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Knowledgebase : FAQ's
When you purchased from our website you created a user account that will allow you access to our License Maintenance section of our website at any time. That allows you to modify and resend license files at your leisure. To access that page, click on the ...
The link below will take you to our Licensesed Artsoft Resellers tab on our Partners webpage. It will give you a sortable list of authorized resellers/ distributors so that you know that your licence is legal and supported by us! Partners and Authorized...
We do not sell any hardware or packages. We are committed to creating software that can be used with any hardware manufacturer that wishes to work with us. Motion devices and other complex hardware require a 'plugin' (small program that links Mach and a...
* Transforming an idea into an actual part is a 3-step process: CAD (see "What is CAD?") -> CAM (see "What is CAM?") -> Control. Mach3/Mach4 is the control part of the process and requires G-code files produced by a CAM or Wizard program. * Wizard pro...
The steps per is a calculation that takes into consideration all the components that you use for the axis. The link below brings you to a user support forum thread with an attachment spreadsheet to help you determine your steps per unit. You can also read...
There are many ways to implement this feature. Most are done by simply wiring a plate with one nonconductive side and one conductive side. The nonconductive side is placed on the work surface and the conductive side will wire into the breakout board (or o...
As the popularity of CNC machining has steadily increased the market has been supplied many desktop CNC machines from overseas. Many of these machines are being shipped with a pirated version of Mach3 on a writable CD. These pirated/cracked versions are n...
Mach3 has been a huge sucess though out the entire world. Unfortunately, it has been cracked or pirated many times over. Those versions are not supported, they usually have malware, they are incomplete, and simply do not work. If you recieve a copy with a...
License Maintenance and Restrictions. WHO CAN USE LICENSE MAINTENANCE? This page allows registered users the ability to resend licenses they have purchased directly from this website and to create new licenses for products that use PC ID licensing. Li...
Mach3 and Mach4 are sold by us as DIY (do it yourself) CNC control. Most of our OEM's and distributors provide a high level of service and support for their hardware and software bundle. Our software is used on thousands of machines, each requiring specif...
The default setting in Mach3 is to ignore tool changes. In Mach4, using a tool change macro (M6) by default will pause the g code, prompt you to change your tool, and then allow you to resume. The endless possibilities of configurations make the ability t...
Mach3 and Mach4 need to be configured to match the way your machine is physically wired and tuned appropriately for your hardware. Whoever built the machine will have this information, though much of it can likely be found in the documentation for the har...
CNC controls require critical timing. When a computer has been chosen to be used as a machine controller, it should be dedicated to that task / not used for anything else. Adding additional software and processes to a machine controller can adversely affe...
This depends largely on the type of signal the axis drives will accept (step & direction vs. analog), the number of I/O points and their type (digital vs. analog), and the maximum desired signal frequency. Chapter 4 of the "Mach3Mill Install and Config Gu...
A breakout board is a piece of hardware used to interface between the PC (or external motion device) and the machine I/O. Many will offer other benefits as well, such as optical isolation.
A CNC machine is controlled by commanding movements and tracking the positions of the axes. These movements are defined in terms of a coordinate system. Mach3 and Mach4 use multiple sets of (Cartesian) coordinate systems for various tasks. The Machine Coo...
"CNC Programming Handbook 3rd Edition" by Peter Smid. You can also refer to the G Code Programming guides for Mach3 and Mach4.
A macro or m-code is a small program that has been written as an easy way to perform a function (or functions). Macros can range from very simple (e.g. turning an output on/off) to very complex (e.g. running a tool changer). In Mach3/Mach4, we create macr...
* A plugin (sometimes referred to as a driver) allows people to add custom functionality to Mach3/Mach4. Plugins are written as .dll files in programming language in Mach3. Plugins for Mach4 include both a .sig and .m4pw file. They are primarily used to...
A profile is a configuration file which is used to store the various settings for a machine. A Mach3/Mach4 profile has to be created and configured for each machine it controls. Mach3 uses XML files to store this data (see "What is an XML?") while Mach4 u...
A screen set is the file (and associated graphics) that makes up the GUI (graphical user interface). In other words, the set of files that comprise what is seen on the screen. A screen set can change not just the appearance of Mach3/Mach4 but also the fun...
Originally, Mach-series software only worked with the parallel port (via the parallel port driver), which was a standard port on every PC. Technologies have advanced over time, and not only is the parallel port becoming obsolete, but the Windows codebase ...
It is a Mach4 configuration file. Every Mach4 profile stores its settings in a Machine.ini file located in the Mach4 profiles directory (C:Mach4Profiles, by default). If Mach4 is loaded using the "MyMill" profile, those settings would be stored in C:Mach4...
It is a Mach3 configuration file. Every Mach3 profile stores its settings in an XML file located in the Mach3 installation directory (C:Mach3, by default). If Mach3 is loaded using the "MyMill" profile, those settings would be stored in MyMill.xml. The na...
Computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided drafting (CAD), or computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) is the process of using a computer to design and draw the parts you would like to create. The CAD files then need to go through a CAM process to becom...
Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) is a subsequent process after CAD. The CAD files are loaded into the CAM program, the desired machining parameters (tools, cut depths, etc) are chosen, and toolpaths (in the form of a gcode file) are created which then c...
Used mainly in automation, G-code is the common name for the most widely used numerical control (NC) programming language, which has many implementations. G-code is sometimes called G programming language.
The Right Hand Rule is a quick way to determine the correct positive orientations of the X, Y, and Z axes in relation to each other. To perform the maneuver, a person would first make a fist with their right hand. Then, they would hold that hand straight ...
* All coordinates on a CNC machine are based on it's "home" location, which is the origin of the Machine Coordinate (G53) system. Home switches are used to reference the machine and set this origin point. While not a necessity, they are very useful. *...
Running a Driver Test is only applicable when using Mach3 with the parallel port driver. A Driver Test is performed by running DriverTest.exe (C:/Mach3) and it is used to evaluate the quality of the pulse stream being produced by the driver. The graph is ...
IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT ANY ATTEMPT TO BUILD OR RETROFIT A MACHINE IN A DIY MANNER IS JUST THAT – YOU DO IT YOURSELF AND BY NO MEANS IS IT PLUG-N-PLAY. THE INSTANT THE DECISION HAS BEEN MADE TO DO IT YOURSELF, THE BUILDER BECOMES THE DESIGNER. OTHER...
At a minimum, any license files and profile XMLs (as well as any custom macros, screen sets, or brains used by those profiles) should be backed up. In practice, it may be easier to keep a current backup of the entire Mach3 directory as this ensures everyt...
Mach3 will run on any Windows OS from Windows 2000 through Windows 10. The parallel port driver included with Mach3 will only work with 32-bit DESKTOP computers with versions of Windows 2000 through Windows 7. Any newer operating system and/or one that is...
The Steps PerUnit is a calculated value of how many step pulses are required to move the axis one Native Unit (inch or mm). Section 5.5.1 of the "Mach3Mill Install and Config Guide" discusses the necessary calculations in great detail. In Mach4, there i...
* Normally, the current version of our software located on the download page is the correct version that should be used. * You can find older versions of our products on our FTP server at ftp://ftp.machsupport.com/.
IN GENERAL, WE EXPECT THE USERS OF MACH3/MACH4 TO BE FAMILIAR WITH THE INFORMATION CONTAINED WITHIN THE PRODUCT MANUALS. THIS IS TRUE IN ANY OF THE FOLLOWING SITUATIONS. THE WAY IN WHICH THE MACH3/MACH4 LICENSE WAS PURCHASED WILL DICTATE THE NEXT STEP SH...
PLEASE DO NOT PURCHASE A LICENSE FOR THE SOFTWARE UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE IT SUCCESSFULLY RUNNING YOUR MACHINE AND HAVE VERIFIED THAT EVERYTHING FUNCTIONS CORRECTLY. * Licenses for Mach3 are available through various distributors around the world and di...
YES! FOR ANYBODY JUST BEGINNING WITH CNC, THE FOLLOWING STEPS ARE ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. EVEN PROS WITH MANY YEARS OF EXPERIENCE MAY BE ABLE TO PICK UP A FEW POINTERS. ALL MACHINE CONTROLS ARE DIFFERENT, AND EVEN A PERSON WHO HAS RUN, WORKED ON, BUILT, OR ...
This is something that is beyond the scope of the software and not a question we can answer. Whoever built the machine will have this information, though much of it can likely be found in the documentation for the hardware or even reverse engineered if ne...
THE MOST LIKELY CAUSES ARE: * The Steps Per Unit value for the axis is incorrect. (see related article) * The motor for the axis is improperly tuned (acceleration and/or velocity are too high) which causes motor stalling and lost steps. * There i...
No, standard USB-to-parallel port adapters will not work. Controlling a machine with Mach3/Mach4 using any USB or Ethernet device will require that a plugin be developed for that device. See "What is an external motion device?" and "What is a plugin?"
Yes, both Mach3 and Mach4 will work on Win10. You cannot, however, use the parallel port with Windows 10. The parallel port can only be utilized in 32-bit systems that are Windows 7 or older. Instead, you will need an external motion controller. That is...