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Topics - JohnHaine

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General Mach Discussion / Probing accuracy measurements
« on: March 13, 2021, 04:28:37 AM »
Investigating various touch-trigger probe types, I've noticed that their developers often gather statistical information on performance.  For example, if the probe touches off on the same surface 100 times, what is the mean and standard deviation of the resulting measurement?  This should be a fairly easy thing to automate with a Mach 3 macro, but before I do so I was wondering if anyone has been here before me and could share the code please?


General Mach Discussion / UC 100
« on: December 06, 2018, 06:58:06 AM »
Hello all, I'm sure that this question has been asked and answered but with the Search function b*****d there's no easy way to find it!!

So, I'm finally upgrading my workhorse office laptop and will have an old but functional Dell Latitude Win 7 machine spare as a result.  In the workshop the CNC machines are controlled by an even more venerable Dell WinXP desktop through the parallel port, and I'm wondering about moving the laptop to the workshop and replacing the XP machine, controlling the machines using a USB motion controller.  I aim to stick with Mach 3 because it works, I understand it reasonably well, and I've written some useful extra macros for tool setting.  I'm interested in people's experience to help with this decision.  Another option, though more expensive, would be an Ethernet controller.

1.  Will the UC100 work OK with a Win 7 laptop (obviously I'm no longer using a parallel port and would need the appropriate plugins)?

2.  Does the UC100 support the probing input properly?  That's very important for me for tool setting, for both mill and lathe.

3.  If I decide to ditch Mach 3 at some stage, has anyone experience of the UC100 with other CNC packages such as Mach 4?

Yes, I will ask the UC100 supplier the same questions but interested in customers' experience in the real world.

Thanks in advance for any help.

General Mach Discussion / Probing speed
« on: November 14, 2018, 04:16:16 AM »
I am involved in developing a new probing technology for CNC machines for tool setting.  It will work with both lathe and mill, and for example in the lathe can be used to calibrate tool offsets very quickly, and routinely to set the Z reference to the end of a bar in the chuck.  At the moment it is limited to rather slow axis movements but we are working on an improvement that should make it considerably faster.

So to my question for those of you who use probes: what axis speed to you feed at when moving the probe towards the material, whether using touch-trigger style probes or other sorts?

Thanks in advance for your input!


General Mach Discussion / Cutting an internal thread
« on: June 13, 2018, 04:26:30 PM »
Well I've reached the stage where I need to cut an internal thread on the CNC lathe.  I use the Simple Threading wizard for OD threads but there's no obvious way to tell it I want an internal one.  On the other hand if I make X End larger than X Start in the wizard it generates code and doesn't raise an error - is that the way to use it for ID threads please?

General Mach Discussion / SetToolX() documentation
« on: May 08, 2018, 04:21:48 PM »
Please could anyone point me to where the subroutines SetTool<X/Y/Z>() are documented?  I assume that they write the number in the brackets as an offset into the tool table entries for the currently selected tool, but where?  I cannot find any reference in the Wiki or elsewhere to how to use them.

Thanks in anticipation,


I may have posted these questions a few minutes ago - the Forum software said I had but there is no sign of the post, so here it is again!

I have a system set up to measure lathe tool offsets using a specific screen to work with my measuring system.  This works well now I've got the (known!) bugs out and I can populate a tool table, and it works properly.  However, when I close down Mach and restart, though it shows the same tool number in the DRO on the Manual screen as it did before closedown, the offset isn't applied!  I have to retype the tool number and return for it to take effect.  Is this normal behaviour please?

I've previously asked here about exporting tool tables from M3 into CAM - now I have the opposite requirement (I never did that by the way for various reasons).  Is there a method to import a tool table formatted as say CSV from a spreadsheet program into Mach?  I use a spreadsheet to record the measurements and do some averaging and it's a pain to have to copy/paste the values into the Mach tool table editor, as well as error prone.

When I start my Mach3 Turn, I randomly get one of 3 different splash screens - is this normal behaviour, a bug, or a sign of misconfiguration?

Help much appreciated on the please!

TIA, John.

I think the answer to this is "no" but just checking - are there either G-codes or OEM buttons that can select radius or diameter modes in M3 Turn please?

RFA - I normally work in diameter mode but for tool setting it is useful to work in radius - to make sure I don't forget I'd like to have my tool setting button codes select radius mode first, then do what they do, then switch back to diameter mode.

General Mach Discussion / Mach 3 lathe home input
« on: February 23, 2018, 12:58:41 PM »
Wonder if anyone can help please. I'm developing a touch-off system to detect when a tool touches a tool setter and trigger a home input.  Inherent to the system, when it touches it generates a pulse train, where the first rising edge occurs just after touch has occurred.  My question is, does Mach use just the first edge and then ignore subsequent ones, or do I need to use a retriggerable monostable to generate a persistent logic level?

General Mach Discussion / Controlling a chip blower
« on: February 03, 2017, 08:21:18 AM »
Hi all, having recently spent 8 hours machine minding while my Novamill did some deep engraving in brass, where my only function was to blow the chips away every minute of so, I have finally (a) arranged a guard window on the front of the machine to stop chips flying all over the workshop; and (b) arranged a little jet to blow air at the cutter to clear the chips.  The air is fed from an airbrush compressor, and should do the job fine but I'd like to arrange it so that the air comes on for a few seconds every so often rather than blowing continuously.  I have a small reservoir on the compressor (about a litre) which can be taken up to 40 psi, and if I can arrange for periodic blowing rather than continuous then I hope the compressor will nly have to come on occasionallly rather than say on all the time, generally reducing noise in the workshop and saving the compressor getting too warm.  So to my question...

I have an unused relay on the BoB which I can use to control a solenoid air valve, and one of those is on its way via ebay - is there a way I can control the valve from Mach to come on say every 30 seconds for 3 seconds?  I can see that I can use an M command to turn coolant on or off, but not make it intermittent.  Help and advice much appreciated, thanks!


General Mach Discussion / Slotted opto sensors as limit sitches
« on: October 10, 2016, 10:50:57 AM »
Hello all, a while back, on a different PC, I found someone's website where they had some nice info on using slotted opto sensors as limit switches, referencing a specific type that used laser diodes for a narrow beam and could sense very accurately and repeatably.  Of course I've lost the bookmark - any help or links to such a site or info on using optos in this way would be very welcome please!  The site also had information on making touch-off probes if that helps.

Thanks in advance for your help!


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