# Wednesday, 27 April 2011

I purchased my DS1052E scope several months back. After trying, and failing for days to get the “Ultrascope” software to work under Windows 7 64 bit, I gave up.

My interest was recently renewed in getting the Ultrascope software to work on my computer so i decided to give it another go. This time, I succeeded!

To save others the pain I went through, I’ll document the things I did (well, that i can remember given that I had previous failed attempts). Install the Rigol Ultrascope software.

Second, download the DS1000 Series Windows driver (note, I can’t take credit for these two files, I found them in another forum). Extract these two files, then go find the device in the Device Manager. Update the driver and point it to the directory where you extract the driver files.

Next, download the NI-VISA Run-Time Engine (v5.0.3 as of this writing). Beware, this file weighs in at 71 MB. Install the VISA runtime with the default options (you could probably get away with just installing the USB portion, but I didn’t try it).

When the NI-VISA installer finally finishes, you might be prompted to reboot. I skipped this step :-). Run the Ultrascope software, and click on Tools –> Connect to Oscilloscope. I was prompted with a list of devices, with none of it making much sense, except the first option “USB0…” I choose that option and everything worked!



Wednesday, 27 April 2011 22:54:10 (Alaskan Daylight Time, UTC-08:00)
# Monday, 21 March 2011

After I re-read my last post, I realized I kind of cheesed out on the drill bit part, so I figured I would more fully flesh that part out, plus detail the opto-isolated limit switches I purchased.

Drill and Router Bits

For hole drilling, I looked at buying a kit like this one from Drill Bit City, but ultimately decided that I would just get a 10 pack of each of a few different sizes. I ended up getting #71, #70, #66 and #60 drill bits from Drill Bit City.

For milling (cutting out), I got a 10 pack of .0625 down-cut carbide bits, also from Drill Bit City.

For trace isolation, I picked up a 10 pack of 60 degree carbide “V” bits off of eBay.

Limit Switches

The purpose of the limit switch is to keep the controller software from driving any of the axis's to their physical limit and causing damage.

You can certainly run your CNC machine without limit switches, but honestly, if your going to spend a minimum of $1500 on your setup, why not spend a few more dollars (and a few input pins on your break out board) and prevent costly damage to your machine?

When I was doing research on limit switches, I was originally considering using a standard lever actuated micro-switch. But I had some questions and concerns regarding their accuracy. Over time, as a axis slams into the switch, it will deform the lever.

When a microswitch is used on say an arcade button, any imperfection or deformation of the lever will go unnoticed by the user. But in the world of CNC, accuracy and repeatability are everything.

After doing a lot of research, I stumbled upon Colin Mackenzie’s Opto-Isolated Limit Switches. Colin had the same concerns I had regarding using physical limit switches and came up with an opto-isolated switch which can be wired in an “OR” configuration.

While the opto-isolated limit switches are a little bit more expensive than a typical micro-switch (at around $2 - $2.50), at $8.50, I didn’t find the cost difference to be to great.

Next time, I’ll go into the software setup.

CNC | Hobbies
Monday, 21 March 2011 21:22:21 (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)

For almost 10 years I’ve wanted a CNC machine. I found plans on the internet years ago, but didn’t have any money, or the right set of tools at the time to act upon that goal.

A few weeks back, I was surfing Instructables and found instructions for a crude looking CNC based on a moving table design. That rekindled my desire to own a CNC machine.

After a lot of searching, and reading, I came across the FireBall V90 Kit from Probotix. They suckered me in with the $599 base price. In all my research, unless you were doing a crude design, you were going to spend at least 500-600 on parts and materials to build the base system so I figured this was a good price.


I ordered my kit with pretty much everything as proposed by Probotix:

  • The “best” motor/driver kit
  • Anti-backlash X and Y nuts
  • RF isolated breakout board
  • Large enclosure
  • 40V DC linear power supply
  • MDF spoil board
  • MeshCam Bundle

I wanted to go with the aluminum T-Slot for the spoil board, but figured I could do that upgrade later given that its a $200 upgrade. Turns out, its a good thing I waited, I found some 80/20 T-Slot on Amazon for $13.44 / 48” (~1.22 meters) section.

I will have to cut that into 18” (45.72 cm) sections and either weld them together, or bolt them to a piece of MDF making sure that the top surface is flat. Thankfully, a good friend of mine has all the tools to weld aluminum.

Router Unit

For the spindle (the cutting head) I went with a Wolfgang Engineering TB650. The TB650 is an upgrade over the TB350 which gets very high marks.

For cutting bits, I ordered a variety of bits from Drill Bit City for both hole drilling, and I went with carbide #71 down-cut carbide bits to do the actual milling of the board (cutting out from the stock).

I also ordered some 60 degree “V” bits from Carbide World so I can do PCB trace isolation.

Next time, I’ll detail my software setup.

CNC | Hobbies
Monday, 21 March 2011 04:13:03 (Alaskan Standard Time, UTC-09:00)