View Poll Results: Mach3 vs LinuxCNC/EMC What do you use and why?
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Oh but it does - LinuxCNC can run off a CD or flashdrive. Just download it, burn it to the CD (or flashdrive) in windows, stick it in your computer and switch on. The computer will now boot into Ubuntu, and just double click the icon to run the program to configure the ports and pins, just like in mach, then you get an icon on the desktop which runs LinuxCNC.
If you want to install it for good, then select that option when the computer boots, but it's actually fine to just keep running it off a flash drive, which is nice if you're short for room in the control box so don't want to include a hard disk!
Unless you're a new user. Nowhere in this thread has anyone said that any specific individual must change - just that other options are available. If you're happy with Mach3 then by all means stick with it, but it doesn't take long to try LinuxCNC.
You can't USE it without G-code and that requires either a sound knowledge and certain amount of GEEK to use Linux soley or to a lesser extent knowledge of running Windows emulators.
So my point is you still need windows to use Linuc CNC while not being a considered a Geek so other than if your a tight arse if Mach does every thing you want and is designed for windows with a massive user base of windows users and his just a mouse click away WTF point of making life hard.!!
Some programs like BobCad Cam will even send the tool paths direct to Mach with no pissing about reloading or booting to this OS or that partition etc .!!
Your average or even advanced CNC user like me would struggle to get to grips with Linux and be able to soley use it with Linux.!
I think the main issues with Linux have been covered.
But to add an analogy. Most people here can drive cars, but how many could jump in a lorry and drive it?
It's still got a wheel on each corner, the steering wheel and the pedals do the same thing, but could you handle the air brakes, the air handbrake, and all the extra gears? Using the linux fan comments here, it's not that much different, and can be done easily with minimal issues...
Bit of a long story - go get a coffee and also bit of a history lesson but it get to the point of the post.
My involvement with CNC came in 1994 when I went to an auction just to see how much large [ 50" + tables ] were going for and came away with a mint Beaver NC5 for absolute peanuts because like a lot of early machines it had broken rubbish electronics.
With some help we did actually get it running on the original Posidata controller. I had looked at doing a manual conversion so knew the marketplace as regards controllers etc of which where wasn't the choice we had today. First couple of jobs paid for an upgrade and we chose an American company with a very good UK agent called Ahha, I know silly name but so is Apple. Old Dos program, needed a dedicated card in the machine and the card and breakout board which was made to plug into the Posidata was £1,800.
Absolute brilliant bit of gear, in fact it's still on this today and a Bridgeport MDI BOSS is also on one. I could convert to Mach but to be honest it wouldn't give me anything I don't already have except perhaps wizards.
This lead to buying up cheap machines, converting them and selling them, there was a market and I had access to heavy lifting gear with Hiab trucks etc, this slowly fizzled out as companies got rid of older equipment and upgraded to VMC's.
About this time the small hobby market was developing and starting to convert to CNC. There was a range made by SimplyCNC up in Scotland based on the X3 and articles like Dick Stevens in MEW helped this but I felt I could do a better job and so approached Ketan at Arc Euro to do a kit for the X3.
First problem we got was cost, Dicks was cheap because he's done all the work himself, something a lot of people seem to miss. SimplyCNC was more expensive but he'd cut corners that much to get the price down that it was unreliable and caused him to stop doing these with a bit of bad press as well.
I was ready to throw the towel in because we couldn't get an affordable conversion using good components but Ketan said carry on and we will review final figures and ask round. It soon became clear that there was a market for a decent conversion and we went ahead. You got everything to bolt on and all the electronics to built the rest, you had to do all the fitting but it had a very good book to explain everything.
That book was the secret.
The first book was written and given to a guy who had no experience of CNC but was a decent engineer. Two pages in he was stumped because I'd missed an obvious move out, obvious to me but not a beginner. It took 10 re-writes to get the book done, by this time we were onto a third guys as numbers 1 and 2 now had some knowledge and we didn't want that.
It was a total success and we sold just under 40 kits, even sold one to an 82 year old guy and he got it running.
Then the Chinese came on the scene directly and asked, would we help them develop a turnkey CNC WTF, no way that's our bowl of rice.
Then on second thoughts if we don't someone else will and we will be out the loop.
So flew to China, thrashed out a deal, came back and built the KX1 CNC here in the UK, bits and plans went back to China and the KX1, KX3 range was developed which then got ripped off by Novacon, Syil and the rest.
Part of the deal was we would write to operating manual here in the UK, no Chinglish, given our previous experience with the X3 manual and we would support world wide sales of these machines via a web based site.
World wide covers everything except some Asian countries which are handled by Sieg and Russia who have their own arrangements. There are many of these machines in schools in Russia.
So today we are supporting many countries with these machines. Majority go to absolute beginners who have never used a CNC or even a milling machine and there is a lot of hand holding.
The ONLY way this model works is that it uses Mach on the Windows operating system, 90% + of our web based problems are computer / program related, the machines are very reliable given the number of them out there.
Most users with problems can sort there own out with a bit of help once given a start because they are familiar with windows, note I said familiar and not experienced.
Given our user base, beginners, if we had made the move to Linux and EMC this model would not have worked for the sole reason they are not familiar with it.
EMC has a place, no one is saying it's better or worse but it's not for the great unwashed out there.
Thank you for letting me explain our model.John S -
Bloody hell John you must still be pissed from last night.!! . . . . Never seen you gush so much. . Lol
Here here John and a great history lesson. You are right with releasing on windows, it was familiar to all and no explanation was required. Linux (UNIX)has been used for automation for more years than i have been alive. It's those early UNIX developers who brought it to the masses. The difference is it is only those that...again walked in those circles that would pick this up. Those at home would not understand UNIX, this is where Linux was born. A developers dream play pen that could be exploited.
It has come a long way and will continue to get stronger, this is not a VHS vs Betamax saga. There will always be Linux CNC users because they get a different type of support for what they want to do.
I started my IT life supporting Netware and UNIX systems, hence why lean towards Linux. For those that say they need to learn most of what is in Windows came from the way Netwere worked (containers and object controls). This also gave MS a kick up the bum to rival with 16 and 32 bit platforms, something UNIX already had.
Jazz if you search hard enough you will find that a Huge use of corporate use of UNIX/ Linux CAD/CAM software is used. It is mainly used in design to line manufacturing. Especially in the electronics market (I worked for Motorola). You will not see this software being offered to Joe Bloggs.
Everyone to their own at the end of the day, i earn a living testing and finding issues with crappy Windows software. Hence why at home i use Linux.If the nagging gets really bad......Get a bigger shed:naughty:
Would you have time to start a thread just outlining the basic's of getting started with EMC2?
I for one would like to explore alternatives to windows and Mach but don't really have the time to sit down and try to get my head round Linux, I understand if you don't have time but I for one would appreciate the advice.
Last edited by audioandy; 16-02-2013 at 09:02 PM.
I must confess that despite being a Linux "fanboy", setting up LinuxCNC wasn't quite as straight forward as I had hoped. Don't get me wrong, installing the O.S. was very simple and setting up the parallel port and motors/drives was also made easy with the "stepconf wizard" but I had a few ball aches due to hardware issues. In a nutshell, LinuxCNC is a bit fussy on which hardware it likes because it uses a Realtime kernel. Although the Realtime kernel is a major advance, the downside of this "bleeding edge" technology is that it will not work well with all hardware. The whole LinuxCNC setup depends heavily on having low latency, so I would strongly recommend that anyone wanting to test LinuxCNC do so by booting the CD in "live" mode before installing it. That way, you can run the latency test and determine whether or not the PC/Hardware is suitable for CNC control. I managed to improve my latency by around 60% by removing the wifi card and using various BIOS settings but I'm a self-confessed Geek and that approach is not suitable for most users...
LinuxCNC Documentation - HTML version
Last edited by birchy; 16-02-2013 at 09:33 PM.
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