I did my homework with a lot of investigative reading and “Live DVD” testing. Today I made the commitment and installed LinuxCNC and the Debian real time Linux on the computer that operates my HB2 CNC router. It totally wiped out the Windows 10 OS (operating system) that was on that computer.
It was one of those “Popeye the Sailor” moments for me where he says, “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!” Then Popeye gulps down a big slug of spinach. For me it is a big slug of Linux. Ha!
There were several reasons and the big one was Windows 10 habit of constantly changing the operating environment. Random reboots made, and make, me very gun-shy of putting any trust in MS for stable machine control using Win 10. Windows 10 wants to run my life, not my machine tools.
The next reason is MACH3 prefers a 32 bit operating system and Windows has moved beyond that. MACH3 works fine with an external pulse generator running on 64 bit hardware, but it is still like kicking a dead horse to get it to stand up. It ain’t gonna git up an go anywhere… It’s just too old.
The final reason is a high profile CNC vendor has switched to (their own) flavor of LinuxCNC and tossed MACH3 out the door. They did not move to MACH4. That tells me a lot. You know I am talking about Tormach.
I am fluent in Linux so the OS doesn’t bother me at all. I just thought MACH3 offered more features than LinuxCNC back in the day. It has a heck of a lot more configuration settings than LinixCNC. That’s for sure! It had to be “better”.
Actually MACH3 has and still does perform very well for me. This is not a rant against MACH3 at all.
I have discovered that as a hobbyist, I don’t need any more features than what is supplied with LinuxCNC. I am impressed how well and easy it does work. It’s no MACH3 look alike but it does what it has to do well, and I am impressed.
The screen display graphic of the tool movement is far superior to the same display on MACH3.
So overall I am confident that I have made a good move. I have run a couple of files and cut some 3D carving with LinuxCNC and the HB2, and the operation was flawless. That’s as good as it gets and needs to be…