Can I get by with just a raspberry pi 4 connected to the machine?

I’m trying to get everything in order for why my shapeoko pro arrives.

As I understand it, I can do all the modeling and toolpaths using a variety of software and operating systems. And the end of that, I will output files with gcode.

And then when dealing with the machine itself, I need some computer connected via usb to the shapeoko. That computer will need to be able to handle inputs to jog/zero/home the machine and to stream gcode to it as it cuts on the workpiece.

I’m a linux person. I dont have any windows computers. I do have a couple 2013ish macbooks I could use if i really had to. But honestly, I don’t trust the OS (or windows) enough to want to kick off a 9hr job and the OS not be doing a bunch of junk in the background or try to update itself and ruin the CNC job.

The software that talks to the shapeoko machine, is it well supported on raspberry pi? I’m thinking to connect a pi to the router and then remote desktop to it with my normal laptop. I could click around and interact with the shapeoko to start a job and then disconnect from the remote desktop and go on about my business while the raspberry pi sat there running the job.

I guess I’m looking for the most stable way to have a dedicated computer that handles direct communication with the shapeoko router. And on paper, the raspberry pi is potentially what i’m looking for. I’m looking for confirmation, or can somebody steer me towards a different tablet/laptop/nuc/mac mini that is better suited for this role?

Short answer, yes, see:


Longer answer: Yes, but you’ll need some sort of software for CAD/CAM

The usual opensource suggestions are:

  • FreeCAD — this has a “Path Workbench” for doing CAM
  • Blender — there are “BlenderCAD” and “BlenderCAM” modules

There are a bunch of others, see:

(pardon the Wayback Machine links — waiting for the wiki to move to a new server)

I use a Raspbery Pi 4 connected directly to my S03XXL and I run gSender to send the gcode to the machine. Gsender works very well for me but I don’t do complex stuff and it’s pretty much the same handful of jobs over and over and over. I have a monitor and mouse by my S03 so I can control gSender; the only time I remote to the RPI is when I need to send a job from my main machine where I create the jobs in Fusion360 (subscription version). Before finding gSender, I used CNCjs on a windows laptop, but it seemed every time I wanted to run a job, Windows 10 wanted to do an update. If I didn’t do the update immediately, it would act slow and be unresponsive and refuse to start the CNCjs program. That made me very weary.

I run both my Shapeoko 3 and my Nomad 3 using a Pi 400 with carbide motion, and it works wonderfully.

1 Like

RE CAD software, I just gave it a shot, and the windows version of carbide create installed and runs in wine on linux without any trouble. Seems kinda silly. They used Qt for it, which already natively supports linux. But I don’t see a linux release.

But it does work with wine, which could be good enough.

1 Like

@potato I use several different Cad/Cam programs on my Windows machine and then VNC to the dedicated Pi where I then upload the file to it.
On the Pi I run either CM or Gsender. Works great. I suggest CM to begin with as it takes you by the hand with a good work flow.
I use a small script to turn off the screen saver and power management , then start CM and when CM closes the script turns them back on.
xset s off
xset -dpms
Yes I agree I would never use Windows to run a long job. That would be taking a high risk to me :slight_smile: Seems like every time I really need my Windows machine to focus, it seems to think it knows better then me and starts running updates or … Grrr :slight_smile:
The Pi makes a awesome dedicated appliance for running my machine. I love it
I use Pis for several dedicated tasks/machines. they do their job well and don’t complain :slight_smile:
Plus my shop it not laptop friendly, where the Pi does not care. and if for some reason it fails, oh well, a new replacement one is cheap.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 30 days. New replies are no longer allowed.