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Author Topic: Mach3 / MaxNC Embedded Computer / & should I get into this at all?  (Read 2429 times)

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Hello everyone.  I'm at the threshold of stepping into the world of machining and I thought I'd ask the advice of people who know what I'm getting into more than I.

I'm not a machinist, I'm an industrial designer, and I've always wanted to be able to prototype my own small part designs from 7075 & 6/4 ti, so I bought a 4 Axis MaxNC 10CLB with an Embedded Computer Unit.  I thought, I can draw parts in Inventor & Rhino, export them to acad dxf's or .stls or whatever, pull them into the CAM software, put em together, make the CNC programs, save em onto a compact flash card, pop the card in the mill, and mill some small parts!   Sounds great!

Except, the mill didn't come with any documentation or CAM software (gee thanks MaxNC!) and then the company vaporized.  So everything I've seen so far points to Mach3 being the next best solution, but after searching forums, youtube, other maxnc owners, etc, I have no idea if it's even possible to have Mach3 write a program for use with the Embedded Computer Unit.  How would it know what the boundaries of the mill are so it doesn't run itself into itself?  Maybe it's not supposed to?  Yep. I am clueless.  Time to start reading up...

but the more I read on the myriad subjects spiralling out in every direction, from brains and 3rd order controllers and MAX's ruddy controller boards and pinouts etc etc etc... the more I'm getting the feeling that, the cost of making a handful of little prototypes might be years and years of time, thousands in tooling and machine upgrades (going to need a coolant system, an enclosure, countless endmills, collets, and fixtures...   and I'm starting to think, maybe it'd make more sense to have someone who knows what they're doing make these small protos for for a few hundred bucks a pop, save us all a lot of agony, and list the mill and this MaxNC T2 lathe I also got while they're still in great condition on ebay, to someone who can actually use em.  Maybe these mills are for people who are already machinists and can make this stuff work.

Or am I just getting a little overwhelmed because I don't know where to start?


Thank you.

Offline Hood

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Re: Mach3 / MaxNC Embedded Computer / & should I get into this at all?
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2011, 02:59:19 PM »
You are probably being overwhelmed by all the variables and no matter which route you take you will have a learning curve which will be steep at first.
 Afraid I know nothing about the MaxNC machines so cant really help unless you can find some documentation. Having said that there are a couple of pinouts on the ftp site for Max machines which may help you, even if it means you need to connect things up to a PC rather than an embedded platform