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Mach 3 or Mach 4

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by symmas20, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. symmas20

    symmas20 Well-Known
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    so i am looking at buying Mach3 or Mach4 - just wondering if anyone has use Mach4 and is it stable and ready to use?
     
  2. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    symmas20 likes this.
  3. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    Mach 4? Was never finished was it?

    They sacked all their programmers and have never been able to recoup the level of expertise required since, so it's unlikely there will be any more updates for either.

    Personally I think uccnc is better. For 3 axis anyway. It's company are still developing the software unlike newfangled solutions. It so far touch wood has never played up unlike Mach 3 which has a habit of corrupting its own files espececially the setup file and it's not until you have usually stripped your machine down you think of going through it only to find Mach 3 has entered duplicate new settings alongside old and try's to run them simultaneously and Suddenly your machine goes schizophrenic along with your mind as you try to figure out what the hell is going on.
     
    #3 Jonny Norris, Oct 2, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
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  4. JustinTime

    JustinTime Master
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    I wasn't aware of this program, Jonny. I looked at it and for one thing, it's priced more reasonable than Mach3. Are you running UcCNC on your machine?
     
  5. Joe Santarsiero

    Joe Santarsiero OB addict
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    Does uccnc do tool diameter offsets yet?
     
  6. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    Yes, to be honest for 3 axis there isn't anything it can't do that Mach 3 can as far as I'm aware.
     
    #6 Jonny Norris, Oct 3, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
  7. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    Yep on both. It's performs better than Mach 3 im0 and uses exactly the same method as Mach 4 for motor smoothing.

    you do need a uc100 or uc300 motion controller so it works out about the same as Mach 3 with the board, but you get the added benefits of the excellent 100khz motion control in the board and if you go for the uc300 you get 49 inputs you can assign to do anything, ie hard wired controller, as many switches as you want etc has analogue inputs for Sro and fro pots and output for spindle speed, and never looses connection like most usb boards suffer

    Brilliant little board.
     
    #7 Jonny Norris, Oct 3, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
  8. 1972

    1972 Well-Known
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    I recently purchased Mach3.

    I was hoping Mach4 would have been more established by the time I finished my router but decided against it as it appears there is quite a lot of ongoing development.

    In the end I went with Mach3 as its a proven solution that is well documented (youtube, online tutorials etc).
    Most of the problems I've had so far have been resolved by a quick google search - which can save a lot of head-scratching when your not experienced with this type of software.

    My initial impression of it is that its very capable but is not as polished looking as some of the newer software - Its got a definite windows 98 vibe ;o)

    Cheers,
    Chris
     
  9. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    You won't be disappointed with Mach3 but if you are concerned about the retro-appearance of the standard screen there are plenty more screens to choose from, or you could perhaps design your own screen with one of the free screen designers provided.

    http://www.machsupport.com/software/downloads-updates/screensets/

    Tweakie.
     
  10. 1972

    1972 Well-Known
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    Thanks Tweakie,
    I'll take a look at that, I actually purchased the 2010 screenset which is nice but I did all the machine setup/initial running in the standard screenset so the change takes a bit of getting used to!

    Symma20 -
    Another one to look at is http://www.planet-cnc.com/ I was considering this for a while but it worked out around the same cost as going with mach3 (chinese BOB + licence) at the time. Some features were still under development (as I recall there's just 1 guy working on it) so I figured the mach3 route was safer.
     
  11. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    Just to clarify (and to put the cat amongst the pigeons) ...

    Like most software Mach4 will never be finished.

    I am totally unaware that NSF (the owners of Mach4) have 'sacked all their programmers' :)

    There were three Mach4 updates released during September;
    Build 4.2.0.2673 (04-09-15)
    Build 4.2.0.2686 (10-09-15)
    Build 4.2.0.2703 (21-09-15)

    As I have mentioned previously, there are unlikely to be any further updates released for Mach3.

    Mach3 is capable of updating it's own configuration file but, as a Member and Moderator on the Artsoft forum (for more than 10 years now) I can confirm that it has never been reported that "Mach3 is in the habit of corrupting it's own files" or having "entered duplicate new settings alongside the old and tried to run them simultaneously".

    Tweakie.
     
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  12. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    Lol, I stand corrected then. My source which I thought to be reputable, possibly not so reputable.

    Or maybe that something like that did happen and a new team has been assembled.

    I hope so.
     
    #12 Jonny Norris, Oct 11, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2015
  13. Jonny Norris

    Jonny Norris Veteran
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    I think it happens more often than you think, the guy I use for parts was saying he gets calls all the time about his parts that is in fact this setup file issue.

    Mach3 is capable of running two duplicate settings simultaneously, it astounded me also. You can try it yourself, duplicate a few lines ie one setting in the setup file only change the value. And watch your machine act very odd. Only the Mach 3 I had which had already been reinstalled twice due to errors was doing this via its setup gui.

    Duplicate velocity in motor tuning is an interesting one, you get one feedrate in one direction and randomly the other in the opposite direction, that one really got me confused before I knew what was doing it.

    The settings it was duplicating seemed to be random and not linked to human changes. Think it was around 5 times the software corrupted for me before I decided to migrate.

    But I am very surprised you haven't come across it in forums, I have many times, not always correctly diagnosed but most common fix that is posted is a reinstall, 90% of the time really all they need to do is fix the setup file.
     
    #13 Jonny Norris, Oct 11, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2015

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