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Anyone familiar with CNC routers knows they generate a lot of dust. Most machines also require a dedicated computer to run them, which usually gets filled with that dust. Kevin Osborn from Wyolum got tired of this never ending cycle and used a Raspberry Pi and AlaMode shield (available in the Maker Shed) to network enable his ShapeOko CNC machine. This way he can box up the electronics, send G-Code wirelessly over his network. The Raspberry Pi then controls the machine leaving his good computer clean and available for other tasks.

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The Raspberry Pi acts as the host for the system and loads the G-Code into the AlaMode running GRBL, an open source CNC control program from Synthetos. The grblShield then amplifies the pulses and drives the stepper motors on the ShapeOko. According to Kevin, “this is of the simplest and most rewarding applications of AlaMode.” While there is only an initial overview of the system on the Wyolum site, Kevin promises to have more details and a how-to for sending G-Code over the network available shortly. I’m looking forward to it!