Thread: Tutorial Mach 3

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  1. #1
    is there anyone in the Minety (swindon) area that would willing to teach me how to use Mach 3 on my chinese milling machine, I have tried Y tube and reading but have not managed it, I prefer to be shown.
    thanks

  2. #2
    If you can't find anyone localo you might find help if you have a local makerspace

    http://www.nesta.org.uk/uk-makerspaces-data

    or hackspace

    http://www.hackspace.org.uk/wiki/Main_Page

    Regards,
    Nick
    If you will not be swayed by logic or experience simply pick the idea you
    like best, but ask yourself why you sought advice in the first place and,
    for a simple life, perhaps consider not doing so in future

  3. #3
    Rob's Avatar
    Lives in Glasgow, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 28-11-2016 Has been a member for 0-1 years. Has a total post count of 21. Received thanks 1 times, giving thanks to others 1 times.
    I know how you feel buddy, I'm suffering with Mach3 on a lathe and a mill is even harder so I understand. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by RichardR View Post
    is there anyone in the Minety (swindon) area that would willing to teach me how to use Mach 3 on my chinese milling machine, I have tried Y tube and reading but have not managed it, I prefer to be shown.
    thanks
    Describe how far you have come in using Mach3 and the mill. I mean, have you managed to configure Mach3 and did you get the axes moving in right direction? Or you have not even connected the mill or installed Mach3... Teaching from scratch may not be easy, but if you give more background information you might get a lot of help.

    Mach3 is in my opinion very well documented and there is a lot of free, available documentation on the Internet. Perhaps Youtube is not the best place to start, I think that reading documents and playing with the mill is a quicker way of learning than watching movies.

  5. #5
    Yes I have configured the 3 axis but not the spindle motor, I have tried many configurations with that but to no avail, I have used one of the wizards to make a couple of wood signs, but the z axis (spindle motor) does not travel down the correct depth to the amount you put into the programme and is a bit hit and miss. I now know how to start in the correct position by positioning the spindle motor to a certain position and set the axis to zero also looking at the G codes to see where it will start from the zero position, but I get it wrong sometimes. I now know that I need to learn a cad programme so I can convert a design to G codes, I have tried to do this with a picture then import it to Mach 3 but it did not work. I was hoping I can find a course at my local college but so far that idea has not born fruit.From the beginning of October I will be unable to stand for 6 weeks and then restricted in an air boot for another 6 to 8 weeks, so will not be in the workshop until the new year. I hopeto have some tuition sorted by then

  6. #6
    Neale's Avatar
    Lives in Plymouth, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 4 Hours Ago Has been a member for 4-5 years. Has a total post count of 788. Received thanks 109 times, giving thanks to others 5 times.
    Richard - I'm based in South Devon. I have someone coming to see me on Thursday who is also looking for help with Mach3, coordinates, and so on. If you wanted to join in, that would be fine. I know it's a bit of a distance for you but if you don't get a better offer...

    PM me if you are interested.

  7. #7
    Thanks for the offer Neale It would be worth the drive, however we are away to a county show on Friday, bad timing. As previously mentioned I will not be in the workshop this side of the new year, at present I am fighting a losing battle getting jobs done before October

  8. #8
    On a mill Mach3 is not complex, once you have the ports and pins set and the movement callibrated and jogging working the complex part is making it cut parts.
    Whilst many will baffle you with BS by suggesting you learn to code parts manually that is, in the current climate, an utter crock. You should learn G-Code so that you can see what your machine is trying to run but a decent CAM system will allow you to generate code to make parts which you could never hope to hand code.
    Simple 2D and 2.5D parts are so simple with decent CAD/CAM that the work required will measure in minutes, and rarely out of single figures,

    - Nick
    If you will not be swayed by logic or experience simply pick the idea you
    like best, but ask yourself why you sought advice in the first place and,
    for a simple life, perhaps consider not doing so in future

  9. #9
    Hi Richard,

    Sounds to me like you have few conflicts happening here regards what Mach3 does exactly and what's needed or invloved with running and getting machine to do what you need. Because I'm build machines for people who often are brand new to cnc I see this often.

    I'll try to help here and break it down excuse if you know this but feel free to contact me via PM if want to know more. I'll gladly give you my number and can chat if you like.

    Ok well First Mach3's role is often misunderstood. Common for people to think it does more than it really does.
    It's only purpose is to handle the Motion control side ie: Tell motors how far to travel and respond to any actions thru Inputs/outputs. ie Estop, limits and turning on spindle etc.

    The problem comes from when Mach 3 isn't correctly setup. You are experiencing some of this with wrong Z axis travel.
    However when correctly setup there is very little to learn or do in Mach 3 other than Set the WORK ZERO for each Axis and Press Cycle Start.

    The setting up is easy enough but will require some information about your machine. ie: Screw pitch and Micro stepping set on drives along with any ratio that may be applied via timing belts etc.
    Also the Pin numbers that any Inputs/Outputs are using ie: E-stop.

    The actual using of Mach3 regards cutting and the Coordinate system is actually very easy to grasp when it's explained.

    What you need to understand is that you have two coordinate systems working together.? MACHINE coordinates and WORK coordinates.

    MACHINE coordinate ZERO is fixed and never changes unless the HOME Switch is moved. MACHINE ZERO is Reference point that all other WORK coodinates are Referenced from.
    When you HOME the machine in Mach3 think of this has defining the work envalope of your machine always having fixed set point to start from.
    This is done using the RefAllHome button.
    Even if you have no HOME switches pressing RefAllHome will set the MACHINE ZERO at the location machine was when pressed. However caution is required here because very easy to crash machine if the MACHINE Zero is set near the limits because the WORK coordinates may run past the end of machine.

    WORK Coordinates relate to the actual part. When you program the part in CAM software you will define a ZERO point on the part to start from.
    When you place material on the table it can be anywhere you like. You then define WORK Zero at some point on material. Doing this creates a WORK OFFSET which is relative to MACHINE ZERO. All moves in WORK Coordinates are then done relative to this WORK Zero point.

    This is done in Mach3 by clicking Axis ZERO buttons next to the DRO's showing coordinates. ie: X Zero, Y Zero, Z Zero.

    After this is done then really the only thing left to do is push Cycle start. Mach then runs thru the G-code and handles the motion control.

    The Importance and point of MACHINE Zero is so that if for any reason position is lost while cutting ie: Estop or tool breakage you can always easily get back to WORK Zero by Returning to the MACHINE Zero (home position).
    Mach3 keeps the WORK OFFSET stored so can easily get you back into correct postion to carry on.

    You can also have many WORK OFFSETS, known as Fixture OFFsets each with there own unique WORK Zero but's that's getting deep so won't go there now.
    99% of users never even now they are using a WORK OFFSET because by default mach3 and most CAM packages use default WORK OFFSET called G54. Mach can use 255 WORK OFFSETs.!!

    So that's MACH3 it does nothing but controls the machine and eat's G-code.!

    The G-code you feed Mach can be obtained in many ways. Simplest form is by hand coding but the easy route is to use Cam Package to generate the G-code.
    Each CAM package will take CAD File and let you choose cutting stratergies to achive your finished part. This is done by using the geometry of the part and then assigning toolpaths with all the appropriate speeds, feeds etc needed for your tools. ie: Drilling, Profiling etc.

    All these Toolpaths(or singularly) are then post Processed into one large G-code file which you load into Mach3. The Post processing portion is very important because there are many types of CNC controls on the market with Mach3 being just one very small fish.
    So it's important you choose Post processor designed for Mach3 other wise Mach won't be able to understand what's being told. Think of it like speaking differnet langauge, you need post that speaks Mach3.

    So has you see Mach3 when setup isn't very complicated to use and doesn't take much learning. Taking the time to Understanding the Coordinate systems and how they interact helps clear lot of the Fog for most users.

    After that it really is just Load the G-code file, Set Work Zero's and Push Cycle Start. When tool change Occurs just change tool reset Zero for Z and carry on.!

    Feel free to ask any questions no matter how stupid you think they may sound.

    Cheers
    Dean.

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  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by RichardR View Post
    Yes I have configured the 3 axis but not the spindle motor, I have tried many configurations with that but to no avail, I have used one of the wizards to make a couple of wood signs, but the z axis (spindle motor) does not travel down the correct depth to the amount you put into the programme and is a bit hit and miss. I now know how to start in the correct position by positioning the spindle motor to a certain position and set the axis to zero also looking at the G codes to see where it will start from the zero position, but I get it wrong sometimes. I now know that I need to learn a cad programme so I can convert a design to G codes, I have tried to do this with a picture then import it to Mach 3 but it did not work. I was hoping I can find a course at my local college but so far that idea has not born fruit.From the beginning of October I will be unable to stand for 6 weeks and then restricted in an air boot for another 6 to 8 weeks, so will not be in the workshop until the new year. I hopeto have some tuition sorted by then
    I don't have Mach 3 in front of me right now, but it sounds like you have some sort of configuration issue, and that should be pretty simple to figure out and fix it. It can also be missing/extra steps caused by wiring and electronics, but for now, lets assume that configuration is the most probable cause of your errors. If Z is the only problem and the problem is random, then the most probable cause is the speed and acceleration setting, assuming you don't have binding or other mechanical issues, like broken ball nut, alignment issues or something similar.

    Anyway, Mach 3 is not that complicated to understand once you have configured it right. What you need to learn is how to generate G-code, manually or using a CAD software. You don't need to start know everything to start off, but don't expect perfect results immediately. In my opinion it is best to start with air milling until you understand what is happening and why and can identify if an error is caused by the machine, the configuration, or the G-code. Start with simple objects, based on straight lines, first. Mill a square, observe how the axes are moving. If everything seems right, you can start with some softer material, like plastics or MDF, and measure milling depth. If everything is accurate you could create some circular pattern and maybe a start inside, to check that even that is working. To create these patterns you can use manual coding, it gives you an understanding you will need later on with more complex codes. When that is also OK you should move on to some CAD software and try to generate G-code from there. How complicated this is, depends on you and the software of your choice.

    Anyway, don't give up just because you get it wrong some times. We ALL get it wrong some times, even the world's best experts. Milling is fun, even if some times can feel like a bit of a too steep climb for amateurs like you and I. Once you understand the basics and set up the machine and Mach 3 you will enjoy it as well, so don't give up, but also give yourself time to practice and allow for some mistakes and failures. Those are part of the learning process, so it is valuable for the future.

    Good luck.

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