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Author Topic: Should (Can) I buy Mach 3  (Read 6493 times)

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Re: Should (Can) I buy Mach 3
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2017, 03:42:47 PM »
Where do I find the USB plugin?  I've looked in the Mach3 folder, and don't see it listed at all.  Can it be called something different?  Do I need to buy some kind of card for my computer?

Here is the CNC I bought:

Thank you.

Offline ger21

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Re: Should (Can) I buy Mach 3
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2017, 08:56:20 PM »
It should have come with the machine, on the same CD as the pirated copy of Mach3 they give you.
You need to ask the people you bought it from.

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Re: Should (Can) I buy Mach 3
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2017, 04:33:13 PM »
I don't want to pirate Mach3.  Can anyone point me in the direction of a solution?  I accept that I got a lemon, but I got the steppers, lead screws, table, etc for a decent price, even if the controller doesn't work.  My confusion is that the serial port connection even supplies the power to the spindle.
Re: Should (Can) I buy Mach 3
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2017, 05:11:33 PM »
the solution is ditch the Chinese electronics and buy decent stuff from a company that supports their products.
Buy a licence for either Mach3 or Mach4 direct from Artsoft.

My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Should (Can) I buy Mach 3
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2017, 11:34:26 PM »

Gee, thanks.  I'll just junk the $600 I spent on hardware.   Not gonna happen.  I'm trying to do the right thing.  I don't want to pirate software.  Why doesn't Mach3 support USB?  Do you know what a pain in the ass it is to find a computer with a serial port these days?  I'll probably just get the pirated version but pay for a Mach3 license.  My hardware will work and I'll sleep just fine at night.
Re: Should (Can) I buy Mach 3
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2017, 02:31:53 AM »
you've spent $600 on hardware but are not prepared to follow through and make all that gear work?

Firstly Mach is a Windows program that requires a MOTION CONTROLLER to operate connected machinery. Traditionally
Mach used a parallel port as its motion controller. In more recent times external motion controllers have become available
variously connected including USB. If you can get the Chinese motion controller to work good luck to you. You may have noted
that hundreds if not thousands of posts on this forum are about Chinese made controllers that people can't get to work.

If you want to get your router to work using quality electronics that are well supported by their manufacturers consider
the UC100 by CNCdrive or PMDX-411 by PMDX and couple that to a Gecko 540 and never look back.


My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Should (Can) I buy Mach 3
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2017, 04:22:03 AM »
should've made it plain the UC100 or PMDX-411 are USB devices, they get their power from the PC when you plug into a USB port. Inside the device
is either a DSP or FPGA chip which takes Mach machine code output from USB and produces highly accurate pulse streams for steppers or servos which
exit the device on a DB25 connector, aka a parallel port.

They are WAY WAY to clever to be called a 'USB to Parallel Converter', they are genuine external motion controllers, but may be thought of as
a converter. As such you could plug it in to the parallel port on the control box you got with your router.

The Gecko 540 I recommended combines a breakout board and multi stepper driver in one. You probably don't really need it but Gecko have a superb
reputation for reliability and they back them up. Most Chinese controllers use a common and cheap Toshiba IC for stepper drivers and they blow up all
the time.

There you have it... the cheapest way to get your machine to go is about $100 for either of the motion controllers, another $300 for a 540 if you want
better drivers plus of course a licence for Mach. There you have a choice, Mach3 is well established and has lots of features and tricks built in for $175.
All development work has ceased on Mach3, it will still be around for years yet but it is or will be overtaken by Mach4. Mach4 is all new, its modular,
designed and engineered in modern fashion. It is still developing but for mills and routers it ready to go. Mach4 is $200. Given that is all new you CANT
upgrade from Mach3...you have to buy new. If you want the latest and greatest go straight to Mach4. Both the UC100 and PMDX-411 have Mach4
plugins available.

You can also of course get a PC with a parallel port. I bought a mini-ITX board base on a dual core Atom CPU a couple of years ago, it had a parallel port
built in and I added another with a PCI card and used Mach3 with two ports for a couple of years. It can be done and cheaply.

I have more recently changed to Mach4 and an external motion controller, an ESS by Warp9 but on the same little miniITX board.


My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Should (Can) I buy Mach 3
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2017, 04:23:58 PM »
Thank you Joe!  I'll research these.  I have always planned for this machine to be my entry model.  Once I get up and running, and understand the intricacies, I'll build my own, and will convert this unit to a laser.
Re: Should (Can) I buy Mach 3
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2017, 07:44:54 PM »
kool, glad to help. A good external controller is a REAL step in the right direction. I have used parallel ports
and they work but are quirky and sometimes just a PITA!
Aside from anything else an external controller doesn't care whether its XP,7,8,10 32 or 64 bit.

My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Should (Can) I buy Mach 3
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2017, 05:35:19 PM »
I have my CNC Mill hooked up to a controller I built using a C10 board etc., it is connected to a PC running a clean install of XP with no internet connection in my garage. Can I run Mach3 under Windows 10 inside the house without the parallel port driver, generate the g-code, and then transfer the g-code with a USB thumb drive? Would this be similar to an external motion controller? Thanks for any help you can give me.