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EMC2 or Mach3?



brucer
08-29-2011, 01:55 PM
if you had a choice between emc2 or mach3 which would you prefer to use for control software?

cost not a deciding factor..

Gadget
08-29-2011, 05:13 PM
I went with EMC2 for cost considerations and am very happy with it. There is a lot of support which is helpful when creating specialized buttons or functions. I have no experience with Mach though so can't compare the two.

brucer
08-29-2011, 05:25 PM
gadget,

what program are you using for designing, and then what are you using for generating g-code? are they linux based programs also?


using emc2, what is the file extension of the programs it uses to run the machine?

Gadget
08-29-2011, 07:19 PM
I use Alibre design and DraftSight for drawing and SheetCam to create the cut paths for plasma and 2.5D routing. Alibre was $99.00 at one time, I think it's more now. DraftSight is free for home use and seems pretty powerful. SheetCam comes in Windows and Linux versions. You can actually use the development version free with a license provided. You will have to reinstall every month when a new version comes out though. SheetCam TNG isn't that expensive if you decide to buy it.
I also use Vectric's Cut3D for 3D routing, it generates a machine code from a 3d dxf drawing. It can also generate from an obj file.
As for EMC the native file type is .ngc but you can use .tap or other extension. Sheetcam normally generates a .tap file but all you need to do is change it to .ngc but you really don't need to. I think you can even use a .txt file in EMC2 so it's pretty versatile. EMC2 also has a feature that will take a photo and create a 3d object from the photo. Not as good as Vectic's PhotoVCarve but still good.
You can download the EMC2 program and Linux OS on a single live CD and you can boot to it to see if it's what you want. Of course, any configurations done are gone after you shut down since it's not possible to save the configurations.
Once I have the machine code I save it to my server and then download it from there to the EMC2 program. The linux distribution that is bundled with EMC2 is Ubuntu. This is one of the best linux distros in my opinion. It is very user friendly and has lots of software available for it.

brucer
08-29-2011, 09:29 PM
i'm familiar with ubuntu, i have actually already installed it and updated ubuntu to the final version of 10.04 and installed and updated emc2 on a dual boot windows xp machine.. the problem i'm trying to avoid is with mastercam, mastercam generates .nc files, and i'm worried they wont work with either emc2 or mach3.. for some reason the .ngc also rings a bell..

i also found a licensed version of mach3 that seemed to work..

could you try to change one of your programs to a .nc extension and see if it will run in emc2 for me? i would appreciate it..

thanks.

KHK
08-29-2011, 10:36 PM
I use mach3 and am very happy with it. I tried ubuntu, but it would not work on the PC that I intended to use, some problem with the video card. Because of this I really can't compare the two programs.

I use BOB-CAD-CAM for the drawing software and machine gcode generation. It is really easy, just make the drawing, the program converts it to gcode. This program is very expensive at $595 but when I told them that I am a hobbyist an use CNC for plasma, router I got it for $150. Later on I purchased an up grade to do 3D pictures for another $150. I have not used it yet so maybe it was a waist of money.

brucer
08-29-2011, 11:29 PM
I use mach3 and am very happy with it. I tried ubuntu, but it would not work on the PC that I intended to use, some problem with the video card. Because of this I really can't compare the two programs.

I use BOB-CAD-CAM for the drawing software and machine gcode generation. It is really easy, just make the drawing, the program converts it to gcode. This program is very expensive at $595 but when I told them that I am a hobbyist an use CNC for plasma, router I got it for $150. Later on I purchased an up grade to do 3D pictures for another $150. I have not used it yet so maybe it was a waist of money.


thanks khk, also are you running any anti-virus software on the machine your running mach3 on?

Gadget
08-30-2011, 06:54 AM
Bruce,
I have run a few master cam X files in EMC2. The problem is MCX doesn't have a post processor for EMC2. I've forgotten which processor I had to choose to get it to work and even then I had to edit the final post file to remove the first few lines. They were mostly ID lines and for some reason caused a problem. Once the file is created just change the .nc to .ngc and remove the first few lines of the file as mentioned above and it runs fine.
I know Master Cam will write a post processor for you if you are on their paid support, might be worth a call to them.

KHK
08-30-2011, 08:34 AM
thanks khk, also are you running any anti-virus software on the machine your running mach3 on?

On my setup the computer is a dedicated machine, because of that the only programs loaded is XP and mach3. The future plan is to add the wireless internet and some other programs to the machine. If I do that I will need an anti-virus program. With mach3 you can install it on as many computers as you want, with out a license. Doing this you are linited to 400 lines of code, that's enough to test out the CNC's operation, but not enough to do much else.

brucer
08-31-2011, 09:14 PM
Bruce,
I have run a few master cam X files in EMC2. The problem is MCX doesn't have a post processor for EMC2. I've forgotten which processor I had to choose to get it to work and even then I had to edit the final post file to remove the first few lines. They were mostly ID lines and for some reason caused a problem. Once the file is created just change the .nc to .ngc and remove the first few lines of the file as mentioned above and it runs fine.
I know Master Cam will write a post processor for you if you are on their paid support, might be worth a call to them.


gadget,

i would almost bet you used a fanuc post processor in mastercam, the fanuc post produces generic g-code... just by looking at some cnc plasma programs, it looks like i could probably modify a post myself.. i use to be able to modify posts but thats been about 15yrs ago..... i got your pm, i might draw up something and send it to you to try when i get farther along.. right now i'm still researching designs, narrowing down which designs i prefer and then weeding through those designs.. i've pretty much decided to make it completely dowel pinned and bolt together that way the frame/base is completely square to start with...

the next thing i'm working on is making the skates, still tossing around making the abec7 bearing trucks, i've got a couple designs swirling in my head.. i need to order a set of tiedowns and a drill chuck, been trying to find some locally cheap but that dont seem to be happening... guess i'll have to call shars or enco and just order them..


well atleast so far i have the computer and control software.

---------- Post added at 10:14 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:01 PM ----------

friend of mine scored a tub of allen bradley computers at an auction..... he had $10 in a tub of junked touch screen computers...

i stuck a computer together from his junk... it took 2 motherboards and 2 hard drives but i finally got it..... 2ghz Intel processor, 1.5 gig pc2700 memory... 60gig hard drive... i put windows xp and mach3 on one half of the drive and ubuntu 10.04 and emc2 on the other half so i'm good either way i guess... the touchscreen i got didnt work, i'm thinking thats why most of them were junk, well, i just removed the touchscreen software and used a keyboard and mouse.....

i plan on putting a miniature usb keyboard and mouse later on anyways... keyboard like this http://lh4.googleusercontent.com/public/hwYnQEJ2W3b1K8VVjOvHUP--faDQELJ0Slfv5k7EEnIm9hhuTGzZ9WhJTH8FYJbCB6OVwlceCk ChiInAiLe1BWN3IIVIXd0kTymbqB7_F3oqAVcEdRd-O7yGN6XR-jwMT2BSx_i89apqVin6KUUGP00KD4MOQCoWz60U-9al

Gadget
09-01-2011, 07:05 AM
That's a cool keyboard. With EMC the arrow keys on a keyboard will move the X and Y axis and the page up and page down will move the Z. That would make a neat hand held controller that could really come in handy.
As for EMC2, I've worked with a couple of other people and together we've created some custom buttons. I have an offset button for the P80, S45, and router that sets the offset from laser cross hairs to the actual tip of the tool. Another button will move the tool from the offset position to the 0 of the laser. The best function though is the touch off button. It lowers the tool to the touch off plate, sets the Z to .250 which is the thickness of the touch plate, then backs the tool off to .750 all with one click. It saves a ton of time on setup. I can help you get these going as well if you wind up going with EMC2 for your controller.

brucer
09-01-2011, 08:07 PM
i thought the miniature keyboard would be pretty cool.. you could put a piece of velcro on it and stick it on the monitor or pack it with you when your out in the shop, use it somewhat as a remote control..

Gadget
09-01-2011, 08:23 PM
You have a link to that keyboard?

brucer
09-02-2011, 04:23 AM
yep Amazon.com: ProMini 2.4GHz Tiny Wireless Keyboard (Built-in TouchPad/Laser Pointer) - Black: Electronics (http://www.amazon.com/ProMini-Wireless-Keyboard-TouchPad-Pointer/dp/B003VAVC26)

Gadget
09-02-2011, 07:24 AM
Thanks, didn't notice it was wireless too. A bonus

Tritium
09-02-2011, 08:18 AM
VERY cool keyboard and just what I have been looking for. Thanks.

Thurmond

brucer
09-02-2011, 02:37 PM
thurmond,

you have a cnc or building one?

Tritium
09-02-2011, 06:29 PM
thurmond,

you have a cnc or building one?

Wanting to build one badly but not started.

Thurmond

brucer
09-02-2011, 10:45 PM
Wanting to build one badly but not started.

Thurmond

i'm in the same boat, I want one so bad i can taste it.. i've been tossing around ideas for a couple months now. think i've got everything but the drive system figured out, cant decide on either acme lead screw or rack drive, but i can atleast build the table, skates and rails, then decide what drive system i want, then build the motor mounts for rack or lead screw whichever i decide at that point.... electronics i'm just going to get one of the import 4 axis kits, probably around 300-380oz...

its suppose to cool off next week so i think i'm going to just start on one and see what i can come up with for a start.... first thing i'll do is build the rails and skates, that'll be fairly inexpensive to start with..

Gadget
09-03-2011, 07:08 AM
I can tell you that you will get better rapid speeds with the rack drive. I have a 5TPI 3 start acme lead screw on my table and can only get about 90 IPM out of it.

KHK
09-03-2011, 09:29 AM
Have you looked into a timing belt drive?

brucer
09-08-2011, 12:49 PM
i have looked at belt drive setups, i'm not sure how to base the design of a belt setup.. i dont know but a belt setup seems a bit more complicated. to me....

i've been kind of leaning towards a rack drive setup myself....

if i go leadscrew the acme lead screw thread i was considering was a 1/2-10 5 start, how would i even begin to figure out what kind of rapid speeds i would have using a lead screw with whichever motors i purchase?

Gadget
09-08-2011, 04:43 PM
I have Nema 23 305in steppers and 5TPI 3 start acme screws on mine and can't get more than 90IPM. There is no set formula that I know that will tell you how fast your rapid speeds will be with different setups. It's really a trial and error. Ask others what they have and their speeds to get an idea is the only suggestion I can give. One thing I can say, the higher the rpm of the steppers the more likely they are to drop steps. If you gear it too high to get fast speeds with low motor rpm you may not have the power to push a router through material.

brucer
09-12-2011, 01:08 AM
Have you looked into a timing belt drive?


keith,

i come across a belt drive build, it has me thinking now, seems simpler than i first suspected.... seems like it would be a bit cheaper as you stated.. what type of belts are you running? where did you purchase your belting,i'm guessing msc or mcmaster carr or carr lane?

my frame dimensions are going to be 54"x 40. my frame will be made of a mix of 80/20, aluminum and steel corner brackets. the gantry will be made out of mostly aluminum the main beam will be 80/20 maybe 2 offset beams of 80/20 and aluminum skates and brackets... do you think 3/8 belt would be stout enough?