Information Resources related to CNC
(for information specific to PMDX
please see our Support
This a list of information which complements our products. PMDX does not create or
control the information that you will find using the resources below. We generally believe
that the information will prove useful, but have not independently verified the
information or extensively tested the products listed. Inclusion or failure to include any
particular forum or product should not be considered a judgement about it.
The products listed below are NOT products of PMDX. If you need technical support
please contact the vendor directly or use one of the many forums listed below.
The people and firms listed below are independent businesses that offer CNC
machine retrofits and system integration services for a fee. They are not employed by
PMDX and have no contractual obligations to recommend or support our products.
We list them because we either know and trust them, or have had others recommend
them to us.
If you work with Mach, EMC, or similar systems and wish to be listed here,
please contact PMDX.
Cole Controls Inc.
13229 Page Rd.
Grabill, IN 46741
PO Box 235
Briceville, TN 37710
907 Kramer Ave.
Lawrenceburg, TN 38483
409 S Ridge Rd
NOTES about the groups on YAHOO - All these groups are available via web browser and by
e-mail. It is possible to sign up by e-mail or by the web pages. Please click on the forum
name to reach the related web page and read the web pages for instructions. If you sign up
on the web page, be sure to set your profile and preferences according to your wishes.
Instructions for subscribe and unsubscribe via e-mail are also listed at the bottom of the
main web page. Turning off HTML will make the advertising content in e-mails less
intrusive. Digest form of the e-mail lists are available.
group on Yahoo. This is a very active forum for discussion of CNC and other electronic
topics related to machining and manufacturing, including Computer Aided Design (CAD), CNC
machine programming (CAM), Electro-discharge machining (EDM), and Digital position
readouts (DRO). Almost every product or topic listed in other forums below is also
discussed here. This is the largest of the groups listed and serves as a sort of home base
for the hobby and small business CNC builders community.
DIY-CNC group on
Yahoo. Another off-shoot of the CAD_CAM_EDM_DRO group which focuses on home built CNC
machine construction and use.
alt.machines.cnc - newsgroup on the USENET. Open discussion of mostly
CNC topics by commercial and hobby users of CNC machines. If you are not familiar with
newsgroup usage click here.
This page discusses the rec.crafts.metalworking newsgroup, but all concepts apply equally
well to the alt.machines.cnc newsgroup.
Home Shop CNC Machining Board hosted by Chaski Telecommunications. A web forum for
users of CNC in the home shop.
group on Yahoo. Support group for users of the small lathes imported by Grizzly, Harbor
Freight, and others.
ahha_cnc group on
Yahoo. Support group for users of AHHA machine control software.
group on Yahoo. Support group for users of Art Fenerty's machine control software. Very
active group with lots of users of all types of CNC devices including routers, engravers,
milling machines, lathes, and plasma cutters.
group on Yahoo. Support group for users of MaxNC milling machines.
sherline group on
Yahoo. Support group for users of Sherline lathes and mills.
on Yahoo. Support group for users of Taig lathes and mills.
turbocnc group on
Yahoo. Support group for users of DAK Engineering's TurboCNC machine control software.
list on SourceForge. This is the technical forum for EMC developers and people debugging EMC
problems. See also the EMC website.
group on Yahoo. Support group for users of BobCAD cad/cam software.
SheetCAM group on
Yahoo. Support group for users of SheetCAM, a low cost CAM software package.
forum at IMService. Support forum for Vector CAD/CAM products.
group on Yahoo. Support group for users of CNC-Pro machine control software from Yeager
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NOTES about machine controller software: Many of the software programs listed below
utilize the parallel port of an IBM style personal computer to generate pulses to run
stepper motors. These programs can run stepper motors, or using step-servo drivers they
can run encoder-feedback servos. Some programs (DeskNC for Windows and FlashCut)
utilize an external pulse generator connected via a serial port. These can also run both
stepper motors and step-servos. True analog servo control requires software that can read
encoders and also provide analog servo control signals via a digital to analog interface.
EMC can provide this type of control.
EMC - Enhanced Machine Controller
software from NIST. This software, originally written by a department of the US
government, is free and in the public domain. It runs under a real-time version of LINUX
and offers high end performance on milling machines for those willing to learn how to
install and use it. It will run stepper motors, step-servos, and analog servos. This
software is not "sold" and is supported by its public users. Source code is
available. More information can be found on the www.linuxcnc.org
TurboCNC - Machine control
software from DAK Engineering that runs under DOS. Supports milling machines and lathes,
including threading with simplified spindle feedback. Runs stepper motors and step-servos.
This software is "shareware" with access to the source code provided for a low
cost fee. The lack of a Windows GUI is more than made up for by its simple installation,
low cost, and support for lathe threading.
DeskKAM - Clarken provides CAD/CAM
and machine control products at modest prices. DeskNC and DeskNC for Windows are low cost
commercial products that provide machine control. DeskKAM and DeskART provide support for
code generation for machining and engraving respectively.
Sadly AHHA is now out of business. They provided machine control
software, interfaces, and stepper motor drivers for the serious hobbyist and commercial
users. Software runs under DOS. It has good support for macros and machine enhancements
such as tool changers. It has options for full support of lathe threading using spindle
speed feedback. Link now points to Yahoo support group for Ahha users.
Originally created by Yeager
Automation, CNC-Pro is now freeware. It provides machine control software for stepper motor systems
running under DOS. Lathe threading is not supported. Link is now pointed to
Yahoo group that maintains the software.
CNC Zeus - A low cost machine
control software program for stepper motors systems running under DOS. Focus is on simple
to use and reliable. Supports cutter compensation and subroutines, but not constant
Mach - In the Mach series of
products Art Fenerty of ArtSoft provides low cost software for machine controllers
running under Windows using advanced system level drivers to do pulse timing for stepper
motor and step-servo systems. This software is derived from the EMC software from NIST and
expands on the good features of EMC. The active user base, rapid development, and great
support make this a winner. Source code is not available but powerful interfaces for user
expansion are provided. Analog servos are not supported.
FlashCut - FlashCut CNC
provides software and interfaces running under Windows to control stepper motor and
step-servo based CNC machines. FlashCut systems are more expensive than most in this list,
but offer elegant controls that are simple to install and simple to use. Control is via a
serial port connection to an external interface which they provide. FlashCut also offers
drivers, retrofits, and complete machines. True CNC controlled threading on a lathe is not
supported at this time.
KCAM - Kellyware offers this
stepper motor control software running under Windows for routers and engravers. It is
available as a moderately limited shareware version with a low cost upgrade to a full
version. This software will import G&M code, Gerber photoplot files, Exellon drill
files, HPGL, and DXF files. Moderate performance, but great flexibility for those on a
Stepster - An open
source program, written in compiled Power BASIC running under DOS. It runs CNC machine
tools with stepper motors.
DanCAD/CAM - DANCAD is the
granddaddy of the shareware for CAD and machine control. It runs under DOS and provides
CAD drawing capability and stepper motor control of milling/routing machines. Somewhat
different from most other programs for metalworking, but has lots to offer.
LinkMotion - A device driver
for Windows that can install as a printer device and operate 3 axis motion controls using
step and direction signals sent via the parallel printer port. Allows the use of
engravers, laser cutters, etc. directly from programs like Corel Draw and AutoCAD. A
"printer" properties dialog is used to configure the machine configuration
parameters such steps per unit distance, and motor accelerations.
Vector - A moderate cost CAD
and CAM system for CNC users. A great system for generating drawings and G&M code for
CNC. Macros and post processors are user configurable. Offers optional advanced features
for 4th axis control and for full NURBS based 3D machining. Excellent support and
favorable treatment to hobbyists. (HINT - check archives of the CAD_CAM_EDM_DRO group
BobCad - A moderate priced CAD
and CAM system for CNC users. Provides drafting and G&M code generation for CNC users.
Dolphin - Dolphin
CADCAM Ltd. offers a moderately priced CAM system for CNC users. This software is somewhat
more task oriented and friendly to machinists who do not wish to do traditional CAD
drawings. Discounted prices for hobby users and demo downloads are available.
SheetCAM - A low cost CAM
software package. Accepts DXF or HPGL files and generates G code for CNC controls. Very
popular among Mach2/3 users.
D2NC - A low cost conversational G-code
generation wizard for use with Mach3 control software.
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IBM-PC parallel port tech reference - A tutorial on
interfacing to the parallel port by Zhahai Stewart
Lakeview Research - Parallel
Port Central - Another good site for parallel port technical information
Jones on Stepping Motors
- A tutorial on how stepping motors function and how to apply them
Theory - A more advanced explanation of stepper motors by Haydon Switch and Instrument
Reference for Motion Control - Loads of information about all types of motors, screws,
gears, and drive systems provided by Parker/Compumotor. This is NOT marketing material,
but rather great technical tutorials.
on Servo Systems - From Galil Motion Systems, great information about tuning and
design of servo systems.
Back to top
Warp 9Tech Design -
Maker of the SmoothStepper controller that uses the USB interface and runs under
Mach software for CNC control. Popular solution for users who cannot use a
conventional parallel port or who need very high step rates that are not
workable with a parallel port.
- A good source for industrial electrical components of all types.
Factory Mation - A
good source for industrial electrical components of all types.
Technologies Inc. (formerly Keling) - Importer and
seller of affordable stepper motors and other motion components.
GeckoDrive - A good source for
affordable stepper motor and step-servo drivers for medium to large motors.
HomeShopCNC - A source for
ballscrews, motors, and other CNC conversion parts.
HobbyCNC - Sells motors,
drivers, conversion plans, and software.
Little Machine Shop -
Parts and accessories for small imported mills and lathes.
Ron Steele -
Detailed plans for converting mini-mills and mini-lathes to CNC.
MachMotion - A source for nice control cabinet
systems, industrial computers, motors, drivers, and more