Who's gone from Mach 3 to Mach 4?

I just purchased a 48 x 96 machine used that still is set up with Mach 3. I am wondering if I should bite the bullet and upgrade it to Mach 4 before I get to settled with 3. If there’s gonna be a learning curve maybe it’s best to go with Mach 4 out the gate.

How much work is it in terms of setting up Mach 4 to jive with the machine and my use of VCarvePro? Right now I could power up everything as-is with Mach 3 and it will just work. Leire is helping me with the things I would need to do physically to make it happen so that is pretty much covered. (current computer for Mach 3 and controls is a 32bit XP machine etc and changing that all out would be part of it.)


Kinda depends on what you’re gonna do.

If you are just going to route Vcarve stuff and won’t ever want any new features (there really isn’t any development going on in Mach3) or want to modify your screens, or add a laser, or a plasma head, then just use the most recent old AVID package and you’ll probably be fine. Also, if you ever want to use a rotary you will want mach4 as well (AVID started rotary support on Mach4).

Personally, I like the Mach4 interface better, and I like the ability to customize the screens easily with the screen editor.

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I like Mach4 better and you get all the Avid support with it. I have used Mach controllers since Mach2 and while they all have their share of flaws I have found Mach4 just as dependable as Mach 2 or 3 and it has much more functionality as Jim pointed out. With Avid’s support the learning curve should be minimal.

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You don’t need Mach 4 for home grown rotary. I’m running a rotary with Mach 3.

That said, it’s nice to have supported software with Mach 4. I assume one day Mach 3 is going to stop working (maybe windows update wrecks it again?) and they wont’t have a new patch for it. Then you’ll be forced to go to Mach 4.

Good responses all. Thanks.

Initially we will be simple stupid with what we do of course so I am sure Mach 3 has all we need. AT this point, it, combined with the old computer running XP is really long in the tooth and I worry about the computer itself giving out and forcing the issue to move on not on my schedule.
With what I am being told it’s about a $800 process when you add a service contract with Avid of $400. I will need Mach 4 ($200), and an ESS ($200) that will allow the new computer and Mach4 to link with the current electronics. Fortunately I have a good Windows 10pro computer ready to go.

My impression of Mach 3’s screen and interface is that it looks like old software. Not as user friendly as something newer. I am an architect so AutoCAD through the years was the same. Became more intuitive as time went.

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I stayed with mach 3, yes its dated but it works for what I do. I bought a nice screenset that made atc easy and updated the look and feel of the software. Its running on windows 10 with an ess.

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Like a few other comments here, I stayed with Mach3. I bought Mach4, ran into problems getting the sw licensing code working and never gave it a 2’nd look. I haven’t run into anything that I need to do that Mach3 doesn’t support. It just seems to work…

how did you deal with the 32bit v 64 bit issue? Is your Windows 10 machine just 32 bit?

I am running it on a windows-7 machine. (hand-me-down from my neighbor over the back fence.) It has most OS-Add ins disabled. Windows defender is set up to ALWAYS ask before running a scan and background downloads are disabled. I keep only mach-3, my legacy CAD software and a few simple post post processors and a good text editor installed there. Everything else I do on other computers. Most of the time I don’t even run CAD there, only once in a great while do I pull up a CAD model to check something out, but most of the time I treat that computer as just the controller integrated into the machine and don’t think of it as a separate stand-alone PC.