Mach3

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Mach3
Mach3 Splash Screen.jpg
Mach3's Splash Screen
Status In Production
Developer Newfangled Solutions
MSRP $175.00
License Commercial
Website http://www.machsupport.com/

Mach4 is now available.

Mach3 is one of the most popular commercial CNC programs available for hobbyist and professional CNC machines alike. It is one of the most fully featured CNC software packages available, with a large user base and support community.

Mach3 turns a typical computer into a CNC machine controller. It is very rich in features and provides a great value to those needing a CNC control package. Mach3 works on most Windows PC’s to control the motion of motors (stepper & servo) by processing G-Code. While comprising many advanced features, it is the most intuitive CNC control software available. Mach3 is customizable and has been used for many applications with numerous types of hardware.[1]

A demo version of Mach3 is available from http://www.machsupport.com/

The demo is fully featured, but has a limit on the file size to 500 lines (enough for typically only a few minutes of machine time). Fully licensed copies are available from A Quick CNC in the store.

Features

Here are some of the basic features and functions provided by Mach3:

  • Converts a standard PC to a fully featured, 6-axis CNC controller
  • Allows direct import of DXF, BMP, JPG, and HPGL files through LazyCam
  • Visual Gcode display
  • Generates Gcode via LazyCam or Wizards
  • Fully customizable interface
  • Customizable M-Codes and Macros using VBscript
  • Spindle Speed control
  • Multiple relay control
  • Manual pulse generation
  • Video display of machine
  • Touch screen ability
  • Full screen eligibility

Mach3 has successfully been used to control the following types of equipment:

  • Lathes
  • Mills
  • Routers
  • Lasers
  • Plasma
  • Engravers
  • Gear cutting

Wizards

Wizards

Wizards are “mini-programs” that extend the capabilities of Mach3. Wizards can be written by anyone and are designed to allow users to quickly perform routine or convenient operations without the need to have a pre-written G-Code file. Included with Mach3 are some free Wizards that were contributed by users. These short-cuts should not be confused with the Add-on’s for Mill or the new Mill Wizard software, which are more advanced wizard packages with integrated operations. Some typical wizard operations:

  • Gear cutting
  • Digitizing
  • Holes
  • Slots and keyways
  • Text engraving
  • Many standard shapes
  • Surfacing

Many more wizards are available from 3rd party developers.

Minimum System Requirements

Parallel port control only supported on 32-bit versions of Windows.

32-bit Desktop – Parallel Port Versions

  • 32-bit version of Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7
  • 1Ghz CPU
  • 512MB RAM
  • Non-integrated Video Card with 32MB RAM(Large G-code files, especially 3D files will require a video card with 512MB RAM or higher)

Laptop, 32 or 64-bit Desktop – External Motion Controller Only

  • An appropriate external motion controller, such as SmoothStepper, UC100 and others.
  • Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8
  • 1Ghz CPU
  • 512MB RAM
  • Video Card with 32MB RAM(Large G-code files, especially 3D files will require a video card with 512MB RAM or higher)

Licenses

Licensing Without a license, Mach3 will operate in Demo mode. While in Demo mode, the software has the following limitations:

  • Mill & Plasma: 500 line gcode limit (10,000,000 limit after licensing)
  • Turn: 50 line gcode limit (10,000,000 limit after licensing)
  • Kernel Frequency locked at 25kHz (only applicable if using the parallel port driver)
  • Set Next Line function disabled
  • Run From Here function disabled
  • Turn: Threading disabled
  • Plasma: THC functions disabled

Non-commercial users (aka hobbyists) are permitted to use one Mach license for as many machines as they require. For commercial users (anybody who uses the software to generate profit), we require a separate license purchase for each machine. Mach1, Mach2, and Mach3 may all be used on one computer, but only one version of each will co-exist on a single computer.

A license is only required on the computer actually running a machine. If a computer not connected to a machine is used to test code, please use Mach3 in Simulation mode – it will remove the 500 line limit. Simulation mode can be accessed by uninstalling (or not installing) the Parallel Port Driver. The Add-ons for Mill will only work with a licensed copy of Mach3 as this software is an Add-on, and not a stand-alone product.

Mach3 licenses are available directly from the A Quick CNC store.

References

  1. http://www.machsupport.com/software/mach3/