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Old 08-09-2017, 11:34 AM   #11

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Originally Posted by polaraligned View Post
Reliable and professional level performance. You are buying an integrated system that includes their software and motion controller. Mach 3 is a dinosaur. Mach 4 is not up to par either from what I have heard. Mach 3 was innovative when it came out because it tricked Windows into producing the step/direction pulses in real time via the parallel port. It never worked perfectly and that is the reason why there were several motion controllers marketed for use with Mach 3 over the years. They all had some problems.

Centroid has been producing professional retrofits for decades. No more missed steps, hiccups, etc. It looks like the Acorn is based on their proven software, though it is probably the "light" version of it without as many features. You are not only getting their software, but you are also getting a dedicated motion controller. At the introductory price, it sounds like a no brainer IMHO. If you are close to NNJ, I welcome you to come to my shop and check out my machine.

Look at this video. The guy is a beta tester using G540's with the Acorn. It looks like his mill is home made. He says he can rapid at 300 IPM which is impressive. I don't think you can do that with Mach considering it's 25 Khz kernel speed.

Just to be clear, I am basing my opinion on my experience with Mach 3 and my current Centroid setup. I have used both, and after getting the Centroid, I sold my Mach 3 mill. I have no experience with the Acorn, but base my opinion on using their software and more advanced motion controller/drives, plus the companies history.

That peaks my interest. I thought that problem like missed steps were caused by the motor drives and that people favored the Gecko g540 over other products because it offered a smooth reliable operation. I also thought that the issue could be caused by inputting the wrong settings for job such as cutting too fast or too deep.

If the issue comes from the software then that would mean that any drive paired with Mach 3 would produce poor results.

How is the user interface with the Acorn? I.e. Is it designed in a way that it could be picked up after a little trial and error, or does it require some more complex training / knowledge?

My thought on Mach3 was that I would download the free trial (when I am ready) and see how well it met my needs. I wouldn't have bought it if it produced poor results anyway but if there is a better option that I can afford then it's a no-brainer.
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Old 08-09-2017, 02:29 PM   #12

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Just use the parallel port computer you have and the trial version of Mach 3. You can run up to 1000 lines of code on the trial version. 1000 lines sounds like a lot, but it is really nothing if you are doing anything more than simple contouring. If you struggle with getting the results you want with Mach, you can always upgrade to a better software/controller. The place you may have the most problems is with cranking up the speed on the router. I had little problem cutting at moderate speeds with Mach for the most part. I did have hiccups now and then, which really piss you off when you are in the middle of a part and you ruin it. At least you can prove your design with Mach, then you can decide if you want to go to a more solid controller. LinuxCNC is a very good choice also, but I found it a lot harder to set up, so I never pursued it.

I find the interface on the CNC 11 software simple and intuitive. Mach is not bad either in the interface department. Thousands of people use Mach and are happy with it. I was just pointing out another option that I would choose if I were building a router table.

Last edited by polaraligned; 08-09-2017 at 02:34 PM.
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