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Author Topic: USB Breakout board for Mach3  (Read 45717 times)

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USB Breakout board for Mach3
« on: June 21, 2011, 06:34:47 AM »
Hi Guys,

I've been tinkering around with Mach3 here at work with a student built CNC mill and also helping a friend with a small Emco CNC lathe upgrade. With all the tinkering I really decided that it is time I get my own breakout board to play with at home as I have had a long interest in building my own machine.

Currently it would seem as if only LPT port breakout boards are available and the USB versions are either lacking in functionality or has poor support or are just plain expensive. I have some old PCs lying around at home but think going the USB route is the logical one. The board I'm currently interested in can be found at: http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/445057014/4_Axis_CNC_Breakout_Board_Mach3_USB_Interface_Board_Capable_with_Windows2000_XP_Vista_etc_.html

From what have I read it has most of the things I would want. Although it has no relay output, it is easy enough to add that later with another PCB. The price also compares well (hardly any difference) with locally supplied LPT board with similar functionality.

Has anyone ever bought one of these? Know of compatibility issues? Know of other similarly priced USB boards? I've contacted the supplier with some questions and am awaiting his reply but thought I'd ask here as they claim it is Mach3 compatible (R3.042.040) which would mean someone must have tested it...

Best Regards

Offline Hood

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Re: USB Breakout board for Mach3
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2011, 06:57:09 AM »
Have seen it mentioned before in questions but dont know of anyone that has used one and have never seen the plugin that would be needed for it.
Hood

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: USB Breakout board for Mach3
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2011, 07:58:23 AM »
Crystallattice

As far as I know, nobody has used one of these boards yet or at least reported back on it's use and as you say it does seems a logical progression.
I am a bit strapped for funds at the moment otherwise I would buy one just to try - Somebody has to be the first, why not you ?

Tweakie.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: USB Breakout board for Mach3
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2011, 09:21:43 AM »
Tweakie I'll gladly be the first, just waiting for someone to send me the funds.....

There are options which has free shipping to US (which is not where I am...)

I'm also strapped for cash, that's always been the delay for building my own. I work for an university and used their spare board for my friends lathe project as he wanted to test first before going any further. They needed the board again at work so his machine is standing again. I was looking for a simple LPT/USB design which I can make myself when I decided USB would probably be better especially compared to the local LPT version.

They will only get my questions at 9AM Beijing time, so I'll still have to wait a bit I suppose.

I didn't think to ask about the driver as they said it does not need any, but further down on the page they tell you to copy a dll to the Mach3 folder??

Will keep you guys posted!

Best Regards

Offline Hood

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Re: USB Breakout board for Mach3
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2011, 09:40:34 AM »
The USB part wont need a driver but you will need a plugin (dll) to allow Mach to talk.
One other thing is it seems from a quick glance that its only 1 port worth of I/O, that may or may not be enough and I wonder if you can add more? For example the SmoothStepper has two parallel ports worth of I/O plus another 6 inputs, so although you would really still need a breakout board it may not sounds so expensive compared to that board if requiring the extra I/O

Hood
Re: USB Breakout board for Mach3
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2011, 10:28:19 AM »
Hood, I'm not sure how many I/Os the other boards have but this has three outputs per axis, alot of inputs, speed output and input for the spindle and if memory serves me correct 8 outputs for coolant and other stuff. If you count the opto couplers by the inputs you should get and idea of how many are available. Judging by the string of LEDs it would seem there is more. Either way, for my purposes I think it will be enough.

I did a quick google search for the "usbmove.zip" they refer to but only found some chinese links. I will ask the guy when he reponds to elaborate on that. Maybe it's a generic Mach3 dll?

Otherwise I thought I could convince the university to buy one for a student... If it works I'll buy my own, if not, I'll still have my bucks safe in the bank!

Best Regards

Offline Hood

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Re: USB Breakout board for Mach3
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2011, 10:35:26 AM »
Yes, looked again and it indeed does seem to have at least 16 inputs.
Dont think there is such a thing as a generic plugin as they need to be tailored to talk to each device as each will have its own requirements. It will have its own plugin as it has to have one to work and the tools are available from Mach to make your own. How good or bad it is will only be known when someone buys one and reports back, hopefully your Uni will have the money for that, no need to telll them they will be the pioneers ;D

Hood
Re: USB Breakout board for Mach3
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2011, 01:55:59 PM »
I tried to post the manual but it did not work, send me your email, and i will try to send it to you directly, as a RAR file,( the whole usb-move file)
You will laugh when you read the manual, but it look's as though it can be figured out

Richard

Offline Hood

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Re: USB Breakout board for Mach3
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2011, 01:58:58 PM »
You can attach the manual if you use the additional options on the reply page, if its of a format that the forum doesnt accept then just zip and it should be fine.
Hood
Re: USB Breakout board for Mach3
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2011, 02:07:03 PM »
Ok, one more try!