View Full Version : Mach 3 + Vcarve PP = ?

06-08-2006, 05:18 AM
I posted on the Mach support forum and although they were Extremely helpful :) my problem still exist. If anyone can help I would really appreciate it. Below is the posting I submitted, I also submitted in Vcarve forum since I am not sure where this problem is coming from.

Has anyone run into this? I am trying to determine if this originates from Vcarve or Mach3.

I have a visual offset showing in Mach 3 in their table/job display whenever I load gcode that has been created with Vcarve.

I am pretty much on my own with this problem according to Tony at Vcarve so I thought I would post this and see if their is anyone running Vcarve and Mach3. Below is the description of what goes on whenever I load into Mach 3 code which has been designed using Vcarve

It seems when a project is designed with (one) vcarve cut and (one) 2d mill cut everything loads and works fine in Mach 3. When I used more than (one) vcarve cut on individual piece I get vectors offsetting in Mach 3.

Example = (one) vcarve cut for text. (one) vcarve cut for graphics. (one) profile cut for milling edge. The reason I want different cuts for text and graphic would be different depth so I treated graphic and text as a separate cut. All three of these cuts reside on one project and center, calculate great in vcarve.

For some reason when loading these into Mach 3 separately they get offset. Where in Vcarve all designs are centered in material, after loading into Mach 3 these designs are offset so much they appear to almost disappear on the visual display in Mach 3

Any help or workarounds to this would be appreciated


Tony Mac
06-08-2006, 07:10 AM
Hi Chris,

This is only a visual problem in Mach 3 and the toolpaths will cut at the correct size and position etc. The has also been reported by other Mach users and Art made the following suggestion, but I don't believe this fixes the problem when multiple 3D VCarve toolpaths are saved into a single file.

Feedback from Art,

Usually, this happens because the user is not taking into account where he currently is. If the tool DRO's say the tool is at 100,100 for example, and he loads a 10x10 job, his display will look offset by 100,100 and very small, because the display knows the first move, though it isntr in the code, is from 100,100 to 0,0 .

Zeroing to the stock, and then pressing regen will correct this.

It's always a good idea to regen after zeroing. This usually takes care of that complaint.

Any other ideas?


06-08-2006, 07:42 AM
Can you post the code so I can see what you mean?

06-08-2006, 07:14 PM
Chris can you post the code along with the crv file. I run Vcarve and Mach3 and haven't had this problem. Let me see if I've got the sequence right so I can try and recreate the problem on my setup.

You create a VCW file that has multiple toolpaths. You then save each toolpath as it's own gcode file. Then you load one file up in to Mach3 and cut it. Next you load another file up (and this is where you see problems) and you see that the tool isn't zeroed anymore?

A few questions: Are you changing tools between files? Do you use an offset when setting up your material in VCW? What post processor are you saving your files with in VCW?

06-08-2006, 09:13 PM
Thanks for the replies everyone,

Jerry, I am posting the code for your eval. I do not have a tool changer so I have to load each file individually in Mach 3. It is when I load the code file that has the graphic that I have the visual offset the most in the display window.

Jay, Hopefully you can create the problem I have been having. This happens in all my projects with multiple tools/cuts.

You are correct in your assumption of steps I am taking when creating/saving and loading files... I create a VCW .crv file that has multiple cuts and tools. I load each saved file individually into Mach 3 to cut and notice visual offsets within the display window most notably within the code that contains the graphic.

I was told by Tony early within this post that the visual offset within the Mach 3 display window does not affect the cut or tool path... but there is something reassuring in seeing the toolpath being displayed properly.

I am using a work offset although this visual offset appears in the display window improperly whether I am using this offset or loading from home position.

The post processor I am using was sent by Tony at Vcarve and is a .txt file.

I am changing tools between files but to be honest I have not procedded with the files that are offset visually. I guess I could try to proceed with one hand on the E-stop :)

I had hoped for some feedback on this problem within the Vcarve section but it seems? my post has been deleted :frown:

Thanks for any help you guys may be able to give me on this


06-08-2006, 09:24 PM
Unfortunately, since I'm using Mach3 in demo mode, I can't really see your problem.

I don't see a work offset in your code?

Also, if you post the whole thing into a single file, Mach3 can be set up to pause and allow you to change tools, then resume.

Tony Mac
06-09-2006, 04:42 AM
Hi Chris,

No idea where your post in the VCarve Wizard thread went as I had also added to it. I guess the Forum Admin decided it was a duplicate and deleted it?

Can you try loading each of the 2 attached Toolpath files (these include 2D profile and 3 x 3D VCarve Toolpaths) and let me know whether you see the problem?


06-09-2006, 05:48 AM

I would like to combine files to load once in Mach 3 but I don't think this is allowed in Vcarve? (Tony can you correct me if I am wrong on this?) I am assuming I could combine code manually and then save to one file but not sure how to do this.

Thanks for the update on deleted post. You are right, Admin deemed multiple post and deleted one. I was thinking multiple input from variety of sources would increase success. I should have read forum rules closer.

Thanks for the two files you sent. The Mach3 Test 1.txt does not load, I get a (unknown word where unary operation could be on line #2) message.

The #2 file loads and the graphic displays centered and true within the Mach 3 display window. Did you combine the multiple tool cuts into one file?

Can you send me the .crv file and the multiple .txt files so I can load individually into Mach 3 which would duplicate procedure on my end. If this works correctly without offset on these Vcarve files could it be with the post processor I am running within Vcarve?

Thanks for all your help!

Tony Mac
06-09-2006, 06:57 AM

VCarve Wizard will save multiple toolpaths into a single file, so no need to do this manually. But this does depend upon having the latest postp installed.

Please e-mail the postp you are running to - support@vectric.com

When each toolpath is calculated in VCW you need to ensure a different Tool Number is used for each cutter type used. Otherwise you will have V-Bits, Ends Mill etc all being set as Tool No. 1

Use the Toolpath List to switch on the toolpaths in the 3D window

On the Save Toolpath form select the Output all visible toolpaths to one file

Very strange that toolpath - Mach3 Test 1.txt does not load - as this is the standard postprocessor that other users are running with Mach3?

For toolpath - Mach3 Test 2.txt it simply removed the header info from the file.

Send us your postp and we willl take a look


06-09-2006, 07:29 AM
Well some good news and bad news Chris, the bad news it I was able to run all your files and not have an offset problem. Also I could open both of Tony's files. (I guess that's the good news too)

Here are some random thoughts on what you might try. When saving your toolpaths in VCW use the gcode inch (or metric if you use metric) postp. That's the one I always use for Mach2 and Mach3. I know there is a Mach postp but for some reason I've never used it. But try the gcode one and see if you get the problem.

Also if you're changing tools in the middle of the job (and I'm assuming you don't have an auto tool changer) You're going to have to rezero the job in the Z axis at the least. When you run one of the files you posted and it finishes cutting where does the machine go? Back to zero X zero Y and maybe Z is above the work some?

Also do you have the latest ver of Mach3? Have you tried to see if you have this problem using Mach2?

Also did you say you set an offset in VCW? If true any reason why?

My gut tells me you're having one of two problems. One you’re using the wrong/old postp in VCW. Two you're not zeroing out after tool changes. Or there you both 1 and 2 are your problems.

06-09-2006, 05:59 PM

I am now thinking that I do not have the latest version of post processor for Vcarve. When saving toolpaths under one file Vcarve will only allow me to save multiple V-bits provided they have different tool number.

Vcarve will not allow V-bits and End mill toolpaths to be save under one file even if my endmill tool has a different number from the v-bits. (Ex. vcarve 1, vcarve 2, and endmill 3)

What is also interesting is that if I save the multiple V-bits under one file and then load this in Mach 3 the designs displays properly in Mach 3.

I sent support the post processor I am using with Vcarve so hopefully they will tell me that my problem resides with an outdated postp.


Tony Mac
06-09-2006, 06:11 PM

I've looked at your postp and it is the latest version so there shouldn't be any reason why you can't save multiple toolpaths (emd mills + Vbits + ball nose and engraving) into a single file.

I have sent you a VCW file that includes multiple toolpaths that can be saved using your postp.

Important - You will see that you get an error message saying that VCarve 1 and 2D Machine 1 - both use the same tool number 1 - Because they have both ben calculated using Tool No. 1

If you edit one of these toolpaths to use for example Tool No. 6 - they can then all be saved into a single file.


06-09-2006, 06:25 PM

Thanks for your help in trying to recreate my problem. I saved my toolpaths using standard gcode in inches and still a no go. The design is still being offset when viewing in Mach 3 display window.

I had previously tried saving multiple toolpaths into one file under the save toolpath and had error message saying I could not. I tried again combining only the multiple vcarve toolpaths and this time vcarve allowed. In addition, when loaded into Mach 3 the layout displayed properly when loading both vcarve toolpaths under one file. It is only when I try to include an endmill toolpath along with the vbits that I am not allowed to save under one file. All toolpaths are different and none have the same tool number. Does your software allow you to save multiple tools like say to vbits and one endmill under one file?

After running one of my files the software directs x,y,z to go back to 0,0,0 in accordance to where my work offset is set.

I am runing Mach 3 v.1.9xxx and everything works great except for the visual offset.
I have not tried to see if offset displays in Mach2 but will try that later tonight.

I do not see any offset whatsoever in vcarve. Everything is centered and saves ok in vcarve.

Although machine is zero'd out I am not sure it would be this since if you initially start with the graphic file with machine zero's the graphic always loads with an offset visually. This occurs whether machine is work offset or at home location. I always 0,0,0 and also Regen display with no effect on offset display.

I am hoping this is a post processor issue and a simple update to my pp folder will correct this problem.

I will keep everyone posted as to progress and if any other ideas come they would be welcomed estactically.



06-09-2006, 06:29 PM
Can you post a screen shot of your Mach3 with the offset showing?

06-09-2006, 06:38 PM

Thanks for the update. I have not received your file yet so decided to continue playing with the "output all visible tool paths to one file"

I am still getting an error message when trying to save these two tool paths:
v-carve 1
2d machine 2

Here is the error message as it appears:

toolpaths to be saved error: toolpaths...
'V-carve 1'
'2d machine 2'

Both use tool number 1 But the geometry of the tools are different.

I have recalculated both tools and tried to save but still an error message.

Any ideas?


06-09-2006, 08:08 PM

Here is screenshot of offset when loading gcode file with graphic.


06-10-2006, 07:57 AM
Try this file and see what happens.

06-10-2006, 09:23 AM

Eureka! This file loads and displays like it should.

What did you do?


06-10-2006, 09:30 AM
I think there might be an error in the postp file. I'm checking with Tony to see if I'm right. But I think it's adding an extra G in one of the lines and that might is the reason why one of Tony’s files gave you an error in Mach3. The only thing is if there is an error in the postp I'm not sure it would affect your offset issue. I'll let you know what I find out from Tony.

06-10-2006, 09:34 AM
One other thing you said that you couldn't save the files in VCW because it was giving you an error about the toolpaths. You need to have each toolpath that uses a different tool have it's own tool number. So if you have a 2d path with say an endmill that could be tool 1 and then if you have a v-carve path with vbit that needs to be a tool number other than 1. Try doing this and then if you can save the file and post it here and I test it for ya.

06-10-2006, 08:16 PM

Thanks for the feedback. I actually sent Tony a screenshot of Vcarve and not being able to save multiple toolpaths under one file. I made sure I Created and calculated multiple tools with different numeric tool numbers and it still did not save. I keep getting an error message. I am posting a screenshot of attempted save with different tools to one file. This is the file sent from Tony so it should save to one file. I think these little quirks in life and programming errors only happen to me.


06-10-2006, 08:51 PM
I don't use V-carve, but it appears your first V-bit and the 2D bit are both numbered "1". Try changing the 2D machine to #4.

The error message shows they are both #1.

06-10-2006, 10:32 PM
Chris, I think Gerry might be right and that you're not changing the tool numbers each tool type. Check out this screen shot. When you're creating a toolpath click the edit button and the window that comes up you can change the tool numbers there. Like I said if you can get a file to save post it and I'll see what I get on my setup.

Good Luck.

06-12-2006, 07:15 PM
Hello everyone,

I am posting email I sent to Tony at Vectric concerning the saving of multiple toolpaths under one output file. Although I can now save multiple toolpaths and these paths load centered in Mach 3 I still am getting offsets when loading individual saved files.

I am estactic with being able to save and load properly in Mach3... I just wish I knew what the problem is when I load individually. Short of buying another computer and reloading everything from scratch I have no other ideas. But I am very happy I am now able to work around the offset problem through combining multiple toolpaths into one output file.

Listed below is the response I sent Tony.

Thanks everyone!


Thanks for getting back to me. I can now save under multiple toolpaths. When receiving the error message while trying to save multiple toolpaths under one file I tried changing the tool number under the edit tool button. I also tried changing tool name under the descriptive name at the bottom of tool menu. All these changes were tried under the "Create V-carve toolpath on the right side of 3d view. It was only after I went into the Edit/Tool Database menu and changed every tools number and then hit "Apply" that I could save all toolpaths under one output file.

Now my designs all load and center properly under Mach 3 (Hurray!) I still do not understand why the individual toolpaths loaded under Mach 3 are still being offset but saving multiple toolpaths to one output file now provides a workaround for me. Actually the ability to save all toolpaths to one file was what I was originally striving for but then I became sidetracked with the visual offset of individually loaded files.

I calculated and saved toolpaths under Gcode post processor but still no luck... the code is still offset. Any other ideas?

06-12-2006, 10:54 PM
Have you watched the videos at www.machsupport.com There is one that explains what's happening I think. Might help out. Not sure which one, though.

06-13-2006, 04:43 AM

I have watched the videos at Mach3 support. I haven't seen anything that points to a visual offset happening to designs which reside on the Mach 3 visual display window except for making sure display is 0,0,0 and hitting regen to update display. I will do a fresh install on a clean system soon, this should clear things up since this problem seems to be localized only to me.