Hello Guest it is May 24, 2022, 12:16:21 PM

Author Topic: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?  (Read 11513 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline BR549

  •  6,963 6,963
    • View Profile
IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« on: July 17, 2015, 11:44:33 PM »
I was part of a group discussion the other day about WHAT is needed IF one was to build a new DIY controller for "TODAY'S" hobby users.

It was VERY surprising as  to the feature needed not needed  list.  This was from a group that uses CNC every day as a living and a hobby. A mixed list of users.

As a conversation topic WHAT would your needs be and WHAT could you do WITHOUT as far as useable features. NOW be honest with yourself. I am not talking about wannabe features  just real life I use it everyday features.

Popcorn is ready, (;-) TP

Offline BR549

  •  6,963 6,963
    • View Profile
Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2015, 12:14:09 AM »
DIY cnc controller
 LEAN and mean and super fast 3d
no turn

NO mouse needed good tab control

SIMPLE GUI no wood grain panelling (;-) One size fits all

4 axis only A synced feedrate on diameter

large toolpath area

Dry run


3d probing  XYZ creepy crawler built in

2d probing contour XY creepy crawler built in

Tool height probing built in

Table Probing for surface comp

A to Y function


analog out spindle, OR  relays control  KISS

Run HOT feeder
Run Laser
Run plasma ,sense arcOK  for motion , NO THC control

RefHome switch

Limit switch

BASIC Standard Gcodes  /modes
   limited Std canned cycles  Drill /tap only
   GCode MODAL cycle (roll your own G66 style )

NO G10 stuff
NO tool offsets (tool Comp)
NO fixture offsets
No tool tables
No fixture tables
NO G52
NO G92

Multiline MDI  with build in SAVE option (conversational Command line)

Standard Mcodes

Mcode scripting(roll your own)

Probing 4 ways
G31 inverse motion/ Trip then back off xyza
G31/g2  probe on arc
G31/g3  prob on arc
Safe mode motion for non G31 moves

NO #var
No SUbs
No conditional
No G65 macro

No soft limits
No wizards

(;-) TP
« Last Edit: July 18, 2015, 12:16:01 AM by BR549 »

Offline RICH

  • *
  •  7,428 7,428
    • View Profile
Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2015, 07:46:10 AM »
What one needs now / today will not be what they will need tomorrow / in the  future.

So I would like everything available and then pick and choose for my use.

So maybe Mach installation could give installation option list  where one  could tick off what is wanted or would like to change
based on need over time.

So maybe there are a few levels of "Todays" Hobby user and based on some general questions ( below) one would get
an appropriate level of installation. The questions automatically imply what will be used / not used.

1. What machines will be used?
2. Have software to generate code?
3. Will you do any programing?
4. Is  tool probing be required?
5. Is part probing required?
6. etc, etc

BTW, I am working on the  Ultimate Hobby Screen which is truly PLUG and PLay.
Just has 3 buttons....Start, Run, Finish, requires no configuration or knowledge, no mouse or key strokes required,
as all is done visually. Just have some technology issues to solve and it will be done.  ::)


Offline BR549

  •  6,963 6,963
    • View Profile
Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2015, 09:06:21 AM »
Rich just stop and think about how it was done yesterday and how it is perceived today then it is fairly easy to predict what tommorrow briings. People are creatures of habit.

Take  tool comp for example MOST people today have NO IDEA how to use it and don't as Cam does all the work.  IF you don't have TC you do not need a tool table.

Fixture offsets are the same MOST have no idea why they need it as they never use it. Tkae that out and you do not need th fixture tables.

Probing absolutely need that as they WANT to replicate things and recreate them in CNC. PUT some muscle into that section of code.

#vars NOPE
Conditional NOPE
parametric NOPE

Macro scipting NOPE

Soft limits NOPE

120 ways to run a spindle NOPE

Now you are down to a simple set of features that you can spend time with to make a very FAST planner that can do 3d really well. and IF it can do 3d well it does 2.5d extra extra well.

YOU have to take YOU out off the picture as you are abnormal compared to teh average  User TODAY. SAME as with myself .  

Remember today cad/cam is a dime a dozen and some are free so you do NOT need any drawing or cam support in the package.  Just partner up with a cad cam package as a mutual interest project.

I think it its time to step back and take a REAL look as to HOW todays users are actually wanting it to be like and HOW they actually use it.

I bet that it is NOTHING like you and I perceive it to be.  The discussion was an eye opener.

Just a thought, (;-) TP

« Last Edit: July 18, 2015, 09:10:49 AM by BR549 »

Offline ART

  • *
  •  1,702 1,702
  • Tough as soggy paper.
    • View Profile
Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2015, 09:47:39 AM »
I have to admit this mirrors much of my thinking this past year. Were I to do a new controller it would have
no G42/G43 type offsetting, no tool tables unless the program did CAM . In the old days GCode was hard to
make, took a long time and the machine op had nothing to do with it. Want to use a different tool? great, use G43,
but these days, if I want to use a wear of .3mm or swap tools for a job, Id just repost the code with a wear on it,
or a smalller tool diam.

   Hobby people make code and cut it ( Ive heard from a lot of them over time.). I never use tool offsets, why would I?
I start up vectric and repost my code, takes me a second, and I run the program with no concerns and I can read it easily.
 GCode is darwinism in motion, its evolved to be glorious in its power, but buggy in its implementation and getting worse
in complexity over time. I say leave it to the Boeing type companies for which it makes sense. A contoller for a hobby guy
shoudl be much less encumbered with industrial type complexifications. Im firmly in the keep GCode simple camp.

   Whats mentioned for mach4 , a screen with 3 buttons is probably a great idea for hobbiests. Im not against a controller
having full capability, so long as it doesnt impact performance, but I do think a hobbiest has no desire for the added
complexities and they actually hinder forward progress. One good thing about Mach4 is it is very configurable. Having
screen design makes it possible to be all things to all men. Hopefully over time that power will show.


Offline BR549

  •  6,963 6,963
    • View Profile
Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2015, 10:18:43 AM »
I would LOVE to test a stripped down version of M3 or M4. I bet 99% of all the weird would dissappear instantly and leave you with a very nice running package.

The screenset WOULD be very simple and easy to follow.

Basic Gcode is a VERY simple language. It is like talking to a 3 year old.  UNTILL it is MADE complicated. AND it does not have to be that way.

To add to the list you do NOT need encoder support

NO modbus support

DO NEED pendant support from the hardware side.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2015, 10:25:10 AM by BR549 »
Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2015, 10:43:06 AM »
Hi Terry, great topic, thanks for starting it, will be interesting to follow.
I like the idea.
"Hobby" today (and tomorrow) spans a pretty wide spectrum.
From brand newbies without a clue to model turbine builders, retirees from the industry .. real "Pro" hobbyists. Oh, and gear, watch and clock makers too. ;)

Keep it as simple as practical.
Everything in it works flawlessly.
Keep the price down accordingly (if possible).
Make it appealing to the "entry level" user.

I do not have a specific list of features, but I can say that I would've liked to have seen something like what you are proposing back when I jumped in.

Thanks TP,

Offline BR549

  •  6,963 6,963
    • View Profile
Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2015, 10:53:04 AM »
HIYA Russ, one of the questions that came up in the discussion was . IF you only had a controller that did basic Gcode COULD you still make your parts as easy as you do now with teh support software that is currently available (Cad/Cam).

The answer was 99% YES. No problem, of course, sure.  That was a jaw dropper to some.

SO what could you really do without ????? and still make your parts.

(;-) TP
Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2015, 10:58:33 AM »
I do use G52 on occasion, and do like the Soft Limits.
Other than that, your list above looks good.

Offline ger21

  • *
  •  6,293 6,293
    • View Profile
    • The CNC Woodworker
Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2015, 11:02:48 AM »
The main reason that a lot of hobbyists don't use a lot of features is because nobody has ever taught them how to use them.
No offense to hobbyists, but a great number of them are doing things very inefficiently, and would be utterly amazed if they spent some time learning from someone that really knows what they're doing.

5 or 6 years ago, if you asked a question on a CNC forum, chances were very good that's you'd get a good, informative answer, and you'd learn something.
Today, the chances are very good that you'll get a lot of answers from fellow hobbyists that are either flat out wrong, or not the best way or most efficient method.
There's a lot of the "blind leading the blind" going on in hobby cnc today.

A group of some very skilled and well known users are getting together to try to rectify this situation, by possibly offering training and a new forum where questions will be answered by knowledgeable people.

What Art is describing is a control targeted strictly at hobbyists. There's probably a lot of money to be made in that market right now. Look at the success of small turnkey machines like the Nomad from Carbide3D. And the ShapeOko and X Carve.

But what happens when these people start learning and want to do more? You're catering exclusively to entry level users.
To some extent, Vectric does the same thing. While they are constantly adding new features, plenty of really good features have not been added, strictly because they don't want to add too much complexity for their hobby users. Ease of use has often trumped more power with them.

Sorry for the rant. Next post will be about the control. :)

2010 Screenset

JointCAM Dovetail and Box Joint software