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Author Topic: Future of Mach3 ??  (Read 3464 times)

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Offline beefy

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Future of Mach3 ??
« on: July 11, 2015, 12:35:30 AM »
Just wondering others opinions on the future of Mach3.

XP will get progressively more difficult to find as time goes by (i.e. legal versions), and Microsoft won't sell licenses anymore.

And what about suitable PCs with parallel port, they are getting older more unreliable, and slowly getting harder to find.

I'm getting to a good stage with Mach3 but wonder if I should at some point start looking at Linuxcnc for the future. Not something I want to do but thinking down the track.

Opinions ?

Keith

Offline derek

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Re: Future of Mach3 ??
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2015, 06:39:42 AM »
Officially there is no future for Mach3 being as they have no plans on fixing the many bugs that plague it. If you are running a 3 axis basic machine with no plugins and don't mind breaking a bit every so often because the spindle doesn't start then Mach3 isn't too bad. Beyond that it's a crap shoot.

I too am looking at linuxcnc and the Mesa cards. Things seem to have matured a bit since I checked them out last.

Offline RICH

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Re: Future of Mach3 ??
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2015, 06:50:08 AM »
Mach4 is progressing and will replace Mach3.
So I just see it all as a time of transition which includes ALL the things associated with your "PC SYSTEM".
My thought would be to provide for that transition to see yourself thru the transition.
Then at the appropriate time do what makes sense for yourself.

RICH




Offline ger21

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Re: Future of Mach3 ??
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2015, 09:05:27 AM »
Quote
I'm getting to a good stage with Mach3 but wonder if I should at some point start looking at Linuxcnc for the future. Not something I want to do but thinking down the track.

If you want to keep using Mach3 indefinitely, and you have a PC that works well, just buy 1 or 2 spare motherboards for it on Ebay. You should be able to find at least one for a pretty cheap price.
You can also get new copies of XP on Ebay, if you don't have a disc.

You can also buy an external motion controller like a UC100 for about $125, and run Mach3 on any modern PC with any modern OS, for as long as you want. This probably makes the most sense.

If you decide to move on to a better control than Mach3, there are other options besides LinuxCNC and Mach4.
Look into Planet CNC, Eding CNC, and UCCNC. All are arguably better than Mach3 at this point in time.
Gerry

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JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
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Offline BR549

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Re: Future of Mach3 ??
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2015, 10:13:11 AM »
Win 7 (32bit)  works and I believe 8.1(32bit) for using the LPT version..

But as Gerry states there are OTHER solutions for CNC control that are VERY MODERN.

(;-) TP

Offline beefy

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Re: Future of Mach3 ??
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2015, 05:22:19 PM »
Thanks everyone.

Terry has told me about Eding CNC, but I haven't heard of the other ones. I'll check them out too.

As I've came to know Mach3 more and more, it's a pity having to consider moving. I'm a bit wary of the external motion controller boards. I do plasma cutting and an external motion controller card can introduce latency/timing issues when you want to have perfect torch firing/extinguishing timing relative to XY motion. The latest Candcnc system has had this issue and at this point in time it seems there isn't a fix. They've even announced they are developing a Linuxcnc system. I could be wrong but I think I also heard the UC100 doesn't work with a slaved axis ??

Keith.

Offline derek

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Re: Future of Mach3 ??
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2015, 05:28:21 PM »
I'm running a UC-100 and the UCCNC motion control software on a slaved axis router with no issues. My problems are more of a work flow mach vs UCCNC. UCCNC has a conversion program that takes your mach config file and writes the settings to the UCCNC config. That saves a ton of time.

At least with the UCCNC software the spindle turns on every time:)

Offline ger21

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Re: Future of Mach3 ??
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2015, 05:30:39 PM »
Quote
I'm a bit wary of the external motion controller boards.

That's a Mach3 issue, and not the fault of the motion controllers. Every other alternative software control uses external motion controllers, or signal generators. The difference is that they were designed this way from the start, where with Mach3, external motion controllers were added several years after Mach3 was written.
Gerry

2010 Screenset
http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

Offline beefy

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Re: Future of Mach3 ??
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2015, 08:31:45 PM »
Quote
I'm a bit wary of the external motion controller boards.

That's a Mach3 issue, and not the fault of the motion controllers. Every other alternative software control uses external motion controllers, or signal generators. The difference is that they were designed this way from the start, where with Mach3, external motion controllers were added several years after Mach3 was written.

Hi Gerry,

I was relating external motion controllers to Mach3 when I said I'm wary of them, not other software. It was suggested to use the UC100 as a way of keeping Mach3.

With a normal Mach3 parallel port setup you can use the M10/11 commands to switch the torch off DURING motion and it works good. The latest Candcnc sytem is using an external motion controller and you cannot do the same thing. At this point in time there has not been a fix for this, and it looks like one may not be coming.

In any case I don't class it as a "fault", simply one system doesn't work together with another system to give a particular result.

Keith

Offline beefy

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Re: Future of Mach3 ??
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2015, 08:39:12 PM »
I'm running a UC-100 and the UCCNC motion control software on a slaved axis router with no issues. My problems are more of a work flow mach vs UCCNC. UCCNC has a conversion program that takes your mach config file and writes the settings to the UCCNC config. That saves a ton of time.

At least with the UCCNC software the spindle turns on every time:)

Good to know Derek (slaved axis),

I think a router is easy with an external motion controller, but with plasma you have torch height control. Mach3 built in THC takes THC UP and THC DOWN signals via the PARALLEL PORT, so an external motion controller won't work. The only possibility would be to have a completely independent external THC like the Candcnc system, but then that still leaves the issue with turning the torch off during motion. I wonder if the UC100 can handle the M10/11 commands.

Keith.