Controlling 5 axis CNC using arduino and mach3

Hi everyone. I'm brazilian and my english is not very good, so i ask sorry if i write something wrong.

I'm a mecanichal engineering student with few knowledgement about eletronics and trying to build a 5 axis cnc milling machine. I wanna use SolidCAM to generate the GCode, Mach3/4 to controll the machine and Arduino Mega to send the sinal for stepper motors. I would like to know if anyone had ever done this and to get some tips about it. I'm afraid to spend money with this gadgets and they don't work well.

A "motion controller" board such as the smoothstepper contains an FPGA. Will a design based on a microcontroller have enough processing power?

What sort of output does Mach send to the Arduino ?

What is the maximum collective number of steps per second you will need ?

...R Stepper Motor Basics Serial Input Basics

I have just little knowledgement about eletronics and I'm not able to answer these questions. I made the mechanical design of the machine and now i'm trying to learn something to make the electronics. I know that the stepper motors need 500 ppr, the Arduino needs to receive/send signal to 5 motors, their microswitches and the spindle.

my experience with mach 3 is that it sent individual steps to each stepper when it needed to, thats why it was rooted deeply into the control computer. I would look into a dedicated control board for this application like this http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/5-Axis-CNC-Breakout-Board-Interface-For-Stepper-Motor-Driver-Board-ST-V2-stepper-controller/322449_1801916509.html

it provides the nessecary connections for the stepper drivers, limit switches, e-stops, and connection to the pc via usb or parallel

Bracer is correct. Mach3 uses the pins on the parallel port as general purpose IO pins and sends the step/dir/etc. signals that way. There's no place where an Arduino needs to fit in unless you have an out of the ordinary situation you need to handle.

If running under Windows 7, Mach 3 uses its own low level driver to generate pulses from the parallel port so you only need a basic interface board.

Windows 8 changed the driver model and the people who make the software decided that it was too difficult or too expensive to make a new driver. Their solution is for you to use an external motion control board connected via USB or Ethernet. This takes the place of the low level driver software that previously ran on your multi GHz CPU.

If you are determined to use a microcontroller for something, perhaps add sensors for safety interlocks or tool changes. This can be linked to the Mach3 software via the emergency stop circuit.

RafaelMoura: I have just little knowledgement about eletronics and I'm not able to answer these questions.

I don't mean to be unkind, but that suggests that this project is too complex for your present state of knowledge unless you are happy to spend 6 to 12 months working on it and learning as you go.

...R

mikb55: If running under Windows 7, Mach 3 uses its own low level driver to generate pulses from the parallel port so you only need a basic interface board.

Windows 8 changed the driver model and the people who make the software decided that it was too difficult or too expensive to make a new driver. Their solution is for you to use an external motion control board connected via USB or Ethernet. This takes the place of the low level driver software that previously ran on your multi GHz CPU.

If you are determined to use a microcontroller for something, perhaps add sensors for safety interlocks or tool changes. This can be linked to the Mach3 software via the emergency stop circuit.

I get the feeling that this an attempt to use an Arduino as that interface. to allow MACH to send out the USB signals and the Arduino to see them, then control the stepping of the motors. I have to agree with Robin2 on this. although the Arduino can, and will be used for this, I would search for someone who has done this and see if their code is open source. the other alternatives is to use an older PC, or at least an older windows. you can get a dedicated PC with an old version of windows for next to nothing.