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RT Linux and CNC Manufacturing

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on May 07, 2003 11:48 PM
"I guess the point is that to use Linux you probably need more in-house OS expertise than you might need to use a COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) solution. The ultimate payoff for using Linux is much greater transparency, because you have the source code, and access to a large community of open source developers."

I'm a Linux programmer and sysadmin, my brother is a CNC Machinist. We've often talked in the past about how our skills could be combined in a usefull way. We've looked at the possibility of buying old bridgeport manual mills and retrofitting them with servos and RT Linux. I have to agree with what is being said here. The use of RT Linux in CNC machining may cause more difficulty than it's worth unless you're implimenting it on a large scale. It would make sense for a manufacturer to use Linux in CNC equipment, but not nearly as much sense for an individual to attept constructing a CNC machine with Linux at it's core. Buying a prepackages commercial machine is safer, easier, and probably more cost effective.

If this sort of stuff interests you, I'd suggest you look at the Linux tools for modelling and G-Code creation. These are areas where Linux could obviously provide a quick and easy cost savings in the CNC manufacturing process that are currently very lacking. (The obvious reasons being that few Linux programmers have access to this equipment and even fewer would see any immediate benefit in trying to clone/replace tools like Edgecam or Autocad.)

The only area of RT Linux that holds real promise for the 99.9% of the population that doesn't know what CNC manufacturing means is the fact that some of this work may eventually make its way into the standard Linux kernel and result in a more responsive desktop experience.

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