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Rick
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m almost seeing why guys go this route ,as it sounds fairly hassle free .
But are you stuck using Mach3 instead of UCCNC if your using cncrouterparts plug and play controller ?

A question for Scott . It’s been a while, but I believe on a 4x8 you had to splice something on yours. Not sure if it was the linear rails or the gear rack or both ?
In an email , Cncrouterparts did say they could give me a quote on a system that does not involve splicing .
It’s either that ,or go with a Pro4848 for now, and if I find it’s to small and I have the room , I can always upgrade .
I would prefer to go 4x8 though, and get it over with . I have to admit the 4x8 does have a considerable footprint , and I’m not sure how obtrusive that would be .
My main interests are making 3D carvings , so I’m not sure if I’d require the extra size , but you never know . It may provide more opportunities for future sales .
A friend of mine is into pro audio,and I’m not sure what the biggest cut is for bass bins .
That’s probably where a 5x5 would be better , and it’s tempting,as it would fit much better . Not sure if I trust the stiffness of that wide of a gantry though .
 

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Just cause you have a 48 x 48 bed doesn't mean you're limited to that size for a project. With tiling and slicing and splicing and a couple other "tricks" there is really no limit what you can do. Remember when Scottart made that 6' round sign using just his Shark? Granted, the new machine cut the mfg down substantially, but it was still doable.

Everything I've done except for a couple things could have been done with a 24 x 24 bed with no problems. You can always make the bed bigger with CNCRP if you need to.
 

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Rick
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Just cause you have a 48 x 48 bed doesn't mean you're limited to that size for a project. With tiling and slicing and splicing and a couple other "tricks" there is really no limit what you can do. Remember when Scottart made that 6' round sign using just his Shark? Granted, the new machine cut the mfg down substantially, but it was still doable.

Everything I've done except for a couple things could have been done with a 24 x 24 bed with no problems. You can always make the bed bigger with CNCRP if you need to.
Ya tiling is always an option. I placed some wood in my shop to see how a 4x8 would sit, and it’s not to bad, but certainly not perfect either .
I hate to design my shop in such a way as it gets so busy in there that you don’t even want to spend time working in that environment.

I’m considering plug and play now , as it’s just aggravating doing so much research to see what fits and how .
My only concern is I believe the boards they use are designed for Mach3-4 , whereas I wanted to learn UCCN.
Watched a video on UCCNC,and they showed an improvement in cuts under certain circumstances.

I was wondering why there plug and play spindle was so much money compared to most I’ve seen . But when I googled that GMT spindle , I was amazed how much it was worth . I have no idea what’s so special about it though . Tolerances?
I heard one running in a video, and thought it was kind of loud for a spindle
 

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The plug and play system uses an Ethernet Smooth Stepper controller, which only works with Mach3 or Mach4. They should be close to moving to Mach4, from what I've heard.

The difference between plug and play and building your own is probably $500 and 100 hours of work.

I've never seen one, but the pictures I've seen of the GMT spindles makes them appear to be much higher quality that the typical $350 chinese spindles.
And even at $1000, they're still close to half the price of a "name brand" spindle.
 

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Rick
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The plug and play system uses an Ethernet Smooth Stepper controller, which only works with Mach3 or Mach4. They should be close to moving to Mach4, from what I've heard.

The difference between plug and play and building your own is probably $500 and 100 hours of work.

I've never seen one, but the pictures I've seen of the GMT spindles makes them appear to be much higher quality that the typical $350 chinese spindles.
And even at $1000, they're still close to half the price of a "name brand" spindle.
Thank you Gerry . For 500 bucks I’ll just go plug and play. I believe your a fan of UCCNC. Many advantages over Mach3?
That’s my main concern
 

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Rick,

To get started and find out what it's all about -- just go the plug and play until you know what's all involved and if you even want to go deeper in it. You want to make jigs or finished projects? Different strokes for different folks. I'd rather make sawdust as quickly and simply as possible - and leave the electronics to the nerds.

If people are going to buy what you make, they don't really care what system you used. It's if they like it and are willing to part with the $$$. The electric company and grocery store don't care what system you use. They just want the bill paid.

I'm just saying get your feet wet first. Then decide if you want to change things around. Don't make it more than it is.

Now, if you don't care about turning things out and just want to play around - that's a different story. But I got the impression you want this venture to bring in a dollar or two.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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If you buy their plug and play, just install Mach4 instead of Mach3 and you are golden. Bypasses the m3 issues, and has the better 3d planner. The UCCNC compatible motion controllers seem to be well regarded, but none of them can match the 4MHz pulse capability of the ESS. I actually bought one of the AXBB-E controllers and a UCCNC license, it is a virtually plug and play replacement for the ESS (but only 400khz, still much faster than any parallel port), so you can change it out in the future.

If we could just convince Gerry to release a Mach4 screenset... But in actuality, Mach4 is much easier to customize yourself, has most of the macros included (except tool touchoff using a both permanent fixed and movable probe, there is a probing screen for normal touch offs)
 

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Rick
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
If you buy their plug and play, just install Mach4 instead of Mach3 and you are golden. Bypasses the m3 issues, and has the better 3d planner. The UCCNC compatible motion controllers seem to be well regarded, but none of them can match the 4MHz pulse capability of the ESS. I actually bought one of the AXBB-E controllers and a UCCNC license, it is a virtually plug and play replacement for the ESS (but only 400khz, still much faster than any parallel port), so you can change it out in the future.

If we could just convince Gerry to release a Mach4 screenset... But in actuality, Mach4 is much easier to customize yourself, has most of the macros included (except tool touchoff using a both permanent fixed and movable probe, there is a probing screen for normal touch offs)
Speaking of which, I was going to order there touch plate also

Auto Z and Corner Finding Touch Plate | Avid CNC | CNC Router Parts
 

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The UCCNC compatible motion controllers seem to be well regarded, but none of them can match the 4MHz pulse capability of the ESS
Almost all stepper drivers have a maximum input frequency of 200Khz-250Khz. The DMM servos I'm using have a max of 500Khz.
So in reality, you'd need very expensive high end servos for this to be an issue. And even then, electronic gearing in the servo drives can be used.

UCCNC controllers with UCCNC have a major advantage over the ESS/Mach4. When features get added, or bugs get fixed in UCCNC, the controllers firmware is updated along with the software. 100% of the software features are supported by the hardware 100% of the time.

Warp9 has been working on their Mach4 plugin for probably close to 4-5 years now, and it still doesn't support 100% of Mach4 features.

Yes, Mach4 is supposedly much better than Mach3. I actually have licenses for both Mach4 hobby and Mach4 Industrial.

But Artsoft alienated a LOT of longtime Mach3 users with some of the choices they made with Mach4, and they won't get them back.

But in actuality, Mach4 is much easier to customize yourself
In some ways yes, in other ways I'd disagree. Unless you are good at programming in Lua.





I believe your a fan of UCCNC. Many advantages over Mach3?
That’s my main concern
For me, yes, there are many advantages.

Having said that, there are probably 100x-200x more Mach3 users than UCCNC.
I still use Mach3 on my old machine.

I'd probably buy the plug and play package, and get up and running. You could replace the ESS and custom breakout boards with an AXBB and UCCNC for about $200 down the road, and you could sell the ESS for at at least $100 if you run into issues with Mach3.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Almost all stepper drivers have a maximum input frequency of 200Khz-250Khz. The DMM servos I'm using have a max of 500Khz.
So in reality, you'd need very expensive high end servos for this to be an issue. And even then, electronic gearing in the servo drives can be used.

UCCNC controllers with UCCNC have a major advantage over the ESS/Mach4. When features get added, or bugs get fixed in UCCNC, the controllers firmware is updated along with the software. 100% of the software features are supported by the hardware 100% of the time.

Warp9 has been working on their Mach4 plugin for probably close to 4-5 years now, and it still doesn't support 100% of Mach4 features.

Yes, Mach4 is supposedly much better than Mach3. I actually have licenses for both Mach4 hobby and Mach4 Industrial.

But Artsoft alienated a LOT of longtime Mach3 users with some of the choices they made with Mach4, and they won't get them back.


In some ways yes, in other ways I'd disagree. Unless you are good at programming in Lua.







For me, yes, there are many advantages.

Having said that, there are probably 100x-200x more Mach3 users than UCCNC.
I still use Mach3 on my old machine.

I'd probably buy the plug and play package, and get up and running. You could replace the ESS and custom breakout boards with an AXBB and UCCNC for about $200 down the road, and you could sell the ESS for at at least $100 if you run into issues with Mach3.
Thanks for the detailed post Gerry . Shame cncrouterparts doesn't offer both options .
They probably will 3 months after mine arrives.

If you look inside there cabinet ,I could be wrong ,but it looks a little tight in there to change things out ? I believe they’ve got some components stacked , so I don’t know if the area would be that great for upgrading components.

If I built my own such as David did, I was going to use a larger cabinet in order to have much better access, similar to CAMaster. But I wouldn’t have it protruding from the front where I’d prefer to be working from
 

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Mike
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Rick as far as size is concerned how often would you use the full 5 x 5 space? If it would just be a few times a year then I would just break the panels down with a saw first so they would fit the smaller width of 4 foot. If you see that you will be using the 5 x 5 table size all the time then it is probably worth going with the 5 x 5.

You can, of course, start with a 4 x 4 and upgrade to the 4 x 8 size later.

As far as control software and equipment I don't think you need the ultimate commercial software I think you can be satisfied with the same control software most of us hobby CNC owners use and will be able to do anything you want to do with it. JMO
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Rick as far as size is concerned how often would you use the full 5 x 5 space? If it would just be a few times a year then I would just break the panels down with a saw first so they would fit the smaller width of 4 foot. If you see that you will be using the 5 x 5 table size all the time then it is probably worth going with the 5 x 5.

You can, of course, start with a 4 x 4 and upgrade to the 4 x 8 size later.

As far as control software and equipment I don't think you need the ultimate commercial software I think you can be satisfied with the same control software most of us hobby CNC owners use and will be able to do anything you want to do with it. JMO
I am leaning towards a 4x4 . Just seems like you get more for the money when your looking at a huge table for a small increase in expense.

I’m going to order the cables for a 4x8, this way if I ever upgrade I can accommodate the longer table
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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I agree with Mike and others, Rick. Pick something, order it, and jump on the bandwagon. I like to think I've built my 2nd machine first but if I had the space I would definitely get a 4x4. In two years of using the CNC I don't recall but one time when I needed more than 2x4 but I have bumped the limits of 2x4 several times.

David
 

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If you look inside there cabinet ,I could be wrong ,but it looks a little tight in there to change things out ? I believe they’ve got some components stacked , so I don’t know if the area would be that great for upgrading components.
The orange board is a custom board to eliminate the step/dir signals to the drives. You can scrap that.
The red board on the bottom is a custom breakout board, with the ESS mounted to it. You can scrap those as well.
I'd also scrap the two power supplies and replace them with a single toroidal supply. That would free up half the space on the right side.

A single AXBB is about 3"x5", and 1" thick, and would leave you a lot more room.

Shame cncrouterparts doesn't offer both options .
They have to support what they sell, and having one option saves them a lot of time and money.
They should be transitioning to Mach4 soon, which should be much better than Mach3. I'm sure that's what they'll have when you're ready to buy. :wink:
 

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They have to support what they sell, and having one option saves them a lot of time and money.
They should be transitioning to Mach4 soon, which should be much better than Mach3. I'm sure that's what they'll have when you're ready to buy. :wink:

FWIW, I believe the problem has to do with plasma torch height control (THC) at Warp9's (Smoothstepper) end. I I could be wrong, but I believe the main issue was ESS integration with the TMC3in1k while running under Mach4. I see that Warp9 came out with Build 241 in the last couple of weeks. It appears that the integration issue is now worked out.

The above matters, because CNCRP/Avid sells plasma stuff. I believe they have been holding off on Mach4 plug & play until the THC issues were worked out. I suspect we will be seeing folks at CNCRP/Avid release the Mach4 plug and play any day now. :grin:

Rick

I use Mach4 Hobby. I upgraded from Mach3. I like it soooo much better than Mach3 and have no complaints. It does what I want it to, and does it well.

I won't get into the UCCNC vs [insert any other control system] debate I see on this and other forums. UCCNC has its proponents, as does Mach4, Acorn and others. Most of us don't have the time, money or inclination to build/buy multiple electronics boxes and software to test the various combinations. Although I wouldn't go with Mach3, I otherwise suggest that you pick one and "love the one you're with."

I should note that I don't have a CNCRP/Avid machine or their Plug & Play electronics. I purchased their pro ballscrew Z axis and a few other things from them, but that's it. My first machine was a 4 x 4 kit from a competitor. I am currently finishing up a build of another 80/20 extrusion-based 4 x 4, but one that's significantly heavier, stiffer and more accurate than the kit machines. For electronics, my main board is a PMDX-126, with PMDX-107 for spindle control. I have the ESS installed on the PMDX-126. I am also running NEMA 34s and a 2.2kw Chinese spindle/HY VFD.

FWIW, while I could fit a 4 x 8 machine in my shop, it would be a tight fit. So, I opted for a 4 x 4. The smaller size hasn't been particularly limiting. When I cut parts larger than my bed, I can make tiled toolpaths. I don't do that very often. I make all manner of stuff (2d & 3d). So far (knock on wood), a 4 x 4 has been all I need.

Finally, if you buy a CNCRP/Avid pro machine, give some thought about what work you want to do before you assemble it. If you have any thought toward cabinetmaking, even if only for your shop, you will want the capability to cut dovetails. That will mean being able to cut off the front of your machine. I'm not sure how far the cutter in a spindle overhangs the frame on a CNCRP/Avid pro machine, but you will need a few inches clearance. If the pro machine doesn't provide that "out of the box," you will need to set the front crossmember back sufficient to give you room to cut dovetails. There are alternatives, but they usually involve making removeable sections of spoilboard. The loss of a few inches of table length made the most sense to me. Your mileage may differ.

Finally, if you pull the trigger before CNCRP/Avid releases the setup for Mach4, there are a lot of resources here and on the Zone who will be happy to help you with the setup. It's really not that difficult to do. Warp9 has excellent instructions here: https://warp9td.com/index.php/gettingstarted/setting-up-the-smoothstepper-and-mach4

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for the replies all .

Gary I’m not liking there new name , but I’ll get over it lol. I’m wondering how long till there working with Mach4 ?
 
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