I might actually share all my investigations in another thread, maybe someone finds time to continue.
For LinuxCNC there’s those MESA cards, they are plugged into the PC and have a very powerful FPGA on them which does all the work i think. There are also Ethernet MESA cards, that you can plug into the Ethernet port. I tried to write a software that implements the UDP protocol of these MESA cards, and then the software would run on the LinuxCNC PC and would simply communicate with LinuxCNC over localhost.
Most of the Mesa card content is in german it seems
I got them to communicate but there were so many errors and the protocol was never fully implemented and it simply would have required much more time to read all the error logs, see what response was wrong, then implementing the response and then trying again. It worked, but I never got LinuxCNC to fully initialize the (‘virtual’) device.
Another thing i tried was the PoKeys devices, they are also Ethernet based CNC controllers. I can’t remember if only the desired position of each axis is transmitted or if the power for each motor is transmitted (in other words the entire control system), but i think both can be the case, either way would work for us.
These things: Ethernet CNC controller - PoKeys57E - flight simulators, automation -
The advantage with the PoKeys device is that it is more modern (not so industrial-documentation-20-years-old-and-never-changed like the LinuxCNC MESA cards) and they have a very well-documented protocol definition. Another thing is that there is a configuration software (think of it like the ODriveGUI but for PoKeys) and it’s easier to implement the entire protocol and test it with the configuration software and then try it with the real system.
I remember that I tried it with Mach3, so I ran my software on localhost and tried to trick Mach3 into thinking it’s connecting to a real Ethernet PoKeys device. Tho i didn’t really like Mach3 because it’s damn old and ugly and only runs on like Windows XP and probably not reliably on newer versions. Mach4 is no different. I can’t remember if the PoKeys device also worked with LinuxCNC, but I think so. I only remember that i was a lot more successful with PoKeys compared to the LinuxCNC MESA cards.
Actually now that i’m talking about it i’m getting interested again and would really like to try to implement the PoKeys protocol again, but i have more important things to do