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Grbl and Mach 3

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by Stephen sheard, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. Stephen sheard

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    Hi all. First ever post and definitely a cnc newbee. Inspired by schematix ox metal build I have built one and have thoroughly enjoyed experience. So much to learn all in one go!!!!!
    I have stupidly bought Mach 3 and a cnc xpro v3. Xpro uses grbl g code I think and bought that controller as schematix man recommended it. Trouble is it doesn't work with Mach 3 which has to have parallel port. Also can't see any decent software which uses grbl. Please help!!!
    By the way am very interested in greyscale import to 3D carving. Was even considering artcam jewel smith... grbl friendly?????
    Any help re software whether free or costly greatly appreciated. Steve
     
  2. David the swarfer

    David the swarfer OpenBuilds Team
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    Hiya

    Not sure what you mean by software that 'uses' GRBL.... I will take it to mean 'software that generates GRBL friendly G-code'

    GRBL uses very plain G-code, said plain G-code runs on 'anything'.
    Just about any Gcode generator will have a 'simple/plain' output mode, I know Fusion 360 does, that will work with GRBL. SketchUcam (plugin for Sketchup) generates such simple Gcode which runs on everything I have tried it on, including LinuxCNC, Mach3, GRBL, Planet-CNC, RZNC501 (which is even simpler than GRBL), and several simulators like CAMotics.

    That said, I know that many of the raster generators use some of the more advanced codes that might choke GRBL.
    You only know this is a problem after you actually try it, so I encourage you to try it and see.

    However, if you are using an open source program it can be easily changed to output anything you want it to.
    All you have to do is ask the writer for help, or ask on a forum such as this one for help and one or more programmers will 'fix' it for you (-:

    Mach3 is pretty good but the parallel port has pretty much 'expired'. There are a couple of USB boards that work with Mach3, but AFAIK they are a bit expensive, not open source, etc.

    Do make sure you load the latest version of GRBL on the xPro, and use the latest version of whatever GUI you choose.
     
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  3. Joe Santarsiero

    Joe Santarsiero OB addict
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    Hey Steve. Welcome.
    Sounds like you placed yourself in a corner and have a decision to make(been there). You have to ditch Mach3 or the xpro since the two are incompatible. I'm pretty sure you can sell your mach3 license, but you'll need to notify artsoft of the license transfer. If you keep it you'll require a compatible break out board, drivers, and some means of talking to the breakout.
    The software you're looking for can be found on the scorchworks website and should generate code mostly compatible with either system.
    Personally, I'd invest in the mach3 system, but the additional funds need to be there.
    Joe
     
  4. Stephen sheard

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    Thank you very much gentlemen for your response to my question. Having no experience of cadcam/g code etc etc it has proved a huge and somewhat expensive learning curve. The terminology itself is a minefield and it's a shame that there isn't a form of flowchart newbies can follow with what they want to do with the Cnc, recommended software and compatible hardware. I must admit I am still baffled if I'm not using a program like Mach 3 how to set feed rates and all the other parameters available with that software. I might have to bite the bullet and ditch the Pro board and invest in a breakout board and motor drivers. Any recommendations for good but reasonable hardware which would be perfectly matched for Mach 3. Once again thanks for the time and trouble and wish you a happy Christmas. Steve
     
  5. David the swarfer

    David the swarfer OpenBuilds Team
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    The only things you need to set on a controller are steps/mm and max feed rate/acceleration.
    That is all the controller needs to run the machine correctly, everything else is set via G-code.

    This means that each G-code program is complete within itself and sets the machine to suite itself.
    This is the safest way to do it, so a program for cutting wood can use high feedrates and for cutting aluminum can use medium and one for grinding marble would use very low feedrates.
    Same with spindle speed if the machine has that connected.
    Other than setting up the job for the 0,0,0 position you don't need the fancy GUI (-: though it is nice to watch the progress etc.
     
  6. David the swarfer

    David the swarfer OpenBuilds Team
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    The only things you need to set on a controller are steps/mm and max feed rate/acceleration.
    That is all the controller needs to run the machine correctly, everything else is set via G-code.

    This means that each G-code program is complete within itself and sets the machine to suite itself.
    This is the safest way to do it, so a program for cutting wood can use high feedrates and for cutting aluminum can use medium and one for grinding marble would use very low feedrates.
    Same with spindle speed if the machine has that connected.
    Other than setting up the job for the 0,0,0 position you don't need the fancy GUI (-: though it is nice to watch the progress etc.
     
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  7. Joe Santarsiero

    Joe Santarsiero OB addict
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    The xpro has its own GRBL setup file which takes care of the necessities the mach3 menus do. Check the xpro wiki.
     
  8. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    Hi Stephen.
    Just as a thought on the side, I tried searching "CNC Software" on YouTube.
    There's quite a lot of useful and informative stuff that pops up. :thumbsup:
    Give it a try if you haven't done so already. :)
    Gray
     

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