What is a Cheap laptop, or tablet to run my machine off of

Hi guys, my PC that was an older one just died, and now I need to buy a new item to pro5.
I was looking at the tablets because it seems like you can’t really get a Laptop for under 200.
Can anyone tell me of a tablet I can use to run this? And is there an app to run Carbide motion from a tablet?

There are a couple of options here:

  • some sort of fanless (sealed) tablet running Windows — I run Carbide Motion on my Toshiba Encore 2 Write 10 — other possibilities include the RCA Cambio and Fusion 5 and Microsoft Surface tablets (just make sure not to get an Arm unit). Whatever you get needs to meet the system requirements for Carbide Motion
  • getting a Raspberry Pi 4 and a touchscreen for it:
  • getting an inexpensive Windows or Mac OS or Raspberry Pi computer and running it “headless” and connecting to it with a tablet and controlling using remote control software such as VNC — for a Mac it should work to use Sidecar on an iPad
  • get a nice Windows tablet — I often run my machines from my Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 (and before that my Galaxy Book 12)

That said, many folks just use the cheapest Windows laptop which they can find used.

I got this from Amazon and it works great

Thanks guys! I need to research now.

Unfortunately, a refurbished Dell I recommended in a PM was a dry well, since the screen was too small.

Refurbished Surface Go for $151.77


which should at least run Carbide Motion (once you take it out of Windows S Mode)

Thank you for looking out!

Does anyone know if you can use the tablet with a dongle to run the cnc machine?

Which sort of dongle?

I am able to use my Toshiba Encore 2 Write 10 which only has one Micro-B USB port w/ a dongle which splits that to provide one USB-A port, and input power over a Micro-B USB connector.

If you are going to use Fusion 360, and you are going to want to modify your toolpaths when you find they aren’t right, you’ll need a laptop that’s fast enough.
My old laptop was really slow, so I bought a modest gaming laptop.

I love the Raspberry Pi 4 for running Motion, there is lots of talk here on all the benefits of a Pi. I used a Pi 3 with motion 5 as 4s were not available for quite awhile there, I now have a pi4, no fan, with Motion 6, a F310 game controller, 42 inch (free) tv monitor. Simple, resilient, no unexpected updates in the middle of a job :slight_smile: and cheap :slight_smile:
As for Cad and Cam I have a Think Center i7 that is 5ish years old, Works for everything I do which is quite a lot:). However I am an anti Cloud guy, For Cloud Cad services like Fusion360, I tried and no way in heck would my machine run it. It was unusable laggy.


OK so it sounds like there’s an adapter to go from a tablet to the full-size USB that the CNC machine requires?

You can use a dongle, or get a suitable cable.

Managed to find:


which I’ll try out after my next order.

I use a pi4 on my shapeoko, and a dell 7050 running debian on my laser. If I did it again, I wouldn’t use the pi4. It has less features compared to the dell, not upgradeable, and they cost me the same price.

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