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presents this indepth Tutorial on setting up MACH 3 the 6 AXIS CNC step and direction motor control software used to control your CNC machine from a windows based computer
please visit our website for more information and to purchase this user freindly and powerful CNC software

in this video we're going to take a look at the screens and this would just be a general overview of the screen just so that people are a little bit more comfortable with all the controls that are on them I get a lot of comments about complexity of the screens but they're really not overly complex and they follow a general rule of if you don't know what it is don't click it don't use it eventually you'll come to a Eureka moment where you say ah that's what that control is for that's a natural progression in using any program but especially so in Mach 3 so let's take a look at the screens pay attention when I use certain terminology it saves a lot of support time if you send me an email saying the number thingy on X isn't displaying properly it's just going to cause an email to come back to you saying do you mean the Dro you'll see a lot of people on the group correcting people's terminology at times they're not doing it to be mean they're actually doing it because it's a lot easier to convey information between us all if we use a standardized terminology at least that having been said let's take a look at the screens here we are on the program run screen there are six screens across the top you can see we have program run which is where we are we have an MDI or manual data input screen we have a tool path screen which is good for looking at whatever tool path you have loaded and seeing what its program limits and so on are we have an offset screen which you can use to set your offset systems here you can see we can switch from G 54 to G 55 and G 56 you'll notice that the buttons do nothing many times unless we're in a reset condition when we reset suddenly things begin to work the control internally does not like to do many things if it's not in a safe condition switching coordinate systems is one of them will go into this later so that you understand what those all are we have a setting screen which is a bit messy in the last screen to be cleaned up it has special items on it for specific types of uses 10 gentle knife control we of feed rate controls and CV controls for plasma tables and various controls some of these will go away very shortly and others will be just simply cleaned up we have the Diagnostics screen which everyone is familiar with from the previous videos this is probably the most important section up here that shows you the LEDs that you have LEDs that represent the signals that you have connected to the system you can see that they're all out online and they should be if I press a home switch you'll see that the home switch light comes on and if I release the home switch it goes out that's the normal operation of these LEDs typically you'll have none of these on when the signals are not active in the normal and the programs in a normal runtime state normally the only thing you'll see flashing around when you're not moving is this time in interrupts Dro which shows the number of microseconds that the driver is currently spending on each iteration through its interrupt cycle I don't expect many of you to understand what I just said just take it from me that this number should be flashing and it's quite normal it should be less than 15 on all systems and you can see mine flashes between about 6 micro seconds and 4 micro seconds depending on how much housekeeping needs to be done at that particular interrupt let's go back to our programme run screen this box here is the g-code display box you can see that if we load a AG code file I'm just going to go to the Mach 3 folder into my g code there's examples there's the famous roadrunner file that I always use as an example and you can see the file is listed here in the g-code display window by clicking into the window we can scroll with our mouse wheel one line at a time through the program and you'll see over here we have a white dot that represents this single line of G code and as I scroll you can see the white dot moving sometimes it'll disappear in this usually is because it's too display on that particular line but this is a handy feature for scrolling back through and finding a troublesome spot on your code clicking once again will take you out of focus for that window the toolpath window itself double clicking will reset it to a plane and reset it to a size the red box going around our tool path is simply the extrema of the file these are the the program is telling you this is the highest y-value you have the lowest Y value the minimum X and the maximum X values we can take a closer look at that tool path by going to the tool path window now you can see once I've clicked in the window if I rotate my mouse I'm zooming in with my mouse wheel and zooming out double clicking resets us you can see the dashed lines are rapid moves between cutting segments the dark blue lines are actual g1 feed lines and if there were light blue lines here those would be g2 or g3 arcs you can rotate it by clicking in it and rotating around again if you get lost double click in you're back to normal if you hold down the shift key and move your mouse back and forth you can slowly zoom in and out on the picture and by clicking on your right mouse button and moving the mouse you can pan it around and those can be combined we can zoom in and pan on the zoom we also have a mode called jog follow which resets the drawing so that you can jug it around and actually see where you're going from the jog I'm going to switch us to a normal job mode here now whenever you 0dr owes these are the dr.oz by the Ray digital readouts this yellow line – yellow line shows the X and the y axes intersecting so at this moment my tool is centered somewhere around this Roadrunners foot if I jog my axis you can see that the drawing moves to show where the tool is currently at one I'm in jog follow mode if I turn off jog follow mode the lines move to show you where you would be again double clicking will reset the system if you 0dr OS you could just see that those lines moved to the zero point or the origin point of this piece it's important though whenever you 0d arrows that you do a region of the tool path so the system recordin 'its the tool path display with actual coordinate positions when you're running a file here we have a cycle start button when you're running a file it will draw in green and show you as it cuts that particular path clicking once on the image at any time will clear away that green line so that you can see a little bit clearer in case it's obscuring your view we have a feed hold button which as you can see stop the movement showed us what the next line is and from there we can hit cycle start and continue or once feed held we could for example hit reverse and the program begins to run backwards hitting feed hold will turn off the reverse mode hitting cycle start will go forward again reverse is handy for plasma people if not real handy for mil although it is used by some stop of course stops the program stop will stop a program hitting the escape button will stop a program and hitting reset will stop a program we also have an edit g-code button which will bring up an editor so that we can edit and change anything in the code that we wish closing the editor will automatically reload the file and display any changes that you've made we can close a g-code file with this button we can load decode files with this button but we have a recent file button which will give us a list of the last 10 files that we've used we have a rewind button which rewinds the g-code single block puts us into a mode where pushing cycles start will execute one line at a time turning off single block we could then continue the cut from there we'll hit stop and rewind we have a set next line button you'll notice if I scroll through this it tells me which line I'm on I could either say set next line in which case the program counters have all been set to this line and pushing start will simply start moving from that point that's not really a safe way to start a g-code file in the middle the safest way to start a g-code file in the middle is to scroll your gqo down to the line that you wish to start from and clicking run from here this will force the program to run the file internally to the to that line in order to set all previous states to the correct position you'll see we get a message press cycle start for preparation move if we push cycle start it will tell us where that line in the program is and it knows we're not there and it will then go to that position and we're ready for a cycle start we have a tool information line which shows us what our current tool number is diameter length of the tool this light change tool will be flashing when the system is telling us to change our tool and we'll get a message down here asking us to press cycle start when we have changed our tool we can turn jog on or off this button probably doesn't belong in the tool information but it was a nice spot to put it in it was empty there anyway we have an offline mode which stops any output from going to our motors in case we want to run a simulation and we don't want our motors to move we have a go to Z button which means go to zeros pressing this button tells all our axes to go to the zero point we have a machine coordinates button which when pressed will show us our machine coordinates of the current position versus our work at coordinates the next video will go into explaining the difference between the two we have a soft Lipman's button that we can turn on as long as our axis is currently within the width and height of the soft limits that we have set again this will be the subject in the next video as well here we have scale values that we can scale an axis if we were to exempt for example type point 5 in the X scale we get a warning that the X is now scaled hitting region tool path we can see that it's now scaled to 0.5 of what it was setting this back to 1 we'll turn off our scale warning and reach ending we can see that we're now back to a full file we have a feed rate selector this is feed rate override we have units per minute and units per Rev that are real-time updates as you're moving here we have our spindle speed selection we can turn the spindle on or off we have a spindle speed override that we can override the spindle speed that was set in the g-code program and allow the spindle speed up or slow down pressing reset will of course bring it back to zero this section of the screen here is used for multi paths again you don't need to worry about it unless you know how to use it generally though if you have a g-code file which is set to a particular depth say it's set to cut to minus 10 you could hit multi pass and tell that file to cut five times dropping two each time until it hits ten so it is literally a multi pass selector allowing you to cut a file in multiple passes here we have a wizard's button which allows us to select any of the wizards that are in the system and we also have a last wizard button and if you have selected a wizard in the past during that session it will just bring it up quickly again for you we have a conversational button which will switch us to conversational screens this will be the subject of a video of its own but here we can select a material and calculate what our feeds and speed should be and then we can select various automatic conversational systems to do jobs that we might not want to go to a camp program for or things which can be quickly done through a wizard pressing exit will take us back to our normal screens you can see that the wizard I was in already started to post a program we didn't select any real program so we don't get much code from it hitting our recent file list we could select our road runner again and there's our famous road runner here we'll display the file name that you currently have loaded and here's a reference button to send all our homes to zero to our home switch if we press reference you'll notice that the y-axis is now moving up and now it hit its switch and now the x-axis is moving to its switch hits it and then backs off the switch these are simulated and you'll see that the x-axis went forward to its switch which it normally wouldn't do I haven't set the system up for homing we'll do that in the next video when we discuss work offsets and general coordinate systems themselves if we take a look at the MDI screen again we have our D arrows repeated it's handy to have D rows on most of the screens so you know exactly where your table is at we have zero buttons for zeroing the AK season another reference button here the scaling radius correction is used for for access work where you can tell the system the actual circumference size of the object and it will correct the feed rate to create a tool path that feeds at the correct rate on the circumference of a rotating object again some you can ignore unless you understand what therefore we have D reference all axes where we can tell the system that we're no longer hold these LEDs turn green when we are home offline again machine coordinates and we have a verify button the verify button is used if you want to check to see if you've lost any steps in your in your running of various programs it will send the axes back to your home switch and then bring them back to where you were when you pressed verify and report to you when he lost steps scaling off button will turn off any scalings that are in effect if we had a scale of 0.5 on our X and we want to get rid of it we could just press off we have a stop button we have a start teach and a stop teach button these are teach modes with MDI you can actually write a program and type in the commands as you go the teach will remember any commands which are typed here into the MDI and create a g-code program from what you've typed we have a set variable position if we go to a particular position we can say set that as a variable position and later on in our program if we're somewhere else we could say go to variable position and it will return there think of this as memory plus on a calculator and memory recall we've duplicated the feed rate and spindle speed controls here and the jog on and jog off controls for safety sake in case you don't you want to make sure that you don't hit an arrow key and destroy your work while you're playing around the input line here for MDI records your commands as you type them if we do AG 0 x 0 y 0 for example you can see my axes just move to 0 and this little box here is a history box which now displays that command if we type G 0 X 10 the history box has just grown by 1 and by pressing the up or down arrows we can scroll through those settings and recall the pressing enter takes any command and pressing enter on a blank line will exit you from the MDI input also pressing enter while you don't have the line selected we'll select the line and take it off this is the toolpath screen here we have d arrows just to show you where you are we have program limits that show you the range of the program so your minimum X which will be this point here is 0 your maximum X is seven point seven two which would be this point here we have a regen tool path button which regenerates the tool path these are buttons duplicated from the front page you can rewind a file single block it reverse run at stop it or feed hold it you can also estimate a program by hitting simulate program run no motor movement will occur and you can see that the D arrows are not moving but the time is counting very quickly up to show you how long this job will take to cut and its current feed rate settings it takes approximately a minute for every 10 minutes of program run simulation so if you have a multi hour job this can take a little while to figure out exactly how long it's going to take but it can be useful for calculating an estimate for a customer who wants to know how many hours of time it's going to take to simulate his or to cut his actual job so this program will take 3 minutes and 56 seconds to cut at its current feed rate settings now we have a run from here button so that you can start the program from any point in it we have an offset Spade this particular section here is used for setting a gauge block height it means that you can put a block on top of your machine jog down to it and then set your Zed coordinate to accuracy without the risk of the tip of your bit scratching your piece and this is used by a lot of people as a safe way of setting their tool height we have a current work offset which shows us what the offset is in various modes but primarily it shows what the current work offset is in the mode we have selected normally you will be cept g54 until you've gained a certain amount of expertise and then you're free to select any of the other offset systems there are in fact 255 of these systems but we've given quick access to the first six most people I don't think we'll ever need more than the first six that they have here we have an edge finder selection this can be used and is useful for finding the center of a circle or finding the edge of material this is a duplication of the gauge block height with a few other help systems on it these help menus will soon become active we can turn on or off the tool offset as well as long as we're not in tool zero which has which never has an offset in it these buttons here will allow you to bring up a dialog to see what is stored in your work offset systems here you can see G 54 through G 59 and we also have G 59 P 7 through G 59 P 253 so there's a lot of offset systems that you can use we also have a tool table which will show us what is stored for each entry in the tool table and again we won't get into that until we've gone through showing you what exactly tool tables are and how to use them the settings screen which will change very shortly is used for special jobs like turning on laser triggers to trigger measurement lasers across a grid of XY coordinates we can set a rapid override which slows down or speeds up our Rapids we can tell the system that when input number four is coming into the printer port to do a single step whenever it sees it toggle various settings and you should need to use none of these as a beginning user these are all fairly advanced settings and really aren't necessary for most people the Diagnostics screen has a couple things that are important one is the pulse frequency if your system is running properly you should have a pulse frequency here you can see that mine is deadlocked at 25,000 690 this should not vary much it is a sign of a well operating system that this number doesn't change and doesn't fly around it won't affect you if it flies around a little bit say 10 or so but typically it should be fairly well locked most of the other settings on the screen are not very important to you at all other than these LEDs then we have a tab screen which is pulled out by pressing the tab key and these are the jog selections in the system I'm going to flick back to the program run screen so that we get a better view you can see that the jog buttons will jog the axes with an onscreen jog we have a slow jog rate which we have set to 50% at the moment slow jog is what you get when you just simply press the arrow keys if you look here you can see my units per minute when I jog is currently 321 millimeters per minute but if I press that's that's a 50% rate if I press the shift key and when I press shift you'll see this LED light up here on the panel that's an indicator that you are now going to fast jog so by pressing the shift key and pressing the X jug you can see that we've now gone to 642 units per minute double the speed that we were the slow jog rate can be used to get very fine movement control from your arrow keys when you want to slow things down for very fine approaches pressing shift will take you to a high speed move so that you can move quickly away or to a piece for jog modes we can also switch to a step mode which means that every press of the arrow key will move us this amount here point zero one millimeters and you can see my x-axis as I press the key is now each time I press it moving point zero one the cycle step can be cycled through now we've cycled it up to point one and now each time I jog it will move 0.1 and you can set these psychical jog steps in the configure state menu here are the ones that we are cycling through when we press this cycle jog step button you'll see an entry here 999 999 triggers the system to switch back to continuous jog it's a way to get back to continuous job just by cycling through we have an mpg mode and in the mpg mode when you rotate your mpg wheel you will jog in one of for various types of jog by selecting velocity the faster you turn the jog wheel the faster your axis will jog by step velocity at the moment is the same as velocity only it is a redundant mode and no longer required I'm going to leave it there for the moment we'll fill it with a better mode soon single step mode will move you one single step whenever you rotate the wheel a small amount you must stop it between steps to get single step to work multi step you don't need to stop you can calibrate your mpg wheel rotated 5 clicks and the axis will move an appropriate amount for those 5 clicks of movement this percentage reading here is not used at the moment it is part of the old step velocity mode which will again be replaced there's a calibrating button here to row to calibrate your mpg to tell the system how many encoder counts it will get per detent of the wheel and so on and it'll calculate things out to make it work smoother for you there is a shuttle mode which can be turned on shuttle mode runs a program by rotating the wheel in shuttle mode we could tell a program to start and as you can see it will not move and it's waiting for us to rotate the wheel if we were to then rotate the hand wheel 8 the program will then move slowly as you can see when IRA stop turning my mpg the D arrows stop moving if I get rid of that we can see the program is now moving now you'll notice it's cutting in the wrong place that's because we did not regen the toolpath after all our playing here and zeroing so it's important I'm going to stop this again regenerate the toolpath after you've been zeroing I can now tell the program to start and again it's not moving because I'm not rotating my mpg as I rotate my mpg now the program as you can see follows through and cuts only at the speed that I rotate my wheel at this is a very handy mode for those who are nervous and want to run a program very slowly and a little bit at the time and that's what shuttle mode does once I turn off shuttle mode you can see the program begins to run automatically and will finish itself out unless I tell it to stop that's about it for the buttons that are on the MGP and jog tab that's a bit that's about it for all the buttons in the system really and all that you need to know to get started in the next video we're going to take a look at work offsets and offset systems to get you more used to that and that's it for now you


  1. iRockolas

    tengo un problema con mi cnc casera cuando paso los archivos a codigo g, hago la escala a mm y en el mach3 a mm pero cuando los cargo salen demaciado grandes le pongo 190mm 19cms y me sale como de 70cms alguien me puede ayudar?

    la cnc esta calibrada y si camina los mm que deve de caminar.

  2. Todd Speck

    Your an amazing teacher. I really needed this tutorial! incredible amount of detail in every step. My brain is slowly getting it dialed. A lot to learn. Thanks again for your super tech vids.

  3. R. S.

    Sorry but as a person unfamiliar with cnc programming AND also computers in general, this is wayyy too complex to even begin to grasp what you are saying. How did you learn all this?? IMO, the only way a beginner could learn how to use this would be to take a college level class for several months with hands on use of both the software programming and an actual machine. Also, not showing the top & bottom of the screen doesn't help.

  4. Leo Bubbling

    Hello, top and bottom of video are cutoff so menus are not visible. Is there a place to see the original video without the top being cutoff?

  5. Arpad Kormendy

    Hi, for the playback of the G Code, does anyone know how to change the "playback" speed. In his video (7:48) the code is being executed quickly. When I run it, its awfully slow. I thought increasing the feedrate would do the trick, but it doesn't seem like it. Any suggestions?

  6. tony marreiros

    Hi Paul i just finished my cnc router and i am using threaded rod on my stepper motors. How do i go and set the program to use threaded rod as the thread is different from other screws used normally on cnc machines. Thank you for your time.

  7. Richard Vasquez

    Note to Self: 22:47 is when that Jog Controller feature is explained. Just press "TAB" to display or hide it. One needs it to fine adjust the position before zeroing it out.

  8. Max Smith

    Hi Paul. you like CNC God. very nice tutorials . I have a question, i moved a working CNC from my garage to my shop and I disconnected Parallel PORT Cable only , and now when i connected Parallel port back my computer gives me 404- Parallel Port Address Conflict. is there any way to fix it… Im new to this. Thank you

  9. B-Creative Ideas

    The video doesn't show the tabs at the top. Very difficult to follow, however I am sure once your able to view the full page of the video, and not have the top half cut off, the video will be useful. Thanks

  10. kiotipass

    Just a senior beginner getting started. Came across your mach 3 tutorials. Instructions suggest that I should see part one before getting into this video. This video is designated as tutorial 2. Must be having a senior moment but I am unable to find tutorial one or the beginning tutorial of your series. Can you help? Thank you! KP

  11. ElementalMaker

    Hi Paul, Im having an issue when using Mach3 with my G0704 CNC conversion. I am using autodesk fusion 360 and the Mach3 post processor. Mach3 seems to be referencing the absolute coordinates rather than the work offsets. Any way to fix this?

  12. Clayton Musgrove

    Thanks for the great videos Paul. I have been trying to register at the Artsoft Mach 3 forum without success.  Who should I contact to resolve registration issues.

  13. ClaudioSotelo

    as resume after a power outage , when mach3 was reading a very large g code. Is there any plugin you go keeping the code G and processed by the cnc..o something

  14. George & Linda Chiarella

    Paul, I am having problems with my Z axis, when moving up or down the axis will move a short distance then klunk it stops and then I replete the Z move klunk again. I have removed the Z motor and can run it, this run fine

  15. pepemaster100

    hola Paul, intento hacer una cnc y, el primer problema que tengo es el siguiente; vectorizo una imagen con el programa Inkscape, despues con Lazy Cam la paso a codigo G y cuando lo paso al mach 3, solo se copia una parte del programa de codigo G, las lineas 0 a la 49. esto ocurre siempre con cualquier programa de mecanizado que paso al mach 3. gracias por adelantado.

  16. stephen nixon

    have a problem with the z axis, it works fine sometimes but usually it only moves down, tried altering it in ports and pins but no joy, any help from you would be much appreciated

  17. Andy Haynes

    Ok when I follow all of this and go into the toolpath window to look at the roadrunner image it is tiny and in the corner with only two red lines showing – when i run the gcode for this it works on a tiny area maybe 2cms square – why am i seeing ang working with such a small image do you think?

  18. Bruce Burby

    I am just starting with cnc so be kind. I am on my laptop to learn this program. The computer that I will be using to run my table is not built yet.

    1. My Alt-7 screen is not even close to what you have.
    2. Alt-1, Tool screen, you said you can set limits. I loaded road runner and it cam in the size of a pin head. ?
    3. Y – X min. max. not shown.
    4. Shift key does not help.
    5. Jog Follow not working.
    6. No pass section in Alt-1.
    7. No conversation button.
    8. MPG wheel not working.
    Other then that I am having a good day. Not.

  19. Tamer Ewimer

    Hi there, thanks for sharing, i was wondering … 

    for this purpose in the vid and this purpose only, did you connect your PC to the motor through breakout board, OR directly pins from parallel port to the motor drivers. ?

  20. Nick Blalock

    Hi Paul, do you have a service or now of a service that will come out to our office and set up and train how to use this program? I'm located in Murrieta, California.

  21. Jack Lee

    are your videos related to the CNC Machinist program? can these be learned at the program? I'm starting school for CNC Machinist and have zero experience. do u have other videos i can see to learn and expect what i'm going to do as CNC Machinist. Thank you and this video helps alot and now i know what these computers do when they are hooked up to the CNC. I live in WA, do u think this is a good career to get into? please any advice helps.  

  22. shaggydog130

    Hi Paul.
    I just bought a CNC Engraving machine. I hocked it up to my desktop computer and everything seems to be good but the machine doesn't seem to respond to the software.
    I jog the axis on the software but the machine does nothing. In other words it doesn't move besides the spindle moving when it is on.
    Any help or advise would be appreciated.

  23. Jim Taylor

    Hello Paul. I've been using Mach for a few years now and am watching these vids in the hope of picking up a few extra tips – which I have done – 'the 'Run from here' button for one. One point is the fact that I can not see the top and bottom of the Mach screen on your vids – newbies may find this puzzling. The tabs across the top and the message bar at the bottom are out of sight. No-one else seems to have spotted this – maybe it is a problem with my computer setup.

  24. kiotipass

    Paul a couple of questions, if you will, from a senior newbie?? Have been viewing and reviewing you videos. Nicely done – Thank you for posting!

    Would like to know what I can do to view more the videos clearly? They are blurred no matter what size screen I'm using? Also, and this is probably pretty simple, is there some way of determining the size, using the Grid on Mach 3, to get the actual size of, for example, the road runner? I don't seem to be able to get it. Thank You – KP

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