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Author Topic: Mach 3 turn  (Read 1430 times)

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Re: Mach 3 turn
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2018, 02:20:51 AM »
Hi Roger/Craig

Thanks for taking the time.

I purchased the TC5520 on a recommendation of one of of the members of this forum. I am only just now connecting it up. The manual is upfront about some of its limitations and it remains to be seen how much use I will get out of it.

One of the difficulties I face as a CNC beginner is knowing the questions to ask. The an old adage about the dangers of keeping your mouth shut and having people think you are stupid rather than opening it and removing all doubt being uppermost in my mind.

There is a lot of information about the use of Mach 3 software but not a lot on the specifics of the hardware you need to build to use it. This is why I was trying to see if the CNC system I installed on my mill to cut clock wheels will work on my metal lathe. As I said it was not helped by a computer failure. I was thinking of building a later version of my mill CNC system which uses a Stepper Bee+ controller but this version uses a USB connection to a laptop that makes it more difficult to use Mach 3 unless I look for the more sophisticated solution you talked about.

I think I need to get a better understanding of the conventional use of Mach 3 before I think about the Ethernet version.

My impression of the retailers of units like the TC5520 is that they are more interested in marketing their product than supporting it as Mach 3 does. So if you can point me in the direction of any support for this system I would appreciate it.

Incidentally, my primary interest is in clock making which is something I now teach FOC to members of my crafters club. Let me know if you are interested and I will send you a link to my web page.

regards
Woodie

Offline rcaffin

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Re: Mach 3 turn
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2018, 02:31:54 AM »
Haven't made any clocks. Could be interesting.

Yeah, those vendors are usually no use for support.

Cheers
Roger
Re: Mach 3 turn
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2018, 03:25:59 AM »
Hi,
the primary difference between GRBL, Stepper Bee or your TC5520 and controllers of that ilke and Mach, or indeed any of the main stream CNC control products, is Gcode.
There is no agreement as to what constitutes standard Gcode but most recognize Fanuc as the de-facto standard and just about all Gcode interpreters will implement
it...but not so the smaller controllers like GRBL etc.

There is a vast industry in and around CAD and CAM. The generation of Gcode for industrial purposes is as old as CNC itself. If you wish to participate in
and use the software base that represents to machine parts then get Mach3 or Mach4 or UCCNC or LinuxCNC or....or..... and the list goes on.

Hardware can be as cheap as a few hundred dollars to several millions of dollars....where abouts on that spread are you?

Mach3 is and was natively a parallel port system. Increasingly parallel port capable machines are dying and are being replaced by a PC and external motion controller.
The only advantage of the humble parallel port (to go with its long list of limitations) is that is free.

If your serious about using industrial grade Gcode and want to use Mach3 (or Mach4) do yourself a favour and get an external controller, and not some cheap junk either,
this forum is littered with stories of guys who couldn't resist a bargain and got ripped with a piece of s*********t. A reputable external controller is around $200 and Mach is
another $200 (just ball park figures). If that suits your budget all well and good. If it seems a bit steep then I would advise look elsewhere than Mach, its inexpensive
but not free!

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!

Offline rcaffin

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Re: Mach 3 turn
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2018, 04:08:27 AM »
There is no agreement as to what constitutes standard Gcode but most recognize Fanuc as the de-facto standard
That is not entirely correct.
Mach and other modern controllers implement the NIST version of g-code. That means programs are portable across any NIST-compliant controller. It is an 'open' standard, and like the PC vs others, open standards win in the long run.

Fanuc is only partly NIST-compliant, with the extra disadvantage that code is not portable between different Fanuc controllers. They have changed their own 'home base'. They have chosen to maintain some degree of backward compatibility within their family - going back to the days when controllers were huge boards of chips with not a uP to be seen.

Neither is code portable from any Fanuc to other old industry machines, some of which are really orphans today. They have the same history. To be sure, some of these machines still sell - to an installed base. But some more adventurous owners are starting to rip out the old stuff and switch to NIST controllers. The cast iron is still fine, but the electronics is past its use-by date.

The 'little' controllers mentioned, like GRBL etc, aspire to supporting NIST, but have not got there yet. You have to decide what you want to do with your CNC before deciding whether one of those will suit you. You also have to get fairly familiar with g-code first - there's a Catch-22 in there.

Cheers
Roger
Re: Mach 3 turn
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2018, 07:18:51 AM »
Again thanks for the quick response and information which I will now try to absorb.

I don't have a problem spending a few hundred dollars to get a system, but agree that I need to continue to familiarise myself with G code and also work out what I am actually going to do with it. One of the advantages of CNC controlled metal lathes is that they allow you to create decorative profiles that are probably not possible by hand.

Clock making is fascinating because it has no end point. Unlike many who people, particularly those with engineering backgrounds, I have never had an interest in copying designs of yesteryear. I have cobbled together a simple design (it is what I teach) using an electromagnetic coil and even after ten or more years of fiddling have really only scratched the surface. In terms of expertise, on a scale starting at engineers down to back yard mechanics I fit most neatly into the latter category. And it never gets boring.

Woodie

Offline rcaffin

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Re: Mach 3 turn
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2018, 03:41:55 PM »
I have never regretted upgrading my system to the best I can manage. One of the advantages has been reliability: I can routinely make things I could not make by hand. Another less obvious benefit has been the lack of extreme frustration when things don't work. Older versions (older than .062) and USB devices did not give me that, and I was never too sure where the problem lay.

My 2c: it's meant to be fun, so I set it up so it IS fun.

Cheers
Roger
Re: Mach 3 turn
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2018, 05:24:26 PM »
I agree with your 2c: that is the key.

I call my hobby my reason to get out of bed in the mornings.

It was never my intention to get into metal work. It was just that I had made everything that interested me on my wood lathe and fell into clock making. Metal turning was a natural progression from that.

Nor was it my intention to try tackle CNC, I dropped out of school in 1951 and "science" was never my thing at the best of times. So I will continue to tackle it as I would if I had to eat an elephant - one mouthful at a time.

Woodie