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Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2015, 06:47:40 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.

I know I am a bit late here but I think the first thing to do is define Hobby users Vs. CNC hobbyist. IMO they are worlds apart.

Who would this controller be aimed at pleasing? Those using a CNC in their Hobby or those who's hobby is CNC?

Great points Brett.
Yet another division in the spectrum(s).


Offline BR549

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Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2015, 07:42:16 PM »
First you need to figure out WHAT you can make with your upper end controller  that I cannot make with my lower end controller (;-) I have been working at that for over a week now. The answer has been very surprising so far EVEN for a mid range commercial operation. The group fed in some surprises as well Several reveiled that it would surprise everyone(and it did) as to HOW FEW of the advanced  CNC features they actually use Day to Day. And they had been at it for over 30 years and still going AND have no plans to change the strategy as it makes GOOD money.

Now would that work for EVERY situation ? NO but for the vast majority it would.

How important do you think G17/18/19 is ??

(;-) TP

« Last Edit: July 18, 2015, 07:47:11 PM by BR549 »

Offline RICH

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Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2015, 08:59:20 AM »
Hobby CNC Definition - SMALL LEVEL

1. No knowledge of Gcode at all and could care less about it.
The only thing needed to learn is to be able to move the axes in a straight line
at some rate in permissable directions.The gcode is totaly transparent to the user.

2. No knowledge of basic machining which includes setup of material, all the associated
feedrate stuff,etc and does not want to have to tell the machine anything.
Will only purchase a generic mill tool set ( small, medium , and large set) and no
machinist tools.

3. No desire to create a screen, do programing, etc.

4. No knowledge of controller configuration and could care less.

So simply said, the user just wants to put some stock in the machine, press START
( to start the process) RUN ( to let the machine do the program) and Finish ( to shut
everything down when done).Start just prompts you to insert a tool, define what  
machine you are using, and then you just move near the material, close the machine
door, and select the program to be done. Run just starts the machining.

So the screen set is just one page and has almost none of the typical options.
Just DRO's to show axis movement "and they are only numbers", a graphics area, and
there are no additional tabs, like disagnostics etc. All you have are some jog buttons
using only the keyboard to move the axis. New language required so get rid of all
those goofy terms and definitions.


For the user the only thing they can do via the screen is move the axis
up/down/left and right or click a button to find the material.

So the burden is shifted from the controller interface to the 3D CAD/CAM.
Yes you will need advanced "finding" to automate things.

So the "Package Deal" may be a dedicated computer to a dedicated contoller system
and supplied with 3D CAD/CAM system.Heck throw in a dedicated machine.The difference
between "levels" of hobby are just how much control and what options are provided to
the user for the "system" based on what will be done.

The new generation lives in a visual world.
WYSIWYG....WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET! ......remember that saying for CAD.

To summarize it all.................
There is no setup, configuration, or gcode required to speak of.
User wants more control to do something or control the machine then buy the next level of
package!. The levels comes in small, medium and large.
Maybe also need the supersize for the industrial guys.

Removed myself from the picture,  ;)  :D
« Last Edit: July 19, 2015, 09:04:41 AM by RICH »

Offline BR549

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Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2015, 01:08:09 PM »
RIch that is funny as you just decribed the growth path of PRINTERS/Plotters (;-) in the OLD days to plot you had to load the paper, program the plotter as to WHERE the paper was located THEN define the size of the paper and WHERE the plotter was to begin the actual plot. Then DEFINE which PENS did what. ALSO the OP needed to learn all the ERROR codes involved so he could fix the problem to get it to actually plot.


Plotting was more a Black art than a science .

 Today you simply fill up the tray or Roll . The printer KNOWS what size paper is in the machine, can find the corners all by itself KNOWS where to pint it to and KNOWS the all the pen color choices.  The op just creates a drawing and presses a button grabs a cup of JOE and the MACHINE does all the rest.  THe Print Driver does ALL the hard work and teh CAD produces ALL the need code to draw the shape.  It will EVEN email/text you when it is done.

Does THAT sound familar ???  

CNC is at that point where it needs to be more like a modern plotter/printer.  In the DIY world ALL the pieces to make it work that way have already been developed they just need to be assembled into one Controller.  SOme are clser than others to where they are in that quest.

The OPS just want to USE it not earn a Doctorate Degree in Machine design/programing.

BUT to SOME the doctorate degree IS the HOBBY not the use of the machine.

NOW back to the question, WHAT do you actually USE feature wise to do your work ??

(;-) TP
« Last Edit: July 19, 2015, 01:18:57 PM by BR549 »

Offline RICH

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Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #24 on: July 19, 2015, 02:29:40 PM »
Hey Terry,
For the Mill it's easy, as I just put the tool into the collet, make straight moves to where  I want it begin ( I know that spot since I defined it in  CAD and CAM).
then open the file and let Mach run the program.

I don't have any switches, homing,  motor control, tool changer, no need to even open the tabs, etc, etc. All that stuff is just there should I need it for some reason.
All that other stuff is on the screen to give me something to look at while  and keep me from failing got to sleep.
All the wizards are not really needed as the CAD / Cam does all the work generating pre compensated code. The configuration is probably never changed. The machining may be piece meal work, but, usually the work is one of a kind.

That's as bare bones as one can get and has served me well for years.
The only thing that comes to mind of particular use are the MPG's and they are used to go fast or go slow.

Same could be said for the engraving machine.

Now make no mistake about the following. I design my work, not just draw it, and put good machining and engineering practices into the
design. I also like programs that give me a lot of control over what I define for the machining, yet there are those that say they would never use
that program because it needs input! Yet they will use a whole bunch of wizards to do something.

When the machine shop that is making the parts is just a telephone call or 5 minute walk from you are you quickly get feedback
on your design and sometimes it's not what can't  be repeated in public.

Now let me inject some ridicule into the CAD / CAM side and it is true in the industry.
There are those that can generate the most complex things in CAD , BUT, they  couldn't design something if their life depended on it, and it is getting even worst
today. Ever wonder why some companies won't even employ someone as a designer unless they have a 4 year degree.



« Last Edit: July 19, 2015, 02:57:45 PM by RICH »

Offline RICH

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Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #25 on: July 19, 2015, 02:55:08 PM »
A little history.

It's around 1970 and 8 hours of CAD  is mandated in the course program. The program was to give vision of how things would be in the future.
All that could be done with CAD was make  the curser go across the screen!
We have come a long way baby!

Fast forward to about 1980. AutoCAD is the equivalent of "etch a sketch" , the Bentely brothers are employed by a company which decides to make a better
in house CAD program. We just ask them do create a command and 4 hours later it's done and being used, one of my requests was cut, copy, move  and paste selected items from the drawing.  ...it took 8 hours since the initial version had a few bugs that had to be worked out. That CAD station cost a 1/4 million!
Talk about working with the best in  industry and cheaply priced software today!

OK back to topic .............,

Sorry one more....
The niece noticed my slide rule and asked what it was. I said it was my old computer. She said that they sure did make computers small back then and that it didn't have a
any  batteries. Yep, I replied , they were the good old days!  :D

« Last Edit: July 19, 2015, 03:05:28 PM by RICH »

Offline BR549

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Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #26 on: July 19, 2015, 03:37:20 PM »
Rich the sad part of that story IS that the degree only means you showed up to class, passed a test AND paid your tuition on time. It does NOT mean that you could even design a toothpick. The world has seriously dumbed down a lot.  BUT the machines HAVE gotten a LOT smarter (;-) We are Borg,You will be assimilated, resistance is futile.

I think IF one were to design a new controller it would NOT need all the  advanced bells and whistles that ADD huge complexities to the Source code and slow the running of the control down for things like 3d work.  I have proven to myself that there is really not much that I cannot create with basic Gcode calls.  AND never use ANY advanced Gcode calls.  AND do it just  as fast OR faster .

That is BASICALLY what the 3d printer dudes did and it sure seems to work ok for them as they tend to process a Megaton of micro segmented lines /points into smooth flowing shapes. And can do it all with  a BeagleBone(;-)

THe early CAD I used was just a command line input ONLY and it all came on 1 floppy disc.  But then again I remember paper tape nc machines AND it would surprise you as to how MANY extreme torerance things are still created from a TAPE driven CNC machine only now the paper tape is Kevlar tape. But it still uses the same old hole pattern technology as the OLD NC machines did.

(;-) TP
« Last Edit: July 19, 2015, 03:42:41 PM by BR549 »

Offline dude1

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Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #27 on: July 19, 2015, 05:33:52 PM »
for me I like to use the fancy bits and bobs other than tool table stuff my cad does that, all types of probing always use it, laser zero for x and y, soft limits don't use it on big machine, small I use soft and hard limits and MPG.

for my dad tool height probing, laser zero for x and y,cycle start, feed hold, stop, E stop( x, y and z work pieces max and min dro) and that`s all he just wont`s put ya code in chuck the material on the table zero it and start cutting all done with his MPG when M4 is working better his screen set is one page x,y,z dro with ref home and zero, G code and tool path with a couple of buttons why I do the fancy stuff so he can just cut

Offline BR549

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Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #28 on: July 20, 2015, 10:35:27 AM »
OK here is a thought,

We create a new verison of MACH4 called Mach4 EASY.  It is a simple version of Mach4 with basic Gcode features. It uses a simple USB control box that DOES NOT require any setup from teh user. It is like a new USB printer just plug it in.  The Control box has terminals for the machine setup AND a diagram as to where everything goes.

spindle control

It is ALL predefined .

Mach4 EASY would be a basic 1 screen control AND have an integrated version of MILL wizard AND you can add moduals for things that are developed for the USERS that want something special. It would have a Modual importer to load the addons. Plug N Play.

For the DIY group  You BUY Mach4 EASY and it comes WITH the USB card  Ready to plug n play  OR you buy a new machine with it already installed ready to cut.

Later  on IF you think you need to be a CNC Master you could UPGRADE Mach4 to the Commercial (Mach4 C )or Industrial ( Mach4 I ) version.

MOST would never need to upgrade(;-) But you do have that option.

Simple and EASY , (;-) TP

« Last Edit: July 20, 2015, 10:45:21 AM by BR549 »

Offline ger21

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Re: IF you had a NEW controller whta would it do/not do ?
« Reply #29 on: July 20, 2015, 11:45:11 AM »
It was supposed to have been released over a year ago, and called Mach4 Lite.

If they don't do something like this, then new users will be flocking to the alternatives. Unless they come up with a way to setup Mach4 that's considerably easier than it currently is.

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