Hello Guest it is March 07, 2021, 10:57:03 PM

Author Topic: Switching from Mach3 to Mach4  (Read 11228 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Rimmel

*
  •  168 168
    • View Profile
Re: Switching from Mach3 to Mach4
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2018, 07:27:57 AM »
Whether you're an established Mach3 user or you're just starting out and all of your machine instructions are for Mach3, it can be daunting to make the switch to Mach4. Some of the buttons are gone or in a different spot than you're used to and even the configuration menus aren't quite the same. Whatever your level of experience is, there is going to be a learning curve when you start using Mach4. The worksheet attached is meant to ease the transition by helping you collect and organize your settings. Fill it out with with the settings you use in Mach3 and you will be able to use it as a reference when you make your profile in Mach4. It is meant to be used alongside the setup guide for your motion controller--as that will dictate which settings are configured in their plugin and which are configured in Mach4--and with the Mach4 configuration manual. It is written with the language and terminology used in Mach4 so you will know what you are looking for when you start applying your settings.

The worksheet should open in both Excel and Open Office. The first page is an introduction and the Worksheet tab on the bottom is where you'll actually fill out your settings.  Please PM me or submit a ticket at support.machsupport.com with any questions or for more information.

Happy CNCing!
-Bryanna

For me the switch isn't about screens and options/buttons moving, it is about functionality. After many years waiting for Mach4 I downloaded the demo and to be honest can't get any feel for the program at all. The demo is far too restrictive to risk spending money on it. After about a minute of looking through a feature I get a message saying demo timed out. Just looking at the Mach4 screen doesn't inspire confidence either e.g. how long has it been in development? 3 - 4 years? Yet as soon as you start it up you are shown this lovely screen (lathe). Last pic is fullscreen



3 - 4 years and the main interface still looks like Linux script kiddy wrote it?

It also doesn't help that Warp9 are still way behind with their plugin for it - yet the rest of the CNC World have moved on and have made massive strides: UCCNC, Masso, PlanetCNC, with LinuxCNC still being as reliable as ever. The problem with Linux however is the people who program it seem to have absolutely no idea at all of how to create an interface that looks good and works.

Honestly looking at Mach4 I think the Masso is the way to go, however it is young yet and far too restrictive in it's options. They seem to have concentrated on hardware and are now playing catchup with the software.

I dunno, I wanted to upgrade fro Mach3 to Mach4 and found that after all this time that I cannot see a single advantage of doing so - but many disadvantages.


Rimmel  :-[


Offline Rimmel

*
  •  168 168
    • View Profile
Re: Switching from Mach3 to Mach4
« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2018, 07:31:46 AM »
How is Mach 4?

Can it do everything Mach 3 could?

Is Mach 4 complete?

Is Mach 4 stable?

Thanks

No

No

and NO.
Re: Switching from Mach3 to Mach4
« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2018, 06:47:41 PM »
Hi Rimmel,
I think your criticism is unfair.

You pointed out a screen where a small fraction of a control was truncated by virtue of the screen size. Screens written by NFS are usually pretty good, they fit most screens and/or scale to most screens but not all.
Because a screen set does not fit perfectly with your PC screen without you having to do a few screen editing tweaks you are claiming incompetence by NFS?  Of the other CNC software you have mentioned how many
have as able screen editing and GUI functions as Mach4? The screen editing and GUI functions represent a very much larger chunk of code than Machs core and very much harder to achieve and are a major step up
over its competeition.

Additionally, does it matter that much....I mean this is software for controlling a mill, router, lathe or whatever, is an imperfection in the screen set going to change how the machine works? What really important here?

A number of machining functions/features have to be enacted by the motion controller not Mach, backlash compensation, lathe threading and THC are some examples. They must be done in realtime
which absolutely precludes them being enacted within Mach, Mach is not realtime. At this time the external motion controllers have some but not all features implemented. You mention the ESS, you may
have been following the Warp9 forum but Backlash compensation is in Beta testing now and the majority of the code for lathe threading is already written. Warp9 have decided to 'up the ante' by having mulitpulse
spindle feedback and this has caused a delay to the release of lathe threading. The PMDX-422 on the other hand does support lathe threading but not backlash compensation.

The salient point here is that you can't blame Mach4 for something that Mach4 cannot now, or ever, do. You may recall when external motion controllers were being developed for Mach3 a similar situation applied
where one maker would have features A and B but not C and D and another maker would have features A, C and D but not B. Eventually all manufacturers arrived at the happy point where all the 'hardware
only' features are supported across all brands. That has not yet occurred amongst Mach4 capable external motion controllers and NFS is not able to do anything about it.

If the difference in capabilities of the 'hardware only' features are excluded then Mach3 and Mach4 are indentical, they are both near ANSI compliant Gcode interpreters. Indeed Mach4 Industrial has MacroB
ability and so might be argued that Mach4 is more capable than Mach3. As I have Mach4Hobby without MacroB I don't make that claim but certainly ANYTHING I could do in Mach3 I can do in Mach4
EXCLUDING only those 'hardware only' features.

The main reason for me to migrate from Mach3 (three years use with two parallel ports) to Mach4 (18 moths with ESS and two BoBs) was because VB, or more  accurately CE, the cutdown version of VB that
ships with Mach3 as its scripting language was and is riddled with inconsistentencies. Look up a recent thread in Mach3 about 'Scripter Complie Errors". Lua has proven to be absolutely consistent, not easy to
use to start with to be sure, but superbly consistent when it does. I have likewise found Mach4 to be much more stable. There are oddities certainly but few bugs.

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

Offline Rimmel

*
  •  168 168
    • View Profile
Re: Switching from Mach3 to Mach4
« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2018, 06:46:36 AM »
I will reply inline:

Quote
Hi Rimmel,
I think your criticism is unfair.

Differing opinions are always welcome.

Quote
You pointed out a screen where a small fraction of a control was truncated by virtue of the screen size. Screens written by NFS are usually pretty good, they fit most screens and/or scale to most screens but not all.
Because a screen set does not fit perfectly with your PC screen without you having to do a few screen editing tweaks you are claiming incompetence by NFS?  Of the other CNC software you have mentioned how many
have as able screen editing and GUI functions as Mach4? The screen editing and GUI functions represent a very much larger chunk of code than Machs core and very much harder to achieve and are a major step up
over its competeition.

But NFS are SELLING this software and as such you would think that the first screen that greeted anyone would be in good visual order ESPECIALLY when you have been working on it for 3 - 4 years. So I must disagree and say that first impressions are paramount. Also I am a professional computer programmer (since 1997) and to say the GUI carries more code than the actual core Mach4 operations is frankly absurd, epsecially considering GUI driven development suites that are available today (point and click and 90% of the GUI code is written for you). My actual initial reaction to starting mach4 up was "Oh jesus... really?". Then click more or less any button and get the message that you can't do this in the demo... my reaction was "well why release a demo if you can't actualy do anything with it?"

More to the point, PlanetCNC, UCCNC, Masso and a few others have managed to do just that in a fraction of the time - from scratch.

Quote
Additionally, does it matter that much....I mean this is software for controlling a mill, router, lathe or whatever, is an imperfection in the screen set going to change how the machine works? What really important here?

Again, confidence in the product e.g. if you cannot fix simple glitches in the GUI in 3 - 4 years it does not give someone the confidence to spend $200 - £1,400, especially when the DEMO is restricted in such a manner you cannot realistic do ANYTHING with it.

Quote
A number of machining functions/features have to be enacted by the motion controller not Mach, backlash compensation, lathe threading and THC are some examples. They must be done in realtime
which absolutely precludes them being enacted within Mach, Mach is not realtime. At this time the external motion controllers have some but not all features implemented. You mention the ESS, you may
have been following the Warp9 forum but Backlash compensation is in Beta testing now and the majority of the code for lathe threading is already written. Warp9 have decided to 'up the ante' by having mulitpulse
spindle feedback and this has caused a delay to the release of lathe threading. The PMDX-422 on the other hand does support lathe threading but not backlash compensation.

Granted - but why has it taken so long? The Mach3 Warp9 software has been table and not changed for a while, so it's not as if they are working on that. Many feel the information dribbling out of NFS is a factor.

Quote
As I have Mach4Hobby without MacroB I don't make that claim but certainly ANYTHING I could do in Mach3 I can do in Mach4
EXCLUDING only those 'hardware only' features.

OK that's good - however how do I test this for myself?  well apart from spending $200 for the privilage...

Quote
The main reason for me to migrate from Mach3 (three years use with two parallel ports) to Mach4 (18 moths with ESS and two BoBs) was because VB, or more  accurately CE, the cutdown version of VB that
ships with Mach3 as its scripting language was and is riddled with inconsistentencies. Look up a recent thread in Mach3 about 'Scripter Complie Errors". Lua has proven to be absolutely consistent, not easy to
use to start with to be sure, but superbly consistent when it does. I have likewise found Mach4 to be much more stable. There are oddities certainly but few bugs.

Again, I would love to find that out, but recoil at spending $200 to do so.

You suggest my criticism is unfair and if the software was free or sub $50 then I would whole heartedly agree, but when you load the demo and the initial screen looks like a childs finger painting with near zero functionality I would sincerely argue with you.


At this point I am sticking with Mach3 and giving Masso a year to mature, I think their system is the future, dedicated hardware and software at a reasonable price - when you consider you need a decent motion controller, the licence and PC to make Mach4 work.

Regards
Rimmel



« Last Edit: April 21, 2018, 06:58:05 AM by Rimmel »
Re: Switching from Mach3 to Mach4
« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2018, 08:03:30 AM »
Hi,
the screen from which you took your screen shot is the Lathe screen and is relatively new, certainly not 3-4 years. The wx4 and wx6 screen sets have been around for that length of time and don't
to my knowledge suffer any imperfections.

This from smurph:
Quote
But that GUI has miles of code in it.  Do you ever wonder why other CNC controls don't have anything like it?  Because it is HARD TO DO!!  The core and all of the plugins combined have less lines of code. 
From the guy who wrote it. Can in fact any of the other programs manipulate and edit screens in the manner that Mach4 can?

Quote
Then click more or less any button and get the message that you can't do this in the demo... my reaction was "well why release a demo if you can't actualy do anything with it?"
Demo is fully operational for up to six minutes at a time or alternately unlimited time with the Sim(ulator) Plugin.

Quote
Granted - but why has it taken so long? The Mach3 Warp9 software has been table and not changed for a while, so it's not as if they are working on that. Many feel the information dribbling out of NFS is a factor.
I suspect because Warp9 is effectively one man...Andy, and his principle responsibility is support for existing customers. Development comes a distant second. Sales volumes dictate what can be achieved. At $180
a board...not much. You may have noticed that Vital Systems are considerably further ahead with the 'hardware only' features including THC and lathe threading but their boards start at $600. Allows more scope
for development when you have budget. NFS are as keen as anyone to see motion controllers developed to the fullest and earliest possible moment but they are not responsible for hardware development. That is the
downside of having outsourced hardware. The advantage is that there are competing hardware products for us to chose from. At the current time six manufacturers of reputable boards.

Do the other CNC controls have multiple hardware vendors?

Quote
OK that's good - however how do I test this for myself?  well apart from spending $200 for the privilage...
You can't, and I'm not sure I would recommend it to you. If you are of the opinion that a minor screen fault calls into question the softwares ability to control a machine
then I suspect you would find additional complaints which would result in you being an unhappy customer. I questioned the wisdom of me migrating to Mach4 in the first few months but I have stuck with it
and have derived immense satisfaction from it. I now also begin to perceive how big a quantum leap forward Mach4 is over Mach3, it is not evident to you but it is to me.

Quote
Differing opinions are always welcome.

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

Offline Rimmel

*
  •  168 168
    • View Profile
Re: Switching from Mach3 to Mach4
« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2018, 09:55:18 AM »
I disagree with 90% of what you posted - especially the GUI programming, that is the easy part. If they are making screen creators etc instead of producing working screens then they are definitely concentrating in the wrong area.

The other providers like UCCNC provide a pefectly good set of screens with worring about screen editors. Also 99% of people use the standard screens as default.

Regards
Rimmel
« Last Edit: April 21, 2018, 09:58:39 AM by Rimmel »
Re: Switching from Mach3 to Mach4
« Reply #26 on: April 21, 2018, 10:13:49 AM »
Hi Rimmel,
I disagree with you and I would guess that at least 40% of users modify their screen in one way or another.
This is also one the biggest reasons that I won't use LCNC.

The other nice thing about Mach3 and Mach4 is the ability to customize and personalize it to your machines or your style.

The PMC in Mach 4 has given me the ability to do things that were tedious to do in Brains and something that I was going to struggle to do in LUA.

Mike.
We never have the time or money to do it right the first time, but we somehow manage to do it twice and then spend the money to get it right.
Re: Switching from Mach3 to Mach4
« Reply #27 on: April 21, 2018, 04:48:19 PM »
Hi,

Quote
If they are making screen creators etc instead of producing working screens then they are definitely concentrating in the wrong area.

Selling Mach4Hobby at $200 for a perpetual licence would be business suicide. NFS require sales to OEMs of their Industrial version to remain in business.
OEMs require the ability to customize their control with their own screensets and so on. Consequently building in the screen editing features is more important
than finished screens....NFS's most important customers wont be using the standard screen sets anyway.

As hobbyists NFS have made Mach4Hobby available at a very good price with licencing conditions in keeping with Mach3. Make no mistake Mach4 is not the same as
Mach3 nor is it intended to be. Mach4 is written for OEM customers and for business survival has to remain that way.

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

Offline Rimmel

*
  •  168 168
    • View Profile
Re: Switching from Mach3 to Mach4
« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2018, 06:38:43 AM »
Wow - with that business model no wonder they have lost so much ground to other products with Mach4.

I would have thought every customer was important...

Totally gobsmacked
Rimmel

Offline Tweakie.CNC

*
  • *
  •  8,664 8,664
  • Super Kitty
    • View Profile
    • Tweakie.CNC
Re: Switching from Mach3 to Mach4
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2018, 06:59:16 AM »
I agree with Rimmel.

Quote
I would have thought every customer was important...

Indeed, I think they are and from experience I know every Customer is important. I can't speak for Artsoft / NFS but I am sure they think the same way. After all, Customers make 'pay-days' possible.

Tweakie.
KEEP SAFE !