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Thread: Mach4+ESS or Acorn?

  1. #13
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    Just to be clear these are personal opinions not arguments!!!

    First off i wouldn't go with either Mach option right now, in part for some of the reasons you point out. From all appearances Mach 4 isn't stable and Mach 3 well being left adrift isn't good.

    As for the Acorn it is an extremely good value from Centroid a company that has been doing CNC for decades! Do consider though if a proprietary package that only runs on Windows 10 is acceptable. The reports from actual users though are glowing so i see that as a sign of well debugged and stable software. Also consider that this product is sold with limited support vs what you might get with a full blown CNC from Centroid.

    Now if you are considering controllers and have the time why not look at all of the low cost options? LinuxCNC, GRBL and many others exist that might be worth considering. You can even buy Chinese CNC solutions that emulate FANUC type controllers.

    Do realize that once you go beyond four axises complexity goes up significantly. Some controllers simply cant handle more than 4 and your CAM software gets far more complex and expensive.
    Quote Originally Posted by HoY View Post
    Thanks for your input everyone. Those were the types of answers I was looking for. I dont need it right away, so I'll wait and see what they come out with for the extra I/O, since I would like to run a 5 and 6 axis (Y is dual motor, so 4 and 5 actually) in the future. Even if they dont upgrade its capabilities I will likely go with it anyway, but positive reviews were what I was looking for




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    Default Re: Mach4+ESS or Acorn?

    All very good points, thank you! I only started considering something other than Mach+ESS while watching a setup video for Acorn+DMM servo's yesterday, and it looked like it was a very good looking and all in one alternative.
    CAD+CAM, all of my normal 2D+2.5D and third axis turning should be easy enough to handle in Aspire, while the 5 axis stuff would all be done in Fusion 360, which is more than capable of handling it. That extra axis is just a plan for the future however, so I have lots of time to learn to use F360 before I will need it. By then I might actually have the Tormach 770, and would likely just do that type of work on it instead.



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    Default Re: Mach4+ESS or Acorn?

    mycnc_price_list [myCNC Online Documentation]

    I have four machines with different control systems. Linuxcnc, mach3, UCCNC and MyCNC , MyCNC is the best for me...



  4. #16
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    Default Re: Mach4+ESS or Acorn?

    I keep looking at those Acorn boards because someone on a composites forum recommended them to me but I am finding it hard to see the advantage over using a pure software solution with a high spec pc. I can see that they have built in relays to control peripheral functions which is nice but what else do they offer above and beyond Linux CNC and a good desktop pc with fast solid states drives and plenty of ram?

    Can't you just add your own relay outputs with a PCI express relay control card instead?

    Is it that the Acorn control software is just superior to Mach 3 and Linux CNC and the only way to access it is with a dedicated control board as they don't sell it as a software only solution? Or is there more to it?



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    Default Re: Mach4+ESS or Acorn?

    Goemon,
    The big advantage with the Acorn board is it uses the same software that their more expensive controls and even their own 5 axis CNC machines use. So what? Well this tells the user base the software has been tested for many years and has been refined over many years. Mach3 was a great hobby platform which actually did an amazing job of introducing CNC software to hobby guys. The Mach3 developer sold off the product and it was redeveloped as Mach4. This is probably better but still have many bugs and lacks drivers. The advantage of the Acorn is it uses their Hardware and their Software. The analogy I would use is the Windows PC platform had to support many different kinds of hardware and often has many bugs due to this issue. Compare that to the Apple PC platform which used their hardware, their peripherals, and their software, so it was extremely solid.

    The Acorn takes the bulk of intensive calculations on their Acorn controller, Windows us just doing the screen, not the pulsing work.

    Russ







    Quote Originally Posted by Goemon View Post
    I keep looking at those Acorn boards because someone on a composites forum recommended them to me but I am finding it hard to see the advantage over using a pure software solution with a high spec pc. I can see that they have built in relays to control peripheral functions which is nice but what else do they offer above and beyond Linux CNC and a good desktop pc with fast solid states drives and plenty of ram?

    Can't you just add your own relay outputs with a PCI express relay control card instead?

    Is it that the Acorn control software is just superior to Mach 3 and Linux CNC and the only way to access it is with a dedicated control board as they don't sell it as a software only solution? Or is there more to it?




  6. #18
    Activation process cpdad93's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mach4+ESS or Acorn?

    So it takes 3 programs to actually make it all work? My cabinet solutions to design and send the cut list to the next program (v-carve recommended by Avidand, enroute recommended by cabinet solutions, then mach 4 or similar to run the machine?



  7. #19
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mach4+ESS or Acorn?

    Depends on the programs. There are cabinet programs that can generate g-code themselves.
    But you'll still need a machine control program.

    Gerry

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2017.html

    Mach3 2010 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints
    http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)


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    Default Re: Mach4+ESS or Acorn?

    Quote Originally Posted by HoY View Post
    Thanks for your input everyone. Those were the types of answers I was looking for. I dont need it right away, so I'll wait and see what they come out with for the extra I/O, since I would like to run a 5 and 6 axis (Y is dual motor, so 4 and 5 actually) in the future. Even if they dont upgrade its capabilities I will likely go with it anyway, but positive reviews were what I was looking for
    You don't need an extra axes port to run ( 2 ) motors for your Y axes you can use ( 1 ) axes port if you need one motor to run in reverse to the other then you wire it to do that, it is very simple look at the Dmm Breakout Board they have this all ready set up, there's is built into the board, have conveniently added ( 2 ) X axes Plugs which is supplied with ( 1 ) step / Dir signal, with the Acorn you can do the same just does not have the extra convent axes plug

    Mactec54


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    Default Re: Mach4+ESS or Acorn?

    Quote Originally Posted by CNCMAN172 View Post

    The Acorn takes the bulk of intensive calculations on their Acorn controller, Windows is just doing the screen, not the pulsing work.

    This is why I chose Acorn. The Acorn processor only has to juggle one ball. Look at your Windows task manager sometime...It's a little scary.

    I had a commercially-built router that ran WinCNC, it was very stable and seemed easy to customize. I looked into it for my machine but Acorn ended up being about 1/4 the price.

    Acorn's support forum is very good, my first issue (turned out to be Windows related, ha!) had a moderator response within one hour.



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    Default Re: Mach4+ESS or Acorn?

    Quote Originally Posted by kmagyoyo View Post
    This is why I chose Acorn. The Acorn processor only has to juggle one ball. Look at your Windows task manager sometime...It's a little scary.

    I had a commercially-built router that ran WinCNC, it was very stable and seemed easy to customize. I looked into it for my machine but Acorn ended up being about 1/4 the price.
    The ESS works the same, it does the time critical tasks onboard not Windows. The ESS and many other controllers are also cheaper than the Acorn with more features.



  11. #23
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mach4+ESS or Acorn?

    My understanding is that the Acorn does not work the same as the ESS or CNC Drive controllers.
    I beleive the Acorn does the trajectory planning in hardware, rather than in software like all the other controllers do.
    I may be mistaken, though?

    Gerry

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2017.html

    Mach3 2010 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints
    http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)


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