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  • #16
    John,

    Some of your information on LinuxCNC is rather dated, and/or incorrect.

    LinuxCNC wizards are designed around machine units, and in the wizards you select whether you want metric or imperial units to apply to those machine units:

    http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/co..._information_a

    Axis is the basic screen set:

    http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/gui/axis.html

    With a readily available add-on:

    http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/gui/ngcgui.html

    But a full screen touch interface is available too:

    http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/gui/touchy.html

    Some minimal screen sets:

    http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/gui/tklinuxcnc.html
    http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/gui/mini.html
    http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/gui/keystick.html

    As to screen sets, with a little work you can customize your screen set:

    http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/ha...#_introduction
    http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/gui/gladevcp.html

    This does require a basic understanding of the languages the screens are written in.

    Mark

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    • #17
      Good post!

      The documentation of linuxcnc has been constantly improving. (thanks everyone esp bigjohnt!) On irc/mailing lists/forum there is constant feedback and constant tweaking of the manual. Take a look at it again.

      http://linuxcnc.org/docs/2.5/html/

      wizards.. I really have not looked at what is out there for linuxcnc (I use cam or write gcode manually). The one that comes to mind is ngcgui

      http://linuxcnc.org/docs/2.5/html/gui/ngcgui.html

      This allows for tabs in the axis gui for wizards. I am defiantly no expert but it uses basic gcode subroutines to create gcode on the fly. Totally user definable.
      There is a forum that may help in understanding http://www.linuxcnc.org/index.php/en...owcat&catid=40

      Editable gui..
      There is something in the works called G-Screen. I have not played with it so I don't know how far along it is. It uses Glade.

      http://www.linuxcnc.org/index.php/en...id=41&id=17806

      I think though for most people pyvpc or gladevpc is enough. This allows you to create custom control panels to existing GUIs.

      http://linuxcnc.org/docs/2.5/html/hal/pyvcp.html
      http://linuxcnc.org/docs/2.5/html/gui/gladevcp.html

      I have used pyvcp with uses a simple xml file to create the panel. We use one on the K&T

      http://electronicsam.com/images/Kand...M2-Servo-1.png

      It is on the *right side of the gui and has the spindle rpm, pallet control, manual collet control and displays the spindle temp and offset. Granted our panel is pretty basic.

      sam


      Originally posted by John Stevenson View Post
      My take on it.

      We support the Sieg turnkey CNC machines around the world. Most of our customers are rank beginners and the biggest problems we get are in setting up the computer and Mach

      We have spent a lot of time and effort to make it easier for them. The main one being documentation.

      All to often we read these Chinglish manuals or even if they are in English you suddenly feel that after two chapters and you start the third they have missed something out.

      Beginners NEED their hands holding EVERY step of the way.

      When we started out we told Sieg not to bother with a manual as we know it would have been useless so we started to write one.
      First problem is we we writing a manual with missing chapters because we knew what we were doing and ASSUMED that everyone else did [ this is one of the biggest problems with EMC ]

      So we did our best and then gave the machine and manual to Ketan at Arc who's basically by his own admission, a seller. He relies on using experienced people for what he doesn't know.

      We said OK set this up, don't ask us any questions because you are on your own but we will stop you making any dangerous mistakes.

      Part way thru he got stuck because we had jumped the gun and missed an instruction out we thought people would know. So back for a re write.

      After a few rewrites Ketan was useless because he now had some knowledge and he wasn't what we wanted in a beginner so we gave the job to ower Gert who has never run a CNC mill in her life.
      Couple of little bits sorted and she was good to go. Ran the same experiment with a third person and put the manual to bed.

      We also send them out with modified screen sets to suit beginners, everything can run off the first screen.

      We send these machines out with an older copy of Mach on them 3.041 to be exact, it does have bugs but not enough to affect the core program from running a 4 axis CNC mill.
      I'm happy with this copy of Mach, don't run any later copies and need to remain current on what we support and as far as I'm concerned it's fine for hobby type CNC mills.

      Lathe is a different matter, again new screen sets and it works , except threading which is anyhow. shortthreads are usually Ok but anyting longer than 2D and anything can happen.
      I would not recommend Mach for lathe at this time, Mach 4 is supposed to fix this but since Art departed from the scene I feel it just locked in time.

      Steve Blackmore over here in the UK did probably 90% of the development work on Mach lathe. He now runs a dual boot system and used Mach for his mill and EMC for his lathe.

      The EMC wizards have been mentioned but they are all hard coded in imperial because they are written in the States and with typical EMC geekness no one needs metric.

      If someone at EMC bothered to do what we did with the Sieg manual and also came up with a utility where new screen sets could be written to suit uses and not developers then EMC could move on far more than it has.

      There are user like Sparky and Skunkworks above who are very pleased with it and it works for them and they are good ambassadors for EMC but they need to address certain issues like as mentioned to get the more mainstream users on board.
      Last edited by skunkworks; 09-17-2012, 09:33 AM.

      Comment


      • #18
        heh - mark and I had very similar posts.. That has to mean something
        sam

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        • #19
          OK, you EMC guys have me wanting to at least try it to see how far I can get with it on my lathe. I like the sound of rock solid stable and multiple indexing slots. I don't like the sound of "steep learning curve" though.

          I have downloaded the ISO and will burn the CD before leaving work so I can see if my shop PC will play nice with it tonight when I get time to piddle with it.

          Questions:
          Does EMC recognize standard G-code in the .txt format that Windows writes?
          Does EMC display the toolpath so you can see what's going to happen before pressing cycle start?
          Milton

          "Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."

          "The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion." G. K. Chesterton

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by skunkworks View Post
            So linuxcnc needs to be able to read and write its outside world at least 1000 times a second. every second.

            It also means - if there is a new realtime 'thing' added to linuxcnc (like rigid tapping) It is available to all interfaces.
            And that's a major advantage I see of EMC (and TurboCNC) over Mach -- EMC and TurboCNC use real-time OS's (effectively, in the case of TurboCNC), so you can guarantee real-time constraints.
            Mach, running on Windows, runs "as fast as possible" and hopes that the OS schedules it in time for it to calculate the next trajectory and pulse. Hence all the suggestions to remove networking support, virus checkers, etc off the host PC.

            It sounds like that may be why Mach struggles with lathe support: it struggles with multiple pulses per revolution.

            This is the first I've heard of Mach4 -- is it Windows based? Seems like the Mach user interface and Wizards running on the Real-time Linux infrastructure from EMC would be the best of both worlds.
            Last edited by lazlo; 09-17-2012, 12:15 PM.
            "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by lazlo View Post
              This is the first I've heard of Mach4 -- is it Windows based? Seems like the Mach user interface and Wizards running on the Real-time Linux infrastructure from EMC would be the best of both worlds.
              Brian did a talk on Mach4 at the CNC Workshop, though I missed that one. He did show me versions of it working on Windows and Linux. A Mac version is in the works but wasn’t up and running in time for the Workshop last June.
              George
              Traverse City, MI

              Comment


              • #22
                Yes - linuxcnc reads normal text files. They have to be clean (no ms word like formatting in them). By default linuxcnc looks for .ngc file extensions. You can edit the ini file to have it look for more.

                PROGRAM_EXTENSION = .txt my text files
                http://linuxcnc.org/docs/2.5/html/co...nfig.html#sub:[FILTER]-Section

                but like all file choosers - you can view * all files.

                Axis has a very nice preview that shows the tool path, you can pan/tilt/zoom.

                http://electronicsam.com/images/Kand...M2-Servo-1.png

                here is a neat video showing the axis gui (starts at about 1:20)
                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikzUnPMNDnc

                sam


                Originally posted by DICKEYBIRD View Post
                OK, you EMC guys have me wanting to at least try it to see how far I can get with it on my lathe. I like the sound of rock solid stable and multiple indexing slots. I don't like the sound of "steep learning curve" though.

                I have downloaded the ISO and will burn the CD before leaving work so I can see if my shop PC will play nice with it tonight when I get time to piddle with it.

                Questions:
                Does EMC recognize standard G-code in the .txt format that Windows writes?
                Does EMC display the toolpath so you can see what's going to happen before pressing cycle start?

                Comment


                • #23
                  It doesn't take advantage of any real-time extensions on linux... For sure you would have to use an external motion device that the gui would buffer info to. (unlikely that even the printer port would be supported except for non-realtime dumb i/o (no step generation)). (second hand conversations with those that had gone to the fest)

                  sam
                  Originally posted by George Bulliss View Post
                  Brian did a talk on Mach4 at the CNC Workshop, though I missed that one. He did show me versions of it working on Windows and Linux. A Mac version is in the works but wasn’t up and running in time for the Workshop last June.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by skunkworks View Post
                    here is a neat video showing the axis gui (starts at about 1:20)
                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikzUnPMNDnc
                    Holy Cow! That's awesome!

                    Found a close-up of the machine here:

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFUotjr_8fsd
                    Last edited by lazlo; 09-17-2012, 01:30 PM.
                    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Great thread. Neat 5-axis machine videos.

                      Thanks Guys!

                      Just to add to the discussion, I recently did a survey over on CNCCookbook about CNC Controller popularity:

                      http://blog.cnccookbook.com/2012/08/...ular-controls/

                      Take a look at the market shares in the article as opposed to what the survey shows now, I pulled those numbers early and I know some of the players were gaming the voting after that point, LOL.

                      It looks to me like LinuxCNC has really gained a lot of share. It's true that it is inconvenient for a Windows user to have to learn the care and feeding of a Linux machine, but it isn't the end of the world by any means. And, in most areas there will be a geek around somewhere who can help you out with Linux--it's extremely commonplace, just not in the home. Once it's setup and running, and you understand a few basic commands, it requires much less care and feeding than Windows. That's one reason why it is so much more common in server environments where they just want lights out computing.

                      A lot of people swear by LinuxCNC for maximum performance and features. Mach 4 may catch up, but we'll have to see when it becomes available. It seems fair to think that LinuxCNC offers the most potential while Mach3 continues to be easiest to set up if you aren't already a Linux user.

                      I was also really interested to see the opinions about Mach3 for lathes here. Sounds like a non-starter.

                      I have a couple of projects ahead of it in the queue, but I'll be putting together a new control panel and trying a bunch of other new things for my CNC mill. Think I'll set up the new PC with a virtual machine and dual boot for LinuxCNC and Mach3. We'll do some comparison testing as well as document how to go about doing that kind of setup.

                      Cheers,

                      BW
                      ---------------------------------------------------

                      http://www.cnccookbook.com/index.htm
                      Try G-Wizard Machinist's Calculator for free:
                      http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCGWizard.html

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by lazlo View Post

                        It sounds like that may be why Mach struggles with lathe support: it struggles with multiple pulses per revolution.

                        This is the first I've heard of Mach4 -- is it Windows based? Seems like the Mach user interface and Wizards running on the Real-time Linux infrastructure from EMC would be the best of both worlds.
                        Its not the index marks that is the problem. Third party motion controllers handle single slot index marks just fine. The problem is Art screwed up the threading code and Brian has no interest in fixing the code.

                        EMC is looking better and I was thinking about using it a while back but I hit a decent stumbling block for me. One is that both my mill and lathe use modbus. The mill uses it for it's pendant and the lathe for the tool changer. It looks like emc is finally supporting modbus but that means I would have to figure out how to interface these things and since I just use a plug in for Mach that could be interesting, not in the good way, either.

                        Then on the lathe I have a Pokeys to handle the control panel and would have to figure out how to make that work. Whee...

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by macona View Post
                          The problem is Art screwed up the threading code and Brian has no interest in fixing the code.
                          How many times will you need to be told before it sinks in?
                          Art is the guy that does the driver, the driver is the part that does the threading when using the parallel port so Brian can not change anything, it is up to Art.

                          Hood

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Bit of a chicken and egg situation.
                            As regards Mach 3 it can't be fixed because of the way it was written for 1G processors. Like may things if Art had started of on a different path it 'could' have been different but it's now written in stone.

                            Mach 4 'may' be able to thread correctly , the new driver is written but threading hasn't been put in it yet until Brian writes the lathe code and the driver will be written to work with this code. As I say chicken and egg.

                            This was explained to me 2 weeks ago when I spoke to Art which I do on a regular basis.

                            Lathe is way down the list for users so it no surprise that most work is being put into mill / router and 3rd party applications.
                            .

                            Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by wendtmk View Post
                              John,

                              Some of your information on LinuxCNC is rather dated, and/or incorrect.

                              LinuxCNC wizards are designed around machine units, and in the wizards you select whether you want metric or imperial units to apply to those machine units:

                              http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/co..._information_a

                              Axis is the basic screen set:

                              http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/gui/axis.html

                              With a readily available add-on:

                              http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/gui/ngcgui.html

                              But a full screen touch interface is available too:

                              http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/gui/touchy.html

                              Some minimal screen sets:

                              http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/gui/tklinuxcnc.html
                              http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/gui/mini.html
                              http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/gui/keystick.html

                              As to screen sets, with a little work you can customize your screen set:

                              http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/ha...#_introduction
                              http://www.linuxcnc.org/docs/html/gui/gladevcp.html

                              This does require a basic understanding of the languages the screens are written in.

                              Mark

                              Mark, you are correct, some of my information is incorrect and dated.
                              I will attempt to get more up to date but it's hard work not knowing Linux.

                              Let me make this very clear, it's not a post about bashing any system but trying to get a system that's easy to use and understand.

                              Art is / was [ given he's retired ] one person, a programmer driven by users and implemented what was wanted.

                              EMC is a group project driven by the group. I often wonder how may of this peer group are actual machinists ?

                              Classic example is the list of screens above which I thank you for as I didn't know many existed, however as I looked at these trying to come up to speed I didn't see one screen that I would class as easy to use or like to use.

                              True the standard Mach screen looks like the flight deck of a Boeing but it's easy to customise and Art did say it's easier to remove things than add things. There are 3 / 4 programs that can alter screens which anyone with a nights experience can use.
                              There are even programs that mimic commercial controllers like Fanuc but that's a tough decision to go given copyright.

                              On the EMC screens I saw no screens that even looked semi commercial and IF they are that easy then why has none been written ?

                              Again not bashing but if there was an EMC product that 'looked' like it could do the job it would attract more users.

                              There will never be a perfect screen. What suits one will not suit another. In the early days Art realised this and also realised that most of his programming time would be taken up modifying screens hence the stand alone screen editor.

                              This is one we wrote / modified for touch screen use.



                              Everything needed to load program, set tool offsets , edit, MDI and run are all on this screen. For everyday use that's all you need.
                              It's attractive and functional and has helped to sell many machines and copies of Mach.

                              The wizards I mentioned are not the setup wizards but the on screen wizards like threading etc which i seem to have lost the link to.
                              .

                              Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Hood View Post
                                How many times will you need to be told before it sinks in?
                                Art is the guy that does the driver, the driver is the part that does the threading when using the parallel port so Brian can not change anything, it is up to Art.

                                Hood
                                Sorry, forgot the details.

                                Either way it sounds like it is not going to be fixed in the near future.

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