View Full Version : Fed up with Mach3 - what options do i have here??

15-04-2018, 12:36 PM
Here is my setup:-

Bridgeport series1 converted to CNC
CSMIO-IP/A controller
AC servos all round
Tool length comp taken by the knee axis with custom M6 macros

My issues:-

Mach3 and CSMIO controllers have a very chequered past concerning probing - I have spent weeks on this now, got probing running and written a lot of macros only to find Mach3 is now unstable and crashes out randomly when loading the probing wizard after running something simple like a Z probe routine. There are many other bugs but this one is fatal every time and needs a re-boot followed re-referencing all axes.

I now feel it is either time to forget probing all together OR ditch Mach3 completely.

CSLABS have there own software under way BUT its only in beta and they chose Python scripting which i very much doubt i will ever be able to understand.

Is there any other option for me - I need analogue servo drive outputs and customisation options.

15-04-2018, 03:12 PM
The analog servo requirement is going to be very limiting, or be expensive.

At the low cost end, probably Linux CNC or Kmotion with the Kanalog? (going by memory).
Or Centroid at the higher end, but it gets expensive.

CNC Drive is working on an analog board for UCCNC, but it could be a long time before it's available.

15-04-2018, 04:48 PM
Thanks Gerry, will look into Linux or Motion, the centroid stuff is $$$$$$$

I will likely have to switch to CSLABS software and find someone knowledgeable to pay them to write some macros - Python is like reading Greek to me - I can program in VB/VBA quite well so Mach3 is getting easy now but Python???????????

I cant even find an example of a Python macro!

15-04-2018, 07:40 PM
Using Analog limits choice.

As Gerry says, the only reasonably priced controllers are either LinuxCNC with whatever Mesa boards support Analog, or KFlop with Kanalog running KMotionCNC.

Without swapping controllers, what about Mach4?
I've got no idea what the current status of the CS-Lab plugin for it is, but it would save you re-wiring things.

15-04-2018, 07:50 PM
Yes Mach4 is an option i guess, according to CSL the plugin is solid but they also reckon probing works in Mach3 where the internet seems to say its dodgy at best.

Is Mach4 macro language anything like Mach3??

15-04-2018, 08:02 PM
I can't remember of hand what language Mach 4 uses, but it's not the same as Mach 3.

Mach 3 used a form of basic, whereas Mach 4 uses a scripting language of some form.

15-04-2018, 10:56 PM
Is Mach4 macro language anything like Mach3??

No, nothing at all. Mach4 uses Lua.
Mach4 is far more complex than Mach3, and programming in Lua will require a much better understanding of how Mach4 works than the simple VB scripts in Mach3 do.

Also remember the reason you have problems in the first place. Artsoft writes the software, and third parties develop hardware and write plugins to interface their hardware. For this reason, you'll find that Mach3 functions can and do work very differently, depending on how the plugin for the hardware is written.
Artsoft thought this method worked so well, they'd stick with it for Mach4.
It was CS Labs decision to write their Mach3 plugin the way they did. So your Mach4 experience will be heavily reliant on CS Labs, as is your Mach3 experience.

16-04-2018, 07:17 AM
Thanks Gerry, makes sense.

I think the best solution would be CSLABS own software but i'm going to have to let that mature a bit i think, its still in beta and is very restricted at present.

Colin Barron
22-04-2018, 06:39 PM
Hi, you could have a look at Tormach Pathpilot and there is info on you tube. http://pathpilot-on-nontormach.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page. They were Mach people until recently. The benefit of this route appears to be the DIY following and a company in the US who want it to work.
I am looking (still!) at doing a conversion and i think moving away from computers is the best route and it appears that single box controllers are the way to go and how much you spend will depend on the value you put on reliability and back up.

22-04-2018, 06:49 PM
I have managed to fix the issue now.! :)

For some odd reason, trying to run probing routines with a CSLABS controller from within a Mach3 wizard is NOT a good idea at all.

In the end i created my own custom screen set for Mach3 and it all works perfectly now, no instability and very good results.

A painful lesson but worth it in the end :)