View Full Version : Mach3 and old torchmate (flashcut)

01-27-2009, 06:20 PM
I have a old torchmate system with the older software, as some may know to upgrade to the newer software you need to replace a chip in the interface. Torchmate and Flashcut want 300 for this chip.
Is it possible to run this with Mach3 without changing any hardware (like the chip in the interface) Or do i need a new interface? I would like to switch to Mach and use sheetcam, but I want to make sure I have all the right parts before taking the plunge.

04-16-2009, 08:49 PM
You won't be able to use Mach3 to control the TM signal generator directly. Mach3 uses the parallel (printer port) on a standard desktop computer to control whatever device you are controlling. TM stuff uses the serial (COM port).

I just upgraded my TM1 system with the MP3000 DTHC and used my old Torchmate (Flashcut) motor controller. There was a minor mod required to the motor control box (translate some wires on the DB25 parallel connector) but it works fine.

The MP3000 is a much better box (actually combination signal generator and breakout board) and it can control in three axes (up to 6 actually) with digital torch height control. For $850 with a liscensed version of Mach3 - it's money well spent and I really like the new setup.

This setup will also require a floating torch head to take full advantage of the DTHC, but can be used with any torch head mounted on a Z axis. The MP3000 with the Mach3 is a really powerful combo. I really haven't even done much cutting with it yet, but I alreadly like the Mach3 interface much better than the standard TM stuff.

Mach3 will pretty much take over your computer and you won't be able to run it on a laptop - it HAS to be a desktop to run and be consistently stable. In fact, Mach3 install process pretty much has you strip WinXP down to nothing before install. Mach3 works at a very low level on the computer and any extraneous interrupt requests from some TSR program will cause it to glitch. So that is something to consider. But once you use it, you'll see how much better it is controlling your plaz system.

Good Luck.

04-17-2009, 04:48 PM
I forgot to add that if you're not interested in the DTHC you may just want to get a new parallel breakout board (BOB) to use with Mach3.

Here's an example: http://www.probotix.com/breakout_boards/

Of course, with this you'd have to work out the pinouts between that card and your motor controller.

You can probably also find a decent one online (ebay, this forum, etc.) for even less $$. Definitely a lot less than the $300 that TM wants for the new chip.

Then add $185 (I think) for a license for Mach3 and you could have a good setup for the same $300.

Good Luck

05-11-2009, 11:00 PM
Actually the MP3000 uses one of our Universal Breakout Boards (only BOB that can get expanded I/O out of one parallel port). The DTHC module is a plug-in option (can be added later) You can get a bare bones UBOB Builders kit and MACH3 software from our website for less than the $300.00 price. You throw away the pulse card and control software and use MACH3 and SheetCAM. The motor drives will be standard step & Dir. You can keep those and the mechanics. Later when you want longer consummable life, less scrap and better quality cuts, you can buy the plug-in DTHC expansion module.

No other BOB vendor offers the flexibiliy, features and expansion options we do and we have top rated support. Our Yahoo Support Forum is open to all persons interested in CNC. We have the lowest cost complete electronics plasma solution (BladeRunner Dragon-Cut) in the known Universe!

Do this: Look at the solutions. Download their manuals. See if they are two or three pages of confusion or logically illustrated step by step instruction manuals.

Lastly, if you cut with plasma buy your components from a vendor that knows HOW to cut with plasma and how to solve the niggly problems unique to that form of cutting.

TOM Caudle
Totally Modular CNC Electronics.
Worlds Lowest Cost Complete Plasma Packages with DTHC.