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Messages - Steve Stallings

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Mach4 General Discussion / Mach4 build released
« on: August 17, 2017, 02:25:32 PM »
Mach4 build has been released.

You can download it from PMDX or directly from here:


An updated Change Log is available here:


Steve Stallings

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Where did 3468 and 3474 go to
« on: August 15, 2017, 10:49:24 AM »
Build 3468 and 3474 introduced new features but also an unexpected bug. They were
removed from the released build download area while the bug gets resolved.

Users who loaded these builds should consider reverting to build 3390 for stability.

If you are running customized profiles that have been saved with a new name other
than the default sample names, you can reload build 3390 and your customized profiles
will still be here.

If you are still running with profiles named Mach4Mill, Mach4Mill_6Axis, Mach4Lathe,
or Mach4Router then you should use the Copy Profile function of Mach4Loader to
make a fresh copy of your profile with a new name before reloading build 3390 so
that your profile does not get overwritten.

Steve Stallings

The policy for Mach4Industrial is to allow only 1 license active at a time.

If you see licenses listed for computers that are no longed needed, you should
deactivate them so the do not count against you maximum of 5 for Mach4Hobby.

Steve Stallings

A full description of license policies and procedures can be found here:


Steve Stallings

Mach4, and to my knowledge, all controller manufactures support using the
same switch as both a limit and a home switch. For those controllers which
rely on the internal Mach4 dialogs for home and limit switch configuration,
this is done by putting duplicate controller and input signal selections
into multiple lines in the Config > Mach > Inputs Signals configuration
dialog for each possible use of the signal. With Mach4 an input signal can
be read by multiple processes.

Output signals on the other hand can have only one process controlling
them and an output signal that has been configured in one line of the Output
Signals table will no longer appear in the drop down box for output signal
selection. If you are trying to use an output signal and cannot find it,
check to see if something else has already claimed it.

Mach4 can also support homing multiple axes at the same time. It is up to
the controller manufacturer to be able to do this. Again, to my knowledge,
I think most can do this. PMDX supports this.

Remember that all Home and Limit switches are associated directly with
Motors. Their relationship to axes is under control of the Axis Mapping
to the motors with the dialog at Config > Mach > Axis Mapping.

Mach4 can home the axes in the order that you specify. It is common, by
example, for wood routers to home Z first, followed by X and Y at the same
time. This makes sure that the cutter will not hit any fixtures during
homing but still minimizes the time needed by homing X and Y at the
same time. The order is controlled in the Config > Mach > Homing and
Soft limits dialog. Each axis to be homed must have homing enabled.
Do not enable homing for axes that do not exist. Set the homing
order number for axes that you do not wish to home to be 0. Set the
homing order to 1 for the first axis to be homed. Set axes that should
home at the same time to the same number.

Axes that do not have a corresponding home signal and need to be declared
as homed without moving them should have the Home In Place feature enabled.
It is common to do this for a rotary axis where home depends on aligning
the material correctly in the rotary device instead of looking for a home
switch. Many people also run wood routers with all axes set for Home In Place
and simply place their stock on the table and jog to a convenient zero point
before clicking on Ref All Home. In this case home is wherever you put it.

One thing that will not work properly is to wire the machine and configure
Mach4 such that any home or limit switch triggers an Emergency Stop. This
will halt the machine and de-reference the homing status of all axes.

When diagnosing a homing problem I suggest using the controller's test
capabilities to see the signals, either as physical LEDs or as indicators
on a software display panel, to verify that the signals are being seen by
the hardware. PMDX controllers use a display panel launched using the
Config > Plugins > PMDX SmartBOB dialog. This panel is a floating window
that can be moved to the side and left active after closing the config
utility so that it can be seen while running other tests.

Next use the Machine Diagnostics panel in Mach4 to verify that Mach4
sees the signals as the functions that you intended to define for each
signal input. Switches configured for multiple meanings will cause multiple
indicators to light at the same time. This is normal. This process helps
verify that you did enter the setup data correctly and that you have
the Axis to Motor mapping configured as you intended. If an Axis uses
slave motors, think gantry axis driven by tandem motors, then all motor
home signals for that axis must the triggered before the Axis Homed
indicator will come on. The signals will be considered individually by
the homing routines, only the display requires all associated signals to
be active.

Hopefully the descriptions above are more informative than confusing.

Steve Stallings

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach 4 license
« on: July 27, 2017, 08:55:21 PM »
You should contact MachMotion for assistance with generating a new license.

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Video device
« on: July 23, 2017, 04:44:52 PM »
The Open GL video data will page to disk and there is a dramatic impact
on screen update speed.

Steve Stallings

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Video device
« on: July 23, 2017, 04:13:46 PM »
Interference with parallel port step signal timing due to motherboard
video access is usually less for modern motherboards, and does not
matter at all unless you are running the legacy Darwin parallel port
driver. For any system running an Ethernet or USB connected
motion controller, video interference is not an issue.

Video performance can still matter. Mach4 uses Open GL video
drivers and needs reasonably good hardware. If you are running
G code files with megabytes of short segment movements such as
photo carving, you will need to have a couple of Gigabytes of
memory available for video, either motherboard or dedicated card.

Steve Stallings

The use of Mach4 for commercial production obligates the user to
purchase one license for each production machine, but does not
mean that you have to upgrade to Mach4Industrial.

Mach4Industrial includes priority access to technical support from
ArtSoft, the Macro B programming language, more powerful
screen editing capabilities, and some extensions to the capabilities
of the Lua engine control over Mach4 internals.

Steve Stallings

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Wonky Cutting
« on: July 20, 2017, 06:53:55 AM »
Switching motion plug-ins in Mach4 can mess with profiles in many ways
and you should be prepared to recheck the full profile.

If you need to test something, just copy your profile again using the
Mach4Loader to create a temporary profile. Then you can go back
to your trusted profile and add any useful changes there.

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