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Messages - smurph

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Is Mach4 really Hobby Material?
« on: January 18, 2018, 06:17:10 PM »
I just read this thread and I must say I'm certainly confused in a lot of ways.  During the days of Mach 3, we compiled a list of things that people were asking for that Mach 3 simply could never do.  That list became Mach 4.  So Mach 4 was the direct result of us listening to what our users wanted!  But now they don't want it?  Thus my confused state of mind.

Ii used to be, or I used to think, that hobbyist had simple machines to do simple things.  3 axis mill without a tool changer, for example.  But no.  Just take a look at the feature request thread!!!!  90% of that thread is people wanting Mach 4 to do something special.  But also, 90% of that can be accomplished with using the tools that are already provided with Mach 4!

So there is a strange dichotomy going on here.  People want shrink wrapped software simplicity but also want it to do something very special that THEY want it to do.  So I don't buy the "Mach 4 won't work without a lot of programming" complaint.  Mach 4 will run my Matsuura MC500 "out of the box" with absolutely no LUA programming!  Just by mapping signals to I/O and setting up the motors.  All of this is done in the Mach configuration dialog.  The only thing that requires LUA is the tool changer.  It required VB in Mach 3.  And since no two tool changers are the same (assuming some are built, some are converted, etc..), this becomes one of the "special things".   But I could run that machine with manual tool changes with Mach 4 "out of the box" all day long.  In fact, I don't use the tool changer all that often with the things I do.

"But I have brand 'X' joystick that I want to use..."  Guess what?  You are wanting something special. 
"But I want to touch off a tool at a certain location on my custom built machine, set the height, and restart with one button.  And I might have to learn LUA?"  The answer is yes!!!  The good news is that you can make that work.  The bad news is that we will never be able to provide that "out of the box". 

I could go on and on, but I digress. 

As to the hobbyist definition...  If you end up buying a Centroid controller, are you still a hobbyist?  A point to debate.  I'm a ham radio guy.  That is another one of my "hobbies".  But you know what?  Now I find myself collecting expensive test gear like signal generators and spectrum analyzers.  I like fixing radios.  I no longer consider it a hobby and I now consider it as a semi-profession venture.  I make money fixing radios.  It is no longer something I do just for myself.  The tools I use are something far greater than what a normal ham radio hobbyist uses.  BTW, I wish ANY ONE PIECE of that test gear was as affordable as Mach 4.  So ask yourself the question "Am I truly still a hobbyist?", and be honest. 

Also, I have a 3 axis X2 machine running Mach 4 and ESS.  It runs Mach 4 out of the box without any LUA code at all.  Now THAT is THE quintessential hobby machine.  So yeah, I think Mach 4 is hobby material.  But isn't it nice that Mach 4 will also run my Matsuura production type machine?  Make no mistake, I have no illusions about the differences between those two machines.  One is a hobby machine and the other could be put to work in any professional machine shop.  One didn't required a bit of LUA and the other did. 


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach4 Install on XP
« on: January 16, 2018, 12:25:38 PM »
I strongly suspect your XP was missing some dependency (like the printing subsystem) that the .net installation corrected.  Some plugin that you are using might require .net (ESS maybe? I don't know).  But Mach does not require .net for the GUI and core.  It never has and never will.  I'm not a fan of anything .net and I will do ANYTHING not to use it.  But Microsoft pushes that stuff like crack!  So some program installers (the programs that install the applications) try to include it whenever they can, by default, unless the programmer writing the installer explicitly turns it off.  Obviously, our installer does install .net.  But that might explain why .net is installed with other applications, even if it is not used or needed. 

Side by side is the term used when referring how DLL dependencies are loaded.  Old school Windows would load DLLs in the Windows/System32 directory, if they existed there, first.  Side by side give preference to the DLLs in the application's directory.   Side by side, or "SxS" was the fix for "DLL Hell" caused by different versions of the same DLL.  ComCtl32.dll, for instance.  If a newer version of that DLL exists in the application directory, it will use it instead of the ComCtl32.dll in the Windows\System32 directory. 

At one time, Mach did not require any of the printing subsystem.  So it might have installed and run previously.  But we added printing in the G code and LUA editors, so that subsystem is now required.  It is possible that installing the .net stuff also installed a missing printing subsystem, etc... 

There is a program called Dependency Walker that is used for figuring stuff like this out.  But I will be the first to say that it is cryptic and hard to use.  But if you strip down the OS to the point of the application not being able to run, you may have to use a tool like Dependency Walker to figure out what is needed.  Or, get lucky and install something like .net that happens to also install the needed dependency. 

Since Mach 4 is now running, but takes a long time to load, it may be a virus software thing.  For example, Windows Defender delays the loading of Mach when it is launched for the first time in a certain amount of time.  It scans the EXE and all of its' dependencies before launching.  And it can delay the launch for a ridiculous amount of time!  Excluding Mach4GUI.exe in Defender sizes the problem.  There is another post on this forum related to that.  So look for something like that. 

Also, think about upgrading your Operating System.  Microsoft ended support of XP on April 8, 2014.  So we are coming up on the 4 year anniversary of that date.  My current compiler (Visual Studio 2013) won't even run on XP!  Luckily, it will still compile an executable that will run on XP.  We have to do some tricks to even get an executable that will run on XP with 2013.  I would say the writing has been on the wall that XP is dead has been there for a good period of time now.  We are fixing to make the jump to the Visual Studio 2017 compiler and there is no guarantee that it will even produce an executable for XP.  If it doesn't, then that will end Mach 4 running on XP, for sure.  :(  My point being is that we are fast running into the possibility of not being able to support XP.  Windows 10 seems to be a very stable OS at this point.  As good or better than Windows XP. 


Motors after 32 are dummy motors that are assigned to an axis if no motor (0-31) are assigned to them. 


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Can you use Inputs with Macro B Programming.
« on: December 07, 2017, 05:22:25 PM »
Any Smid book is a good book.  That guy does a good job. 


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Can you use Inputs with Macro B Programming.
« on: December 07, 2017, 03:59:52 PM »
Nice job!  That is a perfect use for Macro B.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: G4 P0...Parameter number out of range
« on: November 26, 2017, 06:57:21 PM »
G4 can only output a dwell that is at least as long as your motion controller's time slice.  Most are 1 millisecond.  Giving a P word WITHOUT a decimal states milliseconds.  e.g. G04P1 would be 1 millisecond with G04P1. (decimal at end) would be 1 second.  So it sounds like your motion controller has a time slice larger than 1 millisecond. 

Yeah, G04P0 isn't valid.  The docs should mention it has to be a positive number above 0.


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Mach4 Spindle Speed Linearity Hack
« on: November 22, 2017, 01:53:35 AM »
Bravo!!!!  I love it when a plan comes together!


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Can you use Inputs with Macro B Programming.
« on: November 21, 2017, 06:44:26 PM »
Technically, the numbers for the DO and END is all you need. 

WHILE [condition] DOx

Where x is a unique number.

Mach4 General Discussion / Re: Can you use Inputs with Macro B Programming.
« on: November 21, 2017, 06:35:35 PM »
Remove the M98s.  END 1 and END 2 should be sufficient. 

M98 will return you to the specified N label (which you don't have).  Unexpected results should be expected.  :)

N1 WHILE [#5042 GE [#100 + [#101 + .001]]] DO1
G90 G01 X 0.0 F #105 (Traverse Start to End)
G91 G01 Y -[#101] F #104
G90 G01 X 0.5 F #106 (Traverse End to Start)

(Rough Finish Grind)
N2WHILE [#5042 GE [#100 + [#102 + .0005]]] DO2
G90 G01 X 0.0 F #105 (Traverse Start to End)
G91 G01 Y -[#102] F #104
G90 G01 X 0.5 F #106 (Traverse End to Start)


Mach4 General Discussion / Re: mc.mcCntlGcodeExecuteWait problems
« on: November 21, 2017, 06:27:32 PM »
Use a register (in place of the global var) if you want more than the screen scripts to use it.