Mach3 for Shaproko XL


(gyawa) #1

i wants to try mach3 to run my 3D designs on shapeoko. I have the mach3 loaded in my laptop but couldn’t get the machine going. Do I need any extra hardware or wiring to run


(Stacy Boncheff) #2

Yes you will need an entirely new controller board to interface with it.


(gyawa) #3

Thanks, do you know how much its gonna cost and where to buy


(William Adams) #4

Licenses are $175: http://www.machsupport.com/software/mach3/

There are numerous sources for parallel port interface boards (if your laptop doesn’t have a parallel port you’ll need to add one), plus you’ll need stepper drivers and all the attendant wiring and so forth.


(gyawa) #5

sounds very complicated and costly, maybe I have to stick with carbide motion, but it really need to upgrade for more options to control and the infos, like how much time it take for any work. Thanks anyway your help.


(William Adams) #6

Please note that Grbl 1.1 has just been released, and that Carbide Motion will presently (or eventually?) be updated to support it — that should markedly improve the interaction.

There are a number of other comm / control programs: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Communication_/_Control

Notable candidates, as discussed here previously include Universal G-Code Sender (UGS), bCNC, and Chilipeppr — if you use Windows, you owe it to yourself to try out GrblGru.


(Paul Allsopp) #7

Why Carbide didn’t make CM compatible with Mach3 is beyond me, considering Mach3 is the standard for the home workshop. Instead they give us an entirely sub-par piece of software that is massively lacking in the most rudimentary features, like a “Run from here” feature.

The developers time would be much better spent going down the Mach3/4 path. I love my Shapeoko 3 XL, but Carbide Motion is utter garbage.


(William Adams) #8

Mach3 is quite a different animal is it not?

Control program which runs on a dedicated computer and usually requires a parallel port attached to a breakout board which has stepper drivers — if you wish, you could purchase such, then unplug the motors from the Carbide Motion board and connect them and control the machine using Mach3 — a couple of folks did that sort of thing back in the SO1/2 days.

There are a number of other communication / control programs:


(Paul Allsopp) #9

Mach3 is a different beast you are correct, but if a $300 Chinese machine can do it, I don’t see why C3D can’t. A parallel port could easily be added to a daughter board running something like the RnR motion drivers, and that added to the C3D motion controller.

Is the software open-source? I don’t recall. If not it should be, so that developers like myself can add in the missing features.


(Phil Thien) #10

I have a machine run by Mach3, I don’t see any benefit to it other than adaptability to a wide-range of hardware types.

I actually prefer the gerbil.


(William Adams) #11

Grbl is opensource, and Carbide 3D funds development: https://github.com/gnea/grbl/wiki

Most folks aren’t willing to purchase what they consider to be an antiquated computer and dedicate it to use with the machine using a specialty board to connect the twain — Grbl is the best option for an opensource firmware which runs on affordable boards and connects via a readily available connection. Other options include Smoothieboard’s switch to wired Ethernet or Gecko — partial list at: https://wiki.shapeoko.com/index.php/Advanced_Electronics — it would be great to have that expanded w/ all the options and impartial commentary.

Carbide Motion is closed source — folks who want an improved communication / control experience can use one of the opensource or commercial options as noted:


(mikep) #12

Part of the reason that $300 machine can do it it is because that takes all the smarts out of the machine, and makes you go spend several hundred (at least) on a PC. And those drivers aren’t free. The other reason is that $300 machine isn’t nearly as robust, or have the large working area. Mach3 lite has an unpublished price (likely $100+), mach3 lite is $200. If that $300 machine includes Mach3, it’s probably not a legit copy.

Good luck finding a new PC with a parallel port. Mach4 supports USB, but the result is the same, you need a USB->Mach4 breakout, and they’re kind of spendy for what they are.

There are plenty of senders that -are- open source, if you like, contribute to one of them, I’m sure they would appreciate the help! UGS is pretty popular, there are others.

As was pointed out, there is nothing stopping you from removing the GRBL electronics and adding your own drivers (the gecko drives are quite well regarded) and a mach3/4 interface to them. I’ve considered doing so myself. Sparkfun used to sell a mechanical kit for their version of the SO, but it looks like they don’t any more. You might want to start with a shapeoko 2 mechanical kit instead of the carbide3d SO3 machine so you don’t have to pay for all the electronics you obviously don’t want.


(Paul Allsopp) #13

My first Chinese machine came with all the hardware, drivers and all. The parallel port does not plug into the computer, it goes from the machine to the motion controller. Communication from the motion controller to the PC is via USB.
The PC does not have to be a standalone PC, a laptop works just fine.
Mach 3 is free if you don’t mind the basics, but those basics are still a hell of a lot more powerful than Carbide Motion.
If I switch out my Carbide board for an open-source board and something happens to my machine, I doubt I can ask for tech support from C3D.

Mach3 is the standard for the small workshop, and I believe that if C3D does not start developing for Mach 3 integration it will be resolved to this tiny niche of the CNC world.


(Paul Allsopp) #14

Then I guess you just don’t use its capabilities. Mach3 is full of wizards to do basic milling tasks like facing operations, hole-cutting, etc., so you can do so on the fly and not have to go back to your modeling software when you realize you missed something.
Mach3 also has a lot of basic features like being able to step through the gcode or rerun the gcode from a certain point.

And lots, lots more


(William Adams) #15

There are a number of conversational style tools for Grbl listed at: https://wiki.shapeoko.com/index.php/Interactive_G-Code_Generators

or you can use the MDI — if you wish to use variables though, you’d need https://github.com/NRSoft/GSharp


(mikep) #16

You seem to be confusing Carbide’s board with the sender. The board interprets gcode and does what it’s told. All the features you’re complaining about missing in CM (A tool intended for beginners), are available in the various senders, or as combinations (ie. Gwizard’s conversational cnc + any sender for example)

Long story short, if you don’t like it, don’t use it, there are lots of options. If you don’t like any of them, maybe a SO3 just isn’t for you?


(Jose Prieto) #17

And Mash 4


(Paul Allsopp) #18

I simply didn’t expect to spend $1500 on a machine and then have to spend hundreds more on electronics to bring it inline with other machines in my shop.

Maybe Carbide3D was a bad choice…lesson learnt.