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  1. #1
    we have 2 cncís in our school and currently they are on standalone machines. We need to upgrade them with our IT department as they are a security risk and need them to go onto our network. We really need someone with cnc expertise to come and help our IT department sort this out. We have one large flat bed cnc and one small cnc. The small cnc seems to have some issues of finding its datum and currently canít be used so we could do with some help on this to get it fully working. The new software needs to be windows 10 and usb compatible. We are in the Lincolnshire area. Does anyone know anyone that can help or assist.

    Also are there any mach3 software training courses out there?

    Many thanks for reading

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by katej1973 View Post
    we have 2 cnc’s in our school and currently they are on standalone machines. We need to upgrade them with our IT department as they are a security risk and need them to go onto our network. We really need someone with cnc expertise to come and help our IT department sort this out. We have one large flat bed cnc and one small cnc. The small cnc seems to have some issues of finding its datum and currently can’t be used so we could do with some help on this to get it fully working. The new software needs to be windows 10 and usb compatible. We are in the Lincolnshire area. Does anyone know anyone that can help or assist.
    Also are there any mach3 software training courses out there.
    Many thanks for reading
    If the pc's/controllers work and run fine then don't get duped into new software and pc's. As a school it's likely you'll get overcharged for crap.
    There are ways of connecting the pc's to the local network whilst blocking all ouside access at the same time.
    My machine runs WinXP, is accessible on the network for internal file transfer, all other access blocked.

    Have a word with your IT guys, I assume it's just that the O.S. is out of date you have them whingeing at you (they just want money out of you). I wouldn't change them 'just because'!!

    Then you can put the money you just saved (for no real reason) into getting the small one sorted.

  3. #3
    I work for a university engineering dept. and would strongly recommend keeping these machines off the school network if you can. There should be no need for them to connect to the outside world and externally generated files can be uploaded to them via usb memory sticks.
    I now have my main pc at work connected via a wifi dongle (i.e.can't do any more harm than someone with a smartphone) and have a small Ethernet switch network set up for my four cnc machines. This has been a HUGE benefit to getting things done and I am not constantly plagued with network updates.
    Staying off the main network has been helpful with cad software updates and plugins as well as I can pretty much do what I like :) It is like working from home at work!
    Not sure on your datum issues but if left to my own devices I would rewire everything with AXBB motion controllers, and run uccnc software. It is very similar to Mach3 but is well supported and WAY more reliable than my 4 years of mach 3 shenanigans would suggest.
    I wish I had time to come and help but the only reason I have had time to even answer this is because I am sat at home with covid!
    Standalone machines should not present a risk to school security. If your IT dept are really windy about the risk of accidental connection to their impeccably guarded network (that no doubt, is our last defence against the new axis of evil) then get them to disable / remove the ethernet adaptor (possibly by stuffing stuffing chewing gum in the connector hole)
    The datum thing will likely be a limit switch wiring issue or a Mach 3 setting issue. Both should respond to 30 mins max of sheer bloody mindedness :)
    Last edited by iain1mm; 25-01-2022 at 02:29 AM.

  4. #4
    Whilst I don't use Windows for controlling my cnc equipment I'm a big fan of keeping them off the network and physically securing the machine (which should be the first rule in any security plan).

    For what you would pay for Mach4 License ($200 USD) you could get your hands on a Mesa Ethernet FPGA card and run Linuxcnc, a 7i92 Ethernet card (about $90 USD + shipping )will work directly with an existing Parallel Port setup. A suitable machine (if an upgrade is needed) as a start, HP 8000 SFF.

    Just a thought and I know many shy away from Linux.

    Forum member CliveS is a very experienced Linuxcnc user in the UK. And a decent gent to boot.

  5. #5
    I would echo the advice to keep things as they are.I suspect your IT guru isn't particularly familiar with the level of computing power needed to run a modest CNC machine.I know of one business that still uses XP for it's routers and keeps them isolated from the main network and a friend is still making parts for very serious pieces of hardware on a brute of a machine-it contains 700 litres of coolant-and he programmes in DOS.

  6. #6
    So 3 good tips then so far.

    1. Keep machines off network (transfer files via usb).
    2. Chewing gum in lan port.
    3. IT department... 'bugger off'.

  7. #7
    JAZZCNC's Avatar
    Lives in wakefield, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 20 Hours Ago Forum Superstar, has done so much to help others, they deserve a medal. Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 8,413. Received thanks 1,442 times, giving thanks to others 108 times. Referred 1 members to the community.
    Hi Kate, We are based not too far away in Goole and could help with taking a look but much of what has been suggested regards keeping the machines off the main school network is good advice. Like iain1mm suggests using either memory sticks, which is the preferred method, or a local switch network with a wireless setup just for transferring files between machines would work well. Although I don't think I would go to all the trouble and expense of a switch setup just for 2 machines.? But it does offer scalability.!


    Regarding Mach3 training then Mach3 or any other control software like UCCNC is just the machine's control software which means its main function is to interpret the G-code file and execute moves along with monitoring any switches that are fit on the machine, like Datum (home) switches, etc.
    So after the machine has been set up by the engineers who commission the machine there isn't much user involvement that requires a lot of training. Yes mach3 and UCCNC etc are very complex software in terms of setup for the engineer but from the user's side in actually using the software and working the machine there isn't a lot to learn.

    We build CNC routers that use UCCNC software which is very similar to mach3 but much better and far more reliable and within 30mins can teach first-time users what is required to use the machine and cut parts. The Creation of the G-code and CAM side is where all the learning will be needed and this will depend on the software you use.

    If I can help drop me an email which is in my signature.
    -use common sense, if you lack it, there is no software to help that.

    Email: dean@jazzcnc.co.uk

    Web site: www.jazzcnc.co.uk

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