View Full Version : Toolpath not cutting as shown

01-05-2013, 08:33 PM

Really new to this, I have bought a new CNC with mach3, however after literally days of trying to sort this out, I cant.

I have the machine moving in X,Y,Z and I have the toolpath on the screen however what it cuts is not what is on the screen and it keeps repeating a pattern across the material.

The supplier is trying to convince me, its me, however after buying a new computer, lead and PCI board re loading the software on both computers time and time again the same thing happens on both computers.

I am pretty sure that it is the control board that's duff, as this, as far as I can see is the only constant.

I am told by the supplier that this should work out of the box and the test file he has sent to me works fine on the other units he has, as I need this for my business all the lost time is to much

Please, please help

01-05-2013, 08:37 PM
We need a bit more information to be able to help. Knowing what breakout board the machine uses, what settings have you put in mach 3 and a picture of what it cuts compared with what it's supposed to be cutting would be a good start.

01-05-2013, 09:12 PM
Hi, if you went down the Eagle route, are you sure you got mach3 and not ncstudio version.
I have attached a circle profile 200x200mm 0.5doc in .nc format to try just in case.


01-05-2013, 09:41 PM
Hi Bazzar,

Yes did go down the eagle route and the machine seems of a good quality (not that I know cnc machines, but I do know tools and engineering).

I have tried 8 different files produced by me and also sent to me from the supplier and even though he says they work on his machines with the same XML file, I cannot get it to work.

I will try it tomorrow but I have a feeling it will be no good, the biggest problem is not knowing if its software or hardware and having changed all the hardware apart from the supplied CNC and the controller I really can only think its the hardware (control board) if I take it as read that the XML file works on other machines that are the same with the supplier.

Once again, thank you I really do appreciate all the help you, this forum and users give.

01-05-2013, 10:02 PM
Hi Jonathan,

Firstly thank you for trying to help!

I have tried to upload the xml file but the forum wont let me so if its ok with you I will try and send it via private message.

Could you tell me how to identify the break out board?

The toolpath is of a square and a circle in the middle it then tries to cut part of the square and part of the circle then nudges up a small way and starts again.

I am at the point of sending this machine back, because so far this is not out of the box usable and I have not had the best of help from the supplier who I am sure believes its me.

Could it be me? Could it be both of my computers both the new parallel leads and the new PCI Board, should I have to do more than get it out of the box, plug it in and learn how to use the software......as I have never bought a CNC I dont know if my expectations are right? I have got to say I have never had problems like this before even when I used to test sign software for signlab.

Any help, is help and if you think I should send this back please don't hesitate to tell me

John S
01-05-2013, 10:46 PM
Have you got access to an older computer that has a parallel port on it and not have to rely on a plug in PCI card.
Last week i had to traipse all the way down to the south coast to a customer who assured me his computer was fine but when i got there Mach wouldn't even talk to the computer let alone the machine.
Left him an old trusty dell and he was away running

01-05-2013, 10:54 PM
Sign software is probably a bit easier in that all you have to do is output the vector artwork to a plotter & away it goes, what software are you using & what files are you being sent? Has the supplier sent you a gcode file for you to run on mach3 or has he sent you a vector file for you to produce your own toolpaths from?

If you open mach3 can you move all 3 axis alright & have you tried inputting some gcode commands directly to see what happens rather than opening a saved file.

01-05-2013, 11:26 PM
Hi John,

Yes I do have an old computer with an on board parallel and that's the one I started with, after being assured it must be the computer that was the fault I then bought another computer (windows xp 32bit) and a new pci board and the exact same thing happened.

I then took the new PCI and put that in the old computer just in case, I metered the parallel cable and then bought another in case the first was to long.

It cant be ruled out that both computers are not bad but I think it is unlikely especially as both are cutting the same incorrect image with either the on-board PCI or the card

01-05-2013, 11:35 PM
Hi Martin,

The files being sent are gcodes and the ones I produce are the same. I am running Mach3 and cut2d.

All axis move ok though not all the time, sometimes you have to click on the x first to get the y to work and z and so on.

As to inputting some gcode commands, I am really new to this and I am sure with more time I would be able to do that but I have little idea how to do it at the moment (to be honest if I spend much more time on this CNC I am going to call it an end and either buy from someone else or just sub the work out)

01-05-2013, 11:43 PM
Can you let us know what the parallel port address is set up as for the card? if you are adding a card and there is a port already there (not connected inside the pc) then you could be set up wrong in the software? What does XP say it is what is it setup in the setup in the software as.

John S
01-05-2013, 11:51 PM
Don't think it's that as wrong address means it doesn't talk full stop.
I'm concerned by the statement you sometimes have to click on X first to get y to work ?

Stick a pen in the spindle and run this program.

X0.0 Y0.0
G01 Y50.0
Does it draw a square 50 mm square ?

01-05-2013, 11:58 PM
Sorry John i totally missed the first part of the thread by a mile?

02-05-2013, 12:03 AM
Ok read it properly now, John i agree with your concerns. Sounds more like signals are breaking down or not getting through. Back to basics do you have another PP cable to try? If Johns routine does not work. If a new cable does not work the bob voltages needs checking. DON'T UNPLUG any of the cables whilst machine is running though.

02-05-2013, 08:07 AM
PCI Card (http://www.machsupport.com/forum/index.php/topic,24461.0.html)

Toolpath not cutting (http://www.machsupport.com/forum/index.php/topic,24470.0.html)


02-05-2013, 08:08 AM
Ahh! he mentions a new cable.

02-05-2013, 08:13 AM
Ok reading the rest of the threads it really does seem like it is all down to ports and pins. So he has all the answers just needs to stop and listen.

02-05-2013, 08:46 AM
Hi Martin,

The port is EC00 and I deleted all the other ports and its down as lpt2

John S
02-05-2013, 09:11 AM
Well reading the post over on Mach where he said it was port EC07 I now wondering if we are getting all the correct information.

Now this isn't aimed just at Phizell but in general.

I do phone and web support for two makers of CNC machines and the hardest problem we get is the user doesn't not read the questions correctly and give the correct answers as many times they are off doing what they think is right.

Recently I asked one customer if Mach was talking to the computer ie move the jog keys and the display updating.
Was assured it was so moved on to why the computer wasn't talking to the machine. After literally hours of work turns out that Mach wasn't talking to the computer, the display was NOT updating [ some weird corporate version of XP ] and with a simple no frills computer it all worked OK.

Much as I hate bullet listing I give them out and insist they go thru and give me back the results, not just one or two the whole list or we don't move on.

02-05-2013, 09:38 AM
Music to my ears John - well said.


02-05-2013, 10:18 AM
Hi John,

Totally agree, its hard to get the right info especially when people are new to software.

You are right I originally could not get mach 3 to except any of the ports I was putting into the config, I then un-installed mach3 and then it excepted EC07.......I then (still trying to sort out the same problem) un-installed mach 3 again, un-installed the PCI card and re loaded the lot and amazingly it excepted the EC00. The problem with all of this is not being able to tell if I have been sold a duff, I have hardware issues (but with two different computers doing the same) or its me.

In order to try and sort this out I have spent nearly a week, installing, un-installing and buying new hardware spending hours on forums reading and watching videos on a daily basis and I am still no further forward but considerably out of pocket with I think the only option to return the machine.

The jog keys work intermittently, that is to say not every time you click on them, they work. You can get them to work by hitting a different direction and then coming back to the one you want and it will then trigger it (the x,y,z coordinates on the screen always move) this is true of the keyboard or the on screen keys.

Hope this helps


02-05-2013, 10:23 AM
Hi Swarfing,

I have tried two new cables and metered both.

Do you think I really should be testing BOB voltages on a brand new machine or just send it back?

02-05-2013, 11:19 AM
Hi Swarfing,

I have tried two new cables and metered both.

Do you think I really should be testing BOB voltages on a brand new machine or just send it back?

What he means by checking BOB voltages is that the BOB is receiving the correct voltage from the parallel port, you can measure the output voltage for steps at the parallel port outlet pins, some port run on a reduced voltage which isn't enough to give a good signal.

Sometimes uninstalling a program doesn't remove it all, don't know if this is true of mach3 or not but might be worth checking. Also depends on the method you use to uninstall.

02-05-2013, 12:06 PM
Hi Everybody,

Just had the supplier on the phone and its not my fault! Its the post processor (not 100% sure what that is other than a file) in cut 2 d and it also is the control box (Some lose wires and the problem with the sticky jog keys) by all the tests done.

I have cut a square on three sides the fourth side not cutting however the display is counting down to 0 but no movement.

Will keep you all informed and thank you

02-05-2013, 12:13 PM
If your hitting the jog keys and Mach thinks it`s moving but the machine only moves sometimes its got to be primary computer issue unless all 3 drives are intermittent on the machine.

Had similar issues at one point, things I learned.

Mach likes living on its own on a blank , just vanilla xp, non internet connected machine, no screensavers , no virus checker, nothing. Use a USB key to load files.

Some paralell settings are buried in the host PC`s bios.

USB hubs are the spawn of the devil on a Mach machine, just keyboard and mouse and port for a memory key, had usb hub that would randomly tug computers arm anything from 20mins to 2 hours into a cut and Mach would lose its place.

Running the Mach test exe that checks the timings is well worth doing.

Its easy to get checkbox blindness in ports and pins settings, have another look after a break.

Nothing has had a 5V paralell port in years, usually 3.3V, BOB will need the USB to 2.1mm D.C. jack to get 5V to function reliably.

Adding a 3rd axis is a lot more confusing that you think it will be coming from plotters... ;-)