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  1. #1
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    Default Mach3 orsomething else?

    Hello, I was going to use mach3 with a small router in a high school, however I have read a few negative comments about mach3 being a bit old in the tooth and now there are better options. I have not used mach3, or any similar software other than packaged software for 3d printers, so I haven't a clue. Whatever I choose, I'll be sticking with it and unlikely to experiment with other products.
    I need value for money, intuative tools and fairly capable.
    Any experienced feedback is appreciuated.
    Thanks
    Patrick

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    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mach3 orsomething else?

    UCCNC. Lots of Mach3 users have made the switch.

    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: Mach3 orsomething else?

    There shouldnt be any issue with M3 and a router.


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    Default Re: Mach3 orsomething else?

    Either will work fine, but a few things to consider. If you are using a parallel port cable (DB25) connection you may be limited as far as the computer and windows version with Mach 3. The newer driver boards/motion controllers allow you to use a USB or Ethernet. A simple UC100 motion controller (or other UCxxx option) will allow you to use either Mach or UCCNC software and newer computers (most of which don't even have a parallel printer port) and just as important later versions of Windows like 8 or 10. Smoothstepper makes boards with both USB or ethernet capabilities, but they will not work with UCCNC. I personally would recommend a driver board/motion controller that uses an ethernet connection no matter which software you use. Ethernet is much less prone to interference or connection issues as well as eliminating the limitations already noted. I switched a while back to UCCNC and a ethernet board and am glad I did.

    Last edited by coherent; 03-14-2018 at 03:34 PM.


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    Default Re: Mach3 orsomething else?

    UCCNC seems like it will work pretty much out of the box with a router. It's missing features for a proper milling setup IMO. The UC300eth controller will let you run either UCCNC or Mach 3. I do both with my milling machine. Mach 3 gives me old reliable, UCCNC gives me a supported and current system that I can build on and build with.



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    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mach3 orsomething else?

    It's missing features for a proper milling setup IMO.
    What features would those be?

    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: Mach3 orsomething else?

    Touch probe calibration and tool length offset. It's definitely slower in process, especially concerning diverse multi-tool arrangements, than Mach 3 with certain screen sets. The core of the software is leagues ahead though.



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    Default Re: Mach3 orsomething else?

    It's definitely slower in process
    What first came to my mind is the good old joke about the speed test of the US and the Russian first microcomputers in the old times.
    They input 2x2 into the US made one and it was thinking for a minute and finally output 4.
    Then they input 2x2 into the Russian one and it immediately output 5.
    The tester scientists question the Russian developers about that their computer's answer was incorrect and they say, OK OK, but it was really fast isn't it.



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    Default Re: Mach3 orsomething else?

    With five tools on a 3d contour it took 10 minutes less with Mach 3 and a proper screen set, about 22 minutes in total. I get paid $115 an hour. So your anecdote really brings home some value, or lack of if my customer is concerned.

    If I have to measure a tool every single time a tool change is required then the software will be slower. The hardware hasn’t changed. That doesn’t mean the core system is a worse system, in fact it’s more reliable in many aspects in my experience, the tool change setup still sucks. Of course, the lack of touch probe calibration is not even remotely addressed.

    Smile face, smile face.



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    Default Re: Mach3 orsomething else?

    You probably did not realise yet that with the UCCNC you can set the acceleration of the axes much higher than you can in Mach3 (using same machine, same everything), because the Mach3 trajectory planner is buggy.
    Mach3 will start loosing steps at some acceleration level because of that bug where UCCNC will still running happily so you could get a faster runtime with UCCNC and could make your customers and your pockets even more happy.
    It is also noteable that with the UCCNC you can set the job tolerances and if for the job you can use looser tolerances then you can get it to run more fast.
    With Mach3 if you need to do tight tolerance jobs you can only pray to have them inside the tolerances you want, because you have no control over it. Mach3 will round corners how it feels to and UCCNC will round corners as much as you allowing it to.

    I have the UCCNC acceleration 2 times of what was possible with Mach3 when it started loosing steps so my machine running jobs much faster now.



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    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mach3 orsomething else?

    With five tools on a 3d contour it took 10 minutes less with Mach 3 and a proper screen set, about 22 minutes in total
    I've seen a 3D that took 45 minute in Mach3 run in 30 minutes in UCCNC, with a much better, more accurate finish in UCCNC. The CV settings are more important in UCCNC. UCCNC is capable of following the toolpath much more accurately, which can be slower if the tolerances are tight.
    If set up properly, UCCNC is both faster, and more accurate, than Mach3.

    Also, UCCNC has supported tool length compensation for a long time.

    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: Mach3 orsomething else?

    I agree 100% of the motion control is better. I am also aware of the acceleration bug in Mach 3 and have compensated.

    Once my I get my tool change macro up and running the system will be heads and tails over Mach 3, in the mean time I still have a Mach 3 to lean on though.

    I also find that I like the UC300 better than the ESS. I would on occasion get the ESS memory issues, and that get's old after a while.



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