time away from the forum for me, though Puppy is in use every day here by me and my family for everything. I once put together a puplet called MediPup, long since surpassed by the efforts of others!

Anyway what brings me back is a recent attempt to run a CNC mill with LinuxCNC (formerly EMC). This program is available as a LiveCD with either Ubuntu or Debian.

Unfortunately the computer I have regularly used for running the mill in the past is an ancient 1998 Thinkpad 600E with a Pentium 3 (hacked in). It was running TurboCNC running in old MSDOS. It happily dual booted into Puppy 412, and later 431, and ran at good speed. Win 98SE is also aborad, though seldom booted.

This computer works fine with older software. In tests it has surprisingly low latency, and it has a parallel port -- both good characteristics for a CNC control computer.

So anyway I download a slightly older version of LinuxCNC on Ubuntu 8.04LTC, and I'm back to my Linux beginnings years ago before switching to Puppy -- struggling with Ubuntu's bloat and slow speed and hiding of essential user controls, tendency to want to rewrite partitions if installed, etc. etc. The OS and CNC app take up the entire LiveCD and the whole thing just takes forever to come up.

I start thinking about Puppy, and how I wish it was the background OS instead of Ubuntu. I install Ubuntu/LinuxCNC to HD hoping the speed issues will be improved. They are somewhat, but not enough. Opening a directory or file takes forever -- everything seems sluggish. The LinuxCNC program runs fine, and I am actually able to run my mill and cut some test parts with it. But the program is surrounded by the brown sludge of this OS. I hate it. And know it doesn't have to be that way -- hell Puppy 431 on this computer runs rings around it. Even Win 98 does!

Later versions of LinuxCNC are packaged on Debian -- but are so bloated that the LiveCD is now 1.1 gigs -- it's got to be a DVD not a CD, or boot from a thumb drive (not an option with the old Thinkpad's BIOS).

Even the Ububtu 8.04 LinuxCNC LiveCD has the entire OpenOffice Suite bundled in it, as well as GIMP, Firefox, and a bunch of other unecessary stuff. Heck this is just supposed to be a CNC controller, not an all purpose desktop.

Just seems to me that Puppy would be an ideal match for LinuxCNC -- especially because it runs on older computers. LinuxCNC NEEDS older computers, because it requires a real parallel port, and multiprocessor technology tends to hurt latency -- which is more important than processing speed.

So I've been looking here and on the LinuxCNC website to try to see if it's been done, and if not how could it be made to work.

There are several threads on this forum with tantalizing bits, but I haven't yet found a working puppy, not a simulator, running EMC or LinuxCNC.

Some piecemeal facts I've found so far:

LinuxCNC needs an RTAI real time kernel.

There is an Ubuntu script for installing LinuxCNC on a working 8.04 or 10.04 system.

I believe there is one for Debian also.

There is, or was an ARCH LinuxCNC distribution.

There was a puplet with RTAI kernel called Studio Puppy -- but it seems to be unavailable.

There was a puppy version of EMC without the real time kernel that worked in simulation mode only.

Okay, can we do this thing?

_________________
Acer Aspire 5349-2635 laptop dual proc, 4gb ram, frugal Racy 5.5.
1999 Thinkpad 600e hacked Pent 3, overclocked 800 mHz, 490 kb running Lupu 528

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vtpup


Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Posts: 1141
Location: Republic of Vermont

PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep 2014, 10:43    Post subject:  

Here's the Thinkpad running CNCLinux in Ubuntu 8.04:


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Acer Aspire 5349-2635 laptop dual proc, 4gb ram, frugal Racy 5.5.
1999 Thinkpad 600e hacked Pent 3, overclocked 800 mHz, 490 kb running Lupu 528

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vtpup


Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Posts: 1141
Location: Republic of Vermont

PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep 2014, 10:45    Post subject:  

And here is the mill cutting parts via LinuxCNC using this 1998 era computer on Ubuntu..

I wanna see Puppy do this!


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Acer Aspire 5349-2635 laptop dual proc, 4gb ram, frugal Racy 5.5.
1999 Thinkpad 600e hacked Pent 3, overclocked 800 mHz, 490 kb running Lupu 528

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vtpup


Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Posts: 1141
Location: Republic of Vermont

PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep 2014, 10:49    Post subject:  

Found this thread on changing kernels in an existing Puppy:

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=60180

Does anyone have a copy of Studio Puppy with the RTAI kernel?

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Acer Aspire 5349-2635 laptop dual proc, 4gb ram, frugal Racy 5.5.
1999 Thinkpad 600e hacked Pent 3, overclocked 800 mHz, 490 kb running Lupu 528

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mister_electronico


Joined: 20 Jan 2008
Posts: 659
Location: Asturias_ España

PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep 2014, 16:56    Post subject: Hi vtpup  

Hi vtpup, very interesting your CNC machine, is it commercial? The problem that I see is that you have an old computer and it is difficult to upgrade the operating system.

You considered the possibility of a parallel port to USB converter, see the link:

http://www.tinydeal.com/es/USB-Male-to-DB25-25-pin-Female-IEEE-1284-Parallel-Printer-Adapter-Cable-94cm-p-71921.html?currency=EUR&gclid=Cj0KEQjwyrqgBRDepamt-LWA2oABEiQAV7nwwCsHnplfKya8zDdCzusITuq_wDY8LgAH_yRZ8KZlYi8aAlC28P8HAQ

This could give you the chance to work with a more powerful computer and a more updated operating system.

Sometimes the problem is not so much the computer and the operating system if you do not have enough RAM.

Hope that helps you, good luck
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muggins

Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 6688
Location: lisbon

PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep 2014, 18:02    Post subject:  

Have you seen this thread?

https://archive.org/download/Puppy_Linux_coolcnc/coolcncb05.iso

http://puppylinuxstuff.meownplanet.net/10wt3ch/PuppyStudio3.3-rt.iso
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vtpup


Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Posts: 1141
Location: Republic of Vermont

PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep 2014, 18:25    Post subject:  

Hi mister electronico.

I have a commercial mill and a home built 4 axis hot wire foam cutter.

USB to parallel adapters don't work for this kind of thing.

Thanks for the helpful suggestions, but...I'm fine with older versions of Puppy -- 431 isn't that old, and I'm pretty sure much newer versions would run well on the thinkpad.

The age of the operating system isn't the problem. Or a problem.

I don't want to buy newer hardware for this. LinuxCNC itself runs fine on the Thinkpad as is -- I just want Puppy as the OS instead of Ubuntu (or a 1.1 gig Debian). I think others with older equipment would appreciate this capability too, if it can be done. But thank you for replying!

_________________
Acer Aspire 5349-2635 laptop dual proc, 4gb ram, frugal Racy 5.5.
1999 Thinkpad 600e hacked Pent 3, overclocked 800 mHz, 490 kb running Lupu 528

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vtpup


Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Posts: 1141
Location: Republic of Vermont

PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep 2014, 18:29    Post subject:  

Muggins Thank You!!!

I did miss that thread -- very interesting. Looks like they got close but had problems with trying fresh with the RTAI kernel in Puppy. But maybe since Studio Puppy managed to combine the two I can graft the kernel from it.

Downloading now....

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Acer Aspire 5349-2635 laptop dual proc, 4gb ram, frugal Racy 5.5.
1999 Thinkpad 600e hacked Pent 3, overclocked 800 mHz, 490 kb running Lupu 528

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vtpup


Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Posts: 1141
Location: Republic of Vermont

PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep 2014, 20:25    Post subject:  

Okay, Puppy Studio is downloaded and installed on the Thinkpad and I'm typing this on it now.

Kernel is 2.6.33.5 -rt25 (686)

Just exploring ....

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Acer Aspire 5349-2635 laptop dual proc, 4gb ram, frugal Racy 5.5.
1999 Thinkpad 600e hacked Pent 3, overclocked 800 mHz, 490 kb running Lupu 528

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vtpup


Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Posts: 1141
Location: Republic of Vermont

PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep 2014, 22:48    Post subject:  

I've now also downloaded and run Coolcnc on the Thinkpad 600E. Interesting but not really useful. It's a Puppy 1 version, and the LinuxCNC is from 1999 -- quite primitive by current standards.

Puppy Studio was really big -- over 300 megs, and really altered -- lots of eye candy, non JWM, Wbar, etc. and it was sluggish to run in. I don't know if that sluggishness is a result of all of the added stuff, or the result of the real time kernel -- could be, which would be unfortunate, and would mean puppy linux won't help make things faster if i do get LinuxCNC running.

Anyway, I also downloaded and installed Lupu 528, and that ran REALLY well. A nice distro for this old computer. Its kernel is 2.6.33.2 (686) -- pretty close to the 2.6.33.5 -rt25 (686) real time kernel in Puppy Studio.

It also is built on Ubuntu Lucid components and uses its repositories. Since LinuxCNC also has a build for Lucid, I'm thinking that the way to go might be to graft the Studio Puppy kernel to Lupu 528, and then concentrate on trying to install LinuxCNC on that.

So we'll give it a try.....

_________________
Acer Aspire 5349-2635 laptop dual proc, 4gb ram, frugal Racy 5.5.
1999 Thinkpad 600e hacked Pent 3, overclocked 800 mHz, 490 kb running Lupu 528

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Revolverve

Joined: 08 Nov 2008
Posts: 52
Location: 45°17'24.9"N 72°16'03.2"W

PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep 2014, 23:17    Post subject:  

Would like to see that too..an uptodate Linuxcnc puppy. Not sure if rt kernel(10wt3ch-Studio ones) is the same as rtai or RT needed ,did tried to understand the difference but I lack the knowledge there...Return digging in a bit.. http://wiki.linuxcnc.org/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?RealTime
Does look like it could do the job,rtai or rt patched kernel.
10wt3ch he is the rt/puppy guy! Do not know of anyone else who recently got a "puppy"style"" interest/success in that field.Pm him for hints and ask linuxcnc forum .
Src for 10wt3ch studio kernel all seems there:http://puppylinuxstuff.meownplanet.net/10wt3ch/
Jump in! oh you did! there are newer kernel then 2.6.33.5
scr from its studio 13.37 v2 are there too!

We use Mach3/M$ at work...running our low budget build to our need getting old but still hard working 3 axes steppers CnC ,tried but never been able to configure Emc2 for it,missing time&know-how...

A puppyrtlinuxcnc would certainly be the excuse to take the time, give it a go and retry .
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vtpup


Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Posts: 1141
Location: Republic of Vermont

PostPosted: Wed 10 Sep 2014, 00:06    Post subject:  

Success! -- I was able to create a Lupu 528 puppy running on the RTAI Kernel from Puppy Studio.

I installed it on the Thinkpad 600E and it is running much faster than Puppy Studio -- seems as fast as native Lupu on the TP. Total ISO size is 135 megabytes. Looking good so far!

The next step will be trying to load LinuxCNC. Fingers crossed for tomorrow....

_________________
Acer Aspire 5349-2635 laptop dual proc, 4gb ram, frugal Racy 5.5.
1999 Thinkpad 600e hacked Pent 3, overclocked 800 mHz, 490 kb running Lupu 528

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sunburnt


Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 5037
Location: Arizona, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Wed 10 Sep 2014, 00:52    Post subject:  

I requested LinuxCNC to be made as a SFS file awhile back.
I hope that it`s made for Puppy-5.7 Precise ( up-to-date ).

vtpup; Your mill looks like a CNC router, but it`s hard to tell.
Could you post a "big view" pic so we all can see it?

I`m not clear on the capabilities of LinuxCNC.
I think it runs the machine`s motor driver transistors directly,
so the PC does the arc, hole, offset, etc. calculations.

Also does LinucCNC have a G-M code CAD app.?
Or is a CNC CAD program needed to generate the code?
.
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vtpup


Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Posts: 1141
Location: Republic of Vermont

PostPosted: Wed 10 Sep 2014, 07:19    Post subject:  

Sunburnt, thanks for your comment. I'm doing this for older machines and as a standalone controller, so settling on an "up to date" distro is not a priority.

More important is will it run on most machines built in the last 15 years or so, having parallel ports and low latency. The latest and greatest multiprocessor machines are sometimes worse in latency than older machines. Also computers are ending up in landfills that could do useful work in Puppy and LinuxCNC. The goal is to try to reconcile waste and inefficiency with smarts.

Also since we are using Ubuntu repos here, I'm making things somewhat easier to construct by using one of the 2 available supported versions of LinuxCNC: 8.04 (hardy) and 10.04 (lucid). Precise isn't one of them, or I'd naturally have used a precise Puppy.

Yes LinuxCNC drives a parallel port CNC controller. LinuxCNC is not a CAD program or a CAM program. Please have a look at the CNCLinux website and read about it to understand what the capabilities and requirements of LinuxCNC are.

Yes I am using an actual router as a spindle, I think of it as a mill, since I'm using it to mill aluminum, and will soon build a non-router machine spindle for it to mill harder materials.

_________________
Acer Aspire 5349-2635 laptop dual proc, 4gb ram, frugal Racy 5.5.
1999 Thinkpad 600e hacked Pent 3, overclocked 800 mHz, 490 kb running Lupu 528

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vtpup


Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Posts: 1141
Location: Republic of Vermont

PostPosted: Wed 10 Sep 2014, 10:03    Post subject:  

Running into a few minor issues -- the new pup isn't recognizing the name of it's own savefile -- since it's Frankensteined out of 2 different puppies, Studio and Lupu 528. Should have that fixed shortly....
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1999 Thinkpad 600e hacked Pent 3, overclocked 800 mHz, 490 kb running Lupu 528

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