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IndustryArena Forum > MetalWorking Machines > HURCO > Ultimax "True" .HD3 files
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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2021

    Ultimax "True" .HD3 files

    Greetings everyone!

    I am so glad to have a good community of other Hurco owners and operators. I have reached out to my machine dealer and Hurco's service department, and while they are great with our new Winmax systems, they don't offer much support for our 2005-2006 Ultimax controllers. We have 2 VM1's and a VM3 on the way out the door. Hurco service had zero answers for us to get through this problem below, but I'm hoping some of you with real world experience on these Hurcos can help me out. I also greatly look forward to being active and help others out with problems I may have resolved over the past 8 years on these machines. Anyways, here we go:

    We use Mastercam Draft9 to send/receive our programs to our Ultimax machines via RS232. Whenever it sends back to our computer, it saves the programs as .Txt or .NC files even though they are conversational. Because of this, we cannot import the files in the Winmax machines. Winmax requires an .HD3 extension to open. If I save the files as .HD3, Winmax says "this file is not a true .HD3 file". The only way we can get a true .HD3 file is to save from Ultimax to a floppy drive and put it on our network for Winmax to open.

    To figure out why this happens, I saved the same program to a floppy disk as a true .HD3 file, and then sent the program via RS232 saved as a .NC. Next I opened them both in Notepad- their formatting and characters are completely different These are the same program, just 2 different ways of saving.

    In regards to this, I have a few questions. First, we have found there are really 2 ways we have to convert programs to true .HD3. The first is to send our current conversational .NC extension program into the Ultimax via RS232, then save it to the floppy as a .HD3, take that floppy and send it back to the network. It's slow and tedious, and doesn't offer a good solution for converting hundreds of programs to .HWM.

    The second way is to hook up our Ultinet which is available on only one of our machines, and try to use that to open our files. Whether that will allow us to open our .NC extension, then save back as .HD3 I'm unsure of. It may require RS232 feeding, then save back via Ultinet, thus bypassing the floppy drive at least.

    I have heard of some people using a floppy emulator to bypass the floppy at least, but it still isn't that efficient. I'd love to be able to RS232 back as a "True .HD3" file, or find a way to convert the .nc/.txt files directly to a "true .hd3" on our desktop.

    My questions are these:
    1) is there a way to send via RS232 and get it to format as a "True .HD3"?
    2) Is there a way to convert from our current .NC format to .HD3 format (basically, convert our one attached file into the .HD3 format seen in the other attached file?)
    3) Will Ultinet be able to open our current file type even though it isn't a true .hd3?
    4)I've been briefly reading about "PC Max". We have Winmax Mill Desktop, but that doesn't help us in this case. Would PC Max help in this situation, and is it even still available?
    5) This one goes a bit far out, but I actually once took our Mastercam Draft computer that we use to send/receive and hooked it up to our Winmax Mill Desktop computer via RS232. I then got the Winmax Desktop into "Serial I/O" mode, and sent a conversational .NC extension Ultimax program from Draft to Winmax Desktop, and although the success rate was low, if Winmax Desktop did take in the whole program, it would convert it upwards like I wanted. This was the fastest and easiest way I found to do it, but often Winmax Desktop would not read the entire program. It must have been a mismatch in RS232 settings there. I'm wondering if something like PC Max still exists, and if it could send/recieve like winmax desktop. I figure I could PC Max on a laptop next to the Winmax Desktop computer, I could just send/receive old Ultimax .NC programs up to .HWM with Winmax Desktop. That seems my best option so far.

    Any ideas I'm overlooking?

    Thanks for any help you may offer!

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2021

    Re: Ultimax "True" .HD3 files

    Alright, I can't believe I'm somewhat able to answer my own question on this. I've been working on solutions off and on for years with this, so forward progress is amazing! Today, I believe I have found the simpler way to convert conversational files that are not "True .HD3" files into .HWM files consistently. It requires a little work, but is much better than the old process of sending the program via RS232 into the Ultimax, saving to the floppy drive as a "True .hd3", putting the floppy back into our send/recieve computer to save to the network, then opening the true hd3 file on the newer winmax machines. My new process is this:

    Setup requires 2 computers. The first computer has Winmax Desktop open, and the other computer has the program used to send/receive. I am using a free software called "EdytorNC" to send. I connected the computers with an RS232 cable and a null modem adapter. You could also use a null modem cable, but I just used an adapter.

    The first step is to use the "Serial I/O" option on Winmax Desktop. This allows the desktop computer to receive a program. For some reason the serial I/O, it'll take my conversational files with the .NC or .Txt extensions. It doesn't require the true hd3 file.

    Next, I send the .nc extension or .txt conversational program. The winmax desktop recieves the program and saves it as "Dump.HWM". I simply Save As the HWM program to rename and now I can use it the program on the new Winmax computers.

    This process means the first question I asked is unnecessary. There is no need to make a true hd3 file in order to upgrade it to .HWM extensions. The second question is yes, this process converts from .NC to hd3 format. I haven't tried Ultinet yet, and now I don't need PC Max. Number 5 took a little tweaking today, but that seems to be the way to go.

    So simple! It bypasses all the nonsense of floppy drives and "True hd3" files, and has been very consistent in it's ability to work today. This process also does not tie up a machine to convert files. It can be completed independently. I believe this process can be beneficial in moving a shop from using old Ultimax controls up to newer Winmax controls without losing their programs. Because of the hassle it used to be, we have reprogrammed several parts instead of trying to convert them upwards. However, we are at the point where our old VM1s and VM3s are getting to the end of their life, so having the ability to convert programs without the Ultimax systems is becoming essential. I hope someone else can find this information useful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Re: Ultimax "True" .HD3 files

    You are touching on a topic that may be close to a thread I am currently looking for help on. I worked in a shop with a lot of OLD Hurco machines, Max 2 and 3's. While there i did a lot of the programming for both the Hurco and the Nigatti mills. As we had the lion share of the work on the Hurco's most of the programs were either the HDB or the HD3 format. On the occasion where I needed to move a program to another machine such as the Nigatti or a Mori I was able to use the (Again, very old program) PCMAX on my desktop to download and use a program within it called Con2NC. This would allow me to convert the HDB program to an NC program. I was called back to do some changes a week ago and to my dismay the desktop I used was still there but they had removed the software dongle and lost it. Needless to say PCMAX is not able to open and as this was about a 25 year old piece of software there is no replacement to be found. It sounds like Winmax may be a newer version of that software maybe? Are you able to convert HD3 to NC programs? or can the EdytoNC do this? They are desperate to get a few programs up and running and I am trying to figure out how to help. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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