There are four main ways for an operator to control machine tool function with the Acorn CNC controller.
The VCP is a richly featured "soft" Operators Control Panel with is included at no charge with the Acorn CNC12 software. Simply touch the LCD screen to press anyone of the machine customizable Operator Control Panel Buttons to control any machine tool. This is the most popular way for an operator to control a machine too with the Acorn CNC controller.
The VCP can also be used with a mouse if a non touch screen is being used (using the mouse to press a button works with a touch screen as well) simply click on the button you want to use and it works. Jogging, spindle control, tool check..etc.. it all works with the mouse.
Any regular old PC keyboard can be used to control a wide variety of machine tool functions. For instance the operator can simply press the arrow keys on the PC keyboard to control machine tool movement of the X and Y axis and the page up and down buttons are the Z axis etc.. Fast, Slow, Incremental and Continuous mode etc..etc.see a legend of PC keyboard shortcuts used for Centroid Keyboard jogging, click here.
For large format machines it is convenient for the operator to employ a Operator Control Pendant to control the machine tool as its nice to be able to take the pendant to the location of the work when setting up tools and part zero positions. Centroid has developed macros for the Xkeys pad and the keypad art work and it is freely available to download below.
Controlling Machine Tool Functions: Centroid CNC controls have a "keyboard jogging” feature built into the Centroid CNC11 and CNC12 software. This allows a regular PC keyboard to be able to control axis jogging and other machine tool functions. So while its nice to have the Centroid CNC operators panel (part # 11077) for Allin1DC and Oak board based CNC systems, whether its mounted in the Pendant (M39 style) or in the Console (M400 style) or Panel mount, for those Acorn CNC DIY'er that are on a budget you can use a plain old PC keyboard to control axis Jogging and other machine functions. The “keyboard jogging” feature is much more than just machine tool axis jogging as you can also control Spindle ON/OFF, FWD Reverse, speed UP/DN, Coolant control for Flood and Mist, Feedrate Override, Cycle Cancel, Tool Check, Feed Hold, Cycle Start, and a bunch of other machine tool functions which you can customize using the nine available auxiliary keys! While using a PC keyboard for machine control is nice and inexpensive a better alternative and more convenient option is to use a dedicated USB Keypad like the Xkeys pad. Found here on amazon.