Machsupport Forum

Mach Discussion => Mach4 General Discussion => Topic started by: BravoAndreus on September 30, 2017, 11:38:41 PM

Title: HOW TO do Threading with Gecko G540 or other boards using MACH4??
Post by: BravoAndreus on September 30, 2017, 11:38:41 PM
Been using Mach3 ~ 3 months to run an Emco compact 5 CNC through Parallel port on Win7 PC using the Gecko G540 4-axis controller.

Now my CNC needs are more serious and I have a need of CNC threading with this lathe and need something very robust .. rather than attempt to set up threading through Mach3, I decided to upgrade to Mach4...

Only to find the Parallel Port driver Darwin does NOT allow lathe threading of any kind ?!?!


How can I take advantage of Mach4 lathe threading with my hard ware? Do I need to ditch the Gecko G540 for a more modern controller ? Is there a proven break out board or interface cable that people are using for lathe threading with the G540 and Mach4 ? I am also using Cnc4Pc index pulse card between the encoder and bob.

I should add: I want to be able to use 2 pulses (timing and index pulse) for threading, otherwise isn't it the same as using mach3 single pulse per revolution , and I should just stick with mach3...
Title: Re: HOW TO do Threading with Gecko G540 or other boards using MACH4??
Post by: joeaverage on October 01, 2017, 12:16:48 AM
threading is a function that's largely enacted by the motion controller. In the case of Mach 3 the motion controller is the humble
parallel port. While Art has written a parallel port driver for Mach 4 he hasn't bothered to try to add threading, apparently its quite a mission
and he is of the opinion that most users will be better served with an external controller.

To get the best from Mach4 you really need an external controller, there are a half dozen manufacturers who have a good reputation
and make good gear. None of them are free. The cheapest is about $120 and a full blown HICON from Vital Systems could cost $2000.
A UC100 from CNCDrive, a PMDX-411 from PMDX or a PoKeys u57CNCd25 are all very similar, they plug in to your PC with USB and their
output is a db25 plug just like your parallel port, in fact would plug into you G540 no troubles. You will have to do some research to see if
any or all of them support threading. All of these devices are around $120. Note that they only have one 'ports worth' of IO that is 12 outputs
and 5 inputs. You don't need a very sophisticated machine and you run out of IO.

For a few more bucks you can get an Ethernet Smoothstepper from Warp9 which has three ports worth of IO, a PMDX-426 with two ports
or a PoKeys 57E or 57U with 55 IOs, equivalent to a bit more than three ports. There again you will have to do some research to find out
if any of them support threading. I believe the Smoothstepper has very recently added that function, but I can't tell you for sure yet.

As I've already mentioned the HICON unit from Vital Systems is a very good bit of kit with all sorts of functionality but it starts at $600 and
probably you'll want features which take it up to $1200. Those people who've stumped up for one all say they are very good. Can't afford
one myself.

I use an ESS Smoothstepper, about $190 and its been great.

Beware that there are heaps of Chinese UC100 knock-offs on Ebay at the moment and they're rubbish. If you want a UC100 buy from CNCDrive
or their US distributor.

Title: Re: HOW TO do Threading with Gecko G540 or other boards using MACH4??
Post by: joeaverage on October 01, 2017, 12:30:23 AM
as far as I know Mach 3 or 4 threading is done with a single pulse per rev. If the speed is constant which is assumed AND required
it makes no difference.

I have used Mach3 and Mach4 and they both work the same. The only real advantage with Mach4 is when it comes to customising your

I'm thinking that you should probably stick with Mach3 until and unless there is something about Mach4 that you need.