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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    What do you want to do with the 4th axis?

    Do you intend to use it as an indexing axis?

    Or do you intend to rotary machine, such as a lathe operation?

    I would recommend uccnc with a uc300eth motion controller.

    Breakout board wise I use a ub1 from cncroom (Thailand). But can drive now offer the UCBB which is a lower cost option than the ub1 which offers a lot more)


    At the moment uccnc does not do rotary motion all axis are treated as linear.

    Centroid I have never used, but I'd suggest asking a few questions on their forum and see what sort of a response you get (I asked a couple of questions and seemed to be given the short shift.... So I shifted onwards....). The acrorn seems reasonable, but the add-on software seems expensive as a package cost.

    It also depends what you are using now or familiar with?

    If you get annoyed with uccnc (not that I can see it) but you can flip back to mach3 or mach4 if you already have those licences at no cost

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Aug 2016

    Re: Mach 3 VS Mach 4

    Thanks Gerry and Robert,

    That last part, whatever I am "familiar with". LOL, What I'm familiar with was used by dinosaurs. In the late 90s I converted a 54" knee mill to cnc, including replacing the acme threaded rods with ball threads. It's a long story.

    I bought the package they were selling at The Motion Group. It was DOS based and I used to draw my own tool paths in AutoCAD and edit them in Notepad. The had some kind of DXF translator that would create G Code, but it never really worked out, so I had to fix it. When I sold that machine, 10 years later, I bought a copy of Mach 3 and played with it for a while. It actually seemed very similar to the old DOS program, which made me wonder if it was somehow ported over.

    Anyway, definitely going to buy UC300ETH and The UB1.

    About controlling the 4th axis. Earlier Robert mentioned using the Mach 4 on a pokeys 57E for threading. And then mentioned that the UC300 would not support threading on Mach4, but it would support it on the Mach3. Yet, you don't use the Mach3 solution for threading. Can you elaborate please?

  3. #43
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003

    Re: Mach 3 VS Mach 4

    4th axis and threading are entirely different things.

    Currently, UCCNC does not explicitly support a rotary axis. But you can certainly use it with a rotary axis. Two main issues, are that the toolpath display will not be correct, and it's difficult to get the proper feedrate on blended rotary axis moves.Hopefully, they'll add better support in the future, as many users have been asking for it. But they have some other major additions they'll probably be working on first.
    One option that some users do, is use Mach3 for rotary axis work, and UCCNC for everything else. Since you already have a Mach3 license, it's not difficult to use both.

    Threading is referring to lathe work. As Robert mentioned, The UC300ETh plugin for Mach4 does not support threading, as they can't get it to work properly. Many people will tell you that threading in Mach3 is (and has always been) broken. It works for some people, but not for many others. Hence the Pokeys and Mach4. Mach4 should be a much better choice for threading than Mach3, provided the controller properly supports it.

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset

    Mach3 2010 Screenset

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints

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

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Re: Mach 3 VS Mach 4

    Quote Originally Posted by A_Camera View Post
    Perhaps I misunderstood the license key information when I looked at it, or I read the following also, which made me arrive to the conclusion that it is indeed considerably more expensive than Mach3.

    From Mach4 - Newfangled Solutions

    My understanding is that it would not allow you to sell anything at all if you have a Hobby license, so even if you don't run a big commercial shop, just financing your hobby and some extras, you are not allowed to use the the Hobby version. So it is actually $825 extra for a version which I can't see any benefits from.
    I got the same understanding from reading it, so I asked the guys over there and they said I could run my business machines with it the same way I use Mach 3 now.
    Bob La Londe

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Quote Originally Posted by MachineRising View Post

    About controlling the 4th axis. Earlier Robert mentioned using the Mach 4 on a pokeys 57E for threading. And then mentioned that the UC300 would not support threading on Mach4, but it would support it on the Mach3. Yet, you don't use the Mach3 solution for threading. Can you elaborate please?

    What Gerry said, but add to that

    Mach3 uses an index pulse for spindle synchronisation, mach4 and uccnc use an encoder so the spindle to motion synchronisation is much more precise.

    There has been a lot of development work at can drive of late with regards to uccnc. Normally they release a development release every month or so, and any bug fixes sooner. However we have not had a development release since July, and one is expected shortly.

    The current development release has-been stable so it may become the stable release as there are a few things that are not in the current stable release that have been in the development release for a while such as tool compensation.

    I cannot say what is in the impending development release as I was asked not to but I can say that they have been busy.

    Cncdrive do not like to issue buggy software so it is normally well tested and the bugs in the development releasers ormally other things that stopped working because of the new added functionality, and follow on development releases are issued quickly to sort anything identified.

    The accepted system is if you run uccnc for business use the stable release available here:
    Change log here:

    If you are happy as a hobby user to get the benefit of new releases functions on the understanding you may find a bug and something not work as it did before and you report it, plus accept you may spoil whatever you were working on the development releases are here:

    If you are interested, join the forum, say hi and get your first post moderator approved, then you can drop by with any new questions. There is a thriving toolbox section on the forum and a few gurus at plugins and macros who are very good at helping, and if you have a good idea will probably develop it in short time as a working plugin or macro.

    One word of guidance... When you install uccnc it installs the current applicable user manual and associated macro documentation in a folder called documents. These documents are updated every release (unlike mach3/4) so reflect the version you have installed so they will list only what is relevant to your current release. Please have a good read of the documentation as it will guide you as a new user, don't presume that it is the same as whatever you used before (it is not mach3 and does not work the same!!! If it did we would not be using it!). Cncdrive update the documentation for every release and it's a comprehensive manual... Take the time to read and understand it, it is well written)

    I really wish mach3 had been better / continued to be developed and a better transition had been made to mach4 and the documentation for mach3 and mach4 would have been kept up to date so I would not be plugging uccnc on a mach3 Vs mach4 comparison thread but artsoft do not seem bothered over the failings and able to put in place a means to rectify the issues, it's just sporadic undocumented development with even the change logs being a guess as to what's added what is not and what broke and is now fixed.
    Mach 3 release 066 (there is an 067 too for candcnc plasma)
    Changelog only to 062

    Current stable 3804 (not listed only
    3788 - 3805)
    Current beta 3949
    Changeling only lists up to
    3877 - 3882.....
    Good luck trying to keep track to what may have now broke in your plugin or what you can now add...

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Aug 2016

    Re: Mach 3 VS Mach 4

    Al the stuff is ordered.

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Re: Mach 3 VS Mach 4

    Good News...


  8. #48

    Re: Mach 3 VS Mach 4

    Despite the horrible licensing scheme, there are other things to consider when planing to use Mach4. That is it is very much locked down. You cannot create your own plugins as the SDK is only provided to carefully selected customers that sign a non-disclosure agreement (ie OEMs). Though you can create so called "add ons" with the lua scripting language. But these add ons are not capable of incorporating hardware. That means you cannot add inputs or outputs yourself. This makes if very frustrating when doing a DIY build. In my opinion this is the primary reason mach4 lacks behind Mach3. Mach3 has a huge community around it as people create a huge amount of plugins.

    I used the Mach4 Modbus plugin to at least get some IO. But turns out this is so badly implemented that it can crash your machine if used for important sensors like limit switches. When the connection gets lost Mach4 just keeps thinking the IO states are still in the state they were before instead of forcing them off. There is no notice whatsoever when the connection fails and it cannot even recover when it lost the connection forcing you to restart the plugin. Sounds not very convincing if you ask me. I would fix this myself but they won't let me.

    ~ knacker99

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