Once you have completed assembling your Evolution CNC Router, your next step will be downloading the software needed to operate the CNC.  A CNC requires three different computer programs, a g-code sender, a computer aided design program (CAD) and a computer aided machining program (CAM).

The first program you should install is the gcode sender. BobsCNC recommends Universal Gcode Sender (UGS) for six simple reasons.  First, its free.  Second, its specifically designed to work with GRBL.  Third, it has great support and customer service via Git Hub (https://winder.github.io/ugs_website/guide/platform/). Fourth, it’s stable.  Fifth, it offers an interactive interface that gives you all the information you need to run your CNC.  Sixth, because it is JAVA based it works with Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Follow this link to learn how to download and install UGS on your https://youtu.be/AnezUEZbmUQ computer.  UGS feeds G-code files, line by line to the controller board which then sends step and direction instructions to the stepper motors which ultimately control the movement of the spindle of the router.

Connect to the Evolution CNC to your computer using the USB cable. Open the UGS Platform software.  In the upper left corner of the display, look for: Firmware.  The drop down menu should show "GRBL."  Next, in the Port Selector box click the drop down menu to select the indicated Port.  In the next box over to the left, make sure the Baud is set to 115200.

Plug in the Evolution CNC power supply. The stepper motors will lock up, this is normal. Stepper motors should only move when receiving a step and direction commands from the controller.  Click the connect button. The button will then turn green showing that your computer is communicating with the controller. Once your computer is connected to the Evolution you will see a RED warning alarm telling you that your CNC is in a locked position and must be “homed” before it is operable. 

The upper left window on the screen is the Common Actions Window.   Click the "Home" button. The spindle will move up the Z axis until it hits the Z axis limit switch.  The Gantry will then move and position the spindle to the lower left corner of the spoiler board. Look at the Controller Panel of UGS and you’ll see that the machines coordinates are all zero, X0, Y0, Z0.  This is a good place to mention the difference between machine coordinates and work coordinates.  The machine coordinates are homed in relation to the X, Y, and Z limit switches on the Evolution Series.  The work coordinates are determined by the placement of a work piece mounted to the spoiler board.  You will set your work piece coordinates by a process called “jogging.”

A little refresher on Evolution geography.  The spoil board is a rectangle.  The long edge is the X axis.  The short edge is the Y axis and the spindle travels up and down on the Z axis.  When you mount your work piece to the spoil board, make sure the “bottom” of the work piece is parallel to the X axis (oriented to the long edge of the spoil board).

July 30, 2020 — Keith Havens