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Why linux is in my world

When I was in high school (late 80’s) My Father picked up a large NC machining center from the junk yard. This was junked out of a local manufacturer because at the time - retrofitting said machine wasn’t worth it. Dad was trying to get a small machine shop running and already had some manual machines (mill, lathe, shaper , etc…)

Well - the new machining center (Kearney & Trecker IIIb from the 60’s) required a new building. So we added on to one of our pole buildings. The machine required 2f’t thick slab of concrete under it. After a bit we had the machine place and I spent my Junior summer splicing 1000’s of wires and hydraulic lines. We decided to use the original control. This was a GE germanium transistor 60’s vinitage control the size of a very large fridge. We got it working again and used it that way into the 2000’s.

At this point in time - computers started to become powerful enough to do machine control and a lot of machine control software started showing up. Some ran on dos some windows and one really cool one on linux. (mach, tubocnc, emc to name a few) We played with turbocnc for a bit but decided it was too basic for what we needed. Mach was not free and we were cheap…

Searching around we found emc (enhanced machine controller). It was actually a project that was created by NIST and put into the public domain. It initially ran on windows nt with a commercial realtime build. Once it went public domain - the linux community picked it up. Linux had some realtime kernel options that worked well. At the time it was based on redhat. they had a BDI cd. (brain dead install) to make installing linux+realtime+emc easy.

I got into it at a great time. A bunch of the developers were working on EMC2. This was quite a re-write that made it so you didn’t have to edit source code to make config changes. It was qutie a leap. They also created a livecd based on ubuntu (I think it was 6.04) This is when I first installed linux on my laptop to play with linuxcnc. I dual booted between windows xp and ubuntu.

I found out as time passed that I booted into xp less and less. The next laptop I didn’t install windows naively… I ended up using virtualbox initially the rare times I needed Microsoft then moved to QEMU/KVM when I wanted to do pass through… (I wanted to run fusion 360 with decent performance in the vm)

Here is one video when we first got the old K&T working…

more to come…


That is a beautiful horrizontal mill!

Thank you. We are spoiled by it. The machine is tight!

The only thing that it really needs is coolant control :slight_smile:


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And maybe a shield? Otherwise, that is awesome!

What did I do this weekend - well I am glad you asked… How about non circular boring…

I am such a nerd.


wow - I made it on hackaday…




When you can do that in steel, you are half a step from becomming a tool manufacturer.

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With the current state of things, probably not a bad skill to have.

Funny thing is - I thought every family fixed their own cars, equipment, electronics, electrical, plumbing… It wasn’t until I went to school that I found out that wasn’t the norm… I got a heck of a good schooling at home and at the time didn’t know it.


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