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Author Topic: Here is a sneak preview of the new screen I am working on.  (Read 10626 times)

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Here is a sneak preview of the new screen I am working on.
« on: February 18, 2006, 08:00:25 AM »
While it is far from finished, I was interested in any feedback or ideas you thought should be added to it?
Because ithe picture is scaled down, some of the buttons may appear blurred and hard to read.
You will notice I have tried to group items by type colour and position, for easy to understand, and quick location of controls.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2006, 01:16:47 AM by ynneb »
Re: Here is a sneak preview of the new screen I am working on.
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2006, 08:27:36 AM »
Wow Wow Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This looks awsome,  Hope there will be one for turn as well.

Will be glad to help in the testing.

Nice work

If A is a success in life, then A equals X plus Y plus Z.
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Re: Here is a sneak preview of the new screen I am working on.
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2006, 10:11:47 AM »

Benny sent an offlist copy of this too and I sent some details and suggestions back by mail. However one point that might "attact wider discussion" was:

"What is needed on screen is dramatically determined by the configuration of the mill and the type of display in use. I have an MPG and would never use jog buttons on screen. A button or key jogger needs the Slow jog % easily to hand and visually related to jog buttons so putting them with axis DROs is not as logical as it might seem. I have a two pulley spindle with VFD so my needs are quite different from a 12 pulley spindle with fixed speed motor. And I could go on and on about presettable tools, tool changers, coolant options, need for Single Block, Block Delete etc. etc.
What I am saying is that, for me, the perfect standard screen set is one that a system designer or user who has got comfortable with Mach3 can change after watching a video and looking at a few wiki pages for half an hour. Sadly the screens that Brian and team produced for Mach3Mill were a major step backward when viewed from this perspective. For yours it would rather depend what the user is given (e.g. ReadDraw files or just PNGs) but they do not look easy to customize."

I personally think that a screen should be as simple a human-machine-interface as possible not a picture of a possible physical control panel.

John Prentice


Re: Here is a sneak preview of the new screen I am working on.
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2006, 12:48:15 PM »
Your screen looks excellent but I tend to agree with John. I don't have the artistic skills needed to make such a nice looking screen, and as John has pointed out, different people require different things on screen. I have a need for MPG control (X Y Z change buttons/LEDs, Vel/Step change buttons/LEDs etc) also there are a lot of things on the normal screen that I will never use so could be done away with for me.
 This may be a good business opportunity for you, if you can design a screen as above that is easily altered by yourself then I am sure you could market custom screens. Possibly the time involved making custom screens would make them too expensive but as I said if you could design a master screen that was easy for you to tweak I think you would be on to a winner.
But having said that, I think your screen is very very nice, keep up the good work  :)
« Last Edit: February 18, 2006, 12:54:04 PM by Hood »
Re: Here is a sneak preview of the new screen I am working on.
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2006, 01:15:07 PM »
It is pretty, and it does show the capabilities of the screen editor quite well.

But I would ask what is the point of jog +/- buttons if there is no access to jog mode or jog increment and jog increment DRO? I didnt study the screen real closely and right now I dont recall seeing dro's for feed rate, spindle speed,and buttons to control  speeds and feed,  leds for coolant status either. Although they maybe there and i overlooked them. the Gcode window looks way to small also if one used font large enough to read from several feet away

I do beleive a screen design such as this would appeal to the newbie quite well and may even improve the acceptance of mach with more of the commercial crowd just because it looks less hobby like.  I foresee some OEM using such a screen design that is provided with a specific cnc machine upgrade kit that included all componets and the screen could be designed for those componets. in the real world of mach current users we all have different componets, have different needs on different machines. There isnt a one-fits all solution

I dont beleive there is a snowballs chance in hell to create a screen that fits everyones needs and applications with the multitude of  different pendants, controls, machines functions, wizards and what ever that exists out there now.  What is needed is a basic screen with available controls, dro, leds that is easy to customize. then if one wanted to fancy it up with skins and glitter they could at some point if they thought it was worth their time.

Re: Here is a sneak preview of the new screen I am working on.
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2006, 01:19:12 PM »
Verry nice work Benny


Offline Bloy

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Re: Here is a sneak preview of the new screen I am working on.
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2006, 03:09:20 PM »
heh!  Although my layout might differ, I'd like to have a physical panel as such with real rivets and brass/bronze plates, with actual glass/plastic DRO lens covers over real LEDs!   But here Benny is demonstrating (as everyone should note) the possibilities enabled by the new screen designer.

« Last Edit: February 19, 2006, 11:17:13 AM by Bloy »


Re: Here is a sneak preview of the new screen I am working on.
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2006, 05:43:50 PM »
The one things that stands out in the comments is for the user to be able to change things around.
While I hear this, it should be noted that this screen is NOT intended to replace the other current screens as default, but to be yet another choice for users. If they want to change items they can either design thier own screen, or edit one of the existing screens.

This screen is aimed at those who who are happy with most of the standard features. (A generic screen )
As I have tried to state before, the PRIMARY function of the screen is to group by colour, position, and type of function. This is an attempt to help out new users in logical understanding of functions.  If at the same time I can insert a bit of style then so be it. You can travel to a destination in a VW or a Mercedes, either way you get from point A to point B. One does it in style and comfort, and the other just gets you there.

I might point out, that the first timber screen I did two years ago, was downloaded 2000 times. My figureing is that while all do not require or want such a screen, there is a big portion that do.

In reading back, I probably sound a bit defensive, especially since the comments posted so far have been quite positive. I guess due to past confrontations about most  new things I have tried to introduce, I am trying to pre empt opposition b4 it comes. Just be assured this will not change the status quo it is just another choice for people.

EDIT: You may notice that the picture is made up of modual pictures. I will have modules for all 6 axis and all the other components. This will allow the users to bring in and position the modules where ever they desire. This will give the user a fair bit of editabilty. The end screen will not be one big BMP, but a selection of smaller modular BMPs
« Last Edit: February 18, 2006, 05:57:06 PM by ynneb »
Re: Here is a sneak preview of the new screen I am working on.
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2006, 09:54:49 AM »

Great work!  Just a couple of suggestions:

The cosmetic "glare" on the readouts makes them look realistic, but also introduces the negative of artificially introducing glare (something we fight to reduce).

The "tests" that I apply to a screen set are:
1)  Is everything that I am likely to need to see or do within one keystroke?
2)  Are tasks which are used together in a single location?
3)  Is the use of (even rarely used) a group of functions (and the order of their usage) intuitive from the layout of the screen.
4)  Are potentially dangerous actions difficult to take because the functions are blocked out (or at least on inconvenient other screens).

At this point, hopefully, the screen design is optimized for the intended usage.

After this, I would look at whether a change in the "cosmetics" (color, shape, style) make it easier to achieve the above.  Some colors are associated with certain functions (green/go, red/stop, etc.) and can make the associated features easier to find.

At this point, a machinist familiar with MACH3, but not with your screen set, should be able to immediately use the tool with a minimum of studying or fear (think getting behind the wheel of a different model automobile).

Further cosmetic embellishment may be made as long as it doesn't interfere or distract from the above objectives.

The screens should be easy to edit, but if the designer has done their job properly, there should be a minimum of editing required.   

I agree with much of what Olivier said, yet this should not be interpet ed as a criticism.  Olivier was simply indicating his experiences and conclusions as a caution of where to be careful as you develop your screens.  I did a bunch of work on screens a few months ago.  I found that they were quite easy to use, though others went their own ways.  I stopped developing them as MACH3 kept changing and it was simply easier to go with the flow of default screens for the time being.

I respectfully disagree with something John P. said.  An MPG is certainly useful (though the way they are currently supported by MACH menus is not optimal, but won't go into that here), but I think that, unless you have three of them, a joystick (or screen button clone) is useful for gross jogging.  As touch screens become more prevalent (I would use nothing else from now on - environment allowing), all such functions should be available by screen buttons properly proportioned for this usage.

I think you have done a good job on many of the above.  I would be curious what people think of the above "tests".  Are they all valid, should more be added?  I find it useful to have a set of tenets to throw my work against, when I am designing.  It keeps me from gong on tangents.  If my work deviates, I evaluate whether to add another rule allowing the divergence, else I pull back within the constraints I've set up.

If you want to meet halfway, I'll be in Hawaii next week :-)

Keep up the good work,

Re: Here is a sneak preview of the new screen I am working on.
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2006, 10:56:48 AM »
Benny, I don't know if its helpful, but I have compiled a set of commercial as well as amateur CNC panels that I've been studying as part of a project to create a panel for my CNC Lathe conversion.

I have found it to be helpful to see what the "pros" considered important when designing their high dollar tools:  http://www.thewarfields.com/MTCNCPanels.htm

My panel is evolving here:  http://www.thewarfields.com/MTLatheCNCPanel.htm

These are physical panels, of course, but I think still worth a look.

I haven't spent enough time looking at the Mach soft panels yet to reach many conclusions about what to change or improve, but I'll eventually get to it.  Don't be put off by some of the negative comments.  I was a professional UI designer for many years and I'll tell you somebody will dislike anything you do.  Focus on getting the functionality right and easy first then follow with the cosmetics and life will be good.


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