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Help Getting Started
« on: December 08, 2008, 09:39:28 AM »
We're new at this, never had a CNC before just a 30 year old lettering machine.  Now we've got the machine but I can't get the software to work.  It appears that the drivers aren't (or didn't) load correctly.  I tried taking them out manually to do a reinstall but the instructions don't match my machine.  I have a laptop running XP Professional.  Does that make a difference?  I have to admit I am getting a little bit frustrated.  I would appreciate any help.  Thanks 

Offline Glenn

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Re: Help Getting Started
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2008, 10:09:34 AM »
Hi BobbyDon,
  Some laptops can run mach, but others aren't stable enough to.
If you can run Mach through a tower you will increase your chances of success greatly!
This is just an easy way to eliminate problems that the new cnc'er  would find hard to detect.
  Give us a few more details with your set-up and we will get you sorted. :)
  I use a Dell dimension 4400 tower pentium 4 ,1.6gh/512 Mb/40GB--cost $85.ebay works great.

  Try not to get frustrated, the learning curve is steep (very steep for dumb ol' me,but with the forums help even
I can use Mach with success) but the best way to eat an elephant is still one bite at a time! So in a short time, you will
be up and running with a smile on your face

  Please describe what Mach does on your computer.
We will help from there.

    Good Luck,  Glenn
Don't assume anything.....it'll make a Manager out of U and Me!

Offline budman68

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Re: Help Getting Started
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2008, 11:54:40 AM »
Hi BobbyDon,

Have a look at this thread as it may give you some help in sorting out your laptop troubles  -  ;)


Let us know how it works out for you-

Just because I'm a Global Moderator, don't assume that I know anything !

Dave->    ;)

Offline jimpinder

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Re: Help Getting Started
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2008, 07:57:21 AM »
Bobby Don - you are not saying a lot  apart from something abot a 30 yr old lettering machine.

You say you have a CNC. From that do you mean you have bought a lathe or mill fitted with gear to run as a CNC machine. If so what is it, and what is the laptop you are trying to run it with

We take it that you are trying to run this machine using Mach 3 on a laptop P.C. Is the lathe/mill already hooked up to your PC, if so, how. Is it using the LPT1 port, or a Smooth Stepper or what. Or is it a system that comes with the lathe/mill and just uses Mach 3 as the software.

As has been said some laptops are poor. This is becasue, to keep down costs, manufacturers have certain functions shared, and Mach 3 needs a substantial amount of basic processing to generate the drive pulses for a system (which have to be correct and in real time). A good laptop - such as my Toshiba - which was fully functioning - will run Mach3, and mine only finally baulked when I tried to rig up a video camera through it as well. I now use it to run an oscilloscope program, and use a tower for the lathe/mill.
The video camera (which has software in Mach 3 for positioning) works fine through my tower, showing the additional capability.

You would probably be able to run a laptop, and use a Smooth Stepper interface (through a USB port). Smooth Stepper generates many of the timing and driving pulses required by Mach 3 (as well as giving additional input and output ports) and leaves the laptop for basic control and computing functions.

Give us a bit more information, and we can advise you what to try next.

Not me driving the engine - I'm better looking.
Re: Help Getting Started
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2008, 08:02:56 AM »
Sorry, like I said we're new at this.  We purchased an EZ-Router CNC routing machine mainly to do signs with.  I have determined that the laptop we have won't run the Mach software stable enough for the pulse to be steady.  According to installation procedures when running the driver test it should pulse at 25,000 steady and neither of the 2 laptops we tried would do that.  I am in the process of getting a tower to get us past that.  Once I get past that I will respond back to let you know how that goes.
Re: Help Getting Started
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2008, 10:54:56 AM »
Well, I got tired of trying to make it work on laptops so I put it on a regular PC and ran the Driver Test and it is keeping a steady pulse.  I am trying to go through the manual but this is very slow and tedius.  To do basic signs are there any shortcuts to getting this working?

Offline Hood

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Re: Help Getting Started
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2008, 11:43:24 AM »
There are videos which some people find easier to learn from, you will find a link at the top of the forum.  What exactly is your problem now?