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Author Topic: Upgrade Mach3 to Mach4 using smoothstepper and Machmotion I06?  (Read 389 times)

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Offline jevs

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I have my mill all setup with Mach3 for years now, but never had much time to use it. I am about to get back into it and I am wondering if I should upgrade to Mach4.
 
I am wondering if Mach 4 will work with my Machmotion I06 breakout board and Warp9 ethernet smoothstepper?

Does this combo have backlash compensation with Mach4?

Will my Machmotion pendant work? I believe it basically goes through a USB pokeys.

The other problem is that I use a Macro I wrote in Mach to let my tool changing work. What would I do about this? It is a mechanical tool change done by Z moving above home and a ratcheting turret. No PLC or anything was needed for Mach3.

I was getting ready to research installing the Wildhorse probes I bought years ago and got onto whether or not I should try to upgrade before I spend more time learning Mach3 better or installing the tool height and work probes.

« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 09:28:06 PM by jevs »
Re: Upgrade Mach3 to Mach4 using smoothstepper and Machmotion I06?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2019, 03:54:57 AM »
Hi,

Quote
[I am wondering if Mach 4 will work with my Machmotion I06 breakout board and Warp9 ethernet smoothstepper?

The Ethernet SmoothStepper has a very complete Mach4 plugin and works well with Mach4. The breakout board will work
exactly the same it always has.

Amongst the realtime supports the ESS enjoys is backlash compensation. Note that backlash compensation is a realtime
function and support must be offered by the controller. The ESS has it however the UC300 and PMDX-424 do not
for example.

Quote
Will my Machmotion pendant work? I believe it basically goes through a USB pokeys.

In Mach4 you can have one only motion controller, in your case an ESS. You could have a second board, say a PoKeys as
a secondary data input board. You may be able to exploit that and get your Machmotion pendant to work.

To my knowledge VistaCNC is the only commercial manufacturer of pendants that has invested the effort to write a
Mach4 plugin.

If Machmotion has written a plugin then they've kept quiet about it....unlikely. I would guess that they have not written
a Mach4 plugin. Thus unless you are able to exploit the trick about using a PoKeys as a secondary data source then
I'd say your pendant won't work.

You will have to re-write any macros in Lua, the Mach4 scripting language. Anthing you can get Mach3 to do....then Mach4 can
do it too, any way way more as well.

Mach4 has a Touch Off (probing) module. It puts all and any Mach3 probing stuff into the shade.

Download mach4 and run it in demo. If you do not install a motion plugin....ie stick with Sim(ulator) as it ships
with there is no restriction at all. If you load a motion plugin into Mach4 then it will run without restriction for six minutes
before stopping, requiring a re-start until it is licenced.

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

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Upgrade Mach3 to Mach4 using smoothstepper and Machmotion I06?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2019, 07:22:17 AM »
Hi Jevs,

There is an old saying… “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”

Basically, if Mach3 does all you want and it is working well then leave well alone. If, on the other hand, Mach3 falls short of your requirements then move on to Mach4.

Just my 2 cents  ;)

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.

Offline jevs

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Re: Upgrade Mach3 to Mach4 using smoothstepper and Machmotion I06?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2019, 03:08:52 PM »
Thanks for the replies. I spent a decent amount of time last night going over all the documentation from Warp9 , Artsoft, Machmotion, my own schematics and what is in my machine (retrofitted by me).

I do think I am going to try out Mach4. It sounds like it has some benefits and should work with most of if not all of my hardware.

The main thing in question is if the pokeys 55 (I think this model, have to check physically) used inside the Machmotion control panel can work. The pendant and buttons on that panel run through the pokeys then to the computer via USB.
If this does not work then I can possibly contact Machmotion for help or update to one of the newer pokeys if the pinout is the same or close enough to adapt it. I could also just change up my panel and pendant if needed, but that will have some cost. Anyway, I can do something to overcome this one way or another. Machmotion does seem to support Mach4 now with some stuff I believe I found and read.

I would have to rewrite my tool change stuff unfortunately, but I think it may be worth it to get up to date.

I am also be building a CNC router as my main project that I will be using the mill for now, so putting that machine on Mach 4 will be good and making both the same will be good if I can. I will lose the $150 I paid for the Mach3 license and only used for a couple parts unfortunatly. That stings a little :(, but not worth staying behind for in my opinion.

One benefit I do see is that I will have the option to connect two probes which will alleviate the current thing I am doing (adding a tool touch and tool holder probe from Wildhorse). I think these are normally closed, so running them in series when the probe in the tool holder is not connected would need a work around. Mach 4 should work using them as separate inputs on ports I am not currently using.

« Last Edit: July 27, 2019, 03:10:31 PM by jevs »
Re: Upgrade Mach3 to Mach4 using smoothstepper and Machmotion I06?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2019, 07:10:58 PM »
Hi,

Quote
I do think I am going to try out Mach4. It sounds like it has some benefits and should work with most of if not all of my hardware.

While Mach3 may not be broken there are many areas where Mach4 exceeds it. One particular example is the Modbus
plugin. I have used it in Mach3 but swore I would never use it again. The corresponding Mach4 Modbus plugin is a dream
to use by comparison. All the data ends up in non-volatile registers. That allows access by any means of programmatic technique,
be it a macro, a module, a PLC script or a PMC script. It's only when you use a feature and glimpse the power and flexibility
that Lua and the structure of Mach4 confer show how far advanced it is over Mach3.

I don't believe you will regret investing in Mach4. There is however an investment to be made. Firstly there is the purchase
of Mach4 itself, an ESS if you don't already have one, and a BoB or BoBs to suit if you don't already have them.

As I stated earlier I use a VistaCNC P1A pendant and have been very happy with it. I see the current price is still $160.00.

I think you could get your existing pendant to work but may involve some Lua coding on your part. Given that you are just
starting with Mach4 I suspect that adding that to the initial learning curve will hurt and possibly even sour your experience.

May I suggest it is wise to add the cost of a new Mach4 ready pendant as the 'potential bill' for making the change.
It may well be that later down the track once you have gained familiarity with Mach4 and Lua that getting your existing
Machmotion pendant working would be an interesting, learning and even fun or 'character building' experience. I know 'I've
got no character now.....and its too late to start now!'

So the investment required is the price of the software and I would recommend that you add the cost of a pendant, just as a
worst case scenario. You should also consider the 'learning curve', because there certainly is a learning curve associated with Mach4.
The forum is a great resource, but as is the human condition, we tend to learn by our mistakes. Mistakes with Mach4 are
time consuming and frustrating......and depending on how you value such things could be considered expensive.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Upgrade Mach3 to Mach4 using smoothstepper and Machmotion I06?
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2019, 06:48:34 PM »
 I’m considering Mach4  for a machine currently using 3.

 I loaded the trial version, and the screen is unreadable on my windows 10 laptop   

 Print too small very hard to read.

 Too much information on screen.

 I found a screen set on this forum called “simple screen” and I didn’t like it. 

 Any suggestions for being able to use a standard screen set that’s easy to read and only has typically used information on it?

Thanks,
Chuck
Re: Upgrade Mach3 to Mach4 using smoothstepper and Machmotion I06?
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2019, 07:27:23 PM »
Hi,
is your laptop screen very small?

I us a laptop for development and sometimes to run my machine, it has what I would describe as a standard
size screen without trouble.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Upgrade Mach3 to Mach4 using smoothstepper and Machmotion I06?
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2019, 09:16:10 PM »
Craig,
 No,   The laptop has a large screen, I don’t know the actual size —  it’s not available to measure.   

 I’ve been doing some “Poking around“ in MACH 4 and I see you can build custom screens but I would like to start out with a standard screen that doesn’t have too much data on it and is easy to read on my laptop

 I’ve got three machines with MACH 3 and I’m so a custom to the standard screen set, 

This MACH4  Standard screen  dampened my enthusiasm for switching over to 4

 Hoping to find a currently available screen set that looks more like MACH 3

 Chuck



Re: Upgrade Mach3 to Mach4 using smoothstepper and Machmotion I06?
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2019, 09:24:49 PM »
Hi,

Quote
This MACH4  Standard screen  dampened my enthusiasm for switching over to 4

 Hoping to find a currently available screen set that looks more like MACH 3

I personally feel the absolute opposite, I prefer Mach4's standard screen sets to any Mach3 screen.

Note also that there are about six-eight screen sets that ship with Mach4 not counting wxMach, the most basic screen of all.
Have you tried them all?

When all said and done what I really REALLY care about is how the machine works and the quality of the parts I can produce,
the 'look' of the screen is way way down the list.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: Upgrade Mach3 to Mach4 using smoothstepper and Machmotion I06?
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2019, 01:07:57 AM »
screenn?? this the reason ? 
its so easy to change so easy to create new one,i can think about so many reason not move from system that work fine to new system ,but screen ???? the last reason can think about(in mach 4 case)