Linux CNC EMC2 Keyboard Key Labels
I was getting tired of using the mouse to adjust settings on the hackerspaces' engraver. I knew there were keyboard short cuts but did not know what they were and I know for sure I would not remember where they were. So I decided to make some labels and attach them to the keys.
The result was a means to open a program, home each axis, start the machine and adjust settings on the fly without using a mouse. It is great. It doesn't sound great, but in practice it is the best. If you are currently using a mouse to click all over the place, you know what I'm talking about!
Here's how I did it:
1. I took some measurements of my keyboard keys and using a word processing software, made some labels for the short cuts that I wanted to be identified on the keyboard. I just used regular paper and a color laser printer. I made the labels a little large as I was planning on trimming them after they are attached to the keys.
I tried keeping like-command keys the same color. For example, the jog keys and the rapid (shift) key are the same color because they are used together.
2. Next I cut out the labels. At first I tried to use super glue. This held the labels to the keys well but made the ink run and get all blotchy. A friend of mine suggested mod podge. I tried that and it worked great. First I glued the labels to each key and let the excess overhang:
The space bar gets a tribute to the greatest CNC Software ever!
3. I used a razor bladeto trim the overhanging part of the labels. This part could have gone smoother. After the labels were trimmed, I threw on a few more layers of modge podge.
4. Here's an overall photo...
5. And the engraver... This beast was made from some surplus axes that a member had obtained. We had to make adapters to bolt them together. We also had to make the mount for the spindle. We also made the bi-polar motor drivers ourselves, running them off of a surplus powersupply and controlling them via the parallel port on a PC running EMC2.
It's a little hard to see from the photo but there is a sound isolation enclosure that flips open. Even though it is made of 1/2" plywood and 1/4" plexiglass, it cuts down on the noise substantially.
The cutting area is 4x4x3 inches. We bang out circuit boards like there is no tomorrow on this thing.