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Thread: Mach 3

  1. #1

    Mach 3

    I've narrowed down my search for a CNC Router between the Laguna IQ and the Rowmaxx WD-1. I'd like some input on a dedicated controller (Laguna) vs using Mach 3 on a PC (Rowmaxx). According to Artsoft's site, Mach 3 only works on 32 bit windows unless I use an external motion controller. I would end up buying a new PC with Windows 7 but most machines only come with 32 bit. I'm not too keen about buying a computer and dumbing it down with 32 bit windows which will limit how much memory I can utilize. An external controller add complexity and wiring.

    I would prefer an air cooled spindle over a hand router, but the Laguna uses a cheap chinese water cooled spindle where the Rowmaxx can be fitted with an air cooled spindle (at what cost I don't know). The Rowmax is considerably cheaper and seems to be very well built, but weighs almost half as much as the laguna. I'm not sure how much of an issue this is.

    Your help in this matter is appreciated.
    Ernie Martinez
    Marco Island Florida
    Epilog Mini 24 50W
    Windows 7 Corel X6, PhotoLaser +v9
    Laguna IQ CNC Router
    Vectric Vcarve Pro
    Smithy Granite 1324 Mill/Drill/Lathe
    Grizzly GO621X Bandsaw

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Conroe, TX
    Posts
    179
    I think you have it backwards. Mach3 must run on a Window XP machine if direct control is desired. Windows 7 put more restrictions on I/O, thus an external controller is required. I run Mach3 on an old Dell GX280 X machine and it runs great. I have never had a problem with it. I bought the GX280 from a local guy who refurbishes computers from local colleges. The GX280 was only $75. If the controller ever fails (GX280), I'll spend another $75 and get another. Mach3 is supported by a huge following of users all around the world. Dedicated controllers are easier to use, because they are single purpose, but if you ever need repairs or software upgrades, be prepared to bend over. If the controller maker ever goes out of business, then you have a real problem.

    After using a water cooled spindle run by a VFD for some time now, I can't imagine ever going back to an air cooled router. The water cooled spindles are very quiet, and never get hot. Even after running 6 hours. They are high speed 3-phase motors. Which means they are brushless, totally sealed, and tough as a brick. I use a small motorcycle radiator to circulate the coolant water through. Why do you the Chinses motors are cheap? Do you have any experience with them?

  3. #3
    Artsoft's website indicates windows 7 is supported for direct control via parallel port but only on 32 bit version. With respect to the water cooled spindles I have no direct experience but repeating what I've read in my research.
    Ernie Martinez
    Marco Island Florida
    Epilog Mini 24 50W
    Windows 7 Corel X6, PhotoLaser +v9
    Laguna IQ CNC Router
    Vectric Vcarve Pro
    Smithy Granite 1324 Mill/Drill/Lathe
    Grizzly GO621X Bandsaw

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    463
    I agree with George on Mach3. I use it and have no problems. Dedicated controllers are proprietary and any upgrades/repairs are going to be more expensive than they should be. I might be tempted to get another XP machine now and have it available for when you need it.

    I wish I had a spindle!
    George
    ______________________________
    ULS X-660 60 Watt
    Corel X4, Wacom Intuos 3, Photograv 3, Inkscape, CAMASTER 4x4 with 4th axis

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