Controlling your CNC from Android using G-Code2GRBL

If you’ve added a Bluetooth wireless module to your CNC machine, you might be thinking of using an Android tablet, or even a smartphone, to do some wireless routing or LASER cutting. If so, you may be wondering what software to choose. So I thought I’d write a short post about my favourite go-to Android app for controlling my CNC machine: G-Code2GRBL which is available on the Play Store. While I can only give my personal opinion, I find it excellent. It gives all of the functions I need in a nicely designed interface, as the screenshot below shows.

A screenshot of the G-Code2GRBL Android app

Once connected over Bluetooth to your CNC, G-Code2GRBL gives you a range of screens to choose from. The main ‘GRBL Control’ screen gives you buttons for jogging the XYZ axes (with step adjustment controls), buttons to zero XYZ positions, pause/reset buttons and a text-display of the GCode file being sent for routing/LASERing. The file to be sent can be chosen from the ‘Select files’ screen with just a few taps, which is nice. And another useful screen is the ‘Send Commands’ one. It lets you send your own one-line GCode commands for simple control, which is very handy for things like turning on a LASER (on low-power, obviously) for focussing, and turning it off again. Overall, I think it’s well worth a look if you’re after a way to control your CNC wirelessly from Android devices.

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Routing Darth Vader from Walnut 1.5mm sheet

GCoderCNC 2.5D banner

Recently I bought some 1.5mm thick Walnut sheet as I wanted to try it out with my CNC router and see how good the results would be. Walnut is quite a dark wood with a nice dense grain, so it seemed like an excellent opportunity to take my CNC intergallactic by making a small inlayed Darth Vader from Star Wars. Hopefully George Lucas will approve if he happens by, so below is my completed Darth Vader head (at around 10% water content, in case you’d like to know).

The finished Darth Vader router project

I was quite pleased with the results, the details being routed to 0.75 mm deep in two passes, and the edge being cut in three passes, using the 1.2mm diameter end-cutting bit shown above (which gave finished grooves almost 2 mm wide). As the image at the top of this page shows, the Walnut sheet cut quite well and cleanly with the spindle at 1000 rpm and a feed rate of 50 mm/min to minimise potential breakage of the bit. The above photo is then after I’d given it some sanding with a fine grit paper, which took little work. Even sanding out the recesses with folded over sandpaper was quite easy, with a little patience. So overall I’m looking forward to some more small projects using this lovely wood.

If you fancy making your own Darth Vader head, whether in Walnut or some other material, the SVG file is below for you to download, or click here to launch it in the GCoderCNC web-app. And, click here if you’d like to see how this project turned out after some Danish Oil finishing.

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