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Messages - toolins

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General Mach Discussion / Bridgeport & Tormach machines
« on: July 04, 2019, 08:57:33 AM »
Hi, I've been using Mach3 since 2012 when my old DOS system (Ah-ha) gave up the ghost. The machine is a retrofit Balding, a very nicely made English machine from the 70s. It's a bridgeport type. My other mill is a Tormach we bought in 2012. The first Mach3 computer was one my friend built for me. He's a brilliant guy but a bit of a short-cutter and the controller was not very stable. Not wanting to hurt his feelings I just bought a spare controller from Tormach who were using Mach3 for all their machines at the time, and started using it on the Balding. No problems ever since.
   Until last week. I had decided I needed a back-up system, so I got another Mach3 compatible computer, and built a replica of my friend's box with gecko drivers and power supply in it. I'm not very knowledgeable in this area and I"ve been years trying to finish it. It sits around for months, then i  give it some time for a day or so, then drop it again.
   Last week put the system on the mill. It didn't work in some ways that I'll get to in another post. I'm writing because when I put the old system back on the machine it also didn't work. I was very confused by the end of the day and very sorry I had messed with it. The gist of it seems to be that somehow it un-configured itself. All the defaults in the configuration menu had reasserted themselves.
   I put the back-up controller on the old box of geckos and that did work so I'm using the machine. I put in all the same configuration info (port and pin assignments, motor tuning etc) in the old controller and it the screen seems to work--that is, the counters show movement from jogging, mdi commands, and g-code programs--but strangely it doesn't operate the machine, no movement at all.
   Can anyone think of some thing I've overlooked, or should check?
   I hope i've been clear. When I say controller I mean the computer part of things, as opposed to the  power supply/driver enclosure. The controller that doesn't now work is the Tormach-sourced one from 2012 that has worked perfectly up until last week when I unplugged it to test the other one.
   Any advice would be most welcome! If it isn't obvious my electronics and general computer knowledge are on the low end.
   Thanks, Ted A

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Greetings to all. I'm a new member in the process of swapping a mach 3 control onto my balding vertical mill. I've used dos-based "ah-ha"cnc  on my mill and lathe since the late nineties--its my only cnc experience. I plan to set the mach 3 up beside the ah-ha so I can run either one, so I can get up to speed with mach 3 before making the switch permanent. I have a very busy 1 person shop; most of the parts I make are pretty simple, so I'm in the habit of writing a lot of quick, simple programs manually. For much of the work I do, no cam program could ever be as quick or flexible. The ah-ha system, though crude, has an editor with a graphic display (quite crude but adequate) that tags indigestible lines of code for correction. Is there an equivalent editor for mach 3?  Right now it calls up notepad, but it's obviously set up for other editors. Another question--can the mach 3 toolpath display ever show grid lines? I've spent so much of my life seeing them, when they aren't there I get a weird light-headed feeling and think maybe I'm too old for new tricks. I ought to say, I'm a metalworker more than a computer user, self-taught in both.

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