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  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    10

    How Mach3 fits in

    Mach3 is a software package which runs on a PC and turns it into a very powerful and economical Machine Controller to replace (3) in figure 1.1.

    To run Mach3 you need Windows XP (or Windows 2000) ideally running on a 1GHz processor with a 1024 x 768 pixel resolution screen. A desktop machine will give much better performance than most laptops and be considerably cheaper. You can, of course use this computer for any other functions in the workshop (such as (1) in figure 1.1 - running a CAD/CAM package) when it is not controlling your machine.

    Mach3 communicates principally via one (or optionally two) parallel (printer) ports and, if desired, a serial (COM) port.

    The drivers for your machine's axis motors must accept step pulses and a direction signal. Virtually all stepper motor drivers work like this, as do modern DC and AC servo systems with digital encoders. Beware if you are converting an old NC machine whose servos may use resolvers to measure position of the axes as you will have to provide a complete new drive for each axis.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    3838

    Re: How Mach3 fits in

    To run Mach3 today you can use any version of Windows you want, provided you use an external pulse engine (eg Smooth Stepper) and not a parallel port. In fact, modern PCs do not even have parallel ports.
    Mach3 doe not use the serial port, although some dinosaur CNC controllers still do. They are obsolete.
    The Step/Dir interface is now standard across many modern CNC HW & SW packages.

    Cheers
    Roger

  3. #3
    Registered
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    338

    Re: How Mach3 fits in

    Its an old piece of software and only going to get older.On the other hand there is a large user base to seek guidance from.I do wonder what percentage of the users have a totally legal installation though.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    3838

    Re: How Mach3 fits in

    Getting older - sounds a bit like gaining matuity?

    ALL installations are legal (within limits). If you have a paid license, that's fine. If you don't, then there is a 500 line limit on the size of the program you can run. Doing so is legal.
    There were, and still may be, some 'pirate' licenses floating around China, but the serial numbers of those licenses are known and I believe the latest releases will not accept most of them. I do not think Artsoft are very fussed: sooner or later the owners will have to get a proper license. They are, as it were, hooked!

    Cheers
    Roger

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