Author Topic: Mach 4 Feature Request  (Read 292476 times)

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Offline simpson36

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #120 on: May 30, 2014, 08:44:45 AM »
I have already unsubscribed from the MACH4 threads, but Terry's last post sneaked thru and I could not resist. I do feel compelled to respond to this post. Hopefully it wont be 'for naught', but in any case this is the last amount of time I will spend on this topic.


Err...  not correct.  Mach4 is Mach4.  There is no difference between Hobby and Industrial, code wise.  The only difference is the license.  The Industrial license "turns on" Industrial features.  But the code base is the same.  That demo version has the capability of running 6 planners.  But since there is no license, it only runs in demo mode with only 1 planner.
Steve, what you just said in essence is 'they are the same except they are different'. I did not say anything about how you have structured MACH4 internally between the hobby and industrial versions, or what the differences are technically so I can't be correct of incorrect on that score. That whole conversation is irrelevant to my point, or more accurately my gripe.

My comment was about support. That your attention, focus, priorities, two hands and keyboard will be consumed by Mach4 industrial which will roll out after Hobby as per the last published plan that I am aware of.  If it shares the same core, then it has the same bugs and holes that we are seeing now in the demo. PLUS, when the license 'turns on those complex new capabilities, are you expecting them to come on-line, hit the field and work perfectly?  If that happens, then maybe we'll see some documentation.

Look, I'm not just trying to bust your stones over this. I WANT to use MACH4. I want to require my buyers to use MACH4.  My intension is to be pro active and make helpful suggestions as to how you might address the lack of staff. I am not 'mad' because you don't act or react to those suggestions.  

You only have a couple of guys to do everything including make lunch and sweep the floor. Fine, I get that. The frustration is that you (not you personally, the entire MACH team) is not doing ANYTHING to effectively address that situation.  The concept of a 'virtual Corporation' had been around now for probably 20 years. You starve to death while walking thru an orchard.  

Beating the 'don't worry we'll get to it when we have time' drum is unrealistic.  You may as well say 'when we can fly' because the odds are about the same.    

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The API documentation will come.  I write good API docs.  I just can't write them at the same time I'm developing.  It turns out that I need two hands on one keyboard at a time.  :)


Exactly.

So, how many hands and keyboard are needed for a yes or no on the USER FIELDS. As you know there is a fellow pounding on your door for high end tool changer features. Is that likely to happen? I'd wager NO. He does not program, but he is able to clearly and concisely describe the process and data he wants and can point to resources where 'industry standard' operation are described. So that part of the puzzle exists. I know that I can incorporate the code into my next ATC controller. I will need accessible data fields in each tool record inside MACH4. Last piece of the puzzle.

I have asked a couple of time now . . . Can I get USER DATA FIELDS . . . no answer.  Therefor can I even discuss this with any potential buyer . . no. Can I collect more data and start to make a plan and schedule, no. Not if I want to use MACH4 Why? Poor support from MACH4. Too busy fixing bugs now to think about MACH4's furture.  There is a saying about alligators and a swamp. If there is a different way to view this, I'd be happy to hear it.

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We don't have the resources to not wear many hats.  I guess we could go out and hire 5 to 10 more people.  But the price of the software would go up.


Yes, I heard that. I get it.  Been there done that. Still doing it. But you folks are an uncreative bunch, I have to say. Did it never occur to you to charge for a programmer's reference?  I purchased the Lua programmers' ref in PDF for about $25. Hard copy I think is just under US $50.  The price point and sales strategy for MACH4 is a major marketing blunder, probably because that's yet another hat on the shelf awaiting enough time to materialize, but that's another conversation.

You can't charge for installation instructions or user guide. You certainly can charge for SDK, developers guide, programmers reference, etc.  That's my opinion. You could take a minute to be pro-active by taking a survey to see how many developers and high end users would be willing to pay for these documents. I'll go on record here and state that I will happily pay US$ 100 for a MACH4 'developer pack' or whatever you want to call it. If it can be bundles with competent and TIMELY support, then US$ 500

It's up to the MACH4 team how the set their priorities and do their marketing. I can only react to it. The ONLY solution presented so far is to wait until there is time to produce documentation. I have to decide if that means two months or never and plan accordingly as does every other developer.

There are people in the community very capable of producing these documents as was already PROVEN by Mr. Livingston on MACH3.  The payment could in all likelihood be tied to volume, release date, commission, or other means so that it is not out of pocket. The documents would not raise the price and in fact could throw off cash.

Free advice . . maybe worth what you paid for it, maybe more. In any case repeating 'When we have time' is not comforting because what I hear is 'not gonna happen' . The narcissistic attitude that ONLY members of the MACH4 team can write good docs is going to be an expensive luxury, I predict.  

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And what's with the ATC?  My machine has an ATC and it works fine.  The m6 macro handles it.  The m6 that is in the demo is just that, a demo.  Or am I missing something?


Yes, you are missing the control for the ATC mechanism. There is a separate processor and several thousand lines of code in my first effort, and not all of the sensors are active yet, and one interlock is disabled because I have not gotten it to work reliably in all conditions. If you can get all of that into an M6 macro, then you are truly a master programmer.

And thanks for not getting all emotional over my sometimes poor delivery. It may not like a typical 'good ol boy - pat on the back - we're all pals here - lets have a beer' forum post, but I AM trying to be helpful. I will be looking at alternatives now, but still I hope you guys can get it together and not just produce another MACH3 with new paint.

So have a nice day and best of luck with the MACH4 rollouts.

Offline Jeff_Birt

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #121 on: May 30, 2014, 10:14:10 AM »
A couple of you guys seem to have lost sight of the fact that this is a BETA release, let me repeat that again "THIS IS A BETA RELEASE!". Your comments are now bordering on the absurd. A BETA release gives the advanced and/or curious user a sneak peak of a piece of software and allows them to ask questions and make suggestions. There have been good suggestions as a result of this, I think adding a slot number to the tool table makes sense for an industrial environment, that is an example of an excellent suggestion. I have also seen where folks found bad LUA bindings and asked questions like, "Hey how would I do this?" which can lead the programmers to say, "Oh! I can make that easier!"

BETA software by its very definition is NOT FINISHED and is NOT READY FOR RELEASE, i.e. it is in a state of flux and can and will change several more times before it is released. Writing user documentation when things are in a state of flux is not very productive as attested to by the very person who tried to do so.

Bitching and whining because a BETA RELEASE of a piece of software does not do 'function x' right now, exactly the way you think it should be done is childish. Remember a BETA release of a piece of software is like a physical prototype of a new device. It gives you a mostly workable platform for testing functionality and promotes new ideas. A prototype is never a completely finished product.
Happy machining , Jeff Birt
 

Offline BR549

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #122 on: May 30, 2014, 10:50:17 AM »
SImpson I am a BIT more optomistic about Mach4. FIRST I look at the GCODE side. THAT is the MOST important PART of mach4 you can have. AND it works very very well and with just a few bug fixes it will be great. Mach4 NOW does every thing GCODE wise that one needs to have to do GOOD CNC work AT the HOBBY or industrial  LEVEL and this IS the hobby version we are playing with.

As to suggestions (;-) YOU ASKED FOR THEM SO YOU GET THEM.

Basically because as Steve said it is all one large package of code and the license sets the usage of the features.  In that line of thinking then YES it is going to need features created for industrial that most HOBBY users will never use BUT it still requires those features to be created.  AND also as STEVE said yo have NO IDEA how it will be used by the USERS. When you get people like me I will beat it 12 ways to Sunday JUST to see what it can and cannot do. There are as meany ways to do things as there are hairs on your head out in the real world. THAT is when you find all the ODDs things you never thing about people doing with it.

AND yes I am classed as ODD, no dought. BUT I also WILL get the job done one way or another.

The updates to the tool table WILL benifit BOTH sides as MORE AND MORE users are going to ATC as ATCs are being developed for the DIY side.

NOW My suggestions for the Tool table are to suport BOTH ATC and NON ATC users alike. The actual  ATC function code is normally done in ladder but COULD be done in LUA as there is NO dought that LUA is fast but is it integrated fully yet ????  I see a lot of errors go unchallenged and no error messages and no responce from Mach4 other than just crashing out. So yes there is a LOT of work ahead but I think it has started to go downhill now as things are getting fixed/improved.

Take the Mcode problem if it gets fixed properly(and it WILL get fixed) it will be NICE and very usefull. Most don't realize JUST how usefull that will be .  You will be able to create what amounts to you OWN Gcode canned cycle functions and have them available with a simple M202 call. The acutal MOTION code would be in SUB/macro format so it is EASY to support/change.  That is IF they get the Gcode Editor fixed so we can write gcode SUBS/MACROS easily. (;-)

Just a note a Tool changer program in ladder than runs the physical tool changer is NOT 10,000 lines of ladder code maybe 100-200 lines or more depending on the complexity of the tool changer.

As to the developement TIME frame I came into the MACH group about MIDWAY in. It was Art and friends doing ALL the work. I think we drove Art a bit crazy because he went at it like a mad man. (that is a good thing).  As to Mach4 and the available resources they are going to have to either spend at LOT of MONEY(hiring MORE people, not always a good thing)   OR spend a lot more TIME to get it all done.  AND yes time is money but you cannot preload a small company with TONS of developement dedt and expect it to survive in the long run.

I can also say without doubtt that the MACH group is the NICEST and MOST TALENTED group one could EVER hope to work with PERIOD.   SO far there is LITTLE in the MACH realm that they cannot create an ANSWER for to your problem about Mach3. I don't think Mach4 wiil be much different but there fewer Players now than before.

Bringing out a NEW CNC control today is NOT like when Art brought out MACH1/2/3 . Today there are MANY PC based CNC controllers that can DO the CNC CONTROLLER job as good or better than Mach3 and have more features to boot.

That is NOT saying that MACH4 should not be developed. Just that you have to look at things differently than we did in MACH3..

OnlY TIME will telll the REST of the story.  Just FIX the Gcode side bugs while you wait PLEASE.

(;-) TP



« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 11:07:06 AM by BR549 »

Offline Brian Barker

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #123 on: May 30, 2014, 11:45:29 AM »
Hello Guys,
I wanted you to know that we are nearing the end of the beta period and I am pleased with how it has gone. Thank you all for your input and comments.

I have Tom (the guy that did the Gcode manual) starting on the operation Manual for the default Mach4 screen. We will enhance some of the screen over time but for a first run I think it is a good start. When Tom is done with the manual I will have him look at working on the API / lua doc some... Tom is not a programmer but he is a damn fine engineer that can make a script work. Also we have an OEM working on making some nice Lua examples for everyone to use as a guide and or a platform to work from.

The webpage is getting worked on and when they are done I am going to have them make a place for Lua scripts that people would like to post. So you can have a holding bay for examples that people would like to share.

I know some of you are a little upset on how we are releasing the software and would like to see it finished with all docs and every features. Know this, we are following the plan we had set into motion over 2 years ago on how to release the software. So hang on.. this is a big project and we are doing as good as I could have ever hoped.

Thanks
Brian
Fixing problems one post at a time ;)

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Offline BR549

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #124 on: May 30, 2014, 12:11:12 PM »
IN Mach3 we had a group of #vars that were cross linked to DROs. If you updated the #Var it updated the DRO, IF you updated the DRO it updated the #VAR.

IF Mach4 can do this NOW please explain HOW to do it.

(;-) TP

Offline Brian Barker

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #125 on: May 30, 2014, 12:14:15 PM »
Use the register diagnostics dialog :)
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Offline BR549

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #126 on: May 30, 2014, 02:21:36 PM »
Example Please (;-)

(;-) TP

Offline Brian Barker

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #127 on: May 30, 2014, 02:31:16 PM »
As you can see you can do it here..

Thanks
Brian
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Offline BR549

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #128 on: May 30, 2014, 02:48:15 PM »
Surely you jest. That is NOTHING as to what I asked.

On the screen there is a DRO(Dro18) I need to link it to update #var #590 with the value in the DRO. It should do the update WHEN I modify the DRO automatically. I see in the screen there are options as to allow that but I have no idea what the script should be like. "on update" I believe

ALSO IF I update #590 through a #590 =987654 then I need it to UPDATE the DRO on the screen(DRO18). AND there looks to be a function in the ScreenDRO to do that with script. "On Modify"

Offline Brian Barker

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #129 on: May 30, 2014, 03:52:34 PM »
That seems like a bad idea, Don't think it would be good to change the #vars as the poor machine is trying to use them. and that tells me you are only doing it to setup. in that case the reg thing would work for testing. I could be missing something..  Do tell what you are trying to do.

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