Inventables Community Forum

Mach 4 Anyone?

Does anyone here use Mach 4?

Any pros and cons to what comes stock from Inventables?

I was thinking of getting it and was hoping for a impartial review. Thanks.

Mach3 or 4 will not run the stock x-carve electronics. That being said, I used Mach3 on my system, but I switched to the Gecko G540 controller. Works great.

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Well that is sad to hear. I wanted to use a pendant with the X-Carve and was told to use Mach 3 or 4. Do you know if a pendant can be used with Gecko?

The standard electronics for the X-Carve run grbl. I swapped out the electronics and went with the Gecko G540 and a G251 to control my system, so any mach 3 compatible pendant will work with the Gecko electronics.

Just to be clear, when you say “standard electronics” you are talking about the X-Controller correct?

I was looking at the Gecko website and really like what I see there. I am probably going to go with a water cooled spindle and I think the Gecko electronics will match up nicely with the VFD. Thank you for showing me the Gecko electronics.

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X-Controller or the Arudino G-Shield combo…both use grbl (both standard for the x-carve…the X-Controller is newer).

Good luck!

Thanks Erik. Appreciate the help.

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I’ve been looking at the Gecko electronics and really like G540. I’ll probably be buying one like you did, but I was wondering why you also have the G251. Do you have two X-Carves, or somehow using both on one machine?

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The Gecko G540 controls 4 stepper motors, 2 on Y-Axis, 1 on X-Axis and 1 on Z-Axis. I added the G251 to control a fifth stepper motor that runs my rotary axis.


Over the past 15 years I have had several occasions to return Gecko divers (some out of warranty that I probably damaged by my bad wiring) back to Gecko for repair, and I never was charged for any repairs, or return shipping. Gecko customer service is unequaled in the hobby cnc world.

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Thanks John, all the more reason why I will support them and buy their product. I’ll probably get the G540 like Erik did :slight_smile:


What computer are you running it on? An older 32bit OS and the MB has a parallel port or do you use a parallel port card?

I am running it on a fairly new system, windows 10, 64 bit. I do not have a parallel port so I am running the ethernet smoothstepper and connect with an RJ45 (ethernet) connection.

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I think I’m going to go with a G540, Super-PID and Mach 3.
Funny thing is we had a real old computer upstairs in a spare bedroom I was about to just throw in the trash.
Today after work I walked up there to look at it.
Windows XP, Pentium 4 2 GHZ, 1 GB ram, Geforce 6800 with 256 MB ram and the MB has a parallel port.
Perfect to just run a CNC.
So now I’m cleaning all the junk out of it and then defrag the HDD.

I had my heart set on getting a Super-PID, but then I read on this forum somewhere that for slightly more I could get a water cooled spindle which would have many added advantages.

I have a CO2 laser that has to be water cooled. I have a setup with a water tank then it goes through an aquarium water chiller then through the laser tube. It works great but it’s upstairs in the house.
I looked at those spindles but I’m going to put the xcarve in the garage / wood shop and it get’s below freezing here.
The garage is insulated and I do have a natural gas heater in there but I don’t want to run it all the time just to keep my spindle from freezing.
If I lived in a warmer climate, I would go with the water cooled spindle also.

Yeah that’s the only drawback to water cooled. There are ways around it but it starts to get pricey. What about air cooled? Still better than the DeWalt spindle. Here’s a breakdown of what has to happen to install the SuperPID:

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Erik do you have your G540 in an enclosure? I was reading about how hot the drivers can get. Wondering about which heat sink is best to use.

I have no additional heat sink, just the one small fan in the case. I have not had any issues with heat.

Where did you get your case?