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Mach3 SeeMeCNC.com config

Posted by johnoly99 
Mach3 SeeMeCNC.com config
December 06, 2011 10:18AM
Hello all, John oly here from the SeeMeCNC crew. I have asked that this Mach3 3 forum be added so that we all can share how we are using Mach3 to control our 3D printers.

I look forward to contributing all of the information we have found to use mach3 with our H-1 printer kits, as well as learning others tricks.


John "oly"
Re: Mach3 SeeMeCNC.com config
December 06, 2011 08:18PM
Welcome John oly

I'm seeing a different and intersting point of view in your website... I'm sure sure you will get many comments.

Since you asked to add a Mach3 topic it would be interesting to start with the advantages of using Mach3 to control a 3D printer. I'm not doubting that it can be done but why would someone getting into this want to pay for Mach3 when they can get open source code for free?

I have a copy of Mach3 running on a home built router. I don't think it can be beat for accurate tool paths. I like it ability to jog to within thousands of the part and be able to control a potentially dangerous machine. Its pretty quick but limited by the PC used to create step and direction signals. I don't have any measurements to back this up... but don't think it will be able to keep up with an arduino, unless you have a really fast PC... more $.

Thanks for bringing up this topic.
Re: Mach3 SeeMeCNC.com config
December 06, 2011 09:33PM
Dean, thanks!

Some of the advantages i have seen so far is if you are inro cnc machines of other typea, this is control software is awesome! One interface to learn and use with all your cncs. Another point, arduino isnt "free", the code is. You will spend $200 on an arduino setup and still not have all the functionality that mach3 has, like DROs, multiple fixture and tool "offsets" for different nozzles, build olatforms, etc... I read a post on here, cant remember where, where someone wantes to develop a "calibration" routine so every time he started a prunt he disnt have to "home" his machine, as well as have a way to not have to set up his multiple heads each time. That is where mach can store work offsets and tool offsets and calk them uo auto"magically" in the gcode (G54 T01 H1 etc...). Also, you can buy inexpensive control boards on ebay, like what we are selling as our electronics kit, for under 50 bucks.

So, to compare price etc...

Ultimaker ramps board (arduino mega polulu) $225
4 steppers nema 17 $80
Power supply (new ATX fron newegg) $30

Total cost $335 (now, you dont have a kit yet either)
Yiu still need a comouter and strong "geek-fu" ti figure out how to compile and actually do something with arduino softwares

SeeMeCNC H-1 indiegogo price $350 (~$400 after the campaign is over)

Steoper control board and cables INCLUDED
Power supply (new ATX) INCLUDED
Mach3 full liscense $175
EMC2 (which if your "geek-fu" is strong, youd use) FREE open source

So for $350-$525 you have everything you need, with options on how

We are also going to be coming out with more @home cnc machines, where you will want the abilities in mach, like automatic tool changes (hint-hint)

So, thats how i justify mach3

We think that mach is the fit for someone who wants to learn all there is in CNC. If you just want to print stuff, and you are tech savy enough, thats where we see arduinos.

Thanks again!
Re: Mach3 SeeMeCNC.com config
December 07, 2011 08:51PM
OK. I wonder how many folks have a parallel port on the back of their computer? A smoothstepper card adds another $160... the last time I checked. By the way for anyone not following this a parallel port was a used for many years to drive printers. This obsolete port has about 25 wires and ALL are used by Mach3 to control the electronics on your machine becase its sending step and direction on seperate wires to each stepper plus other stuff.

I'm still stuck on functionality of Mach3 vs Arduino with open source code...
Mach3 is truely designed for three dimensions mainly because your work surface is three D. You have a series of hole locations on a flat or irregular surface and the DRO and graphical interface are great for confirming that the cutter is in the right spot before you mess up your material. If I want to cut an odd shaped recess in the top of a stack of boards its great because you can pick up off the edges to center the cut and make sure you Z is set exactly. Mach3 allows you to probe an irregular surface. You know these capabilities.

FDM rapid prototyping is all 2D, over and over again until a 3D part is built. You never print on an irregular surface. You never start a print above the bed surface. Based on this I feel the DRO and tool path graphic is just unnecessary processor overhead

FDM is kind of like a dot matrix printer where you send it a job, hit start and let it do it thing. Folks may be doing much more right now but I'm sure this is where this technology is going.

I may be way off. It would be interesting to expore the advantages of Mach3 in a video. On the positive side, if it works my potential bed size goes to about 3'X4' at a far better accuracy.
Re: Mach3 SeeMeCNC.com config
December 07, 2011 10:55PM
I'd LOVE to do a live web-show, showing a mach3 setup and the advantages i see compared to a "blind" control interface. You can watch the screen as it prints and see all sorts of info which can help dial in a certain print for one.

As for this printing being only 2D over and over again? Well, the 3D toolpaths we've been laying down to make smooooooth organic sculpted curves are impossible with a 2D toolpath. Side note, This is V1.0 of our machines. I think you'll be set back in your seat here in a few months when H-2 comes out.

If anyone is interested in setting up a webcast where i can show my mach3 screen and answer questions, let me know, I think it would be enlightening for some of the rep-rappers out there who seem to think mach3 is not the way to go.

Now, I will end with saying, I totally agree with parallel ports being "old-school", but, I know the day is coming when USB etc... will be accepted, heck, maybe even ethernet!

John "oly"
Re: Mach3 SeeMeCNC.com config
December 08, 2011 12:59AM
Well, this one got a little de-railed, so i'll try and steer it back on track.

Here's a link to our Youtube/Seemecnc channel. I just posted a Part 1 and Part 2 video real quick, showing how we're using some modified replicatorG/skeinforge software to generate the G-code, and video of mach3 running that code. You'll see for yourself, it's soooo nice having a visual toolpath display and those big bright readouts on the screen to see where you're at, and the ability to pause, and restart to check for oopses!

Take a look real quick, sorry they're crappy video, but thought I'd show what i've got it doing so far!


John "oly"
Re: Mach3 SeeMeCNC.com config
December 08, 2011 08:28PM
I just happened on the cnczone forum covering 3D printers and found cnc2printer3d who is doing something similar to you. Its interesting that this website is concentrating on a seperate temperature controller, which makes sense because most folks using Mach3 don't have a temp controller. I can't say how common this is but I only turn the temperature on at the start of the job and turn it off at the end. I don't know if Mach3 turns the controller on and off or waits until it get up to temperature before it starts printing. This all works via mcode in the reprap syle machines so you could print into the night, and when its done, the hot end shuts down.

This site doesn't seem to have a video of a printer operating under Mach3 control.
Re: Mach3 SeeMeCNC.com config
December 08, 2011 09:49PM
Dean, If you are refering to Gnexlabs and Nuri, I am talking to him about his mach3 plugin actually. Also, we're going to be working on a way to integrate temp control auto start/stop with the boards we are using. Our kits can be used with an arduino in place of the board as well, if you choose!




For a video of a print using mach3, check out our Youtube channel, where you can see a video now!
Re: Mach3 SeeMeCNC.com config
January 15, 2012 03:24PM
I just got an H-1 ordered! Trying to make my preparations now. I have a large Gantry CNC machine which is being used by the computer that I will be using for the H-1, my question is, how can I keep the settings for my CNC machine, and apply the new configuration for the H-1, and allow the ability to switch back and forth in Mach 3?

I was thinking of having two "installations" of Mach 3, since it can be run from a flash drive. Is there a better way?

Also, can someone send me a link that shows me what program to I use to design my makings for my. H-1, and what software to I use to convert it to Gcode?

Re: Mach3 SeeMeCNC.com config
January 15, 2012 08:17PM
Technosteve, thanks for the order!

Ok, so all you need to do to run either machine, is when you start the mach3 launcher, it takes you to a screen that asks you which profile to load, sound familiar? You can download our mach3 base configuration HERE and unzip it into your mach3 installation directory. Then, when you start mach3, you choose which machine! All the presets for all the configuration is saved in that file, same goes for your other machines profile. No worries about switching back and forth, just shut mach down, and restart selecting the profile for the machine you want to control!

As for the software to generate the Gcode, We use a modified version of skeinforge to output more "conventional" CNC machine G-code, and use spindle commands to turn the extruder on/off, with the base constant speed extruder setup. We use replicatorG to view/modify the .STL file, and the modified skeinforge is included. Go HERE and you can download the modified software versions, and then jump on the yahoo group that one of our users started HERE, and those guys are taking it and running as far as helping each other out. Theres a few lurking on reprap forums here, but not many? I try and check here daily.

Thanks again!
Re: Mach3 SeeMeCNC.com config
March 07, 2012 07:47AM
The first two links do not work?.

Random Precision
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