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  1. #1
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    May 2011
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    56

    Suggestions for Mach4 Control Board

    I’m going to be upgrading things on my 4’X8’ Chinese CNC but I’m finding a more pressing matter is making it so it can run on newer 64bit systems without fancy proprietary connections between the PC and controller board.

    I currently have a controller board by KSI Labs, LLC for Mach3, the BOBs for the optical sensors, PCI card for the PC and 25” cable. It wasn’t cheap but wow it works great and Sergey was incredible getting me all set up and even helped me reprogram my VFD to actually work right since the Chinese factory didn’t.

    Things I have and still need when I switch:

    Spindle Control variable speed from 700 rpm to 24000 forward and reverse
    XYZ homing optical sensors.
    +&- proximity sensors/switches for the X,Y & Z
    Touch plate
    Laser cross hair
    Water pump
    Touch Probe
    Remote pendant (uses a USB stick in the PC)

    Soon I plan on upgrading from steppers to servos and adding a vacuum table but those are a whole other project.

    So what I need is help getting a great board so I can run Mach4. I’ve searched the forums and see older posts on things. I love the way the CENTIPEDE is setup with almost everything I need on one board and only needing the BOBs to connect the homing sensors.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2005
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    14730

    Re: Suggestions for Mach4 Control Board

    Quote Originally Posted by Dbl_Tap View Post
    I’m going to be upgrading things on my 4’X8’ Chinese CNC but I’m finding a more pressing matter is making it so it can run on newer 64bit systems without fancy proprietary connections between the PC and controller board.

    I currently have a controller board by KSI Labs, LLC for Mach3, the BOBs for the optical sensors, PCI card for the PC and 25” cable. It wasn’t cheap but wow it works great and Sergey was incredible getting me all set up and even helped me reprogram my VFD to actually work right since the Chinese factory didn’t.

    Things I have and still need when I switch:

    Spindle Control variable speed from 700 rpm to 24000 forward and reverse
    XYZ homing optical sensors.
    +&- proximity sensors/switches for the X,Y & Z
    Touch plate
    Laser cross hair
    Water pump
    Touch Probe
    Remote pendant (uses a USB stick in the PC)

    Soon I plan on upgrading from steppers to servos and adding a vacuum table but those are a whole other project.

    So what I need is help getting a great board so I can run Mach4. I’ve searched the forums and see older posts on things. I love the way the CENTIPEDE is setup with almost everything I need on one board and only needing the BOBs to connect the homing sensors.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    What kind of spindle do you have that can do 700 rpm to 24000 forward and reverse
    Mactec54

  3. #3
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    Jan 2005
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    Re: Suggestions for Mach4 Control Board

    Quote Originally Posted by mactec54 View Post
    What kind of spindle do you have that can do 700 rpm to 24000 forward and reverse
    All that is needed for Mach4 is a Smooth Stepper hardware, and a simple Breakout Board, the CENTIPEDE would be redundant and not needed
    Mactec54

  4. #4
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    Re: Suggestions for Mach4 Control Board

    Quote Originally Posted by mactec54 View Post
    What kind of spindle do you have that can do 700 rpm to 24000 forward and reverse
    It's a Chinese 2.3kw if I remember correctly. Sergey was awesome and noticed my VFD was only running a few different speeds so he researched it then walked me through programming it for everything. 700 was as slow as we could get it to go and still turn. Not sure it has much power to do anything at that speed though

  5. #5
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    Re: Suggestions for Mach4 Control Board

    Quote Originally Posted by mactec54 View Post
    All that is needed for Mach4 is a Smooth Stepper hardware, and a simple Breakout Board, the CENTIPEDE would be redundant and not needed
    I understand my current board would go away. The problem I'm having is figuring out which simple breakout board gives me all the inputs I need to connect the things I have. I've been looking at a few options and I can't find one that will allow all of them to connect without adding a few BOBs and those bobs start getting confusing to me.

  6. #6
    Company Representative
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    Oct 2005
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    891

    Re: Suggestions for Mach4 Control Board

    We helped a few customers who changed to Mach4
    You need to rewire to the Breakout board
    Here is the wiring for your reference
    https://www.automationtechnologiesin...pindle-control

  7. #7
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    Nov 2013
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    2202

    Re: Suggestions for Mach4 Control Board

    Hi,
    I have used Mach4 and an ESS for eight years, and the combination works well.

    You have a requirement for a number of inputs and outputs. The ESS has 51 IO's and a UC300, another capable and cost effective Mach4 ready motion control board has 85 and a PoKeys 57CNC,
    also capable and cost effective has 57. Any of these three boards would be ideal. Both the ESS and UC300 require, or at least benefit from a breakout board. It is true that you can use very simple
    and cheap breakout boards but they will probably require some additional circuitry to get all the features you want. If you are not put off making a few simple electronic circuits then they are very cost effective.
    If however you want a complete solution without you having to make any extra circuitry then the MB3 (for the ESS) or the UB1 ( for the UC300) by CNCRoom are a good choice, although being somewhat
    more expensive, at around $200.

    https://cncroom.com/en/

    I have used simple bi-directional breakout boards before (MB2's from Homman Designs in Australia, and no relation to CNCRoom despite the same part numbering!) with a few additional components for spindle control.
    My new build mill uses servos and so I decided to make my own breakout board, having exactly what I wanted and nothing else. Attached pic which includes the ESS the green rectangular board atop my
    breakout board.

    I rather suspect your remote pendant won't work with Mach4. In order for a piece of hardware like a pendant to work with Mach4 it requires a software plugin that adapts the hardware to the Mach4 interface.
    I suspect your pendant has a plugin to adapt it to Mach3 but there are few manufacturers that have taken the effort to develop Mach4 plugin. What brand is it?

    Craig

  8. #8
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    56

    Re: Suggestions for Mach4 Control Board

    Quote Originally Posted by joeavaerage View Post
    Hi,
    I have used Mach4 and an ESS for eight years, and the combination works well.

    You have a requirement for a number of inputs and outputs. The ESS has 51 IO's and a UC300, another capable and cost effective Mach4 ready motion control board has 85 and a PoKeys 57CNC,
    also capable and cost effective has 57. Any of these three boards would be ideal. Both the ESS and UC300 require, or at least benefit from a breakout board. It is true that you can use very simple
    and cheap breakout boards but they will probably require some additional circuitry to get all the features you want. If you are not put off making a few simple electronic circuits then they are very cost effective.
    If however you want a complete solution without you having to make any extra circuitry then the MB3 (for the ESS) or the UB1 ( for the UC300) by CNCRoom are a good choice, although being somewhat
    more expensive, at around $200.

    https://cncroom.com/en/

    I have used simple bi-directional breakout boards before (MB2's from Homman Designs in Australia, and no relation to CNCRoom despite the same part numbering!) with a few additional components for spindle control.
    My new build mill uses servos and so I decided to make my own breakout board, having exactly what I wanted and nothing else. Attached pic which includes the ESS the green rectangular board atop my
    breakout board.

    I rather suspect your remote pendant won't work with Mach4. In order for a piece of hardware like a pendant to work with Mach4 it requires a software plugin that adapts the hardware to the Mach4 interface.
    I suspect your pendant has a plugin to adapt it to Mach3 but there are few manufacturers that have taken the effort to develop Mach4 plugin. What brand is it?

    Craig
    Thank you! I was just about to ask about the MB3 with the ESS because it looked like that would work for about everything I needed. I didn't see touchplate specific inputs or a laser activating output but I'm assuming with everything the MB3 can do it's a matter of just configuring it. I'm definitely not at the level where I'd feel comfortable making my on BOBs. I also liked that they will work with Mach3 or 4 so I wouldn't have to abandon Mach3 just yet and could finally upgrade my computer.

    My remote pendant is an XHC HB04 and I haven't looked to see if they make a plugin for Mach4 yet but I have seen Xbox controllers used with Mach4 and since I could even use a laptop I could have it right there to do what I need it for.

  9. #9
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    Re: Suggestions for Mach4 Control Board

    Quote Originally Posted by Dbl_Tap View Post
    It's a Chinese 2.3kw if I remember correctly. Sergey was awesome and noticed my VFD was only running a few different speeds so he researched it then walked me through programming it for everything. 700 was as slow as we could get it to go and still turn. Not sure it has much power to do anything at that speed though
    If your spindle is a Regular 24,000 RPM it has a minimum speed that must be set, 6,000RPM in the minimum speed for the water cooled 24,000 RPM spindles if it is air-cooled then the minimum speed is higher, he obvious did not know what he was doing with the Programing for your spindle
    Mactec54

  10. #10
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    2202

    Re: Suggestions for Mach4 Control Board

    Hi,

    I didn't see touchplate specific inputs or a laser activating output but I'm assuming with everything the MB3
    That functionality is actually in the ESS and the MB3 is just a convenient means of connecting to the real world hardware, so yes the MB3 is capable of that.

    XHC has not produced a Mach4 plugin for their pendants. Some Mach4 users have written plugins for XHC pendants. The most complete XHC plugin is written and posted by Smurph, one
    of the lead developers of Mach4, so while its not guaranteed but highly likely that Smurph's plugin will work for you.

    Craig

  11. #11
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    Re: Suggestions for Mach4 Control Board

    Quote Originally Posted by mactec54 View Post
    If your spindle is a Regular 24,000 RPM it has a minimum speed that must be set, 6,000RPM in the minimum speed for the water cooled 24,000 RPM spindles if it is air-cooled then the minimum speed is higher, he obvious did not know what he was doing with the Programing for your spindle
    He didn't promise it would cut anything at that low of speed but it has come in very handy for checking out things when I didn't want it spinning at 6000.

  12. #12
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    Re: Suggestions for Mach4 Control Board

    Quote Originally Posted by Dbl_Tap View Post
    He didn't promise it would cut anything at that low of speed but it has come in very handy for checking out things when I didn't want it spinning at 6000.
    Blind leading the Blind very bad advice

    You have no choice; the manufacture sets the minimum speed; of 6,000 RPM, it would never be able to cut anything or be able to be used for anything at that speed, you will be able to stop the spindle with your hand at that speed, you have a very high chance of damaging the windings also at that speed
    Mactec54

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