Dedicated lap top question

I have my Maslow, and am about to build a frame and get everything going, and wanted to know what everyone uses to run them (computer wise) Does everyone have a dedicated computer/laptop/tablet/whatever that you use just for your Maslow? I have a lab top that is of old that can run everything I was going to use, but am worried that because of its age, it might freeze or something during the cutting and mess everything up. So I was looking to get something cheap to run ground control and sketchup/onshape or whatever, but it has been a long time since I have brought a lab top. I found this one: and its only $150. Does anyone know if these specs will work? or any other thoughts?

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I would advise against this. Atom chips are low cost and lots of bang for the buck, however they can have timing issues running CNC. I ran into this with a atom laptop and my shapeoko 3. Get a I3 or better processor and good name brand, the implementation of USB is part of what really matters.

I’d check Newegg for a refurbished Lenovo T420 You can get one for the same sort of cost. I’m on my second one and use it as my control box for all my current CNC hardware. FYI - I’m on my second one because the 1st one was so good someone broke into my car, sigh.

Thank you

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I mostly run mine off a dedicated tablet that I stuck to the machine. I can’t find the exact model now (I believe it is discontinued), and I’m not sure I would recommend the one I have any way because its very cheap feeling in person, but it works well. I chose mine because it was the cheapest tablet on Amazon which would let me connect the charger and a USB cable at the same time.

The one that you linked should work well. My only concern is that the USB ports are on the detachable keyboard and it can be nice to leave the keyboard removed most of the time


To counter myself, there is someone on here that found a tablet at Wallmart for $99 that is usefully using it. I however point out, I’m addressing you concern on freezing, this is usually cause by Overloading a processor, Overheating or a simple crash. Underwhelming a processor is a clear way to avoid freezing. I get a good 2-3 hours out of the T420. It’s also a favorite among my Linux users group.

Cheapest CPU = headless Raspberry PI you remote into ~$50

Cheapest Tablet = Wallmart Special ~$100

Full refurbished laptop $150

One other good choice, but more money is a refurbished Microsoft Surface 3,
be careful not to get a Windows RT version, Windows RT is a now defunct special Windows with no current app development, as they have limited use they tend to the the cheapest units. I have a Surface 3 and it works great for me.

So from my stand point it’s all about the experience you want. I’m biased I’ve worked on mini frame computers that were only rebooted once about every 3 years, only due to upgrading hardware.

Thank you

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Has anyone found a way to run GC on a headless Pi? I think I remember Kivy wanting special attention to run remotely. Love to get it going, though.

Ground control doesn’t need a lot of power, As Bee sais a Atom netbook would be a fine choice.

It would not really make sense to also run CAD software on it as you will not be doing much CAD work while the machine is cutting…

Another thing to consider is to find a machine with passive cooling, the wood dust will find it’s way into the laptop pretty easy.

Over here i can find core2duo laptops for about 80 Euro thats a lot of power, but those things also suck a lot of air per minute… A fanless (passive cooled) netbook would be an advantage in that respect. there are lot’s of options, and it’s not easy to find the ideal solution, the trick is to choose wisely from what’s available.

@blurf CG on a headless Pi? I like that thought is there a thread on this topic?
a commandline GC? Or CG on a webserver? A bit like OctoPi?

CG in a webbrowser would actually be interesting

I’m running Ubuntu Mate on a Pi3. I have not run it headless yet, but there is Zero reason it would stop working because you unplug the monitor and I’ve run many other installs of the Pi headless.

Thank you

It won’t stop running, but can you reach it remotely? (VNC, etc.)

If your PI is setup to login to your network on boot up, Yes. This should be a separate thread. There are several popular remote GUI choices depending on what camp you come from. You also, if more security minded, could set a script to login when you press a physical switch.

Yes, VNC works well. X11 was designed from day 1 to run with the monitor on a
separate location than the computer doing the work.

Wayland is trying to throw this away in the name of performance. But performance
is not a critical factor for GC

with a web-gui you could run it as a .onion and access it fully encrypted via tor :slight_smile:
(and trough any firewall without compromising the security of your network.
not sure how hard it is to set up,

Lets move running headless to this thread please -


Lots of laptop deals for the holidays. Googling $150 laptop found a lot of them, including an IdeaPad at best but that looks interesting.

Isn’t somebody, maybe Bar, using an old Atom based Netbook with GC? Atom based D525s were a recommended config for LinuxCNC, have one gathering dust in the moosecave for the Zenbot

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I have an acer Aspire One netbook with GC installed on it. Runs fine, although I have no machine to test it with. Unfortunately the SSD is in my case on it’s last leg… these are ZIF drives so that kinda sucks.

Advice when you buy a Netbook: try to get one with a normal SATA drive as ZIF drives are hard to get / overpriced. Still a 25€ netbook can be booted from USB so that’s still very cheap…

I have one of those, bought as a refurb many years ago. Mine has a retrofit zif SSD, don’t remember whose but it was way faster than the included drive. Other than dead wireless (the ethernet is OK) it still worked the last time I turned it on, although iirc it’s still WinXP.

I don’t remember if it would boot from the SD card drive extender; is that an option? I’d suspect a decent thumb drive would be faster than the built-in one. Also I think that it had the SATA port, just without a connector. There used to be directions online on how to add one, maybe they’re still around somewhere.

I also have a SATA hard drive Aspire One that I built from several broken AOs that has Windows 10 on it, used it while traveling 5 or 6 years ago for Internet and photo (pre-google photos everywhere) backup, it’s full of eastern europe pics. We had a guy at work that kept dropping and breaking his personal netbooks back when they were the cheapest thing around. Screen from one, frame from another, keyboard from a third, and a new 160GB drive, academic W7 Pro updated to W10 iirc.

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It really would make sense to drop Ubuntu on it and make it somewhat secure then staying with an unsupported XP. But if it is not used online then it shouldn’t matter.

Just make sure it’s not being infested by an outlook spam-bot. :slight_smile:

And having Netbooks as LEGO parts is indeed a joy.

Would be cool to ‘maslow’ a wooden netbook enclosure one day

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It’s only insecure if you attach it to the internet. This is also a quick way to have XP self destruct, lol. It will try to update and find no servers online for updates.

Thank you

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