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Author Topic: Controlling Mach with Powerpoint? Is this possible?  (Read 14550 times)

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Controlling Mach with Powerpoint? Is this possible?
« on: May 16, 2011, 12:58:44 AM »
I'm in the process of making my own 3d printer. With that said, is there any was to link Powerpoint & Mach 3 so that when you display a slide in PP, it will send a gcode instruction to Mach?   In other words....If I run a slide show in PP of 3d object slices, I would need Mach to run a couple lines of Gcode to lower or raise the Z axis by a few thousanths, thus building an object layer by layer.

The crude way to do this is to set up gcode in Mach to match the timing of the slide show....So that if the slides are on the screen for 10 seconds and there is a 3 second pause between the slides, I would want to move the Z axis between each slide so I would write the Gcode to match the proper timing ( is this even possible? Can you time your moves in gcode?). Then I would start both at the same time and hope they would stay in sync.


So....Is there any way to link the two programs?  Or can Mach be set up to be triggered by an optical sensor so I can put up a trigger slide in between the regular slides to trigger the Z axis in Mach? 

Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Controlling Mach with Powerpoint? Is this possible?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2011, 12:50:13 PM »
How do you plan on getting the information from the power point slide into GCode to control the X - Y movement for the extruder ?

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Controlling Mach with Powerpoint? Is this possible?
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2011, 01:00:45 PM »
I'm not making an extruder-type printer. It will be a stereo lithography-type printer so I only need to move the Z axis. There will be no XY movement.

Yes, that's what I am asking here. How to trigger Mach to run gcode for each slide.

Another solution (possibly easier) would be to use an optical sensor attached to the monitor so in between each slide, there will be a blank slide with a small graphic shape that pops up under the sensor that will trigger Mach to advance the Z axis - this is another technique that will work if possible for Mach to do.

Offline kf2qd

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Re: Controlling Mach with Powerpoint? Is this possible?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2011, 01:29:24 PM »
Sounds like the totally wrong application for powerpoint. Why bother generating your slices to powerpoint when you could just generate them straight to a G-Code file and just run it. What powerpoint hads to do whith this process???
Re: Controlling Mach with Powerpoint? Is this possible?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2011, 01:37:17 PM »
The images need to be shown on-screen so they can be projected onto the UV curable resin. The computer needs to output the images to a DLP projector and Powerpoint will do that. You can't generate them right to gcode, they need to be diplayed on the monitor as raster images, this is what cures the resin layer by layer.
Re: Controlling Mach with Powerpoint? Is this possible?
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2011, 01:40:06 PM »
Maybe there can be a plugin or wizard written to call up the images one by one and display them while Mach runs a couple lines of code each time an image is displayed, that would be ideal but I'm not a software engineer so I'm clueless when it comes to programming.

Remember, Mach only has to run a few lines of code, basically to move the Z axis up or down a few thousandths for each image displayed. Mach is doing very minimal work here. It just has to be in sync with the images as they are displayed.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 01:42:44 PM by watsonstudios »
Re: Controlling Mach with Powerpoint? Is this possible?
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2011, 02:04:57 PM »
Maybe there can be a plugin or wizard written to call up the images one by one and display them while Mach runs a couple lines of code each time an image is displayed, that would be ideal but I'm not a software engineer so I'm clueless when it comes to programming.

Remember, Mach only has to run a few lines of code, basically to move the Z axis up or down a few thousandths for each image displayed. Mach is doing very minimal work here. It just has to be in sync with the images as they are displayed.

Thinking aloud.....

For each image slice have PP output a audio tone. (Speaker O/P)

Using a simple electronic circuit, the tone can be rectified and turned into a square wave pulse.
Feed this pulse into Mach to index the next Z position ?????

Would that work?

ATB
Derek.
You can "chop it off" but can't "chop it on"
Re: Controlling Mach with Powerpoint? Is this possible?
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2011, 02:20:21 PM »
Good idea and I was also contemplating an optical sensor to do the same thing. An image can come up in between the slice images with a small graphic in the upper right corner of the screen where a mounted optical sensor can pick it up and send a similar signal to Mach to advance to the next position. This would alleviate any external noise that might false trigger the audio sensor/microphone.
Re: Controlling Mach with Powerpoint? Is this possible?
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2011, 02:24:05 PM »
Good idea and I was also contemplating an optical sensor to do the same thing. An image can come up in between the slice images with a small graphic in the upper right corner of the screen where a mounted optical sensor can pick it up and send a similar signal to Mach to advance to the next position. This would alleviate any external noise that might false trigger the audio sensor/microphone.

You could connect directly to the speaker output socket on your PC - there would be no problem with external noise.

ATB
derek
You can "chop it off" but can't "chop it on"
Re: Controlling Mach with Powerpoint? Is this possible?
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2011, 02:28:15 PM »
True, either way would work as long as you can trigger Mach externally like that. I have an email into them to find out. I'm sure you could use one of the inputs from the breakout box to feed the signal to Mach. It would really only have to repeat the same line of code each time. Instead of raising the Z by .005 each time, I would like to raise past that and then back down into position, this will make it more accurate and allow the resin to flow over the build table evenly before the next layer is exposed.