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Author Topic: How many people here are running mach3 on industrial machines?  (Read 3822 times)

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How many people here are running mach3 on industrial machines?
« on: February 24, 2016, 08:38:10 PM »
Curious how many people on here are using mach3 retrofits on industrial mills and lathes? Ive been keeping an eye out for a cheap VMC for my garage mostly for hobby use and also to maybe make a few bucks in spair time. I have been considering buying a broken or older machine and retrofitting but the more i read on here, the more uncertain i am. I see alot of posts about bugs, random moves, unexplained crashes, etc. And ive learned there will be a delay in feed hold, homing wont be accurate since it does not use index pulse of encoder, etc.

Anyway just wondering if many people here have done successful retrofits on industrial machines? Are you happy with performance and reliability? Should i go this way or save a little more for a newer VMC with a decent controller from the factory?

What about the toolchanger? I could live without toolchanger for a while but would like to have it working eventually. Is this possible in mach with basic electrical knowledge? Im a mechanical technologist, with some electrical skills (confident in rest of retrofit) but certainly not a electrical engineer. Should i be looking for a machine with a carousel tool changer (like fadal and hass machines) or a side mount toolchanger with arm (mazak or Hass SS machines)?
« Last Edit: February 24, 2016, 08:39:47 PM by mmurray70 »

Offline BR549

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Re: How many people here are running mach3 on industrial machines?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2016, 09:19:05 PM »
Too Many bugs in the higher gcode functions for me to even consider using Mach3 on a VMC for commercial use. Also no conditional Gcode or MacroB support.  Macros can be very quircky at times.

(;-) TP

Offline stirling

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Re: How many people here are running mach3 on industrial machines?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2016, 06:28:44 AM »
mostly for hobby use and also to maybe make a few bucks in spair time.

Just highlighting this - your title might be misleading perhaps.

Offline ger21

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Re: How many people here are running mach3 on industrial machines?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2016, 07:16:49 AM »
Yeah, lots of people use mach3 for hobby use on large machines.
Also, regarding Terry's comments. Just because Mach3 may not do what you need, doesn't mean that you can't convert the machine. There is a lot of competition in the DIY CNC control field.
Gerry

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Offline BR549

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Re: How many people here are running mach3 on industrial machines?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2016, 11:15:53 AM »
Yep your title is deceptive .  YEs you can convert a machine. It will depend on what you want to do with your machine. And yes as Gerry pointed out there are other options for controllers as well.

IF I were going to buy a commercial machine such as a VMC I would look for a good used machine that ran. Bargains can still be found. NOW IF I wanted teh Conversion experience as part of teh hobby then by all means see if you can buy a machine with dead controls.

When you do that be PREPARED to spend a LOT of time and a LOT of money getting it up and running as well as it would run with teh original controller.

(;-) TP
Re: How many people here are running mach3 on industrial machines?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2016, 08:10:52 PM »
Sorry if the title is off a bit. Mostly wondering how many people have used mach to convert industrial sized machines and if they are happy with results. Seems like all the talk in the forums is about benchtop machines. Need to know if it can be trusted with a real machine. An unexplained crash might be a setback or a ruined part on a benchtop machine but on a 10,000+lb machine it could very costly and a serious safety concern.

We have two medium VMCs at work (40x20x20), one is a late 90's Taiwan machine with fanuc control and the other is a fairly new mazak. The mazak is awesome. Super fast, accurate, amazing control but of course is way over budget and power hungry for a garage machine. Something like the older mill with fanuc control might be affordable but its painfully slow. Does a terrible job cutting arcs at anything more then like 10 IPM, cuts more undersize the faster you go, It rounds out sharp corners, etc. 3d toolpaths are not accurate if you try to go fast, and it lags below programmed speed because it cant process the code fast enough anyway.

Im assuming that at least mach with eliminate these problems right? If i have decent AC servos and drives then i should get good accuracy at decent feed rates right? And there is plenty of look ahead so it shouldnt slow down in 3d moves right? Or am i thinking wrong?

If im thinking right, it should be fairly easy to get a high performance machine with no tool changer with mach. Of course you have to deal with the issue of toolchanger, but thats not an impossible goal and machine could be used with manual tool changes right away. But buying a working older machine in my budget probably means being stuck with a slow machine forever. Any thoughts? Am i understanding this correctly?

Offline BR549

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Re: How many people here are running mach3 on industrial machines?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2016, 08:34:29 PM »
A big machine is going to be POWER hungry any way you look at it. Speed cost money how fast do you want to go ?   Dependabilty cost money how dependable do you want it ?

For the most part Mach3 cannot do 3d HSM type motions FAST as it is limited by thoughput and teh Z accel values which goes BACK to money and how fast do you want to go.

Mach3 can be a great hobby controller within th boundaries of hobby type work and within teh Simple realm of hobby Gcode. When you get beyond that point it suffers from glitchs and bugs that will NEVER be fixed and can break parts and tools and you really don't won't to walk away from it often.

IF you want to have/run a commercial type machine buy a commercial type machine or at least upgrade it with a commercial control that is a  proven performer. BUT be prepared to spend some Cash on it cause it ain't cheap.

Just a thought(;-) TP

Re: How many people here are running mach3 on industrial machines?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2016, 07:23:50 PM »
For the most part Mach3 cannot do 3d HSM type motions FAST as it is limited by thoughput and teh Z accel values which goes BACK to money and how fast do you want to go.

Mach3 can be a great hobby controller within th boundaries of hobby type work and within teh Simple realm of hobby Gcode. When you get beyond that point it suffers from glitchs and bugs that will NEVER be fixed and can break parts and tools and you really don't won't to walk away from it often.


Can you explain these limitations with more detail? What exactly do you mean by throughput? In terms of Z acceleration values this would be related to servo/drive right? Or is there some other limiting factor with mach when doing complex 3 axis moves?

Offline Hood

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Re: How many people here are running mach3 on industrial machines?
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2016, 08:19:13 AM »
Have used Mach3 on many large machines, presently have it on a small coil winding machine (so not really what you are asking about) Also have it on a Beaver Mill, kind of like a sturdier Bridgeport, so again not really what you are seeking. The other two machines I presently use it on are what you are talking about I think. One is a fair sized lathe with 8 position turret and the other is a Chiron FZ12S with a 12 position tool changer.

Don't run the lathe every day, sometimes not even once a week, just depends on the work I have to do at the time but most of my lathe needs are easier done on the manual lathe as it is simple stuff for the most part. If threading is needed I will often turn the part on the manual and pop in the CNC for threading. If the part involves anything more than just straight turning then it will be done on the CNC.

The Chiron I use every day, works great and never an issue with any of the machines, well except issues of my own doing ;)

Personally I don't need conditional, macro B etc, decent CAM and the machines do all I need and more.

The controller choice is the big one for me.


Hood
Re: How many people here are running mach3 on industrial machines?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2016, 08:38:28 AM »
Good to hear from you today Hood!   It's like a breath of fresh air hearing the voice of hard-earned experience & knowledge. ;D
Milton from Tennessee ya'll.