Using a single computer for a nomad and a laser cutter (and probably a second cnc )?

Hi there, anyone has experience on controlling a nomad and a laser cutter simultaneously with a single computer? I am looking at affordable options for rugged workshop PCs to control both machines —I’ve read people using cheap windows 10 tablets for that purpose here How much computer do I need — but I won’t like to maintain several dedicated computers so I’m thinking in using one instead, possibly adding a larger cnc by the end of the year so it would be controlling three machines at the end. Any thoughts?

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Not a laser cutter, but Nomad, 3d printer, oscilloscope, signal generator, programmable power supply, two microscope cameras. Additionally, this machine is used for programming microcontrollers, so the appropriate programmer gets plugged in, as well. The 3d printer, 'scope, signal gen, and power supply are on a four-port hub, the others directly connected. At times, the Nomad and the printer are both being fed, while the acquiring with the 'scope and using one of the microscope cams. May also be doing work with Inventor or Autocad, and if you have seen some of my models here, I do make the software work a little (though not as much as some). No conflict issues.

The Nomad is a low demand on the computer, and I should imagine a laser cutter is, as well.

The machine is the least expensive Lenovo tower (12gig ram, AMD A12 processor with integrated GPU) that would support all of the software (CAD/CAM, Spice, Eagle, Natn’l Instruments software, and so on).

I have also used a dedicated tablet for the Nomad (for cable reduction, basically as well as the touch screen control), but found it to be more awkward the helpful.


Can you control more than one machine at the same time? If yes, are there latency issues?

I have had no issues with running both the 3d printer and the Nomad at the same time, while other instruments are doing their thing. Both a 3d printer and the Nomad are really low bandwidth for the com-- they are, after all, mechanical devices, where ‘fast’ communication is the order of 10 to 100ms–, CM takes very little processor, and the sender I use for the 3D printer also uses very little processor. No hangups when the scope goes into high rate capture (the other week, testing on an embedded controller that was finding its way into an invalid control state-- at high capture, the NI software might pull 30% CPU and near 100% disk)

My old machine (Dell, 4Gig, 1.9GHz, dual core mini-pizza-box) handled all of the same, except I couldn’t run Inventor while doing anything else.

Ya, I know I could build a better machine than these, but I have better things to do when the low-end off the shelf units do the job.

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You can’t control two carbide machines (two nomads, a nomad and a shapeoko, etc) with a single machine, with carbide motion, if both are turned on at the same time.

Honestly, it doesn’t take much oomph to send gcode.

I’ve used a kangaroo pc to run both machines, and it’s really no big deal. If you come up with a nice “rugged” soluition for the shop, would be interested. Suggest you look at something fanless (which also means low power - intel atom boxes in general).


Can you control a 3D printer and a Shapeoko/nomad using CNCjs and Octoprint on a Pi4 at the same time? I’m looking at getting one for my shop.

Darn good question. I don’t know about particular combinations other than those I have used, but I would guess that if you are using different senders, there is a good chance it will be ok.

In some cases (such as the software for my microscope cameras), only one instance of a particular application can be run at a time, and it will only talk to one device at a time. The solution I used for the microscope is to run that software on a separate virtual machine when I need two instances. One instance has no clue the other is running, because it is, logically, a different computer for each. This lets me take stereo shots easily. (I start it with a script so I don’t need to remember the details of the setup-- It was not simple to set up in the first place, and I followed an online guide)

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Shouldn’t be a problem - need to run two copies of the software. Carbide Motion won’t let you run two carbide machines at the same time though.

Something for Carbide to address in a future release…


Kangaroo PCs look great, thanks! Do you use it with a touch screen or just normal screen/mouse/keyboard? I like the idea of a small tablet ideally for controlling both nomad and laser cutter simultaneously as I keep both in a room next to my studio, based on @enl_public experience I asume that it is reasonable to think that this would work? Any other recommendations for windows cheap tablets? I’m a Mac user myself so looking into the vast variety of windows machines is quite cumbersome. Many thanks!

Ps re fanless pc @mikep i found a number of chinese brands doing fanless barebones for industrial use Hunsn here some of them have serial coms to connect cncs and the like

Kangaroo is getting pretty dated - it does work ok, but you can find better now. Fanless PC’s - well, yes, there are plenty, but they tend to be a little more expensive than I want to spend, though they are cheaper than anything that cals itself “rugged” or “industrial”. Today, I use a touch screen (A dell 17" touch screen monitor), which works ok.


Find this chuwi hi10 tablet which seems quite good for the money something like this would de like an updated version of @MechanicalGoose winbook tw100 table setting showed in this video so I think it would work fine?

Hi again, found this strange hybrid pc that might work perfectly for controlling a nomad and laser cutter also the form factor seems to work in a workshop environment, it is not fanless thought around €130 depending on configurations


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