"One Perfect Part at a Time"

LinuxCNC and Vectric Aspire

For a moment, I thought I may have made a small miscalculation in switching my HB2 CNC router to LinuxCNC.

I finished creating a detailed sign carving in Aspire using three different cutting tools to make the carvings. I have been using MACH3 for my controller for which Aspire has a post processor file that includes ATC, automatic tool change. Aspire does not have a post processor file for LinuxCNC with ATC.


There are two post processors for LinuxCNC in Aspire with no tool changing, one in inches and one in millimeters. I spent a moment thinking I might have to run 3 or 4 separate G code files to get the sign made.

I then considered I should do some research as surely someone has created a post processor file for Aspire and LinuxCNC with tool changing. I found some conversations on the subject but no sources.

I never hacked my own post processor file so that was my next consideration. A little more digging and study and I discovered how ridiculously easy adding ATC to the existing LinuxCNC post processor would be.

If you own Vectric Aspire, everything you need to know to add ATC to any post processor is in the help files that are included with Aspire. Check the help tab on the program screen.

In a few simple steps of code, I now have a beautiful operating post processor with ATC running with Aspire and the LinuxCNC. Sometimes the stars are aligned in the right house and things get easy.

I did a “dry run” (axis moving but no carving) with my new Aspire generated G code. The LinuxCNC stopped and waited for a tool change right on schedule. It’s always best to do a dry test run after making code changes on critical software like a post processor. Automated machine tools can be dangerous playthings unless software changes are fully tested and vetted.

I need to do some more running of the HB2 with LinuxCNC, but I already could swear there is a lot stronger stepper motor performance than I had with MACH3. I am not bashing MACH3. It has served me 100% for many years on many machines.

The reason for the change is Microsoft is no longer building an OS (operating system) suitable for CNC machine control. That is what hurt MACH3 use in my shop.

This little edit of the post processor file was simple and no show stopper.

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