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g540, mach 3,4 or other?

Discussion in 'Control Software' started by Rodm, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. Rodm

    Rodm Well-Known

    Jan 3, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Most of the suggestions I've gotten and stuff I've found (probably kind of looking for) the g540 is matched with Mach 3. As I've said before I'm new to all this so taking advice (most from you folks here!) from people that know what's up and trying to help make my build a good machine and keep my newbie headaches to a minimum I chose to go that way. I'm still along way from having the build done, still ordering and waiting for stuff. I went to get the Mach software. I have Fusion 360, Sketchup trials and Cura - some 3d printing stuff for the A8 I bought for fun and as a pre first build - build. I was wanting to work and get used to things so I'm ready when its done! Sorry the story is getting long. Mach 3 is getting phased out - loosing support. Mach 4 is probably great but new....? Also $200 and the license is only good on the computer that controls the machine. I had hoped to design - check things out on one and have a computer dedicated to the machine. Its 64 bit so can't run Mach3. Maybe I wasted my time adding a parallel port? I'll be running the g540, 4 nema23 hd motors at I believe 3a max each, 48v 10a psu +/-, so I believe most of the other options I've read about won't work? I kind of expect to be wrong. Any ideas or help would be great. I don't want to spend $200 and end up going in a different - better way.

  2. Giarc

    Giarc OpenBuilds Team
    Staff Member Moderator Builder Resident Builder

    Jan 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    If you want to learn Fusion 360 quickly, start with these seven short videos and work along with them.
    Also, this is a great video on making complex shapes in Fusion for 3D printing. I like these Instructable classes. They are a great way to learn. 3D Printing Class There is a CNC class as well (I have not taken it). CNC Class

    The G540 is great, but you could go the Arduino and GRBL route with external drivers. It is cheaper and there is a variety of free software that works well. That being said, Mach 3 (or 4) is very good. But, you could always upgrade software later. The drivers will still work, you would just probably have to add a break out board. I am very happy with GRBL and GRBL Panel. You should check out Kyo's Sphynx build C-Beam cnc it does a great job of showing how to wire up external drivers.
    #2 Giarc, Feb 12, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
  3. David the swarfer

    David the swarfer OpenBuilds Team
    Staff Member Moderator Builder Resident Builder

    Aug 6, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Wiring the G540 to an Arduino running GRBL is a perfectly good way to go.

    This guy used a CNCshield as an interface to the G540
    Running the X-Carve via grbl with a Gecko G540 controller
    but you can probably just do it directly by using a strip of pins and some wires.
    I would use one of these... Proto-Screwshield (Wingshield) R3 Kit for Arduino ID: 196 - $14.95 : Adafruit Industries, Unique & fun DIY electronics and kits

    Just take a parallel port cable and cut the computer end off it, then identify the wires and so on.

    I would suggest getting it going without homing, without limit switches. Then add the home/limit switches later.

    Make sure you use the latest GRBL v.1.1 and the latest GRBL Panel version to match it.

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