Software

You will need a computer and software to run your machine. The computer most used is a older one running windows xp. The type of computer needed is better understood by going to the web site where the software you are going to use is located. I will be showing you how to use Mach3 to run your machine. Here is a link to their web site.

ArtSoft USA Home of Mach3

Lets start with what you need to get Mach3 running on a PC. First thing to mention is that Laptop computers can have problems running Mach3. There is a lot of information on the web about this so I will not get into it here. Just know that it is better to use a desktop computer with Mach3.

The first thing you should do is optimize your computer to work with Mach3. look down the Mach3 Download page for a file called Win XP Optimization. This little file gives you things you can do to make your Windows XP computer run Mach3 better. There is also a long PDF Tutorial for Mach3 that is loaded with information for setting up Mach3 to run your machine. To make it easy for you, you can Download the Alfamill XML file . This file is a zip file. Open the zip file and insert the alfamill.xml file into the Mach3 folder. This has all the settings to configure Mach3 for the Alfamill.

You can Download Mach3 for free. The free version has a limit of 500 lines of gcode. The paid version you can go up to 10,000,000 lines of gcode. Once you download Mach3 you will have to configure it to run your machine. We will get into that in just a little bit.

Here is a video on Downloading Mach3 and setting Mach3 up to run your machine.

Mach3 uses the parallel port on your computer to connect to the Gecko G540 controller. This is a 25 pin port on the back of the computer. If you do not have a Parallel port on your computer there is a devise that lets you connect to a USB port. It’s called Smoothstepper. I never tried one but it does sound like it may be better than a standard parallel port to control a machine. They even have one for the Ethernet port. I have heard claims that that the Ethernet one may be even better than the USB Smoothstepper. So the options are there to get you computer to run your machine. I can’t help you with these until I try one someday. Just wanted to tell you about them because they sound like great devises.

A picture is worth a 1000 words so a video must be worth more than that. Please check out my video on setting up Mach3 to run your machine. I will make more video’s to help you get started.

I’ll be adding more soon.