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Author Topic: Running 2 instances of Mach3 on same computer to control 2 machines  (Read 1362 times)

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Hello,
Is it possible to run 2 instances of Mach3 at the same time on the same computer, in order to control 2 different CNC machines over a network?

I successfully created 2 different Mach3 profiles for the machines, and I'm able to operate Mach3 correctly for each machine individually by loading the appropriate profile. But I'm not able to open more than 1 instance of mach3.exe (nothing happens).

I've tried copying the Mach3 folder into a 2nd location, and opening that 2nd copy of mach3.exe, but still nothing happened.

Is there any way to do this?

Thanks

Offline ger21

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Re: Running 2 instances of Mach3 on same computer to control 2 machines
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2018, 07:54:03 PM »
No, there isn't. One copy at a time  only.
Gerry

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Re: Running 2 instances of Mach3 on same computer to control 2 machines
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2018, 01:07:27 AM »
I'm not terribly familiar with Mach3 (learning) but I know a little bit about computers so I'm going to offer a potential way this could work.
I don't know about running over a network...

Let's assume you added a parallel port to a computer using an existing parallel port.
Now, let's assume you put a copy of Virtual Machine on your computer.

On the main computer you could address the main parallel port and in the virtual machine you could address the second parallel port.

You'd have to load Mach3 in two configurations, and possibly (likely) two different partitions on the hard drive to accomplish this.

There's also some monkeying you might have to do in the registry to separate the two "machines" but this could potentially, be done.

Now for the $64,000 question. What's the advantage of doing this? You could accomplish the same thing with an extra $200 PC and a KVM switch or remote computing.

Offline ger21

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Re: Running 2 instances of Mach3 on same computer to control 2 machines
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2018, 01:19:19 AM »
Mach3 won't run properly in a Virtual Machine.
Gerry

2010 Screenset
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JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html
Re: Running 2 instances of Mach3 on same computer to control 2 machines
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2018, 01:33:17 AM »
Hi,
Machs Parallel port is a poor or misleading name. The real smart bit of what it does is take numeric data from Machs trajectory planner an generate accurate pulse streams by running interrupt driven timers
on the PCs CPU. It has to run without significant interruption otherwise the timing of the pulse streams screws up. This code runs bit like a device driver in the Windows kernel and in order to run
in nearly un-interrupted fashion it has to 'shoulder' Windows out of the way and take over the CPU. The pulse streams are communicated to the outside world by using a DB 25 parallel port but this
pales in to insignificance compared to the real smarts of the interrupt driven timer code.

No one has got Machs Parallel Port driver to work using any virtual machine, any 64 bit OS nor has anyone got more than one driver to run at once, that includes Art Fennerty who wrote the thing
in the first place.

The Parallel Port is what it is and its not going to get anymore development. You want better buy yourself an external motion controller, not that you will be able to rune two of those simultaneously
either.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Running 2 instances of Mach3 on same computer to control 2 machines
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2018, 01:34:35 AM »
There goes that theory. LOL
Re: Running 2 instances of Mach3 on same computer to control 2 machines
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2018, 05:09:52 PM »
Thanks for the responses. I'm surprised this isn't possible.

If you read the Mach3 minimum system requirements from this page: http://www.machsupport.com/software/mach3/, it says it requires a 1 GHz CPU and 512 MB RAM. My computer has four 2.8 GHz cores and 32 MB RAM. I don't see why I shouldn't be able to run 2 copies of Mach3 and cut with 2 machines at the same time from the same computer.

Offline ger21

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Re: Running 2 instances of Mach3 on same computer to control 2 machines
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2018, 07:23:13 PM »
Mach3 was written to control CNC machines through a parallel port. In order to do this, it's parallel port driver acts like a virus, taking over Windows to have control at the hardware level.
It wouldn't be possible to run two instance like this, so it was probably never even a thought.
Gerry

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

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software
http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html
Re: Running 2 instances of Mach3 on same computer to control 2 machines
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2018, 07:49:08 PM »
Hi,
Mach4 has an 'instance'. While at the current time and probably for the forseeable future only one
instance can run at a time but there is the chance that more than instance could run. It would rely
on the motion controller plugins be able to run together without clashing. All up, some way off
I would guess.

I personally find it challenging enough to look after one instance let alone two!

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

Offline rcaffin

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Re: Running 2 instances of Mach3 on same computer to control 2 machines
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2018, 06:08:25 AM »
I don't see why I shouldn't be able to run 2 copies of Mach3 and cut with 2 machines at the same time from the same computer.
If you understood what was going on deep under the hood, you would see that it it is not only not possible (there would be an impossible fight over hardware resources), but that Mach3 takes active steps to prevent it.
It is what it is.

Cheers
Roger