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Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

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motoguy
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Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby motoguy » Fri May 13, 2016 11:31 pm

What do you think of it? How does the Linux stuff work? Good/bad move? Pros/cons? What benefits have you found, and what limitations?
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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby rwskinner » Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:43 am

I made the switch about a week ago. Tom made the statement awhile back that 70% of all new orders are for CommandCNC however I sure don't see much activity in the forums or youtube yet.

A very nice, clean screen set. Very fast, no more delays. Touch off is much quicker, Holes and cuts are cleaner because you can actually predict delays that you enter. In Mach, a 500ms delay was hardly ever 500ms, sometimes faster and most of the time longer.

I'm still getting my feet wet with it. I personally thought it was released last year, but realized that its really in Beta/Pre-Release status. That might not be real accurate, in in version 0.9 and it seems pretty stable. I ran into a small gotcha on ohmic touch off but Moses helped me out. I'm not sure if it's a bug, or an issue with my system, but after an Ohmic touch, the pierce and cut heights were off. Again, Moses helped me out on modification of the touchoff sub.

My only issue is, I knew how to customize Mach the way I wanted it, and LinuxCNC will take some learning. Example, currently there is not an out of the box pendant control. I hear you can get game controllers working by editing the configs and stuff but I haven't tried yet. I miss my xbox controller for sure. The CandCNC pendant isn't ready yet either.

Documentation, well it sort of exists. As usual, scattered out and the CommandCNC docs say Mach this and Mach that because of quick edits, copy and paste, and not proof reading them, or proof reading them in a hurry (I'm guilty as well). I think most of the meat and potatoes are in there and will get you going, especially if you already know how their Mach3 system worked.

I don't know yet if we can add out own buttons to the screen yet? I haven't got into that deep. I need to add a button so I can set my offsets after aligning on a work piece. I also for one, like the ability to see machine coordinates for troubleshooting. I believe Tom rather hide all that from the users so they don't hurt themselves.

The other issue I have, is that if Tom doesn't believe in a feature then too bad for you. Probably trying to keep it from being a bloated Mach3 which gets so bloated with features you never know what will be broke on the next release. I at least would like to be able to add the functionality I want to a system I use everyday.Again, I may be able to, I just simply don't know right now.

I know you follow the CandCNC forums and probably my posts as well.

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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby motoguy » Sat Dec 17, 2016 11:42 pm

Bump for other converts...
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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby WyoGreen » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:36 pm

I converted a few months ago, and so far I like it. It's very fast, and the cuts are almost dross free. You no longer need any cut rules in Sheetcam, as the VAD (velocity anti-dive) in the CommandCNC works very well. I've had a setting change a couple of times, not sure yet if it was me or the system.

It seems like I read about an editor for the screen set somewhere a while back, but don't remember much about the discussion. I also seem to remember that CandCNC is working on getting the pendant working with the CommandCNC. Neither of these things really bother me, as I have had no need for them in my work flow.

Would I convert again, you bet, it's a great system. I even converted my design computer to Linux, so I rarely run Windows anymore.

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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby tcaudle » Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:25 pm

Several Updates:
1. Manuals have been updated three times and are now in sync with the latest Version (0.8.9)
2, Post processors for SheetCAM have been updated and get installed with an upgrade
3. Custom Router Post has been added that supports a manual tool change and setting via a gauge block or a touch off device.
4. "Torch off before end" to stop end divots is working
5. PN200 hand control project will be finished in the next two weeks
6. Integrated Round pipe with 3D joint design and square tube cutting will be a low cost upgrade
7. Supports plate marker

Sales of Windows/MACH based controls will cease in Jan of '17. We will continue to support our older products for at least 5 years.
You can still upgrade from an older MACH system to the newer EtherCut one and still upgrade to a LINUX based system .

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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby motoguy » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:02 pm

Plate marker, router, hand controller. Those are positive additions since I last looked. It would be nice to continue to use my existing controller, vs a $200 one, but perhaps I'd wonder how I ever survived before the PN200 once I try it.

What is the status of Scananything integration with Linux/CommandCNC?
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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby tcaudle » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:55 pm

What is the status of Scananything integration with Linux/CommandCNC?


That would be a question for Les at SheetCAM. All I can say is that he is working on it.

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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby rwskinner » Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:07 am

I've had mine about 4 months now. I agree that in the last few months many features have been added and fine tuned and the documentation is WAY better! The entire interface is clean and uncluttered and the DTHCIV integration with the G-Code seems to be much more flexible. Good Job!

I was anxious to get soft pierce going but I misunderstood it's uses. As Tom mentioned it's not that great for thin material. The plasma drill for marking holes works very well and I use it a lot.

I haven't experimented with Torch off before end and I really need to. I do tons of 16 ga and I seem to get more divots from the very end of the cut. I'm afraid it's going to be finicky to get dialed in correctly and just hadn't had time to play with it yet.

I would like to get my pendant back as I do a lot of indexing on existing parts to add or modify features and it's a challenging sometimes to reach the keyboard to jog exactly where I need to be.

I still have a one or two annoying issues that occur sometimes like the Z going the wrong direction when telling it to do a manual touch off, but its rare and I usually note the Z DRO has a large negative number in it. I sort of wish the Z DRO would get zero'd when homing so it reflected where it really was.

It takes some getting used to, but the display never shows the G-code running to the end, the highlighted line is always several lines above the end of the g-code. Sometimes the Jog commands will not work unless you click Stop and Rewind on the G-Code or it won't jog for several seconds after the machine stops at the end. Moses asked for more info on the jog issue but I haven't ran across it lately.

All in all, I'm very pleased and if I report something Moses will fix it asap if he can duplicate it. It's nice to get away from Windows!!

RIchard

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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby exapprentice » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:35 am

Hi motoguy
I have made the jump and really looking forward to setting up the new system and finding out how good it is
I have the PN200 pendant and used it all the time on my ethercut set up so being able to hook it up with the Linux is a real plus I personally would highly recommend it it's a great bit of kit
You wouldn't regret the investment I haven't it just makes operating the machine so much easier and enjoyable
Best Regards to all
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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby BTA Plasma » Wed Dec 21, 2016 12:46 pm

Linux is the fastest you can get with plasma. It marries extremely well with the CandCNC controller. We are able to get 500ipm rapids on our Proton Z axis that uses twin 25mm linear rail hand indicated and a ball screw that is indicated parallel with the rails and with servo Linux. That is a serious production setting. I dont know of any table that will do that in production. But regaurdless if your thinking about going Linux and you have the money to do it you would be ahead using it and it would save you gobs of time.

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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby motoguy » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:05 pm

Previously (in the spring), the answers I received were along the lines of "it's a beta release", "it's missing features", "for the versatility you give up, stay with Mach", etc. Similar answers from users, integrators, etc.

Now, the tone seems to have changed, indicating that it's more versatile, supported, and fleshed out. If it can handle a router, plate marker, plasma torch, drag knife, and Scananything...I think my uses are covered. It's obvious that Mach is on the way out. It's no longer supported by the writer, and CandCNC will stop selling it (as a new purchase product) within days. Les says the Linux Scananything port will be ready the first couple weeks of January.

I'm all about leaving some of the PITA of Mach behind. The raves about VAD and "you don't need rules in sheetcam any more!" REALLY intrigue me. At this point, I think I'm going to jump on the Linux bandwagon.

All may drawing is done on my Windows machine. Since I'll still be using Sheetcam for my drawing importation, I assume nothing will change in my workflow? Save as .svg (or .dxf) in Corel/Solidworks, open in Sheetcam, and go? What about setting up my Sheetcam job? Will Linux Sheetcam read a job created by Windows Sheetcam? If I create a job on my Windows machine, save it to USB drive, plug into my Linux table controller...will Linux Sheetcam be able to import that .job file?
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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby BTA Plasma » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:33 pm

JOB files are the same and what was .tap is now .ngc. Mach will be around for years and years. It does not need support right now it works fine and will not need additional support from . Sheetcam has the cool look of the developers version but is not the developers version. Over cut, lead in and out and offset...pretty much all the same, same interface on sheetcam. The Linuxcnc control is much simpler with very simple and very few menus. We have machine definitions for all Star Lab machines ready to be downloaded. Or you can easily go through the configurator to set up your machine.

But what advantage are you looking for. This will give you shorter cycle times and a different interface. That is it.

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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby motoguy » Thu Dec 29, 2016 1:15 am

BTA Plasma wrote:But what advantage are you looking for. This will give you shorter cycle times and a different interface. That is it.


Nothing huge in and of itself, but several small things. Reducing divots at end of cut, particularly on open lines. Reducing divots when the cut transitions from a straight line to a corner, and possibly on other nodes. Removing the reliance on cut rules in Sheetcam, and the occasional trouble that comes from too many cut rules at once (I've helped Les "discover" a couple of those). I'm hearing the VAD system works amazingly well...anyone who does NOT like it, please speak up! Having more accurate timing, vs Mach's ".5 second or less is no time, .51 second to 1 second is...1 second". There are probably a few more things, but those are the things at the top of my head.
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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby timberfab » Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:57 pm

currently upgrading. can;t wait to see how it goes!

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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby motoguy » Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:02 pm

timberfab wrote:currently upgrading. can;t wait to see how it goes!


Let us know! I'm tentatively scheduling to send my box back in 2 weeks for the upgrade.
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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby timberfab » Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:18 pm

Had a little set back on the hardware side and won't get back to it till after the weekend probably.

I'm doing the field upgrade

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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby BTA Plasma » Thu Dec 29, 2016 7:28 pm

You are a very sharp operator Motoguy. I think you will find the Linux most appealing and much more nice to use.

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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby kristof » Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:41 pm

Like some of you I recently upgraded to CommandCNC. Yesterday I completed 10hr long job in 5mm mild steel. An elaborate set of screesn for a large expensive home. I am totally blown away on how well the system performed under CommandCNC. I am using HyT85 and I have never seen any of my jobs go so smoothly with Mach. My initial feeling is that CandCNC created a high end control system at the very attractive price. Admittedly my experience with CommandCNC is limited to one job but if results are any indication of what I can expect from future work I am beyond ecstatic.
If there was one thing which I miss it is support for the CandCNC pendant. It will come but not having it was total PITA.

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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby sr guy » Fri May 05, 2017 7:17 pm

Really happy with the upgrade. Like everyone has been saying it is crazy fast and cut quality is excellent. I had dan help me solve the issue of cut divots on mach 3 and it worked but with varying results. When command cnc Linux is told to shut the torch off at .07 it does it over and over. Very impressed!
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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby motoguy » Fri May 05, 2017 7:40 pm

My system is in Dallas, will be at CandCNC on Monday. I had an issue with the system this week. Hub died. Overnighted a new one, only to find no communication output from the DTHC IV board. Rather than play "swap the parts and pray" with a $500 DTHC IV board, I decided to send it all to CandCNC.

The system is under warranty until August, but since I. Already have downtime for repairs I decided to upgrade. I ordered the pendant with it, as I can't fathom working from the keyboard only (love my Xbox controller. With Mach).

All the recent reviews of CommandCNC are very positive. I'm looking forward to getting rid of end divots, as well as divots caused by Mach pausing for cut rules and nodes. Oh, and no more CV! Thank goodness! I look forward to being able to cut square corners without pausing at each spot! Hopefully a faster touch off sequence as well. Oh, and being able to have the cutting computer connected to
Dropbox...no more USB shuffle!
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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby whiskeymike » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:01 pm

Hope folks don’t mind me bringing this one back from the dead.

Just checking to see if there are any updates on how folks have done with upgrades? Still like it? Worth the $1000 cost to upgrade?

A few further questions...

What’s actually done to your controller to upgrade? Are folks running sheetcam for Linux? Or did you stick with Windows? Generally how long does it take? Someone mentioned a field upgrade?

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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby tcaudle » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:21 am

You can get a lot more information from the upgrade crowd on the Support Forum. I don't have an exact count on the number of upgrades versus new systems but I know its approaching triple digits.

We tried Field Upgrades from the MACH EtherCut to the CommandCNC Ethercut and it was a bad idea. Although the hardware upgrade was minor and just involved unplugging and plugging cables and rewire of the Table I/O the success rate was less than stellar and support calls were way too high. The old unit has to be redone at the factory. The upgrade does include a PC preloaded with LINUX; the Control Software, utilities , applications for CAD , Drawing , CAM (SheetCAM for LINUX) text editing and Custom SheetCAM POSTs for CommandCNC The SheetCAM is unlicensed but if you already have a valid license it works on the LINUX version too. Networking Windows to LINUX is easy via either a second Ethernet port or via WIFI. You can do file sin either platform and move them to either edit , POST or just run them on the other.

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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby motoguy » Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:01 pm

Short version: I'm happy I made the change from Mach to CommandCNC, and I'd do it again.

Long version:

I upgraded to Linux/CommandCNC around a year ago. At the time I upgraded, the cost was $600. That was during a period where CandCNC was still accepting Mach/Windows components as trade-ins. Hence, they took the usable Mach control boards from the box, and gave credit towards the conversion. Now that they are selling Linux/CommandCNC ONLY, they no longer have a use for the Mach/Windows components, and so they no longer give credit for it.

I believe field upgrades were an option when I changed, but as Tom mentioned, those are no longer available. Apparently, too many people were plugging things in backwards/blowing stuff up, and CandCNC was having to 'warranty' a bunch of parts that were being blown up by customers during install. So, no more field upgrades. The control box has to be shipped back to CandCNC for retrofit. Mine took right around a week, paying 2nd day shipping both ways. I was told the actual swap is a "fast" process (I'm assuming less than an hour), but it has to be scheduled in.

I love it, and no way would I consider going back. At $500 (when originally offered) the upgrade was a steal. At $600 it was a tremendous value. At $1000, it's still a good deal. There are many benefits. I probably take for granted now some of the benefits over mach, but there are a LOT. None are massively huge (well, maybe VAD), but lots of useful benefits. Faster touch-off. No more CV/corner rounding issues. Very, very few cut rules are needed for THC, due to VAD. The ability to change THC parameters from CommandCNC window (vs needing to go to Hub Admin) is very handy. EVERYTHING happens faster and smoother. Clicking on a tool path, and having the relevant section of code highlighted is great.

For the update, you remove your white CandCNC Bladerunner/Ethercut control box, package it up, and ship it back to CandCNC. You'll need to go to their web site, pay for the upgrade, and get a RMO (or whatever they call it) number first. DON'T just box it up and ship it back to them. I also put contact information, instructions, etc in the box with mine, just to be sure. I went ahead and sent back my HUB and PWM, which they tested for me as well (I was having issues at the time of the upgrade).

I still run Sheetcam. I run it on the Linux box that came with the upgrade (I went with a Dell refurb, vs the mini-PC). Personally, if you have the space and can keep it in a clean environment (not dusty shop enviroment), I feel the Dell is the way to go. I also run Sheetcam on my Windows design/general use computer. Since my Windows computer is so much more powerful than the Linux machine, I import my drawings, edit start points, etc in Sheetcam Windows, then save the .job file. I open the .job file in the Sheetcam Linux (I have my Linux connected to my Windows machine via a USB wifi adapter and a shared folder), and run it from there.

The single biggest gripe I have with CommandCNC/Linux is the network functionality. CommandCNC is built on Ubuntu 14.x, which has a known issue/glitch with dropping network connections. Sure enough, I lose the connection to my shared Windows folder ALL THE TIME (like, every couple of minutes). Sometimes it'll pick it right back up, sometimes it takes FOREVER (10 minutes?). I understand CandCNC is working on a version of CommandCNC that uses the Ubuntu 16.x kernel, so maybe that will fix this network issue. When I get too pissed/annoyed to wait, I just run downstairs to the Windows machine, put the file on a USB drive, and move it to the Linux machine that way.

CommandCNC isn't perfect. There are a few odd quirks:

1) For no good reason, I'll get "A axis following errors", and my table will error out while trying to jog or run a job. Semetimes it's while joggint he Z, which is odd. Restarting the Linux computer and the white Ethercut box (I do both each time, just because) fixes this error. Usually this will only happen when the systems haven't been rebooted in a while. I've yet to run into a situation where a reboot (once, beginning of day) won't fix it.

2) Sometimes, CommandCNC checks the "skip touch off" box. I have no idea why. Since you have to click into the "manual" tab to see it, you're not aware of it until the torch heads down to the material, and fires without touching off. No clue why it does it, but unchecking the box will fix the problem. I make it a habit of inspecting this check box before running each program. I haven't figured out if it's a boot issue with CommandCNC, or something about opening a file that does it. It's not what I'd call a "regular" event, but not what I'd call "super rare", either. Hence my inspection of that check box.

3) Occasionally, the file preview won't load into CommandCNC, though the G-code does. This happened to me when I first started using CommandCNC, as I was exporting from Sheetcam in the .tap file (as used by Mach), vs the .ncg file (as used by CommandCNC). Once I changed the export type to .ncg, the problem -nearly- went away. It still does it occasionally. I just re-post the job in Sheetcam, and it imports fine the next time. I don't know if this is a CommandCNC issue, a Sheetcam issue, or a combination of the two. It's also pretty rare.

I used a trial version of Pronest offered by Matt at Starlab. Adding to the confusion, the Pronest software goes back to using .tap format for CommandCNC.

And, the same "bugs" that the system has with Mach; hub freezing up/becoming unresponsive, etc. In my experience, this is tied to the system being left up without a reboot. Rebooting fixes the issue 100% of the time. As such, I shut everything down each time I'm done cutting, and re-start everything the following morning.

This may look like a long-winded post of "complaints", but when you look at them, they're all pretty minor. They're also all fixed with a reboot, and rarely make themselves an issue again that day.
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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby tcaudle » Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:21 pm

Have you done the upgrade to 0.9.7 and the DTHC Firmware to 2.0? The incidents of hub freezes and the following errors have been mostly eliminated.
Working on some more features you will enjoy in the next release.

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Re: Those of you who have gone from Mach3 to CommandCNC

Postby motoguy » Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:39 pm

tcaudle wrote:Have you done the upgrade to 0.9.7 and the DTHC Firmware to 2.0? The incidents of hub freezes and the following errors have been mostly eliminated.
Working on some more features you will enjoy in the next release.


I am running .9.7 and DTHC 2.0. I haven't noticed the hub freezes in a long time, but then again, I've been rebooting my system daily for a long time, too. lol Following errors do seem to be much more rare than before. I attributed that to the daily reboot, but perhaps not.

I'm very much looking forward to the next release. Do you guys have an ETA on that? Also, what will be the expense to upgrade to the next gen DTHC system? I'm looking forward to the "auto learn" process for arc height (along with all the caveats that come with it).
Bulltear 6x12 w/ Proton Z axis & watertable
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