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Author Topic: The 64bit decision...I'd like to hear your opinion  (Read 8865 times)

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The 64bit decision...I'd like to hear your opinion
« on: January 01, 2015, 11:35:24 AM »
So I am starting on my way to building a CNC and as usual am learning my fire.
My goal is a 3 axis spindle machine that I can change the head on and run plasma.  I would like to use Mach due to the large community and knowledge base.

So here is screw up number 2 on my part.  I aquired a 64bit Windows 7 pro, completely missing the "Mach3 doesn't work with 32bit Parallel ports".

The question now is what to do.

It would seem the cheapest answer is to buy a 32 bit machine for <$100us and find something to do with the other machine I bought for this purpose.  All the documentation is out there and it is a well traveled path to success.
~or~
Buy a motion controller.  This is a very gray area for me.  All the advertising is that motion controllers run faster and smoother.  Price goes up for sure.

Given that I am just getting started with this and it is not currently an income stream for me, I'd like some opinions on how best to proceed.  I don't mind spending the money if the performance will be worth it in the end.

Thanks in advance.

P.

Re: The 64bit decision...I'd like to hear your opinion
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2015, 12:17:16 PM »
I also bought a computer running 7x64 with a smoothstepper. You should know that as far as I can tell, Mach 3 torch height control is dependent on having the port driver installed. As far as I know the thc function is the only way to adjust the z axis through Mach while cutting. At this point, I'm going to try uninstalling the 64 and installing the windows 7 32 bit so that I can at least install the port driver. I am hoping that this at least will fully enable the thc in Mach even though I don't have a printer port. Bear in mind that I am also a newbie. If more experienced users have something to add or think I'm wrong, their probable right.
Re: The 64bit decision...I'd like to hear your opinion
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2015, 06:12:23 PM »
Well...there's a thought.  I could just install a 32bit OS.  I wonder if anyone else has tried that in this application.  Thanks for the idea.

P.

Offline BLM

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Re: The 64bit decision...I'd like to hear your opinion
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2015, 08:08:11 PM »
Get the Ethernet Smooth Stepper. The best option for the money & you can keep the 64bit OS. For what it's worth, don't buy a cheapo USB motion controller! It won't support THC! The Smooth Stepper does support THC.
Brian
Re: The 64bit decision...I'd like to hear your opinion
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2015, 08:23:08 PM »
Just finished my second machine with 64 Bit OS.  As BLM stated, don't go with cheapo usb motion controller.  Although I went with CSMIO-M by Cs-Labs it was between it and the smoothe stepper.  The original control board was Chinese control board and it had to go.  As far as the 64 bit system controlling it I couldn't be more pleased.  Im sure that if you purchased a new computer your OEM will send you a 32 bit OS for it.  We have to do that at work from time to time.  You will then have to add parallel port cards to interface with mach if you choose to go that route.  There is good support on the forum which ever path you choose.  Good LUCK!!!
Re: The 64bit decision...I'd like to hear your opinion
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2015, 09:20:01 PM »
BLM,
So you've used the Ethernet smoothstepper with the Mach internal thc logic? I thought a lot of the thc  functions were on the port driver. I'm not trying to challenge you, I just can't find a straight answer about using the ess smoothstepper with a thc. I don't really want to get away from the 64 bit, I just need a torch height control that works with the ess smoothstepper and has some sort of manual control for slow speed oxy\fuel on thick plate. Any suggestions would be great.
Neil

Offline Hood

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Re: The 64bit decision...I'd like to hear your opinion
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2015, 07:24:40 AM »
Best bet would be to contact Greg and see if the ESS can do what you want. I know it supports THC functions but not sure if it will do exactly as you want although if you do not have a THC then it may be possible to set up a couple of switches to simulate one.

Also check out the CSMIO products, I believe they too support THC, so might be worth an email off to them as well.
Hood

Offline BLM

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Re: The 64bit decision...I'd like to hear your opinion
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2015, 08:14:04 AM »
Since I installed the ESS I have had THC working. However, lesson#2; don't use cheapo THC either! I have a Proma which work whenever it feels like it. I am planning to install a THC from Texas Microcircuits, as soon as time and money allows.
Re: The 64bit decision...I'd like to hear your opinion
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2015, 11:43:39 AM »
Ok, so my problem is that reading through past discussions, I have seen people state that some of Mach's thc logic is written on the port driver. No one ever explains exactly what thc functions will be lost by not installing the port driver. 

Offline BLM

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Re: The 64bit decision...I'd like to hear your opinion
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2015, 12:09:31 PM »
I'm somewhat new to Mach3 so I don't know all the specifics. But from my experience and research it seems the built in Mach3 THC logic is erratic and somewhat difficult to get to work reliably. So, in reading info on other brand THC it seems that the ones with a dedicated plugin would be the most responsive and reliable. I also look for a system that is built and supported by a real person that I can talk English to if I have issues. ;)