Nema 23 Mach3 build any advice

Ok I’m getting ready to build using nema23 with mach3 controller. I am aware it is overkill. This project is more to familiarize myself with Mach3 on a cheaper machine. I also have a bentop CNC mill running Mach3 that I haven’t used in fear of breaking it lol. Any advice or direction to resources would be great. I’m still waiting on a few parts to arrive but they should be here within a week.
I’m looking at doing 24”x24” build. It will have a Carbide 3D spindle.
Thanks in advance for any help

I don’t think anyone here is running Mach3, and there are only a handful of people at most who use Nema23. I guess someone will have more or less generic advice, but it might also be trial and error for you. :slight_smile:
Don’t forget to document the errors for everyone else so if someone comes along with the same questions he can be helped. :smiley:

I understand. I hadn’t planned on going this route initially. But I seen a Mach3 controller CNC kit with steppers. Since I have the mill decided to go that route. Especially since I don’t want to mess up the mill. with the MPCNC I can always print out a piece I might have broke. Not so with the mill.
I’ll try to document what I can. I’ve never been good at paperwork lol.
I did see there are some nema23 mounts I’ll start printing those out. I am kinda worried about deflection(sag) with the extra weight. Doing the 3/4 emf version. I guess I’ll be finding out

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I would not mess with the nema23s. Save them for your mill build. High torque nema17s are pretty cheap and they are the right size for an mpcnc.

Ryan doesn’t have nema23 mounts for the primo. I don’t think we have any evidence that larger motors solve anything.

Ryan sells them for $11.50 each. Nema 17 76OZ/in Steppers – V1 Engineering Inc


As long as the Mach3 controller you’re using can be configured to “clone” axes (to use two motors for X and two for Y) you could always connect up the Mach3 controller to the MPCNC with Nema17’s. That way you get the chance to play with the different software but still have the chance to reprint any damaged parts.

I’ve got an old Phlatprinter (early design by the folks who now run OpenBuilds) that uses NEMA23s and was designed to use Mach3. Of course, I went the LinuxCNC (back then it was still called EMC2) route rather than follow that path. Having used both motor sizes, I can tell you that there’s really no difference in hooking them up, just in how much amperage they need and can turn in to torque, and maybe the shape of the plug. My NEMA 23’s just had bare wire ends, and my controller had screw terminals. You’ll probably need to go through a configuration process inside Mach 3 (to match up pins to motors and end stops, set steps per inch or mm, axis directions, etc.) but you’d need to do that for the mill in any case, so an extra round of practice probably wouldn’t hurt.

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I’m not using the nema23’s to build a bigger better faster machine. I’m building a Mach3 Primo that has nema23’s. Only because they came in a kit together. The kit came with controller board, 4 steppers, drivers and power supply, I did need to buy a 5th nema23. But didn’t want to complicate it any further.
I’m building it to learn Mach3 on a cheaper to repair machine than my mill. The nema23 mounts I seen, were on thingiverse I believe. And I believe Ryan posted them for people who might have had the Nema23 steppers already.
I’m planning on running just the 3 axis with x and y axis steppers running in series on the same driver. Hopefully that works out.

Some musings about Nema 17 for your system as mentioned by others in this topic. You probably have TB6600 drivers in your kit. The problem with using Nema 17 motors with TB6600 drivers is that the TB6600 does not have many current settings in the range used by Nema 17 motors. You are stuck with 1.5A and 2.0A. For heat reasons, you don’t want to run your Nema 17 at full current, so a decent match might be 2.0A Nema 17 steppers run at 1.5A on the TB6600s. Some 2.0A Neam 17 motors are cheap, so going with them might be better than redesigning the Primo.

'For Nema 23 steppers for X and Y, the redesign looks straight forward. My biggest concern would be the plastic deforming over time. You have added weight of the Nema 23 motors, as well as added leverage given the larger shelf. I’d bulk up the shelf during redesign to mitigate any deformation.

For the Neam23 for Z, I’d be tempted to design an adaptor rather than redesign the Z axis. As long as the shaft of the Nema 17 is long enough, an adapter should be an easy part to model. Or you could use a Nema 17 stepper just for the Z axis.

I doubt there are settings for dual endstops, so you may be stick squaring your machine using physical stops.

Both @stevempotter and I use the TB6600 with Nema 17 and 1.5A, which is not a problem at all. Look at Steven’s speeds without skipping steps or anything. :slight_smile:


I’m pretty sure that those are other people re-mixing, and not Ryan’s work at all. The re-mixes I looked at require printing supports, which is very much unlike Ryan to do.

I think that it’s good that you aren’t expecting a performance gain from this, as I think that the machine’s limitations come from the rigidity of the rails themselves, as well as the printed core, and not the motor strength.

If your motor drivers support 4 wire (Some I know require 6 wire), I would get a NEMA17 motor for the Z axis. If you can get down to 1-1.5A for motor current, that would make assembly MUCH easier. Since you have to buy the motor anyway, the parts are easier to find. The 6.35mm shaft for the NEMA23 motos may be less convenient to couple to the 8mm lead screw. I think I’ve seen the parts around though, just they cost about 6X more because economy of scale. At that point, it might be cheaper/easier to wire up a polulo driver’s step/dir/enable/Vmot pins to the Mach 3 controller and run the NEMA17 motors.

Pretty sure that’s Ryan. It does say old on the title for maybe burly idk. But I’ll give it a shot or search around for another

What stepper motors are you using? Are they 2A steppers, or are you running 1.5A steppers at 1.5A?

As for Steve’s speeds, I know he runs at 40V. He also runs a very fast, 32-bit control board and some form of GRBL. I’m guessing that most of his speed is the 40V.

Yeah, that’s Burly. :slight_smile:

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I have more than enough lead screw to make an adapter. My issues are, I’m not very good on the modeling side. That’s something else I need to work on. In some programs I can do it in but the one I want to use I am having some issues. I’m obviously missing something I just need to spend some more time with it to figure it out. I should probably put down my gaming controller and pickup my mouse or drawing tablet lol

This is the steppers I have.

Can you measure the shaft length?

Those are from 2015. Those are not for the primo or even the version before that (the burly). These will not work.

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Well, I’ll figure something out. I got an idea already if i cant find mounts someone already made

Heres the dimensions of the steppers

The ZIP file below contains a quick and dirty Nema17 to Nema23 adapter that might work. I’ve included both an STL file and a STEP file for the adapter.

It is designed to attach to the Nema23 using 5mm cap hex machine screws, and mounts on the trucks using 3mm machine screws.

There are lots of things I don’t like about this design, and there is one open issue. It does require modifying the trucks by clipping away the edges of the platform to make it flat (arrows below).

This can be done after the trucks are printed, or it is relatively easy to clip these out in Fusion 360 (Mesh workspace) before printing. I think clipping the model can be done in MeshMixer as well. I would print the trucks with extra perimeters and higher than suggested infill.

The big unknown is whether the shaft will extend far enough to position the pulley correctly. I think it will, but I don’t know for sure. The thing I don’t like the most about the design is that, ultimately, it is attaching a Nema 23 stepper motor to the trucks with 3mm screws.

Anyway, it is something to consider. (38.4 KB)

Thank you very much . I’ll see what i can do with it.