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Author Topic: Mach4 and lasers  (Read 2093 times)

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Mach4 and lasers
« on: December 29, 2018, 04:58:13 PM »
Hi, apologies if this has been brought up before, but the search seems to be broken.

im looking to add a small laser to my CNC to allow for marking of parts and basic vector engraving.

has anyone done this with mach4? if so what controller was used and how was it controlled. im looking to move away from my parallel port breakout to something like a pokeys57cnc but want to make sure its going to do what i need going forward.

Re: Mach4 and lasers
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2018, 06:18:14 PM »
I don't have a laser so I cannot answer your question specifically but Mach4 does support laser operation. Indeed I believe M162 and M163
have been written especially for laser ops.

There is a parallel port, called Darwin (a $25 licence fee applies) which works with Mach4. It is not fully functional, ie backlash, lathe threading etc,
and it NEVER will be. It was meant to be a cheap introduction to Mach4. In reality Mach4 requires, or is at least native to external motion controllers. The 57CNC
board you mention is very popular.

There are others:
Ethernet SmoothStepper by Warp9
UC300 by CNCDrive
57CNC by PoKeys
PMDX-424 by PMDX
Hicon Integra by Vital Systems.

Slightly cheaper 'single port' units are:
UC100 by CNCDrive
57CNCdb25 by PoKeys
PMDX-411 by PMDX

All of the companies mentioned have been in the Mach game for a while and all have an excellent reputation for quality and support.
Of these devices the Hicon Integra is the most developed with stuff like THC and lathe threading but is also the most expensive.
Any of these devices would do laser ops no trouble.

If some tries to sell you something from XHC....walk away.....its doesn't work!

Gallil have a Mach4 plugin but be prepared to pay $2000 plus, beautiful gear but eye-wateringly expensive.
CSMIO controllers have a Mach4 plugin but its buggy and, contrary to previous history, the company has gone 'off song' with their support. Given the
premium paid for CSMIO it's hard to recommend.

If you go to buy an external controller buy direct from the manufacturer or their nominated distributor. The are swags of Chinese knock-off UC100s on
Amazon and Ebay. DON"T GO THERE....they don't work like the real thing.

The Chinese lie and cheat to get a sale....try this for a line.....'Canadian made Ethernet SmoothStepper inside'.....the Ethernet SmoothStepper is made by
a US company and has never been made in Canada. Maybe they're trying to convince us that Canada is a province in China!

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

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Mach4 and lasers
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2018, 02:33:55 AM »
Warp9 have now added vector and raster laser support to their Mach4 ESS motion controller plugin. http://www.machsupport.com/forum/index.php/topic,12444.msg258539.html#msg258539

Pokeys 57CNC has teamed with the free software Auggie for laser operation. http://www.machsupport.com/forum/index.php/topic,12444.msg248511.html#msg248511

Hope this helps.

« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 02:53:54 AM by Tweakie.CNC »
Re: Mach4 and lasers
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2019, 09:51:34 AM »
awesome thanks,

im using the darwin plugin with mach4 and a BoB today.