What can't Mach3 do?


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Thread: What can't Mach3 do?

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    Registered Apples's Avatar
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    Default What can't Mach3 do?

    Hi all,

    I have used Mach3 before on a plasma table. Now one day I'm hoping to get a mill either new or old and retrofit it with Mach3 or maybe something else.

    1. How does the Mach3 controller compare with say centroid, ajax, or any other controller. Is Mach better or are they better, and at why? The cetroid setup looks good, but not knowing itm I don't have a clue.

    2.How would Mach3 with the G100 and some 320 Geckodrives and servos go on a larger mill, say somewhere between the size of a Bridgport and slightly bigger up to a 5hp head.

    Is there anything wrong with Mach3?? The Centroid looks pretty and easy to use but is I think around the 10K mark, I'm not sure if this includes servos, power supply etc. Is there anything that Centroid can do that Mach3 can not?

    Are there any mass produced machines running Mach, I think that the K2 routers do? I know that there is like over 10,000 users all up on Mach. I'm interested to know how many might be for commercial purposes. As I'd like to consider Mach3 for some small machines I'd like to start making and selling etc. Reliability is key.

    Cheers
    Peter

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    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    I don't have any numbers, but there are a lot of OEM's using Mach on there machines. Not sure if they still do, but at one time these machines were using Mach (they had a screenshot of their control software, and it was Mach3 with a custom screen). http://www.3dcutting.com/products_FROGMILL.php

    I don't really know anything about those other controls, so won't comment there. Do some research in regards to the G100, as it hasn't really met the expectations people had for it.

    One thing I know that Mach can not do is rigid tapping.

    Gerry

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    Community Moderator Al_The_Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apples View Post
    1. How does the Mach3 controller compare with say centroid, ajax, or any other controller. Is Mach better or are they better, and at why?
    I guess the main difference between Mach and any top end commercial systems & Motion Cards is that in the latter, the servo loop is closed back to the controller.
    This allows features that Gerry touched on like rigid tapping, and electronic gearing and electronic cam for a couple of instances.
    Al.

    CNC, Mechatronics Integration and Custom Machine Design

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    Moderator ynneb's Avatar
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    Are there any mass produced machines running Mach, I think that the K2 routers do? I know that there is like over 10,000 users all up on Mach. I'm interested to know how many might be for commercial purposes. As I'd like to consider Mach3 for some small machines I'd like to start making and selling etc. Reliability is key.
    Art has told me that 50% of the licences sold these days are for OEM machines.
    Mach has a quite a few disclaimers about its safety and ability to drive machines. It's pretty much owner beware.
    If I was you I would sell your machines as is, and tell the buyer that the software of choice is up to them. You could also tell them that you use mach yourself, but you can only guarantee your machine and not any of the software that drives it.
    For that matter, its hard to guarantee any other 3rd party components too. Have you ever seen a runaway servo?, (Not pretty)
    What if one drive or stepper fails on a slave driven gantry. (Not pretty)
    What if the contacts on a spindle relay fuse together. (Not pretty)

    If you are selling the machines without business insurance, you would be wise to get the buyer to sign a form saying that they realize that machine is in an unsafe state and any operating done by them is done at their own risk. It might be wise to speak to a solicitor about writing up a disclaimer form.
    Any company that does not do this, is taking a risk.

    This could be one reason why commercial machines are expensive. they need to have many things signed off. Electrical, safety design, insurances etc. Its a litigious world out there.

    Being outside the square !!!


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    The higher-end machine controllers (stuff you see on 250k machining centers, for example) have simultaneous, high-bandwidth servo loops. All axes update simultaneously, and there's a lot of them available so that you can do multiple axis profiling and contouring accurately at high speeds. This does not apply so much to controllers like Centroid.

    Many modern controls also have complicated onboard physics calculations to figure out how to control feed, acceleration, and jerk since there's a lot of compliance in the machine at high speed and the forces involved in that regime.

    This doesn't really show up at the speeds most DIY machines run at, but when you try to machine a steel profile to .0005 at a couple hundred inches per minute, it starts to show up.

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    I have owned a machine with mach 3, and also owned a machine with a Ajax Centriod system.
    All in all they all make chips. The mach 3 being open loop, is the biggest draw back. The centriod ajax, is DC servo, closed loop, and will not loose steps.

    The Mach 3 is a hobby class control for sure. You might see people putting these controls on everthing, but home much time did it take to get it right, and then, would you trust it to produce parts. Open loop steppers have there place on some machines.

    Ajax, centriod, the best bang for the dollar for what it is. Closed loop DC servo, and is reliable, the cost is not bad.

    As stated above, when you get into industrial grade controls, they are closed loops usally AC brushless, and there are calculations in these controls to run all the motors to arrive at the the same time, also being relibable is the big plus.

    Always remember, you get what you pay for.
    You can't get a controller for $150.00, that will run with a controller a like Fanuc or Hass, but there is allways a control at the right price to the job you need it to do.

    Good luck.

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    Yeah you can't sell a BMW for the price of a Holden, sorta thing. I'm not really that concerned with 6 axis speed of light movements etc. Just as long as The Mach platform will handle basic xyz like oxy, plasma and router.

    ynneb, the plan was to sell as a working package "turn key" ready to go. But if I was to do anything, I would make a few up and sell half a dozen first in as is with no offical support etc etc. See how they hold up then go from there maybe.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Apples View Post
    Are there any mass produced machines running Mach, I think that the K2 routers do? I know that there is like over 10,000 users all up on Mach. I'm interested to know how many might be for commercial purposes. As I'd like to consider Mach3 for some small machines I'd like to start making and selling etc. Reliability is key.
    There is at least a couple of companies here in Canada that are producing a Parallel port system on the market.
    I do not know what the Electrical Control Standards are down under, but here there is NFPA79 Electrical Standards for Industrial Machinery.
    As well as conforming to this type of code, it is desirable to come up with a good machine practice of proper grounding etc, some of these things are not covered by code but have come out of industry practice to increase reliability.
    Also here and in Europe, there is a tendency in some places regulation that stipulates the use of Safety Relays.
    So it would pay to check your National requirements also.
    Al.

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    Registered mc-motorsports's Avatar
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    I've been using Mach for almost a year now with DC servo's and Gecko drives. The drivers keep the servo's within 128 steps or something like that, which in my case works out to be a couple of thou. I have yet to lose steps, and if something goes wrong, the drivers shut down but the program just keeps going as the controller in in open loop. (unless you lose an encoder as mentioned, then the servo takes off until it hit's something and loses steps, READ: bad things can happen) I have ballmill contoured aluminum at 90ipm no problem. I believe Mach has a 20 line "look-ahead" and I believe Centroid does 20 times that. I know a good $250K plus mold machine will do atleast a 600 line "look ahead" which is great for high speed contouring (600ipm). If your going to stay under 100ipm rapid and cutting feeds, I would just use Mach with good drivers and powerful servo's.



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    Registered Apples's Avatar
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    I feel that Mach3 is actualy pretty good, having said that I have never worked with any high end systems before. Explained in another way "I think my v8 is fast, but I have never driven a nascar", sort thing. lol

    I can say that I never had any troubles with Mach on the plasma table. I'm not too concerned for Mach3 on a mill for home/hobby use. I know it will be great. But I'd like to look at using it on some small cutting machines like plasma, router and oxy fuel around the 4ft x 4ft size. That is where I'm more concerned about reliability, on machines that would have the potential to be sold on.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Apples View Post
    I feel that Mach3 is actualy pretty good, having said that I have never worked with any high end systems before. Explained in another way "I think my v8 is fast, but I have never driven a nascar", sort thing. lol

    I can say that I never had any troubles with Mach on the plasma table. I'm not too concerned for Mach3 on a mill for home/hobby use. I know it will be great. But I'd like to look at using it on some small cutting machines like plasma, router and oxy fuel around the 4ft x 4ft size. That is where I'm more concerned about reliability, on machines that would have the potential to be sold on.
    Agreed. If you were selling mini-mills, it would be silly not to use Mach3, especially for the price, which I'm not mocking Art, I love his software. But if you were to stay under 100ipm rapid on a 4' X 4' router, that would probably be WAY too slow for an expensive machine.

    Let us know what you end up with, I wouldn't mind building another mill with AC servo's, or REAL powerful DC servo's, closed loop and 600ipm rapids. I actually have a machine still running an AHHA! control which needs upgraded.



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    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    I've seen a lot of videos of very large milling machines running mach3 at 500+ipm with no problems, and I've also seen mach3 running 1000 ipm routers. And i also believe that the look ahead amount can be set by the user.

    Gerry

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


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What can't Mach3 do?

What can't Mach3 do?