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Thread: Mach3 vs. Centroid Acorn - Which is Best?

  1. #1
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    Mach3 vs. Centroid Acorn - Which is Best?

    And why? Looking for Mach3/4 and Centroid Acorn users to explain why you prefer your control over the other options.
    Thanks,
    David

  2. #2
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    No skin in the game for me...my Camaster machine uses WinCNC. But of the two you mention, Centroid Acorn is a more advanced solution to the best of my knowledge. If you decide to choose Mach...do Mach4. Mach3 is positively ancient at this point...
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
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    David,
    What you're asking is awfully broad in scope. What is the criteria? Professional controller solution or DIY/Hobby/low budget minded? Is the CNC another power tool for work or is it part of a hobby - as in, tinkering with the CNC and controller etc, IS the hobby? Is the machine in question a router, milling machine or lathe? What features do you absolutely NEED to have?
    IBILD High Resolution 3D Scanning Services

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brady Watson View Post
    David,
    What you're asking is awfully broad in scope. What is the criteria? Professional controller solution or DIY/Hobby/low budget minded? Is the CNC another power tool for work or is it part of a hobby - as in, tinkering with the CNC and controller etc, IS the hobby? Is the machine in question a router, milling machine or lathe? What features do you absolutely NEED to have?
    Hi Brady,

    The tool in question is an Avid CNC Router Parts PRO4848 with 3 kw ATC spindle. In my case, I would consider this a "hobby" machine - as I am not really a "woodworker". I am already using Mach3 on one of my cnc routers (another Avid CNC Router Parts PRO4848 with 2.2kw spindle). It uses the ESS electronic smooth stepper and communicates with my pc via ethernet connection. This pc is a dedicated machine controller with no internet connection. I have had no problems whatsoever with my Mach3 setup.

    The new machine that I am putting together is to be dedicated for machining aluminum and other not-ferrous metals. I can either use the same Mach3 control for this machine, or possibly go with the Acorn setup. It will be easier to use the existing Mach3, but I was trying to get a feel for what are the real world differences in stability and performance between the two. My main interest is in running the g-code to make parts. Each of these machines cost around 10K +, so I suppose these would be considered either higher end hobby machines or lower end pro machines.

    I am not concerned that Mach3 is no longer supported, as long as it continues to reliably run my machine(s). My real question is: Would I see any "real world" differences between Mach3 and Acorn as it relates to machining my parts?

    David

  5. #5
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    David...
    You have just asked a question that I can answer. Yes it will. But due to the large numbers of Mach fanboys on the internet, I would suggest that you not take my word for it, that you ask previous Mach users that have swapped to Acorn. Mach 3 is the most frequent "swapped from" controller, most likely due to the fact there are so many seats out there. No links here, so copy & paste: https://centroidcncforum.com/viewforum.php?f=20

    I will however, offer up an analogy. A 2005 Car radio vs. a 2010 infotainment center. In 2005 that AM/FM was the best we had, not so much anymore. So in most cases you will appreciate the technology advances, albeit with the small cost of learning the ones that you can use. But, if you wish to be one that only listens to AM talk radio... the new features will not impress you.
    Gary Campbell
    CNC Technology & Training

  6. #6
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    OK Gary - You have submitted a very favorable argument for the Acorn. Based on your assessment, I have just placed an order for the Acorn.
    I have one other question - my current CNCRP Pro4848 with dual Y-axis motors has proximity sensors on both sides of the machine for the automatic gantry squaring that occurs each time the Mach3 ref all home routine is run. I assume that this is part of the CNCRP Mach3 profile. It there a simple way to implement this feature with the Acorn, or would you recommend some other manual method for accomplishing this?
    Thanks,
    David

  7. #7
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    David...
    Paired axis "autosquare homing" is baked into the cake. You can set it up using Acorn's configuration Wizard and it will write the homing macro for you. You will still have the ability to make any changes, if you desire.

    You might want to take some time and look over the Tech Tips and Knowledgebase sections of the Acorn Forum. It is a pretty active forum and Centroid staff, a number of beta testers and some very knowledgeable users participate on a regular basis.

    Disclaimer: I am a Centroid approved Acorn system builder and beta tester.
    Last edited by Gary Campbell; 09-28-2019 at 12:17 AM.
    Gary Campbell
    CNC Technology & Training

  8. #8
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    Thanks Gary!!

  9. #9
    While waiting for the Acorn and the machine also go to https://centroidcnc.com/centroid_diy/acorn_cnc_controller.html download the manual, find the schematics that you will need and I'd also look at the tech bulletins page.

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