View Full Version : What webcam for Mach 3 mill cam?

10-19-2011, 11:23 AM
I've been re-reading S_J_H's fantastic Mill Cam thread because I've lucked into a lucrative side job for a neighbor that requires a close view of a very finicky setup on my little CNC lathe.

It looks like lazlo's recommended camera after his great review and testing was the "Logitech QuickCam Communicate Deluxe." I can find them on eBay for little money and need to get one on the way if it'll work well. Has anyone else actually bought one and successfully put it to use with Mach 3 and XP?

Is their another cam that anyone else has found to be better? That thread died over a year ago.

I looked around at a few stores locally but they all have HD cameras that I feel pretty sure won't work properly with Mach and XP besides being more expensive. I don't need real high res, just a solid unit with manual focus down to about 1/2" and doesn't use a lot of system resources or completely blow away my system with take-over-your-life crapware.

Thanks for any input!:)

10-19-2011, 11:58 AM
On Sir john's suggestion I found some cameras on EBay. They worked fine on XP for me, I was not happy with the mechanical mounting I did so I have not used it much.
Tormach is selling one so if you have a look at their stuff it might point you in the correction direction. If I recall theirs is rather spendy but it does reference a camera.
If you have a Fry's nearby they might have one that runs fine.

Post some pictures when you are done.

10-19-2011, 12:56 PM
Thanks Dave, do you remember which camera you got? Brand, model number, number of "real" megapixels, etc?

10-19-2011, 01:27 PM
I did a bit of looking on Ebay and these look like the ones I bought. Can't seem to find a record of my purchase> :-(

They claim to focus up to 5cm. I think I was able to adjust mine to closer.
YMMV. I think the one below are better choices.
They look like them but no promises.

I checked out the Tormach site and found it http://www.tormach.com/product_cnc_scanner.html
But I did find a blog entry on their site that gives some specific recommendations. I believe that one of those camera is the one they were selling. I think one of the first 3 or 4 was what they went with. Have a look.
Good luck

10-19-2011, 03:30 PM
It looks like lazlo's recommended camera after his great review and testing was the "Logitech QuickCam Communicate Deluxe."

Man, that was a long time ago! Those kind of reviews are usually only good for 6 months to a year. :)

I basically bought several top rated webcams and tried them. The primary thing I found is that you want a manual focus, which you can adjust to extreme closeups. The fixed focus lenses didn't focus well on extreme closeups.

10-19-2011, 04:30 PM
Thanks, I eventually found an older model cheapo camera at Radio Shack close to my house. It definitely has manual focus so I feel pretty sure it'll work.

I had SWMBO go & pick it up for me a few minutes ago so I'll have a new computer widget to scream & yell at when I get home from work. Nothing computer-related EVER works right the first time for me. That's one of the reasons I love this place so much; I don't feel so alone & stupid around computers any more....just stupid.:D You guys are great!

Thanks Dave for the cheap & cheerful Chinese USB microscope link. I'm going to get one of those for later experiments. I just couldn't wait that long for this project as there's real money and a timeline involved.

10-19-2011, 09:24 PM
Wow, as my Pappy said, "Even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while."

The camera actually plugged & played and Mach popped up a video window with good resolution!

Now for the next question; shouldn't Mach allow jogging and normal CNC ops with the window open? It doesn't for me anyway. I can work around it but it sure would be nice to show realtime tool movements.

10-21-2011, 09:39 AM
To put a cap on the watch the video & jog at the same time issue; I'm an idiot.:rolleyes:

I finally just clicked the reset button on the Mach screen and everything works like I hoped it would.:o

10-21-2011, 11:26 AM
For those of us unfamiliar with CNC:

Why would the software need a video camera?

10-21-2011, 12:02 PM
I'll post some pictures a ways down the road. In my case, The webcam displays a very closeup, realtime picture of the tool & work as they are jogged into alignment. I wouldn't normally need a closeup view but this job requires aligning a .036" wide grooving tool precisely centered on a .026" existing groove and controlling the d.o.c. within .001. These old eyes can't get within a country mile of that sort of precision without some magnification.:(

I'm cautiously optimistic the webcam deal is going to work. Initial tests last night were fantastic but my magnetic mount ain't good enough. I've got to build a rigid, repeatable mount system that will keep the cam square and located very precisely as I'm doing a bunch of these things.

10-21-2011, 12:05 PM
Oh, almost forgot; over on the Mach forum they have a section devoted to CNC part scanning where they put a laser pointer with a webcam and with the aid of a software plugin can import a point cloud into a CAD program. At least I think that's what it does.:confused: :rolleyes: :D

Also look here: http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=27425&highlight=webcam+mach

10-21-2011, 09:51 PM
These old eyes can't get within a country mile of that sort of precision without some magnification.

Thanks - I was trying to think of applications where the video provided feedback somehow to the CAM software - use as a big digital magnifying glass makes a lot more sense.