First project with the BeagleBone Black

The Old Milling Machine


The next product we’re going to launch is a stepper motor controller.  We are going to use a few of them on a 3-axis table-top gantry mill that I built as part of the machine shop class at Washington University in St Louis way back in, gosh 2003 was it?  All of the other kids were making stainless-steel shot glasses, and I was making parts for a CNC mill…

The mill is pretty much done mechanically, but I never added the electronics to the system: the stepper motors yes, but nothing beyond the motors.  I’m going to try to run Machinekit as a way to get LinuxCNC running on the BeagleBone Black.  I also got a Logitech C920 and hope to play with OpenCV to add machine vision to the LinuxCNC system: a big task, but what fun!

First Steps

The BeagleBone Black (BBB) looks really cool in terms of specs, but I needed a bunch of accessories to really get started.  Here’s what I ended up getting:

I tried to connect the 10 port hub to the BBB and then the Logitech

mouse and keyboard receiver to the 10 port hub, but the BBB didn’t see the mouse or keyboard when I did this.  And yes, I did plug them in before turning the power on.  The mouse and keyboard did work when plugged in directly to the BBB.  So I tried another USB hub that I got from DigiKey and voilà, it worked.

I went with the 10 port hub because it said it could supply 3 amps, wow!  The DigiKey USB hub has no power supplied to the peripherals, so I’m hoping that the power from the BBB’s 5V barrel jack is enough to keep the camera going without issue.  I suppose I could cut the red wire on the 10 port hub as described here, but I’m only going to go that route if the C920 has issues.

It was cool to see the BBB boot up as I haven’t had time or a project to use it on since I bought it almost a year ago.


If you have an interest in this project, you might want to check out the following video demonstrating the BBB and OpenCV with the C920: