Will this cheap laptop do the job

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Will this cheap laptop do the job

Postby ScottL » Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:27 pm

Hi,
I am looking to buy a cheap laptop that will be used solely for running my Xcarve and Cut 2D, it will be permanently in my workshop, where I do not get very good internet reception.

I want to be able to draw the job and make the toolpath in Cut 2D, then send it straight to the machine eliminating the need for Universal G Code, is this possible?

Most of the cheapies are around 1.8 GHZ and the recomendation is 2 GHZ, does this small amount really matter?

And just as an example would this laptop do the job sufficiently, https://www.kogan.com/au/buy/kogan-atlas-2-1-d300-touchscreen-notebook/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=product_listing_ads&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIkbCnjtey2QIVQ4iPCh0b8APgEAQYBCABEgKz9vD_BwE

or am I better of spending twice as much for something like this https://www.kogan.com/au/buy/hp156-250-g6-celeron-n3060-4gb-ram-500gb-notebook-2fg08pa-hp/
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Re: Will this cheap laptop do the job

Postby garylmast » Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:03 am

I use several lower priced laptops and a tablet (around $200 from Walmart) to run various equipment (CNC, 3-D printer, engraver) and all work fine. I also take one on vacation so I can logon to the internet. For running the software, the only time I used one of the cheapies was to do a quick pocket toolpath to plane the spoilboard on the CNC. Doing anything else, I will stay with my desktop, that has a lot of ram, top video card and a fast processor, and with two monitors.

Gary
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Re: Will this cheap laptop do the job

Postby Martin Reid » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:52 am

Dear Scott

Here is my two penn'orth

Using a single computer for 'design' and 'cutting' is alright if you are sure you will never want to do a design while the machine is cutting. If you said you will never want to do a design while the machine is cutting - I would say are you sure!

Experience on this and other forums has shown that the computer that manages the 'cutting' should not be connected to the internet, should have the anti-virus, screen and power save functions disabled so that nothing interrupts the communication with the CNC machine.

So if you are still with me, then the 'cutting' computer can be a very inexpensive and may I suggest second hand single core Celeron or similar processor a couple of gig of RAM and a small hard drive (or SSD). Now the computer for the 'design' could depend on the design software if your software can make use of multiple cores (Cut2D as yet doesn't) then you could get a multiple core i3 or i5 processor 64 bit operating system, as much RAM as you can afford, a hard drive large enough to save all your files and an internet connection with all the appropriate security.

"make the toolpath in Cut 2D, then send it straight to the machine eliminating the need for Universal G Code".. When Cut2D (or similar) outputs direct to the machine the postpocessor still 'sends' the commands in GCODE (or similar depending on the post processor). If you pick up on my suggested two computer set-up then you will need to be transferring the 'part files' from your design computer to the cutting one - I appreciate this is what you were trying to get away from.

Anyway as I said that is my two penn'orth.
I will watch with interest, please post what you decide.
Sincerely and in good faith
Martin
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Re: Will this cheap laptop do the job

Postby ElevationCreations » Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:13 pm

I concur with Martin. I use one refurbished workstation per CNC which I picked up for less than $100 each from eBay. You won’t be able to run G-Code direct to machine using GRBL. Consider another G-Code sender such as Intelli-G-Code which has a better interface.

If you want better Wi-Fi signal in your shop, consider installing an access point in a location that has good line of site to your work area. I just installed a UniFi Pro and it works great. In our situation we had coverage from our Wi-Fi router, however other networks were stronger where the machines are so our throughput was very slow.
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Re: Will this cheap laptop do the job

Postby kstrauss » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:36 am

It is easy to move your gcode files from the design to the workshop machine using a USB flash drive. I suspect that you will find it hard to design complex jobs using a small laptop screen and the typical touch pad. As others have noted why not get a normal computer + decent monitor? Suitable used machines and monitors are typically available for perhaps $100-150.

I'm unsure that I understand the relevance of "...in my workshop, where I do not get very good internet reception.". My workshop is a steel frame building without WiFi access. I solved the problem of access to my design machine from the workshop by installing a CAT5 cable between the two buildings. Works great and cost less than $100 including conduit for underground burial.
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Re: Will this cheap laptop do the job

Postby ScottL » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:46 pm

Thanks everyone for the replies, It was my first post and I had no idea anyone replied, I couldn't even find the post for a little while, anyway all user error, and I will figure it out when I put a little time into it.

For me it comes down to dollars, my laptop with a broken screen is connected to an old TV and I use it in my home office for drawing, making toolpaths etc.. So its a pain in the bum to transport this set up from home to the workshop constantly, which I currently do, basically it is big and bulky and I dont like it in the workshop but it is fine to use at home. Thats why I am looking for something cheap to keep in the workshop, the something cheap is mostly due to the current budget, I would love to splurge out on all the mod cons, trust me I love toys!

Why i mentioned the lack of internet is only because I have tried to research my questions before posting, and alot of replies where about not hooking your PC for your machine to the internet, and I was just trying to save anybody's time - I am a first time forum user, I will improve I am sure :D

I wanted a cheapie for the workshop for a few reasons, 1. To make drawings up on the fly - without having to drive all the way home or wait until the next day, Make changes when required - which seems to be all the time, and just have the option to sit in my workshop and do the work as well have the luxury of the home office, so thats why I wanted to see if the laptops that I have found would cut the mustard or if I needed to save a few more bucks and wait until I could get something better.

Thanks again for your replies, much appreciated. Still not sure what to buy but I will get there or just wait until I have more cash, atleast I have the option of the old TV and laptop for now, I have to admit the big TV screen is great for doing work on Cut 2D :D just not cool lugging it around.
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Re: Will this cheap laptop do the job

Postby Martin Reid » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:45 pm

Dear Scott

I'm back

OK.. a workshop laptop it is.

I have a copy of VCarve Pro running on an Acer Switch 10 - 10.1" - Atom x5 Z8350 (1.44 GHz) - 2 GB RAM - 64 GB SSD - 2 in 1 - Table Laptop with Windows 8.1 (32bit) similar to the Kogan you have listed - I use it to demo things while I'm out and about. I wouldn't want to use it all the time for CAD work. You have CraigsList over there don't you; I bet you'll find one on there.

As for the two you listed...
Kogan Atlas 2-in-1 D300 Touchscreen Notebook - NO - Get more than 32GD SSD
HP 15.6" 250 G6 Celeron N3060 4GB RAM 500GB Notebook (2FG08PA) - YES - but get second hand 17"

Again I watch with interest to see what you decide
Sincerely and in good faith
Martin Reid
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