I took delivery of a 5x10 CNC kit about a month ago; in the time since I’ve built the CNC, setup an ATC rack towards the rear, and am currently in the process of a controller retrofit to a MASSO G3-Touch. I gave Mach4 a few days but it was not working out for me. I already have a couple other CNCs I’d retrofitted with MASSO controllers so I’m comfortable with its usage.
I haven’t quite figured out where I want to mount the touchscreen just yet, since the sides with the rack are pretty much a ‘no-mount’ zone unless one considers carefully where the gantry is going to go.
One gripe I have: the CRP850 breakout board has the stepper motor plugs soldered on, making its removal or replacement a daunting task. As such, I’m using the masso in a less-than-great way, since the masso supports differential stepper signalling but the crp850 converts the ESS’s step/dir back to differential signalling, so my setup is MASSO → differential converter → CRP850 (step-dir) where I’d much prefer just MASSO → drivers.
I’ve built my 6096 pro with a Masso G3 too. The G3 drives the Avid supplied Gecko 203v and nema 34 steppers. Runs perfectly. I finally got the Jianken ATC with pneumatic tool rack and pneumatic dust hood working. My dust hood/shoe is Z axis independent 3d printed. I have to redesign the dust hood to fit around the spindle bracket when it lifts… so close. I’ll get some video posted soon. Love the Avid/G3 combination.
Here we see the MASSO G3 Touch panel in its temporary mounting position at the front of the machine bed. I am not 100% certain if I want to keep it mounted like this or use its VESA100 mount on the back with some kind of more permanent armature.
This is the view from the rear of the machine – I learned that the leg kit allows me two pallets of storage underneath and at the far back a mini-rolling-cart worth of storage. I hated the idea of losing all that space underneath the machine.
Front of the machine looking down the length. As can be seen, I have a CNCDepot S30C ATC installed and the dust shoe is from Rick at RawWoodworking2020 - Etsy – unfortunately this dust shoe does interfere with ATC operations but if I wasn’t on an ATC, its an amazing dust shoe and worth investigating. Jay bates has one as well, which is where I learned about it.
Man, I really should just break down and build a new electronics cabinet… I kept trying to keep the AVID kit as stock as possible but I love how clean your layout is with the masso. I have a G3 touch attached currently but I also have a masso G3 alone in another CNC I’ve considered swapping over.
Peter, does your dust shoe not work at all with your ATC spindle?
If you need to figure out a different solution, I may be able help. I recently created a custom dust shoe for the Hitecho 4HP spindle that works pretty slick. Perhaps I could modify the design to work with the S30C spindle. Just depends on what features are needed to be compatible with the ATC operations.
The key problem is that the dust shoe is at or below the level of the clamp. You’d pinch the dust shoe when coming down on the tool rack.
I chatted with Rick briefly about possibly putting some holes in the boot piece to then skewer it like a forklift and lift it off, then travel to the actual tool rack, but I haven’t gotten far enough to wargame with him the scenarios. I’ve just been doing manual tool-changes at this point.
I’ll add here that I’ve been running a masso on my Bridgeport for a year or so. I am…not a fan. Sure, it works, but man, compared to Mach and being able to have a full computer it is very limiting. No custom scripts, no custom buttons, rigid logic about passwords, homing, etc. can’t turn on the spindle output directly with a hardware button, limited outputs, no PMC. Jogging when on toolpath screen is weird, jog rate can’t be set in IPM, only percent. Minimum jog is 10%. The list goes on. Very tricky about tool touch off and tool changes.
I think it would be fine for a simple router that only ran cam generated paths, or a plasma cutter. For a real mill it is not adequate IMO.
Also: I’m not sure why you need the 850 board. My masso goes straight to the step and direction ports of my drivers. No need to intermediate.
For wiring tips, check out Vhersa CNC on instagram. He’s got a great parallel port to breakout board to help make the wiring cleaner on the masso.
Got it. Don’t take me as saying Mach 4 is flawless. It is definitely not. In fact, it really leaves a lot to be desired. BUT, at least it is flexible.
I’ve had Mach 3, 4, and the masso, and I’ve tried the avid hardware + smooth stepper, as well as a pmdx424.
On my bench now is an AXBB-E. I’ll be giving UCCNC a try on my current mill build and may fall back on the Mach 4 plug-in.
Regarding the PMDC424, I was never able to get the probe to be reliable. Probe hits would repeatedly e stop Mach 4 with odd warnings.
The masso has been perfectly reliable, easy to wire, and nice. It’s not a great fit for a mill because it doesn’t have a great set of wizards, and the built in probe routines are very limited. Eg, no bolt circle wizard, no exterior boss probe routine.