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Running Three or More Machines on One PC?

Discussion in 'CNC IN THE HOME SHOP' started by MontanaAardvark, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. MontanaAardvark

    MontanaAardvark United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I guess that says it. I'm curious how other people manage multiple machines.

    I have two CNC Milling machines and a lathe. They all use parallel port interfaces, and I plan to have three installations of Mach3. Two of them would never be running at the same time.

    I can see the Warp9 Ethernet SmoothStepper turns one Ethernet port into three parallel ports, but so does a three way parallel port switch. Well, after something like a UC100 USB to parallel converter.

    What are you guys doing?


    Bob
     
  2. rdean

    rdean United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Each of my machines has it's own dedicated mounted computer. The mill uses the parallel port and the router has the ethernet smooth stepper that uses all three of it's ports.

    Ray
     
  3. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I use a laptop for my router. It was running a UC100 but now has an ESS controller.

    The mill is run by a Dell mini desktop PC and ESS controller.
     
  4. MontanaAardvark

    MontanaAardvark United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I like the idea of being able to run more than one machine at a time, but don't have the nerve just yet.

    Right now, I have three cables and attach one to the parallel port at a time. I was thinking a switch or something would be better.
     
  5. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    You could certainly try a multi-port DB25 switch.

    My problem with using only one computer is I want the screen/keyboard/MPG(gamepad) next the machine.
     
  6. MontanaAardvark

    MontanaAardvark United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    For sure, I just arranged my shop so that's possible.
    Shop-Mills.JPG

    Sherline mill on the left, Grizzly on the right, computer in the middle. The lathe is just out of the picture on the left (don't have a wide enough angle lens). On the upper left is a little shelf on the enclosure the Sherline is in, and a white box on top of it. That's the Xylotex controller. The other one is just to the left out of the picture. The controller for the G0704 is on the little stool down low between the computer bench and the mill. Like I said, I unplug one cable at the computer and plug in the next one when it's time to switch the machine I'm running.

    I have a wireless keyboard and mouse, so it's a little mobile, but won't do me much good if I can't see the display.

    I was on the verge of ordering a UC100 today, but spent an hour or so reading everything I can find. I saw several people saying they had interference and other intermittent issues with their UC100. I think you were one? Anyway, I think I'm ordering the parts to put together a little box for the Ethernet SmoothStepper tonight.
     
    rdean likes this.
  7. Mikro

    Mikro United States Swarf Registered Member

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    MAch3 supports this. If you run the Mach3 loader it allows you to make alternate profiles. Such as Mill, Turn what ever you name it. It creates a new XML file that has the settings for that particular machine. The xml file is based on the name you use for a specific machine. I have never tried to actually do this as I don't have 2 machines but the software is designed for it. I would always do a full shutdown of the PC and restart before choosing making a different profile to be sure.
    You will need to always launch the Mach Loader not the Mach3 .exe so that you get the Choice menu for the machine you wish to use at that time. When you first install Mach it will put both Icons on your desktop.
    Hope that helps?
    MK
     
  8. MontanaAardvark

    MontanaAardvark United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Thanks, but I'm good on that part. I have the three profiles on my desktop now, and go back and forth without restarting. Been going back and forth between the old mill and the lathe for years. It's the hardware part about talking to the machines that was my question. I just got my Ethernet SmoothStepper this morning, but I'm still short of some hardware to hook it up. That should be here in a day or two.

    Bob
     
  9. Mikro

    Mikro United States Swarf Registered Member

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    Ah!! okay I missed that. :) Hope all works out for you.
    MK
     
  10. MontanaAardvark

    MontanaAardvark United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Location:
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    So... a week or two later and the ESS is here, the box built, and all three machines are under Mach3 control

    I had an old A/B box for switching two 25 pin D-sub connectors, so all I had to do was take the guts out of that box and drill a few holes to mount the ESS.
    ESS_Mounted.JPG

    The cables I got the best price on were 11" long, so they will live life folded up. I cut a rectangular opening in the side of the box so that I can plug in the Ethernet cable and watch the lights as necessary. The 5V to run the ESS comes in that opening and goes to that light green terminal strip.
    ESS_interface.JPG

    As I said, the Sherline mill, lathe and G0704 all run with no problems.
     
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