Parallel Port Conundrums

Have spent a few days now reading up on solving the parallel port issue.

it really seems that Eight out of Ten CNC owners prefer Mach 3

Mach 3 is a somewhat antiquated piece of software it seems, I’ll figure out if it’s really worth purchasing a copy or if I stick to the lower number of lines limit for Gcode, or, well, i’m not really sure (other software maybe?)

None of my computers have a parallel port. few, if any are running a 32 bit OS. and Prices of devices to convert the 25 pin Parallel port on the controller…(shown in the pic below)

DB25 Parallel port
DB25 Parallel port

are fairly high (though perfectly reasonable) compared to the price of the CNC mechanics.

There’s an absolute myriad of controllers, convertors, power-ers, drivers, thingies and other stuff that’s been developed, kickstarted, knocked up, and sold on a whim, too much choice really.

I went the stingy route and picked up an ONTRON USB CNC Parallel convertor for just $34 AUD. My thought process was

  • I have a machine that looks like it’ll work out of the box
  • That machine has a parallel port
  • it’ll be safer to use the machine as it was intended before attacking it further with a soldering iron and screwdriver
  • Given my penchant for un-necessary teardowns (developed at a young age after discovering screws in my parents VHS recorder, and discovering screwdrivers in my dad’s toolbox) it’s probably best to buy a tested working device
  • find the cheapest USB <> Parallel device I can
  • if Cheapest USB device doesn’t work, then find other options (Arduino CNC ShieldGRBL, etc)

The Device I purhcased……

USB Parallel convertor
USB Parallel convertor
Mach 3 compatible apparently
Mach 3 compatible apparently

It was shipped within 5 minutes of buying it (somehow I doubt the French are that efficient), Fingers crossed it arrives in the next two weeks like the auction said it would

Author: Bleugh

Early Fourties, Wife, two kids in primary school. Both of us work full time...5 years now we’ve been Back in Blighty after a decade away...It's a new country for everyone! Still finding time to tinker!

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