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new here, question about mach software capabilities
« on: June 14, 2020, 10:43:50 PM »
hello, i'm quite intrigued about being able to do a cnc machine with older machining equipament. in especial i would like to do a full C axis lathe for to be a able to turn and mill simple parts.
would mach be able to handle this?
Re: new here, question about mach software capabilities
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2020, 12:13:55 AM »
Hi,
yes Mach can handle that.

All development on Mach3 ceased six years ago so if you are new I would recommend Mach4 because it is under active development. Having said that
there are many thousands of Mach3 users.

Mach (3 or 4) is optimally a milling CNC software, is does have lathe features, certainly Mach4 does a good job with indexing/positional spindles,
aka a Caxis.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: new here, question about mach software capabilities
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2020, 11:53:36 AM »
nice, could you recomend me a exemple setup for me to be based on?
Re: new here, question about mach software capabilities
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2020, 05:05:23 PM »
Hi,

Quote
nice, could you recomend me a exemple setup for me to be based on?

Not quite sure what you mean. You can download Mach3 and/or Mach4 free in Demo mode. Experimentation
may prove that one is better for your needs than another, although I would guess that if you want an indexing
spindle axis and/or a coordinated spindle then Mach4 has better features for that purpose.

In effect Mach4 requires an external motion controller (hardware) There is a parallel port called Darwin ($25 license fee applies)
and requires 32 bit Windows7 or earlier just as Mach3's parallel port requires. Darwin is not and is not intended as a fully featured
motion controller and thus an external motion controller is the right choice.

There are seven different manufacturers of Mach4 ready motion controllers and can seem initially at least to be a bewildering choice.
Excluding the one Chinese manufacturer (XHC) that has an extremely buggy implementation and CSLabs which have an expensive
albeit good quality device but has a buggy plugin, any of the remaining manufacturers have good products and well supported.

At the current time probably the most complete realtime support suite is offered by the Ethernet SmoothStepper (ESS) at $180. The Hicon Integra
is another fully featured product but starts at $600.

Note that the ESS, UC300  requires one or more breakout boards, which can range from $23 to $180 depending on the sophistication of the board.
The PoKeys 57CNC does not require a breakout board but benefits from it. The Hicon Integra and PMDX-424 do not require a breakout board,
it is in effect built-in to the controller.

May I suggest download and experiment with Mach, 3 or 4 or both, and then decide if it warrants investment in hardware. Some of the very
simplest controllers are around $120 but better developed solutions with more IO and a breakout board  are in the range $250 to $360 and the
Hicon at $600. Avoid XHC like the plauge. CSMIO products (600 Euro) are good quality but the plugin is somewhat buggy, hard to recommend.
Note my caution about CSMIO products applies to their Mach4 plugin, their Mach3 plugin is on the other hand very good indeed.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: new here, question about mach software capabilities
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2020, 12:42:38 AM »
what i meant, was a physical setup, like the project of someone. but i did what you recomended and donwloaded mach4 hobby. the screen sure seems different from what i'm used to (fanuc, sinumerik, heidenhain), but the software seems to be quite complete.
i'm a manual programmer at heart and after reading some of the programing manual im thinking this is not really meant to be used with such programs. it is lacking basic cycles and commands that any industrial lathe would have. also, i couldnt find any information about C axis indexing or polar milling.

also, the "turn cycles" are quite a joke. and you cant post process it to generate some example code.
Re: new here, question about mach software capabilities
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2020, 02:52:01 AM »
Hi,
not quite sure what you mean, as far as I'm aware Mach4 is meant to be Fanuc 21i compliant and all the Gcodes etc are available
in Mach4Hobby. If you want Macro B that is restricted to Mach4Industrial.

As I posted earlier Mach, both 3 and 4 focussed on milling ops. There is some lathe specific stuff, and that body of code and
features is growing but still Mach4 is best at milling rather than lathe ops.

Quote
also, the "turn cycles" are quite a joke. and you cant post process it to generate some example code.

The turn cycles are not actually NFS property, they are donated by another company, Mach Motion. Therefore your access to its internal workings
are rather limited. None-the-less you can chain operations together for some pleasing code.

Mach4 is not primarily a 'conversational programmed' machine. It has always been assumed that you would either hand write code or
more likely use CAD/CAM/Post route.

Quote
i couldnt find any information about C axis indexing or polar milling.

There is a dearth of info about that, but it can be done. There are three 'modes' that apply to a spindle:
1) Normal mode, that is free running, without indexing or positional control. In Mach4 the spindle is one specific Out-of-Band axis,
and it has a number of API features that make it amenable to general use. May I suggest looking at the Spindle section of the API.chm
Help file.

2)Assign the spindle to an Out-of-Band axis, other than the spindle. Therefafter you can jog the spindle with all the usual means but in addition
you can jog under program control. Thus you can have an independent axis capable of indexing.  I refer you to the Jogging section of API.chm Help file.

3) Assign the spindle as a genuine C axis and thereafter you have complete control of position and velocity and is coordinated with
the other axes.

I can and do use all three modes on my mill spindle. Free running mode is by far the easiest and most commonly used. I use C axis mode
(coordinated) for rigid tapping. I can swap between modes programmatically.

Given that you are looking for lathe control particularly then maybe Mach is not the best choice. To my knowledge however none of the
Windows based PC software solutions have particularly good lathe features. For example UCCNC software is a direct competitor to Mach4
but it too is mill-centric, and again only to the best of my knowledge, is even less capable than Mach at lathe ops.

You might be advised to look at Centroid Acorn, it is mill-centric but I have no first hand knowledge of how it handles lathe ops.

LinuxCNC is a widely capable software and being open source has a lot to recommend it. I've heard little discussion about how it handle lathe ops
but given its wide following would suspect that lathe ops are well covered.

Craig

« Last Edit: June 16, 2020, 02:55:54 AM by joeaverage »
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!