Sherline CNC / Mach4 installation

 

I purchased a Sherline mill and added the CNC option for the x,y, and Z axes. I also intend to get a rotary indexing table at some time.

Hardware:

I purchased the Sherline motion control electronics, even though I know there are other manufacturers. Since I am a neophyte, my idea was to minimize the number of vendors involved in my setup. This motion control electronics uses the traditional parallel port for communication.

Software:

Now for software the Mach series was recommended, but the Mach3 software has limitations in several areas, including windows version, 32 vs 64 bit, and apparently gotchas on the parallel port communication.

The last thing I want to do is start out on a new system with an antique version of windows, crippled to 32 bit o/s and dependence on a physical interface that has less and less support.

So the newer Mach4 software supports up to Windows 10 64 bit, good, and there is a company that makes an "intelligent dongle" that is a "CNC command smart" interface between USB and a parallel port.

Purchase and installation:

Again, to minimize vendors, I purchased the Mach4 software and the UC100 dongle from the same place, dPP Engineering, David Peled is the owner. He makes an interface, but it also has a micro in it to stage the commands properly to the parallel port. If you don't queue up commands properly, you can have issues. they have been a Sherline dealer since 1996. Fast and helpful:  https://www.discountcampus.com/ 800-621-8334, in NY

Mach 4 software

First install the Mach 4 software, I bought the hobby version.

Load the license file you received with purchase, under HELP...ABOUT (you must restart the prog to take effect)

Interface

Now you need the interface between the computer and the CNC hardware. In my case this is the UC100.

It turns out that you should ignore the instructions with the UC100 on the driver to download, and get the driver from David. Likewise there were a couple of configuration files that are needed for the Sherline that do not seem to come with the Mach4 software.

So, first get the UCx00setup.exe file from David. The file downloaded from location in the instructions does not work.

Run this software to install the driver. I needed to reboot afterwards to have the driver load.

Configure Mach 4 for your interface/mill

Run Mach 4, go to CONFIGURE...CONTROL...PLUGINS, you should see a list of plugins with either a green check or a red x. At this point I see the UC100-CNCDrive, but it had a red x, click to get green checkmark. Close and restart Mach 4 to take effect.

Run the Mach 4 software, go to CONFIGURE...PLUGINS, and you should be able to select the UC100-CNCDrive plugin.

Now go to CONFIGURE...SELECT MOTION DEVICE,  and select the UC100

then if you cannot pick the Sherline, add these 2 files onto your Mach4Hobby/Profiles/MAch4Mill folder:

    • Machine.ini
    • pfile.dat

 You should be able to specify the interface, and the system if it is working will indicate the UC100 is working