Previously, I had to keep the computer, video monitor, keyboard, and mouse in a separate trolley on wheels so that they could be brought near to the movable gantry cnc machine when connecting to the breakout board of the stepper motor drivers.

In my previous post, a shelf had been made to keep the computer CPU for operating the cnc machine. My next task was to figure out where to keep the monitor, keyboard and mouse so that I could easily view the video monitor while manipulating the mouse or typing on the keyboard. At the same time, it would be nice if I could see the movement on the cnc machine in response to the computer commands.

As I plan to shift the whole machine to another house in the near future, I had also considered designing the layout of the cnc machine to fit into its new location. With all the above considerations in mind, my plan was to make use of one of the legs supporting the cnc machine as a support for the video monitor, keyboard and mouse, adding in supporting struts so that the whole assembly would be clear of the moving gantry of the cnc machine.

I was able to remove the original base of the table mounted video monitor and fix the latter onto the end of a wooden pillar with screws. Next came the keyboard and mouse. As their normal operating position would be somewhere below the monitor, I decided to make supports for these items on the same pillar as the monitor. These would put considerable amounts of stress on the struts holding the pillar, so I made sure that it could stand the weight.

I also liked the idea of folding up the keyboard and mouse support when they were not in use. So I used a long hinge for the keyboard support. The mouse also needed a flat surface to operate. I cut this from a piece of mdf board, separated it from the keyboard support with a single vertical stick and supported the whole assembly by a single strut moving on a fulcrum. When not in use, the keyboard, and mouse pad could be folded down. The use of single supports made it easy to set up, but the mouse board tended to sag on one side, although not too badly because they were restrained by the hinges.

Support leg for monitor-keyboard-mouse assembly

Support leg for monitor-keyboard-mouse assembly

After a while, I found that the weight of the monitor-keyboard-mouse and structure was making the center of gravity of the cnc machine move away from the footprint area within the support legs of the machine. I was afraid that this additional side force might make the support structure fail on one fine day. To avoid this from happening, I decided to add another piece of wood at the bottom of the assembly so that all the weight would be rested on the floor.

Overall, I had eliminated the use of a trolley and had made the computer a part of the cnc machine.