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CNC Software Setup [Archived]

Please Note

These instructions are applicable for Mach3, our previous CNC control software.

The current version of these instructions for Mach4 are available in our CNC Software Setup Guide.

This guide provides step by step setup instructions for configuring the Ethernet Smoothstepper (ESS) for use with your Avid CNC Electronics and Mach3.

The Ethernet SmoothStepper manual, along with other additional documentation, can be found on the Warp9td website (the manufacturer of the ESS).

Please Note

The companion video to this guide (above) is out of date and includes steps for installing the Ethernet Smoothstepper plugin and our Auto Z Touch Plate script. These steps are now performed automatically for you by our latest Mach3 installer. This video guide remains a very useful walkthrough of the setup process otherwise, however those steps may now be ignored.

If you have purchased one of our Plug and Play Electronics Systems, your Ethernet Smoothstepper is already fully-installed and ready to go, and you should proceed with the steps below to configure your PC with Mach3.

For help with the physical installation and configuration of the Ethernet SmoothStepper, please first refer to the Ethernet Smoothstepper Hardware Installation Guide and then return to these instructions when you are ready to proceed.

1. Install Mach3

First, download and install the trial version of Mach3. [download Mach3 installer]

Please install Mach3 to its default location (C:\Mach3). Do not install the parallel port driver if asked during the installation process.

Mach3 will run in Demo mode until "unlocked" with the purchased license file, however you may continue with the remaining setup steps in this guide while running Demo mode if you wish.

If you purchased Mach3 from Avid CNC, you will receive your license file along with detailed instructions for installing it via email.

2. Install the Pre-Configured XML File

Download and install the appropriate Pre-Configured XML File for your electronics to your C:\Mach3 folder (do not run Mach3 yet)

3. Plug in Ethernet Cable

Your Ethernet cable should now be plugged in to both your PC and the Ethernet SmoothStepper.

4. Configuring your PC Settings

The Ethernet Smoothstepper SCU (System Configuration Utility) is the quickest and easiest method to perform the basic configuration step to connect your computer with your Smoothstepper and CNC electronics.

Download the SCU (System Configuration Utility) and follow the two instructions sections from the Mach4 Software Setup Guide listed below.

5. Mach3 Configuration

Please Note

If you are using one of our Pre-Configured XML Files, the following settings should already be present.

  • In Mach3, under "Config" -> "General Config", set the "LookAhead" setting to 100 (the default is 20).
  • In Mach3, under "PlugIn Control" -> "Main Config":
    • Set the Controller Frequency to 1kHz.
    • Set the "Watchdog" timeout to 3.1 seconds.
    • Under "Noise Filtering of Inputs", set:
      • Probe: 0.00
      • Estop: 200.00
      • Jog: 0.00
      • Limit: 200.0
      • Home: 0.00

6. Best Practices for CNC Operation

  • Always turn off or disable all other network connections (i.e. Wifi) when running a CNC program in Mach3.
  • Check Windows Task Manager for other processes taking up significant CPU or Memory resources.

If you have additional questions or run into issues with your setup, feel free to Contact Us and we will be happy to assist you.