View Full Version : Mach3: Anyone using it to drive a laser?

Dave Johnson29
02-12-2009, 1:34 PM
Hi All,

Subject says it all. I am building a 50" x 98" (4'x8' sheet) for my 50 Watt ex-medical laser and thought I might try Mach3 to drive it. I did a search here and found nothing that addresses the following.

Anyone used Mach3? Driving the motors is not a problem but controlling intensity of the laser might be. I know Mach3 has a PWM signal output for spindle speed control but it is very low, somewhere around 250Hz max.

Thanks for any help.

Kim Vellore
02-12-2009, 3:41 PM
You can use it for Vectors but I cant think how you would use it for rastering.


Dave Johnson29
02-12-2009, 4:10 PM
You can use it for Vectors but I cant think how you would use it for rastering.

Hi Kim,

I would write a post processor for it that inserted about a zillion M03,M05 pairs at the start and end of lines.

The problem is setting the laser intensity. I would need to use the spindle speed PWM but it is way too slow. I think it is only around 0-100Hz for controlling a 0-10v inverter.

Zachery Thomas
02-12-2009, 6:49 PM
Dave, it has been done (link)...

I considered using mach3 but haven't so far.


Dave Johnson29
02-12-2009, 7:09 PM
I considered using mach3 but haven't so far.

Thanks Zac, I will chase this down some more when I get a bit of spare time. :rolleyes:

paul mott
07-05-2010, 8:55 AM

Hi Dave,

I am using Mach3 for driving my laser, it's early days yet at getting everything sorted mainly because Mach wasn't really intended for laser work especially raster but the vector side of things is coming on OK.

This is my best shot at raster (so far) and because of the mass of my axis and slow acceleration it took about 40 minutes to complete (won't make any money doing this type of work :) ).


If anyone else is using Mach3, please chime in - I need your knowledge.


Dan Hintz
07-05-2010, 12:42 PM

That looks like an excellent piece of work, though I wouldn't mind seeing a somewhat larger view. I know Mach 3 was never designed for raster work (being from the CNCing world), so I'm always curious to know what steps they've taken (if any) to improve from that standpoint.

paul mott
07-05-2010, 1:14 PM
Hi Dan,

I think this is the largest size image the forum allows.

Mach has not, I think, improved any of the laser control - there are still plenty of problems to resolve.