In case it will help anyone else, I have decided to jot down my progress with the shapeoko I will be building. This is my first foray into CNC machines, so I am learning a lot already.
I had read about Shapeoko on ponoko, then I saw that it was up on inventables, and purchased the mechanical kit. So while I wait for the mechanicals to arrive, I started working on the electricals and software.
In addition to the mechanical kit on inventables, I went ahead and purchased a 1200mm and 2000mm piece of makerslide, as I would like to scale up the shapeoko to at least accommodate a guitar body.
As far as the computer controls goes, I think I am going to use LinuxCNC on an old desktop I have. I did a latency test, and it should work well, and have ordered a parallel port pci card for it (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 424wt_1189
). I figured that I don't gain anything with using an arduino, since you still need a computer to stream the gcode to it. LinuxCNC looks nice as it has a good front end, and simulation capabilities.
I purchased motors also from phidgets.com, a nema17 for the Z axis, and 2 nema23's for the X/Y. I went with the bigger motors since I will be expanding the machine. But I will have to buy some different hardware (pulley's, mounting hardware) to use these motors with the kit.
As far as stepper drivers, I plan to purchase the ones from pololu. And I will be mounting them in one of the arduino stepper shields from buildlog.net. I will change the connectors around though since it will not be mounted on an arduino. The only slight complication is where to get the 5V to control the boards, without the arduino, and I think the easiest way is going to be to get one of the pololu boards with the built in voltage regulator, and have that one power the rest of the boards.
On the software front I have been trying out various CAM softwares. I use sketchup to do all my various projects, so am looking for something that I can import parts from there, and create gcode. I haven't found the perfect software yet, and have a limited budget, but am liking cambam so far.
Well that is what I have so far. Later.