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Offline ger21

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Re: Mach3 under win10
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2017, 05:49:52 PM »
As long as you don't need accurate probing, or any other features that it doesn't support. Most if not all of the chinese motion controllers do not properly support probing in Mach3.

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Re: Mach3 under win10
« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2017, 04:01:07 PM »
Upgraded to Windows 10. CNC doesn't work with Parallel Port. From the configuration I have, and from what I understand, it seems that I have a Break out Board but not a Motion Controller. I was wondering if anybody could recommend me a motion controller based off of the specs of my setup? The specs to my set up are included in this nifty Wiki Page:

Re: Mach3 under win10
« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2017, 10:41:04 PM »
Hi Caytonium,
CNCdrive UC100 and PMDX 411 are USB connected motion controllers with a standard DB25 socket. They are around $100 and both companies
have very good reputations for support. Note that both of these have a Mach4 plugin if you wish to step up at some time in the future. Note also that
they are equivalent to ONE parallel port, if you want more IO or think that you might in the future then consider Warp9 USS or ESS , Pokeys 57U or 57E
series or PMDX 424. They all have more IO, the 424 the equivalent of 'two ports worth', the USS or ESS 'three ports worth' and the PoKeys devices even more.
Excepting the USS they are Mach4 capable, good support policies and cost effective, between about $100-$225.

Vital Systems Hicon board or DSPMC unit are very good but $600 and more depending on features and Mach4 capable.

CSlabs make a very nice 4 axis unit for around $250 and a 6 axis for $600. Neither are Mach4 capable at the moment.

There are plenty of Chinese offerings as well. It has escaped my attention that any of them are very good and seemingly China might as well be on
another planet when it comes to support but they are extremely well priced.


My wife left with my best friend...
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Re: Mach3 under win10
« Reply #23 on: July 03, 2017, 04:03:13 AM »
Hi Claytonium,
I have been reminded to mention other manufacturers, it always dangerous to make recommendations and comparisons between competing
products, if your information is the slightest bit weak or worse wrong then it can cause offence to various stakeholders!

Two that I omitted from the list above are Galil and Dynomotion. Both companies have been around seems like forever and have great products.

A three axis Ethernet connected Galil controller can cost anywhere between $1000 and $2000 depending on various features offered. Extra axes cost more.
As you can see these products are VERY classy and would be at home in high priced industrial equipment, beyond my budget. Also at this time don't believe
there is a Mach4 plugin ready to go.

Dynomotion have a Kflop board for about $250. There are add-on components that add features but all in all is pretty well priced. Not sure whether there is
a Mach4 plugin yet.

Should point out that any controller that doesn't have a Mach4 plugin or one in the pipeline gets little interest from me. I don't have to defend that position either,
I like Mach4 and its potential is just so much more than Mach3 and if some manufacturer doesn't like that..... TUFF!!


My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Mach3 under win10
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2017, 02:27:32 PM »
Ok I am a bit confused. Granted I am a bit new to the whole CNC world but I did recently put together a decent sized machine from a kit I bought online for somewhere near $300.00  It came with a tinyg board that plugs directly into my laptop.  The software learning curve is a tough one. To do most things it seems to take up to 3 or more different pieces of software that could easily cost more then the cost to build the machine.  First you need the software that actually sends the gcode to the CNC router. In my case it is chilipepper or some such thing. But you also need software to create the code in the first place.  That software seems to depend on what you are actually doing.  Of course if you want to convert a picture or a template you need another piece of software.

So my background is mechanical and I have welders and a cheap plasma machine. My son also picked up a broken 3d printer we want to fix but need a new controller board for it. Of course we also need software for it.  All we have are laptops of cheap vintage. Namely the cheapest you can get at Costco. They only have USB ports. This talk of BOB's and motion controllers is confusing. So what is the tinyg board that I am using? Is it a BOB or a Motion controller? Will mach3 or 4 not work with a tinyG board? I want to build a CNC plasma cutter table but I still have to control it. I was going to try to either use my spare smoothie board for either it or the 3d printer but not sure which it would be good for if either.  I also heard plasma produces a noisy environment that can mess some boards up plus you have to hack into the torch for on and off control.

My son uses the router table and would probably use the 3dprinter with his laptop. I need to be able to use all three with my laptop.  Am I going to be able to use mach 3 or 4 without going completely broke?
Re: Mach3 under win10
« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2017, 02:58:43 PM »
the tinyg board is a motion controller and 4 axis driver. The drivers are very small and will only accommodate small stepper motors at low voltages.
If you want to drive bigger motors with higher voltages say 60-80V then you will need standalone drivers. In the Mach world US maker Gecko has a
great reputation for making reliable drivers but they'll cost you $100-$200 each.

A Mach capable motion controller will cost $100 or more. You could with the right PC and OS use a parallel port which means you don't need a motion
controller but you'll still need a breakout board.

Mach3 costs $175 and Mach4 costs $200.

My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Mach3 under win10
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2017, 12:14:24 PM »
Thanks Craig.

The nema 23's that My router table uses seem more then adequate but I guess if I wanted mad speed I would need something bigger then thenema23's and  tinyG. What I like about the tinyG is I can control the amps going to the motors right from the board. You raised a few more questions though. The tinyG setup I have uses ChilliPepper to send the gCode to the tinyG and for me that is bad since it requires internet access or a nerd genius to figure out how to download some files and tweak those files to work offline. So would mach3 or mach4 even work with the tinyG? Keep in mind all I have is laptops from windows 7 to windows 10.

I also have a smoothieboard I can use for one of the upcoming projects. Am I correct in assuming it too is a motion controller and 4axis driver?
Re: Mach3 under win10
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2017, 02:53:07 PM »
the TinyG will not work with Mach, 3 or 4.

The principle activity of Mach is a Gcode interpretor, secondarily but still importantly, it is an IO program. In the early days when the parallel port
was the only option for hobbyists it also provided the code for the PC's CPU to be the motion controller. These days most people use an external
motion controller like the UC100 or a Smoothstepper. The parallel port still works and is free but it can be problematic and restricts the choice of
PC's you can use.

Probably the cheapest way forward for you, if you wish to go the Mach track at all, is a UC100 or a PMDX-411 and a Gecko G540.
The UC100 or PMDX-411 are motion controllers, they plug into a USB port on your PC and produce output signals on a DB25 plug familiar to
anyone who've used a parallel port in the past. They are about $100. The Gecko G540 is a combination stepper motor driver and breakout board.
It accepts signals from a DB25 socket, just perfect for the UC100/PMDX-411, and has four DB9 plugs for four steppers and a bunch of screw terminals
for home/limits/spindle etc. The G540 can handle 50V, not earth shattering but quite enuf to make your steppers take notice. You can set the motor
output current by soldering a resistor of the right size into your DB9 plug, easy. The G540 is $300. As I've said before and others will endorse Gecko
make reliable gear, I'm sure you can find cheaper but I doubt you'll find better.

With these two items and the licence cost of Mach you are looking at an investment of about $600. You might wangle a way to do it cheaper but probably
not by much and certainly with less manufacturers and forum support when it comes time to get it to work.

The advantage of Mach over the software that you've already tried is that the Gcode programs which run it are 'industry standard', or at least as standard
as it gets, it copies Fanuc Gcode, about 80% of the industrial market. So you could go to a half million dollar machining centre and see and understand the same
code that runs your router at home. Also all the CAD/CAM programs which are used industrially you can now use. Be warned a lot of them are VERY expensive,
Mastercam, one of the oldest and most capable CAM programs costs about $20,000 and $2500 a year! There is a new player out there though which is transforming
the hobby CNC scene, its called Fusion 360. It is a CAD/CAM program written and maintained by the Autodesk, the same company who bring us AutoCAD and
HSMWorks two very capable and expensive bits of software, but Fusion 360 is free! Even better than free is its damn good too. Even if you decide not to go Mach3
you can still download and fiddle with Fusion 360.

You'll have to decide whether Mach represents a good investment for you. You can download and experiment with Mach3 and Mach4 without cost. The Demo versions
are fully featured but can only do tiny little jobs before you have to reset it. My personal preference is Mach4 being the new and developing version.

I have no idea what a smoothieboard is...I have Mach thanks and don't need any of the pretenders!


My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Mach3 under win10
« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2017, 06:11:01 PM »
Thanks Craig. I guess if I ever need to go industrial I'll know where to start. And by industrial I mean someone drops a project in my lap with a pile of money and says, "do it!"

I have heard good things about Fusion360 and I use Tinkercad for the kiddies to learn on but for myself I can't be tied to the net so I use DesignSpark. Seems to work pretty well with short learning curve.

A smoothie board is just a controller board. It can be used for just about any CNC operation. Often used for 3d printers.  Probably about the same caliber as a tinyG only more capable.


Offline Dcj

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Re: Mach3 under win10
« Reply #29 on: September 25, 2017, 06:33:31 PM »
I'm new to this forum.  I'm building a cnc router and just investigating now.  Just want to be sure about something.  Am I correct that I should be able to use a windows 10 desktop with the usb port to a motion controller feeding the parallel port on the breakout board for the motors.  Thanks.  Great stuff here!