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Author Topic: Need the answer to this question "Is Mach4 a "MACHINE CONTROLLER"  (Read 532 times)

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I have been going around and around with a guy in a facebook group who is insistent that mach4 is not a Machine controller because it does not control the motion of the machine like Mach3 did with a parallel port.   He is basing his argument on the fact that mach4 needs an external motion controller.

I dont know how else to explain to him that Mach is the "Machine controller"  just as UCCNC, LinuxCNC, TurboCNC (yes I even used it back in the day before mach1 came around) are all "MACHINE CONTROLLERS"

I even provided him with the first line on the Mach4 page

Mach4 Information: Mach4 is our newest version of CNC motion control software.
Re: Need the answer to this question "Is Mach4 a "MACHINE CONTROLLER"
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2018, 02:58:17 PM »
AFAIK there is a parallel port plugin for Mach4.
Re: Need the answer to this question "Is Mach4 a "MACHINE CONTROLLER"
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2018, 03:10:46 PM »
its more a definition of terms. He is correct Mach4 cannot control a machine, it requires a motion controller to do so.
A parallel port is a motion controller and as John has pointed out there is a parallel port version for Mach4. Its features are limited and will never be fully featured.
For this reason Mach4 essentially requires an external motion controller to be fully capable.

Mach3 it itself could not control a machine, it required a motion controller to do so, the parallel port being the best known.  Mach3s parallel port is fully featured.
Notice the distinction between Mach and the motion controller. Most people considered Mach3 as one but is in fact two distinct pieces but running within the one CPU of the PC.

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Re: Need the answer to this question "Is Mach4 a "MACHINE CONTROLLER"
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2018, 12:18:38 AM »
It is just semantics.  The human controls Mach which controls the motion controller that controls the machine (maybe not even all of it) or just a stepper driver (or servo drive) that controls the stepper (or servo) motor which controls the screw which controls the table position for a plane of motion.  I/O boards may be different from the motion controller, but does that mean they don't control parts of the machine?  The machine control is really the sum of the parts that make up the system. 

Which one controls the machine again?  Seems like it is really the human that kicks it all off.  And this human thinks your buddy may be overthinking it a bit.  :)