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tinrat
02-10-2010, 06:22 PM
I have a pair of low-megahertz Pentium (133 & 266 I think) computers laying around along with a couple of monitors and a slough of other outdated computer peripherals. I would like to build a cnc torch or plasma machine in the future. Would these machines be good to use for this? I realize this is a rather vague question and hope to address this forum with a better detail of my project at a later time. But... My wife is programmed in "CLEAN UP/ Housekeeping Mode" and I need something to help justify keeping these machines. Or are these truly a waist of space? I hope to have a place set up later this year to work on my project. Any and all input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.
Don

MTNGUN
02-10-2010, 08:48 PM
They'd be fine for TurboCNC, but I can't recommend TurboCNC due to the lack of support, unless you are already familiar with it and know what you are getting into.

Dunno if they would run Mach III ? Seems like XP would be a stretch for 266 mhz ?

They'd be pretty poor for EMC & Linux -- even LInux is a hardware hog these days.

Considering that you can pick up used, slightly obsolete PCs that would run XP or Linux for well under $100, I can't see hanging onto those old boxes for any purpose other than running DOS.

Mike Nash
02-10-2010, 09:31 PM
They'd be fine for TurboCNC, but I can't recommend TurboCNC due to the lack of support, unless you are already familiar with it and know what you are getting into.

I kind of like TurboCNC. I like the keyboard interface a lot better than the mouse for a CNC app. I actually found Mach to be a little harder to get around in. EMC is not very keyboard friendly either. But I don't remember what processor I have in the T'CNC setup.

MTNGUN
02-10-2010, 11:45 PM
I don't recall the TCNC processor requirements off the top of my head, but the 266 box should be fine. Perhaps the 166, too. I used to run TCNC on a 90 and that worked fine until the box died. Depends on the quality of the power supply and any other noise in the box. TCNC isn't fussy about the processor, but it is fussy about the power supply and electrical noise.

I think the TCNC concept is great, just that there is no support and no bug fixes. It's at a dead end. Someone who is just starting out should pick software that has a future.

Jim Shaper
02-19-2010, 11:36 PM
Around here you can get a pretty hotrodded computer from a couple years back for around 100 bucks or so.

My shop computer is a dell poweredge 2650 with dual HT Xeon 2.8ghz procs and 2Gb ram. It was all of 75 bucks without hard drives or an OS. This is almost the exact same PC as my Precision Workstation 650, that 7 years ago cost nearly 5K. :eek:

Someone locally has the 3.2Ghz 2GB precision 670's with a hard drive and OS for $160. I'm really tempted to buy one just because they're a heck of a machine even by today's standards.

Look around - there's a lot better options for very little investment.

wmgeorge
02-20-2010, 01:34 PM
Around here you can get a pretty hotrodded computer from a couple years back for around 100 bucks or so.

My shop computer is a dell poweredge 2650 with dual HT Xeon 2.8ghz procs and 2Gb ram. It was all of 75 bucks without hard drives or an OS. This is almost the exact same PC as my Precision Workstation 650, that 7 years ago cost nearly 5K. :eek:

Someone locally has the 3.2Ghz 2GB precision 670's with a hard drive and OS for $160. I'm really tempted to buy one just because they're a heck of a machine even by today's standards.

Look around - there's a lot better options for very little investment.

I agree with Jim. Just make sure your new (used) computer has a parallel, USB and maybe a serial port that would let it run about anything in the shop. I have a older IBM laptop that I run my CNC router on in the shop, has all of the above and I paid about $230 for it.
I threw away an older computer that I finally said, Why do I have this, because someday I am going to use it? Made a nice thumping noise at the bottom of the dumpster.

Jim Shaper
02-20-2010, 02:37 PM
Well, if you've got any ISA VGA video cards laying around, I'd take them off your hands. :) My mill needs one as we speak.