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Mach4 is easier to customize or modify screens
For basic screens, yes, but in some ways it's more limiting than Mach3, and complex customization is much more complex than Mach3 imo. But Mach4 itself is far superior to Mach3.
If the initial releases weren't the disaster that they were, I may have actually used it. I have both a Mach4 hobby and Mach4 industrial license.
 

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So as an interested bystander, is it possible to download and practice using a program such as Mach 4 without have a CNC connected? That may seem ridiculous but if you wanted to see 1st hand how hard it would be to run where pr how could you do this without access to a CNC? Hope this makes some sense.....like maybe a simulator?

Yes, you can download and run Mach3, Mach4, UCCNC, LinuxCNC and probably several others, and without a machine, they'll basically run as simulators. I do this almost daily to verify g-code.
Some features may not work, but they'd likely serve no purpose when just simulating.
 

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I'm hoping this machine control software discussion is still on people's minds: just getting into CAM now that I have adequately explored Fusion 360 to produce my designs and toolpaths. Still undecided on the machine control. I prefer Mac OS X software when possible (sorry, just a thing with me; not judging) so in the process of researching options, I discovered PlanetCNC which is Mac and PC and apparently open-source. has anyone here tried it? have familiarity with it? I don't honestly know what type of customization i might need in the future, so would like to year comments on that?

My router is a 2nd-hand, 2011 Laguna Swift 4X4. The water-cooled spindle died (seized, due to the pump failing) before I bought the mill, so I've already ordered a new spindle on Amazon.

Any feedback appreciated and welcome :D
 

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I do not believe that Planet CNC is open source. But it does have an API for customization.
I'm surprised it's available for a Mac. I didn't think there were any controls that would run on a Mac.
I know of a few people using Planet CNC that have been happy with it. I think it's a lot more popular in Europe, where the company is located.
Compared to the other popular controls, I'd guess that Planet CNC has maybe 0.5% of the market, based on what I've seen on the various CNC forums I read.
You might consider using a small mini PC just to run the machine, which opens the door to a lot more options.
 

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Thanks for your input, Ger... in the meantime, it seems i have found another worthy option: its called OpenBuilds - they make free (open source) control software, and sell the CNC Touch Interface - it has wifi too (that would replace a RichAuto pendant for example) and also sell a Blackbox controller since the controller I have currently is using a serial port connection which seems dodgy at best.

Know anyone using this type of system and with something OTHER than the mills that are available on the OpenBuilds website?
 

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Thanks for your input, Ger... in the meantime, it seems i have found another worthy option: its called OpenBuilds - they make free (open source) control software, and sell the CNC Touch Interface - it has wifi too (that would replace a RichAuto pendant for example) and also sell a Blackbox controller since the controller I have currently is using a serial port connection which seems dodgy at best.

Know anyone using this type of system and with something OTHER than the mills that are available on the OpenBuilds website?
I'm sure the OP has resolved his questions but responding to the follow on question. Open Builds is basically a Grbl shop. "Control" is a Grbl Sender - needs grbl running on the controller. Their "Interface" (hand held device) is also a Grbl sender (with lots of sharp edges, the case is made of PCB material). Their Black Box is an 8 bit 3 Axis Grbl based controller. They do support a ganged Y drive (2 motors on the Y axis). It can be used with any 3 Axis CNC Router or Mill.

For what it is worth, there are modern 32 bit versions of grbl out there that perform significantly better than 8 bit grbl, in particular grblHAL which runs on a number of microcontrollers and supports up to 6 axes. I have an Avid Pro4848 coming fairly soon that I will use grblHAL to run. I make and sell a grblHAL breakout board that uses a Teensy 4.1 (600 mHz) and supports 5 Axes including 2 sets of ganged axes if desired. I will be writing up and publishing my experience using it with the Pro4848.
 
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