Mach3 Setup for CNC Micro Mill & CNC Micro Lathe
Last updated on
Wednesday, March 04, 2015 07:55:23 PM Eastern US Time Zone


Mach3 Interface, Mach3 Mill Menus, Stepper Motor Tuning, Mach3 Turn Menus

4-Axes Taig Micro Mill CNC Conversion   Taig Micro Lathe CNC Conversion   System Schematic  
CNCzone   Mach Support Forum   Mach3 Configuration   Mach3 Manual  
Mach3 Add-ons for Mill Manual
Mach3Turn Manual   Mach3 Threading Setup Manual

These settings are specific to my computer, interfaces, CNC mill, CNC lathe, & machining needs.
The settings shown here are not a substitute for reading & understanding the details of the manuals.
Periodically backup the Mach3 mill & lathe setup files using the Config/Save Settings menu. This places an xml
 file into the Mach3 xmlbackups folder. Saving to another off-computer location is also advised. Placing a backup
Mach3Mill.xml and/or Mach3Turn.xml profile into the Mach3 folder restores the settings from that date. If the file is
 retrieved from the Mach3 xmlbackups folder, the extension has to be renamed to xml. When I restored the latest
file it turned out to be a dummy file placed there by the new Mach3 installation so I used a file that had an earlier date.

Mach3 Interface

Mach3 Mill main screen (Alt-1), showing among many other things, the Digital Read-Outs or DROs. Mach3 setup tutorial.

Pressing the computer's 'tab' key toggles the Mach3 Mill Manual Pulse Generator or MPG mode ON & OFF.

Mach3 Mill Manual Data Input or MDI (Alt-2) screen. 

3D Probing (Alt-3) menu. The 3D Probe Plug-in module is required.

3D probe settings.

Mach3 Mill Tool Path (Alt-4) screen.

Mach3 Mill Offsets (Alt-5) screen.

Mach3 Mill Settings (Alt-6). Auto LimitOverRide (left) is set ON so when a limit switch is tripped, the machine can be manually jogged back off to close the circuit, again.

Mach3 Mill Diagnostics screen (Alt-7). When all of the limit/home switches are closed, there are no input signals.

When one of the limit/home switches is opened, all of their input signals light up as they are all wired in series.
System Schematic

Animation of a limit/home switch opening & closing.

Mach3 Mill Menus

Mach3 Mill Config menu. Note the Save Settings item.

Set Native Units. Do not use this dialog box to change between English & Metric GCode. Only used for motor tuning.

Low-profile LPT2 PCI card.

MOBO LPT1 is the main I/O for the stepper motors & signals like spindle, mist, E-stop, & digitizing probe.
LPT2, shown here, is dedicated to only the MPG pendant control.  Lava Parallel-PCI/LP Installation Manual

In the BIOS, I turned-off the two RS232 serial ports & configured the two LPT ports to EPP+ECP.
LPT1 is on the motherboard (0378 hex) & LPT2 is a PCI card (DF00 hex). The Port #1 address
is standard but the Port #2 address can vary so examine the computer's devices menu.

1 - Output Safety Charge Pump
2 - Output X  Direction
3 - Output X  Step
4 - Output Y  Direction
5 - Output Y  Step
6 - Output Z  Direction
7 - Output Z  Step
8 - Output A  Direction
9 - Output A  Step
10 - Input Limits
11 - Input Mill Tachometer
12 - Input 3D Digitizing Probe
13 - Input E-stops
14 - Output -
15 - Input Spindle Index
16 - Output Spindle Motor
17 - Output Air / Mist / Vacuum 
18 - 25 Ground

LPT1 OUTPUTS: 1-9, 14, 16, 17     LPT1 INPUTS: 10, 11, 12, 13, 15     LPT2 is for the MPG pendant interface.
Breakout Board, SCHP, Pendant, Tach & Relay Box   C1 breakout board manual.

Motor Outputs step & direction signals.
The motors are set via PCB jumpers to -stepped & the no idle mode. 
Stepper Motors & Controller

Input Signals tab for Mach3 Mill. Mill & lathe home/limit input signals are on the same circuit, all wired in series.

Input Signals tab for Mach3 Mill defining the digitizing probe, spindle index, & E-stopsTachometer/buffer circuit

This Manual Pulse Generator (MPG2) has 4 pulses/detent with 100 detents/dial revolution. Handy Pulser specs.

Encoder/MPG tab. Pendant Manual Pulse Generator (MPG) inputs to LPT2.
The MPG2 has 4 pulses/detent.
There are 100 detents/dial revolution. Handy Pulser specs. It is very important to perform the Mach3 jog control CAL.
Disable any Mach3 brains (seeCNC4PC setup guide) that are not in use. The MPG's white button has to be held down during use.
This setup is for the
LPT2 pendant C22 v2.4 interface board powered via USB. Use the latest brain Version 4 from CNC4PC.

A brain can be opened within Mach3 & its operations viewed in real-time. The diagnostic tab (Alt-7) also shows all the signal states & changes.

Axis_JogRes_SelectorLPT2.brn Enabled
EnableLPT2.brn Enabled
E-stop_W_AutoResetLPT2.brn Enabled
DisableLPT2.brn Disabled
E-stop_WO_AutoResetLPT2.brn Disabled

Output Signals tab for Mach3 Mill. Control of the 110VAC relay box; turns ON/Off the spindle motor (16) & mist/vacuum (17).
Safety Charge Pump (SCHP) is on LPT1 Pin #1.  C4 safety pump manual

Encoder/MPG setup tab for Mach3 Mill.

Spindle Setup tab for Mach3 Mill.

Mill Options tab.

Stepper Motor Tuning

Tuning for the mill's X, Y, Z-axes & the lathe's X, Z1-axes 3A stepper motors.
My motors are set via PCB jumpers to -step so 4 x 200 (native) steps/rev = 800 steps/rev, total.
Full or
-stepping may cause mid-band resonance. -stepping gives me smooth low-speed (5 RPM or less)
It is essential to click Save Axis Settings & OK after making changes & before testing.

(800 STEPS / REV) x (20 REVS / INCH) = 16,000 STEPS / INCH [REV units cancel]

Tuning for the 4th A-axis rotary table stepper motor.

(800 STEPS / REV) x (72 REVS / 360 DEGREES) = 160 STEPS / DEGREE [REV units cancel]

System HotKey definitions for Mach3 Mill.

General Logic Configuration for Mach3 Mill.

Notepad++ using the imported G-Code xml language file is the default G-Code editor as assigned in Gen Logic Config.

Mach3 Driver Test located in the Mach3 folder.

Mach3 Turn Menus

The Mach3 Turn wizard was used to setup cutting threads. For threading, the spindle must have an indexing sensor.
The Mach3 spindle switch must also be ON, even if it does not directly control it, so the program will read the indexing position.

Motor Outputs tab for Mach3 Turn X & Z1-axes.
Mach3Turn Manual
Many Mach3 Turn menus are the same as in Mach3 Mill so just the main changes are shown.

Input Signals tab for Mach3 Turn X & Z1-axes.

Input tab for the spindle indexing pickup using LPT1 pin 15. The mill uses pin 11 for its tachometer.

Spindle Setup tab for Mach3 Turn. Some of these settings are for threading. Mach3 Threading Setup Manual

Turn Options tab for Mach3 Turn.

The General Logic Configuration for Mach3 Turn showing the Initialization String parameters needed for threading. See the Mach3 Threading Setup Manual

Diagnostics page for Mach3 Turn. Note a limit switch has been tripped open, lighting-up the X & Z-axes input LEDs. 
System Schematic

Mach3 Interface, Mach3 Mill Menus, Stepper Motor Tuning, Mach3 Turn Menus