How to use Mach3 with Shapeoko

Hello everyone. So I have a shapeoko XXL but would like to use Mach3 for it instead of carbide. I already have it downloaded but i know I need some kind of drivers to be able to use mach3 but i don’t know what to buy. Can someone please lead me in the right direction by sending some links to products that i need?

My understanding is that replacing Grbl w/ Mach3 requires:

  • sourcing a computer w/ a parallel port which will run Mach3
  • sourcing a breakout board which will connect to the parallel port
  • sourcing a power supply for the breakout board
  • rewiring the stepper motors so that they connect to the breakout board

plus you have to buy a Mach3 license.

Why do you want to make the change? If you want a different interface there are bCNC, CNCjs, Universal G-code Sender, and GrblGru just to name a few.

If you want loops and variables in your G-code there’s a pre-processor for this, G-sharp:

If you want canned G-code, Carbide Motion now has quick actions.

There are a number of utilities for conversational/interactive G-code generation:

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Why? What is the advantage of Mach3 over Carbide Motion?

You would need to replace the controller with something like an Ethernet SmoothStepper and the necessary break out boards, stepper drivers, power supplies and other bits. It is quite a project. I would not suggest doing that. If you want something other than CM, look at the other gcode senders that @WillAdams mentioned. The big issue is that Mach3 is a motion planner and expects direct control of the machine. Carbide Motion is just a gcode sender, the motion planning is done by GRBL which runs on the controller.

If you do go that route, I would highly suggest going to Mach4 instead. Mach3 is no longer under active support. Mach4 is more powerful, has better customization and has active support.

The advantage Mach 3 has over Mach 4 is that it isn’t “married” to one computer. And as for active support, it has matured, and as long as you’re not straying from hardware that has been proven to work, you shouldn’t have any problems.

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