No announcement yet.

Mach 3 vs Flashcut?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Mach 3 vs Flashcut?

    I've only just heard about Flashcut.
    Are these two programs even in the same ballpark?
    Just curious before I pull the credit card trigger on a program.
    I have tools I don't even know I own...

  • #2
    The following is advice to me posted by John S. a while back:

    At the present time there are only a few affordable controllers out there.
    In no order they are


    Emc is a linux based open source controller, works well but requires a lot of technical knowledge on Linux to get working correctly, one for the techies. Cost free.

    TurboCNC, old DOS program that works but very very dated, no development liable in the future. Cost free.

    Flashcut, Windows based but uses a specialised controller box that it talks to. Still active but limited development. Was popular at one time with the router guys as it had becent look ahead to stop it buring the wood. Cost about $1200

    Ahha, Old DOS program that requires a plug in bord inside the computer. Product dead but was good in it's day, still quite a lot out there, mainly in industry, was about $1200

    DeskCNC, much like flashcut with it's own card, been no development for ages and very limited on features, cost around $300

    Mach3, ongoing development, very customisable, brilliant support.
    Runs up to 6 axis, supports many 3th party add ons like jog wheels etc. Cost $159

    Small Son and myself sat down last night and wote a front screen for Mach that lets a newbie set up origin, tool hight offsets and zero all axis with the minimum of buttons on the display and each button doing what we wanted it to do, not what anyone else wanted.

    What other program, at any cost, can let you do that in the time scale.?


    • #3
      Another controller that is worth a look is:



      • #4
        Problem is asking advise is you are liable to get advise based on old spec, see my rely above where it says TurboCNC no development liable in the future

        You have to do a compare at a given time points to watch out for besides cost is
        again in no order.

        Is it tied into a 3rd party card that may go dead and no replacements like Ahha and to an extent DeskCNC ?

        Support. Important with beginners.

        Tool offsets, these are split into tool hight offset and diameter off sets. Depending on how you generate code these can be important.

        Look ahead, very important for routers and plasma cutters to stop the pause at each line change. This stops burning as it pauses.

        Backlash compensation important for the cheaper machine with normal screws, not as critical on ball screws.

        Best to make a block chart headed with the controller and features down the side.
        Tick off what has what and you get a better overall view.

        Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


        • #5
          Thanks guys! Great info. As usual..I'm trying to learn a hundred things at once...
          I thought maybe flashcut was something newer.
          I already have turbocnc but it seems to me that mach3 is a lot more up to date.
          I went on the tcnc site and read about the new version but it's from Brazil...maybe? And doesn't look up to snuff yet. OK..Mach 3 it is then.
          I have tools I don't even know I own...


          • #6
            I am using mach3 on my bridgeport retrofit and quite happy with it.

            You can go to the mach website and download a fully functional copy only its limited to 500 lines of g code. No need to even buy mach3 to try it out. Later if you buy it, you just install the license file and your all set, your previous settings and all remain intact.


            • #7
              See other recent post...

              Timing issues.. well Mach3 works great if you strip it of Other functions.. Otherwise it just works.

              MEaning.. you disable at least the update function, some of the networking cards mess with the timing.. what does that mean to a newbie? well when it snaps off your only have one of a $37 endmill for no apparent reason.. It means a lot. Nobody advertises the changes you must do to make it more reliable. It's multi-tasking makes it run off to do more important things than cut your file with perfect timing interrupts.. meaning it stutters..

              I have been looking into the cost-additive external timing cards posted by JohnS and Macona.. TurboCnC functions on a "one and only" task at a time.. don't knock it off the road just yet.. It is running here.. BUT.. the new XP file system crashes 3 1.2 floppies and I have not figured a decent way to get my programs into the stand alone dos OS..

              A cnc is pretty useless most the time without proper software.. Cambam.. posted by Evan... looks as good as bobcad.. you can do drawings in stl format (solidworks) or dxf (autocad or similar programs) and import them.. Bobcad crashed my computer for more than a year before I got my money back.. Cambam has not yet..

              3d design is a whole other world of learning.. I was working with a dual axis sony playstation2 gamepad with dual joysticks. I had one stick configured to x-y axis, other configured to z and zoom... then I had 17 other buttons to play with, the pan was the "look around" buttons..
              Problem was, my crappy programming crashed the 3d software using the same kind of directx calls..

              Then there is scanning into a pointcloud or dxf format.. not ever got the laser line scanner 100% here either.. that is mostly what I'd like to do.. copycat into a 3d design..
              Excuse me, I farted.


              • #8
                Does anyone else have pro's or con's against Mach3? I'm planning on getting it and wondering what everyone else's thoughts are..



                • #9
                  I'm pretty ignorant of CNC. I keep waitng for them to make a CNC control with a "DWIW" button front and center.


                  • #10
                    Mach 3 Pros, it runs under windows, cons, it works under windows. I tend to use way overpowered PCs to run my cnc machines and I no longer have any timing issues, dont need to turn windows "features" off. Give it lots of HP and lots of RAM and it is very happy. PC's are cheap. Seen Core2Duo machines going for a couple hundred new.

                    Tech support for mach is great. They have a forum on their site and a yahoo group as well and both are very active. There are constant updates and development going on.

                    Bad, no rigid tap, cant control the spindle as a C Axis. It must be either a C axis or a spindle without position control. No closed loop to the control (Though this can be solved with motion controllers) There are plugins to control galil controls and the like.

                    EMC does have rigid tap and closed loop capabilities but tech support and development is slow. You get what you pay for.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Forrest Addy
                      I'm pretty ignorant of CNC. I keep waitng for them to make a CNC control with a "DWIW" button front and center.
                      That's not a CNC control, it's an employee who is a machinist.



                      Try G-Wizard Machinist's Calculator for free:


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BobWarfield
                        That's not a CNC control, it's an employee who is a machinist.


                        Yea but that software is pretty buggy..
                        Precision takes time.