Remote USB Anyone?

Even though I have a perfectly good PC hooked up to the Shapeoko I began wondering about virtualizing the USB connection such that you could run sender/clients on remote PCs. You can buy boxes which cost more that a refurb PC to do the job but it looks like there is some semi-free stuff you can run on a Pi:

There is also an open source project but its not under active development.

Anybody tried this? Guessing its not worth the hassle(?)

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Very interesting idea. I’d toyed with it for a while as well, though didn’t find that usb-server solution.

CM, though I’m not sure if it’s advertised, is a fully web-driven interface. You can access it via network on yourCNChost:8080, I believe.
RDP into the cnc-controlling-pc from a cad PC has also crossed my mind.

With any usb-over-ethernet solution, I’d get worried about 1: latency and 2: any fuddling that went on in software between the conversion.

It’s too bad that grbl makes use of EVERY millimeter of space on the arduino, otherwise you could throw a wifi module right on it and set up a simple terminal-relay to get the job done.

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I used to use a pair of tablets to control my machine:

  • one directly attached running GrblController
  • a second connecting to the first wirelessly controlling it using VNC — allowed transfer of files at need, &c.

Worked quite well, and I’ve been considering duplicating it for a headless setup.

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I keep meaning to find a solid solution for myself here, since eventually I’d like to move to a para-controlled machine instead of GRBL, and that basically means that I’d have to split controller and cad to two machines.

However, my current setup is to bring my laptop in, dock it and do cad and machine control from it. I do 99% of my work in Vectric, so my little lappy has enough juice. The “cheap windows laptop running grblPanel” is an appealing alternative though. Would need some file-sync or network share set up to keep cad and control in sync too though…

I spent a while looking into this last year but actually came up with a different solution.

My machine is in the garage, where it’s cold, dusty, oily and quite cluttered. I didn’t really want to keep or use my expensive macbook pro in there - too much risk of damage and usually a little unpleasant to do design work in as there is only a stool and not much bench space.

Now what I do is design the files in my office, work through any issues I might have and generate the .nc files. I save these in dropbox and have a shared folder that is on a dedicated old windows work laptop. This picks them up by the time I walk down the stairs. I then load and run, and control the machine from a fixed mount (to the left of my machine).

Whilst this setup might not work for all people I find it a good compromise. Granted my running laptop cost me nothing, but I would sway towards a fixed machine.

My next steps once I have made a workbench is for a laptop draw where it sits angled in a V shape open. I can then pull out the machine duing setup and push it out the way when milling and finishing the item.


I’ve been a Silex DS-510 for some time now. I have it attached to my machine, in fact. It has been perfectly solid, has not missed a beat, no disconnects, nothing:

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Ohhh now that’s slick… DOH! No ethernet in the shop, just wifi :frowning:

Wifi bridge device should work, as long as you have a good signal

Yea, I’ve got a repeater out in the garage already relaying my AP’s signal in the house, could bridge from there. Ask why there isn’t any eth in the shop! Because I pulled the electrical lines and forgot the cat6. Saddest day in a while.

I have wired and wireless in my shop. Just for fun, I tested with the Silex on wired and my notebook on wireless, and the results were not encouraging.

I do the same thing as MrBeaver but with OneDrive. I make designs on the PC in the house and then just run the files from the PC in the garage. Maybe I dont understand what the issue is…:face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I’ve used several of these devices in the past, and my problem has always been driver compatibility over time. Next version of Windows comes around, and nothing works long enough I just give up and dump it again. YMMV.

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While this isn’t a remote usb solution like you’ve mentioned, I’ve had a lot of luck using CNC.js running on a Raspberry Pi. It will get you a similar solution in that it is a web app rubbing on the pi. You just connect to it with a browser and you can interact with the machine. It has a 3D visualizer and you can also steam a camera so you can monitor the job remotely. The web app is also mobile friendly so you can use it from a phone. Again, not really remote usb but it should meet similar goals in workflow.


Nice, I have a slightly older Pi that I don’t use anymore, might repurpose it

I use one like this:

Mine has 1tb hard drive and I upgraded to 8gb ram.
I use dropbox for file transfer and can access it either locally or teamviewer in to it from my high end CAD laptop.(There’s NO way I want this on my dirty shop floor.)
It works really well and is a fanless compact machine with wireless, bluetooth and it’s relatively cheap to replace, if needed.

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Yes I already have a refurb HP i5 windows 10 machine that I bought thru Newegg for $130 as my dedicated CNC box. I frequently access it remotely via TeamViewer (great software btw) while I am doing CAD on bigger PCs.

I wasn’t planning on getting rid of that. I was just going virtual with the controller USB/serial so even the local machine would not have a direct connection.

Probably should keep it simple. Its working John…leave it alone.

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Do we ever “leave it alone” ?
Good luck

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