Author Topic: Mach 4 Feature Request  (Read 292889 times)

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Offline BR549

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #90 on: May 25, 2014, 01:48:14 PM »
It should NOT be the responcibilty of USERS to have to learn LUA in order to create NORMAL CNC machine functions that are not in MAch4 . That is the developers job.

The USERS have enough on their plate just learning the CNC process.

(;-) TP


Offline simpson36

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #91 on: May 25, 2014, 05:33:34 PM »
The problem is that 99% of the users don't know what's "scriptable" and what's not.
If requested features can be added via Lua, can someone just point that out?
From my post: Scriptable 'Features' posted here could be moved to that thread.

My idea was that if a user posted a feature request here (which is the correct place to post) and what is being requested can be done with Lua (and therefor will get no traction with the MACH4 developers), rather than have it rejected or ignored, it could be moved to an appropriate thread where it could get the attention of Lua programmers looking for such projects.

The Developers might tag a request as 'scriptable' or someone else could be assigned to do that. I am not involved in the management or organization of this forum. I just provided the idea. The forum would need to execute on it.

Offline simpson36

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #92 on: May 25, 2014, 06:21:39 PM »
It should NOT be the responcibilty of USERS to have to learn LUA in order to create NORMAL CNC machine functions that are not in MAch4 . That is the developers job.

The USERS have enough on their plate just learning the CNC process.


That's your opinion and you're certainly entitled to it. My observation over the last few years since I first picked up MACH is a large body of users waiting, waiting, WAITING for stuff to get done or fixed. Not only in the MACH software, but also in the plug-ins for peripherals.

Modbus was broken when I first touched MACH3. It is still broken (in Mach3). The popular SmoothStepper board had significant issues that dragged on for years.

If that kind of track record is what you want repeated, then you are on the right course piling your wish list at the doorstep of the developers instead of being pro-active and looking for solutions.

The way you want certain things implemented is counter productive in my view. Doesn't make me right or wrong or you right or wrong. It just means that if MACH 4 is built the way you want it, others are going to be unhappy and vice versa.

I don't have a lot of time to cruise forums, but in the reading I have done here, it is clear that the methods that you want implemented are contested by others. Probing for example, would definitely be an eternal football for the developers if they accommodated your preferences. I am NOT saying you are wrong or 'they' are wrong. That does not matter. The point is that there are hot debates going on as to how to get from point A to point B on certain issues and to implement under those circumstances is guaranteed to make someone unhappy. The beauty of a powerful scripting capability is that YOU can have it the way YOU want it and so can the other guy.

I have to correct one thing; I did not offer any opinion of who's RESPONSIBILITY anything is. That is an academic argument that is not useful in getting off the dime. My purpose is to be pro-active and look for solutions. You know better than most that I am typically pretty cynical, and I do not agree with every track that MACH4 is on, but they HAVE provided tools that allow users to NOT BE STUCK WAITING for someone else to react to their pet issue.

Last point is that we have our hands on a demo version of a $200 HOBBY software and I suspect you are demanding that it have what you deem to be 'standard CNC Features' that are in very much higher end products. That's not realistic in my view. How many hobby users really have tool changers? Having written a tool changer controller, I would submit that ONLY within that environment is all of the data necessary to provide useful tracking and accumulations as you describe. I do not claim to be an expert from writing one tool changer control, but that is one more than you have written, I might imagine.  Tool tracking should properly be done in the tool changer software in my opinion. I would not want to be restricted to whatever MACH4 dictates, especially if it is modeled after a method that I disagree with. As I said previously, I WOULD like to see MACH4 contain user data fields indexed on the tool chart so that there is a convenient P.O. box for each tool where we can put and retrieve mail for that tool. That type of 'feature' is universal. It is a tool. Has to be done by the MACH4 developers.

All I am suggesting is to follow that course instead of waiting waiting WAITING for the developers to see things your way and implement what you want. Personally I would not want to see them do that because I disagree with the way you want certain things done. However, I have seen you working with another member here sorting thru the behaviors you want to see and him reacting to your suggestions. The fellow is willing to spend his time doing exactly the thing you are trying to get done. What a great resource!

You desire 'X' feature. Don't you think it would be great to have 4 or 5 different utilities to choose from, all of which do 'X' feature? I could write one, Poppabear could write one. From what I have seen it looks like Ya-Nvr-No could write one, and he seems willing to work with you.

All I am suggesting is that we take the approach of picking up the tools MACH4 has provided and build our own house . . or houses  . .  instead of setting up another waiting game as we have with MACH3.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 06:25:25 PM by simpson36 »

Offline BR549

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #93 on: May 25, 2014, 08:30:17 PM »
What you  are preaching is EMC ism.

"IF you want something learn to program it yourself OR talk someone that can to do it to do it for you."

That very idea is why EMC is still dormat today.

That would be like HAAS coming out with a controller that ONLY did the G0,G1,G2,G3 and say if you want anythng else learn to program HAASeze and do it yourself.

Look around at all the OTHER controllers in this class they are all full featured CNC controllers AND provide all the NORMAL cnc functions that operators require to do their job. AND have ALL the buttons in place for you to use.

And notice I did not say DO anything motion controllers.

At this point Mach4 has "possibillties" and that is it.  How much better it becomes depends on HOW refined the Builders finish it out to. It could be another EMC and if you want it learn to program it,  or a new fully featured CNC controller that is ready to sling chips by industry standards.

I know which one I want/need/ will buy. (;-) NOW that is just experience from 35+ years of 10-12 hrs a day standing in front of a CNC machine  making  a living and still working with others to help THEM make a living. Notice I do not sell anything related to CNC. Just offer help for free(;-)

AS to Probing you are seriously miss informed on HOW it needs to work to be PRODUCTIVE. I have been there done that and have the tee shirt ,hat and special underwear with probing on a CNC machine.

(;-) TP

« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 08:38:44 PM by BR549 »

Offline simpson36

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #94 on: May 25, 2014, 09:51:48 PM »
What you  are preaching is EMC ism.

I'm not preaching anything, Terry. I have no dog in this fight and as you probably know, I can do my own programming to do whatever I please and however I please. I'm just trying to help, and that takes up my time, so don't MAKE me come over there and slap you ;)

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That would be like HAAS coming out with a controller that ONLY did the G0,G1,G2,G3 and say if you want anythng else learn to program HAASeze and do it yourself.
Look around at all the OTHER controllers in this class they are all full featured CNC controllers AND provide all the NORMAL cnc functions that operators require to do their job. AND have ALL the buttons in place for you to use.

Reality check needed. for $200, you'd be lucky to get coffee and a donut from HAAS.

Quote
At this point Mach4 has "possibillties" and that is it.  How much better it becomes depends on HOW refined the Builders finish it out to. It could be another EMC and if you want it learn to program it,  or a new fully featured CNC controller that is ready to sling chips by industry standards.

I agree with your premise, but I think you miss the point. Your compare to HAAS is not valid. You pay big time for all of those buttons and the smarts behind those buttons.  It is unrealistic to expect a $200 HOBBY program to compete against a well financed professional level CNC from a very well experienced corporation. MACH4 comes in a self proclaimed Industrial version for a very significantly higher price. Having made that claim, it would be fair to compare HAAS to that level of MACH4.

In my view you ignore the biggest of the 'possibilities' that MACH4 comes with . . .  the MACH community. There are a lot of very talented people using MACH and many of them are willing to spend time advising and guiding these neophytes you seem to be concerned with. Is that available from HAAS for free . .  I think not.  

I can tell you with 99% certainty that what you want to accomplish can be done with scripts. Lua is C and it is fast and unlike MACH3, MACH4 pre compiles all of the functions so it *should* be indistinguishable if a script or native code is running.

You would agree that M3, M4, M5, M6 and others are part of what you label 'industry standard CNC', yes?   You also know that they are scripts, correct?

If I or any other programmer here wrote the code you are asking for and charged you say US $6,000 then you would have HAAS feature for HAAS pricing. AND you would not have to argue withy anyone over your choice of methodology. That seems fair to me.  My contention is that it is very likely that you could get that done for FREE here in the hobby community. It's like you are in the pool and you don't even realize you're wet. You have people helping you already, but it seems you don't acknowledge that.

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I know which one I want/need/ will buy. (;-) NOW that is just experience from 35+ years of 10-12 hrs a day standing in front of a CNC machine  making  a living and still working with others to help THEM make a living. Notice I do not sell anything related to CNC. Just offer help for free(;-)

I do sell stuff related to CNC and anything that is proprietary to those products is not given away on hobby forums. But I do get help here occasionally and I do try to give back in kind. Everybody here helps for free. You and I are nothing special in that regard. I have about the same number of years experience as you, but I don't stand in from of machines. I design them. I was never an 'ivory tower' engineer. I was down on the floor bothering the machinists (pre CNC) to find out how things REALLY work. What is the ACTUAL process they had to go thru when I specified 'textbook safe' tolerances and finishes. Similarly, I would look to benefit from your years on the floor, but you have made some assumptions, I'm afraid, as to what is involved in getting you what you want.

It is not as complicated as you think. The way MACH4 is structured, you can have exactly what you want. AND you are literally swimming in the resources you need to get there.

Quote
AS to Probing you are seriously miss informed on HOW it needs to work to be PRODUCTIVE. I have been there done that and have the tee shirt ,hat and special underwear with probing on a CNC machine.

If you are trying to get a rise out of me . . fail. I never offered ANY opinion of how probing should work, so you're just talking out of your 'special underwear' with that comment. The point you completely missed is that it DOES NOT MATTER how you or I or Obama or anyone else thinks probing *should* work. The point is that with scripting, you can have probing work in whatever twisted unconventional and bizarre way you like.

Here is the question you should dwell on; If the developers of MACH4 provided your every wish, would you care if it was happening in a script? Would it surprise you to find out that MACH4 core is in all likelihood a long string of compiled functions probably not much different than the Lua scripts? C is C and flow is flow and structure is structure. I doubt the MACH4 boys reinvented programming.

Second question; do you think that the MACH4 developers have 35 years on the shop floor 'standing in front of a CNC machine' or are they dweebie propeller heads without a clue? You have a fixation against scripting for some reason. If that comes from some limited experience with MACH3's VB implementation, then it is understandable, but you need to realize that this is a new game.

I have some opinions about how MACH4 industrial is going to be marketed, but that's for a future thread. For now, the only way I can see MACH4 being completely screwed up is if there is as little emphasis put on quality documentation as there was with MACH3. It is an incredible lack of respect for peoples time to make them dig and dig and jump through hoops and experiment and beg, borrow and steal to get even the simplest tasks accomplished  . . all due to nonexistent docs. My hope is that MACH4 fares much better in that regard.

I am going to be writing my second ATC control software in the next few months. I would love to have your years of experience behind that effort. You would get a free copy for your efforts. I can make a normal version for me and a weirdness version for you, no problem. ;)  Just sayin'

 


Offline BR549

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #95 on: May 25, 2014, 11:11:14 PM »
 ::)  ::)  ;D

(;-) TP

Offline simpson36

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #96 on: May 26, 2014, 03:34:44 PM »
Now that I am thinking about ATC's again, I am curious about the recently requested 'features'.

What is the purpose of accumulating run time on a tool? The only thing that comes to mind it to predict tool wear, but simply accumulating run time is not going to be particularly useful I would think. Is that really all the high end machines do?  Accumulate run time?  ???

Wouldn't you need data about the material cut, the length and depth of cut, federate, RPM, and so on?

I started working on an Amp draw based predictor but I did not have time to pursue that feature for the first ATC effort due to schedule conflicts. I'll pick it up again for the next ATC, but it would be great to have some info on what's out there now and how it works.  As I said, I don't see how the run time alone is going to provide much useful info unless  the other variables are factored in.

My idea was to use data from an external predictor such as the CNC cookbook speed/feed calculator and enter (or retrieve directly from the software if Bob will allow that) the predicted HP requirement. The ATC software then monitors the actual load on the spindle motor in real time. If the spindle load exceeds the predicted level, then a warning is generated and stored so that the operator has a head's up to change the tool out.

As an alternative, as each NEW tool in introduced on a job, the spindle load could be recorded in a user field in the tool table (which is why I would like to see extra fields, even if they never display on the screen). As production progresses and the tool gets duller, the load increases. Breakpoints for each tool could be set by amount or percentage and a warning generated when the spindle load exceeds that threshold.

This feature also runs in 'reverse' in that you can set the desired amount of torque to be used with a particular tool and choose a warning or a fault if that threshold is exceeded. The motivation for that feature is a pile of broken taps. I would be happy to sacrifice a new tap by putting it in a scrap hole and ramping up the spindle torque until it snaps off. Then back of by some amount or percentage and input that into the system. When the tap dulls to that point, I would have the system fault . . which is mo' better than trying to dig the tap out without an EDM machine available.

All I would need from MACH4 (I think) would be the extra fields in the tool table. Curious though about what a wish list might look like as a follow on the ATC features requested earlier in this thread.    

Offline BR549

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #97 on: May 26, 2014, 03:51:59 PM »
HIYA Simpson, in the field machines normally run specific tooling for each material cut. Aluminum runs specific tooling, stainless runs specific tooling. If you abide by the Manf's specs as to chip loading the tool has a specific life at that load. The tool Life indicators ASSUME that you are running at that spec all the time you are cutting so the tool life is based on INCH of cut or can be cut time.  IF you are not running fully loaded you can rate YOUR tool life longer as experinece dictates.

It is normally a good "INDICATOR" of when to change out tools in production. COnditions can vary so can actual tool life

HAAS has a decent TLI. I think they have a manual on it as well


Offline BR549

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #98 on: May 26, 2014, 04:05:44 PM »
A short example of one of the features of Tool Life Management on a Haas.

http://atyourservice.haascnc.com/whats_new/haas-advanced-tool-management/

Offline simpson36

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Re: Mach 4 Feature Request
« Reply #99 on: May 27, 2014, 03:27:03 AM »
HIYA Simpson, in the field machines normally run specific tooling for each material cut. Aluminum runs specific tooling, stainless runs specific tooling. If you abide by the Manf's specs as to chip loading the tool has a specific life at that load. The tool Life indicators ASSUME that you are running at that spec all the time you are cutting so the tool life is based on INCH of cut or can be cut time.  IF you are not running fully loaded you can rate YOUR tool life longer as experinece dictates.

It is normally a good "INDICATOR" of when to change out tools in production. COnditions can vary so can actual tool life

HAAS has a decent TLI. I think they have a manual on it as well

OK, that totally makes sense.

However, even given the specialized tooling per material, it seems you would want (ideally) to only accumulate cutting time and not total run time. Does the HAAS (or equiv) CNC controller isolate the cutting passes or is there some average percentage that is applied?

Mach3 identified travel and traverse with different colors in the graphic window, but I don't know if that data is available in a readable var. If it is not, then a readable LENGTH OF TRAVEL SINCE LAST TOOL CHANGE var would be something to request from MACH4. Scripting is only as good as the data that is available to it, so making data available is a critical part of having truly extensible software. However, I am not inclined to sift thru dozens of undocumented calls and guess at which one might be the data I'm looking for, so this kind of stuff will have to wait for the docs to catch up.

In fact, it occurs to me that the tool change is a <insert evil music> script, so it should be relatively simple to pull not only the length of cut, but also the spindle RPM and feed rate and store those as well. Or perhaps calculate a 'total chip load' based on those factors and accumulate those numbers. That's getting a bit over my head as I don't know if that is a useful way to track tool life. You would be in a better position to comment on that or perhaps I could run it by Bob Warfield.

My pet project of course is tracking tap life. Rigid tapping is done via a macro on my setup. With MACH3 you can only pass a couple of params to a macro, but MACH4 has a boatload, so calling the macro with a specific tool number should be easily doable and the macro could poke the usage data into the accumulator field (user field) for that tool.

In fact, it occurs to me that data specific to tool type could be gathered to make the life prediction more accurate. Using the example of taps, since the macro 'knows' how deep the tap will go (it is one of the passed params), the accumulator can total the actual number of inches tapped which is a much better number than total run time. Mind you, I still believe spindle load is a better indicator , but (so far as I know) only high end industrial drive provide load data in real time, so for those who have hobby level servo drives or VFDs, this would be the BAM (best available method).

BTW, if this stuff is in the HAAS manual, feel free to tell me to RTFM. The link is added to my ref library, but I have not read it yet. But I will. This is an interesting topic.