As a MACH 3 user I often met the problem of damaging my PC keyboard with coolant and dust which my mill produces. I could insert keyboard to plastic bag but the keys are poorly visible.
The solution is to use special waterproof keyboard instead of standard mechanical keyboard.
Other huge problem is need to use mouse to control MACH3. Sometimes it is impossible to change feed or spindle speed with mouse. I have to use only keyboard.
I’m going to show you how to connect and configure waterproof keyboard to MACH3 CNC control.
Step 1: Keyboard Itself
I use this waterproof keyboard purchased from this site Industrial Waterproof Keyboard For MACH3. It is reliable and has several usable features.
- Preconfigured for standard MACH3 screenset
- Flat waterproof front panel
- Two encoders for feed and spindle speed override
- PS/2 or USB (with converter) interface
- Configurable key codes (in advanced version)
Step 2: Connection
Connect it to your PC with desired type of interface. Many modern PCs have PS/2 port for keyboard connections but notebooks don’t. So you should decide which one you plan to use with MACH3 CNC.
For USB you can order PS/2 to USB converter. It is very simple to use without any extra drivers.
Step 3: Main Keys Testing
Open your MACH 3 CNC software and check main features of the keyboard. Upper line of keys is preprogrammed for execution of the most frequently used commands of the MACH3 CNC. They are CYCLE START, CYCLE PAUSE, CYCLE STOP etc. By pressing only one of the F1...F12 keys appropriate command will be executed. With standard keyboard you have to use key combination to do the same operations.
Step 4: Encoders Testing
The most useful feature! By rotation of these two encoders you can control feed and spindle speed of MACH 3 CNC. Just rotate encoder to one step CW/CCW and feed or spindle speed will be increased / decreased to 10%. It is very convenient.
Step 5: Advanced Version
For extra options you can use advanced version of the Waterproof Keyboard. It has ability to change key combinations for upper line of keys and for encoders. Good luck…