° A Mac desktop computer running OS X 1.8 or later.
Note, the application normally requires minimal CPU resources as typical CNC programs will offload interpolation and motor control to a dedicated µP board relieving the host processor of real-time processing considerations. However, a CNC program that sends curve information in short segments may require a faster host response.
° A supported micro-controller board.
Two TI LaunchPad micro-controller boards are currently supported:
1) The 120 mhz TI EK-TM4C1294XL Tiva C Series Connected LaunchPad Evaluation Kit is available from the TI store for $19.99 including USB cable, ethernet cable and shipping. This board is 50% faster than the EK-TM4C123GXL and has far more expansion capability. It may also enable future ethernet connection.
2) The 80 mhz TI EK-TM4C123GXL Tiva C Series LaunchPad Evaluation Kit is available from the TI store for $12.99 including USB cable and shipping.
Note, the recently released TI C2000 Delfino F28377S designed specifically for motion control is under development.
° A supported driver for each motor.
The µP board can be interfaced to many existing machine driver boards via a parallel cable. Instructions for wiring such a cable can be found here.
One Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) connected motor driver board is currently supported. The TI BOOST-DRV8711 is a high power stepper motor driver board supporting 1/256 micro-step resolution. The SPI board connection has the advantage of bi-directional communication enabling the µP to monitor the performance of the driver.
Note, Other SPI connected driver boards are under development including the new TI 8305 high power 3-phase motor driver board.
° CNC Machine, power supply, enclosures, cables, etc.
I have posted hints for building a complete system using a wire-wrap backplane on the Instructables web site titled "Machine Control On A Budget".