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Newbie Question
« on: October 18, 2006, 02:13:17 PM »
Help
I am wanting to build a 3 Axis CNC machine for drilling and maybe milling PCB's, this would only be a small machine to start .

This may seem a stupid question but will mach2 drill pcb's and control stepper motors directly eg

apart from the obvious parallel port buffer will the software drive the steppers directly?

Cheers
Geoff

Hood

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Re: Newbie Question
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2006, 02:18:43 PM »
Mach sends out step and direction pulses via the parallel port, you then  need drives to accept these signals which in turn move the motors. A breakout board is also a good idea to isolate the drives/motors from the computer.
Hood
Re: Newbie Question
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2006, 02:24:43 PM »
Cheers Hood

The electronics side is not a problem I can build my own stepper driver, I have only just downloaded the Mach2 software and am unable to find a way to drill, all the setups seem to be for lathes, mill etc, another stupid question.

Geoff

Hood

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Re: Newbie Question
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2006, 02:31:52 PM »
Dont even attempt to start with Mach2, get Mach3 it is much more refined and you will be starting out with the better version and you then wont have to reset everything when you update to Mach3, which you will do ;)
 If you look in the wizards there are some for drilling, also in Mach3 there is a program called LazyCAM which will import all kinds of drawings which you can then select the toolpaths and it will code for you. LazyCAM is still in development and although I dont use it I believe its fairly competent already.
Hood
Re: Newbie Question
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2006, 01:20:07 PM »
Now I am confused. I thought that Mach 2/3 was a CAM program. Is it primarily NC only? Other than lazy cam, is there a CAM program that people prefer to use with Mach 3?

Hood

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Re: Newbie Question
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2006, 01:26:54 PM »
Mach is a control software, it has wizards which will do certain tasks for example if you want to do a circular pocket you choose that wizard punch in your dimensions and it gives you the code. Brian Barker does a conversational add in for Mach, basically it joins together all the wizards, allows tool information, feeds/speeds etc and at the end you can get code for a fairly complex part. LazyCAM will allow you to import a DXF etc and you can then choose various options and you will then be able to produce code.
 So after saying all this, if you are doing fairly basic stuff Mach with its wizards and LazyCAM is all you will need (CAD program excepted), if you are doing very complex parts then you will need to look at CAM packages as well.
Hood