Carbide Motion: Feature Requests

Feature requests for Carbide Motion…

  • Display the absolute position in addition to the relative position. This would make using fixtures and tweaking zeros much easier.

  • Provide nine (X,Y) jumps to quickly move to a section of the work area.

  • Allow the user to enter an (X,Y,Z) jump.

  • Allow the user to enter a “bump” to easily reposition the origin.

  • Support the command-line. This would allow files to be dropped on Carbide Motion and allow job automation.

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  • spindle on when jogging (edge finding)
  • spindle stop/home during job pause (e. g. to address fouling)
  • sound prompts/alarms
  • Run an external program when a job finishes.

  • Run an external program when human interaction is required (e.g. when a tool change is needed).

Positioning We’re looking to make big changes to the jogging, which I find painful on any mill. I’ll add your suggestions to the notes we have. Look for that in the next big release of Carbide Motion after the one a week from now.

Command line calls from the end of a program- The geek in my loves it. It’s probably not something we’ll tackle in the short term.

Prompts/Sounds/Emails We may add some method to email so that a text message can be sent. We’re still thinking about this one.

Spindle on when jogging. We need to add this.

Spindle stop during pause. We’ve got that in the new firmware that we’re testing. The new Carbide Motion is a big update to support this feature. Should be available in the next week.

Retract during pause. Possible but the edge cases that make it fail are significant. We’ll be looking at it but no guarantees.

If you throw the requests into a separate thread (for now, maybe that’s a bad long term idea) we can address the progress and timing as we look at them.

But, if you implement “run an external program when {various things of interest happen}” then this one is not much more difficult and can potentially be implemented / customized by users…

I really like the CLI idea.

I would like to add “Native Linux support”. Even if it were with the CLI only, native linux would be really welcome.

Here is my feature wishlist:

  • ‘Time Remaining’ display (even if its approximate)
  • ‘Caffeeine’ feature for Mac (similar to ‘caffeinate’ terminal command to keep Mac awake, seems to reduce issues when carving) See here
  • recall last x0 / y0 (maybe not Z for safety) if you carve a similar part. that way you don’t have to jog for that long
  • Carving phase display (for example Waterline, Roughing, Pencil etc. this also would help with troubleshooting in case there are issues)
  • turning off the drill while pausing (increases safety if you have to clean up during the carving)
  • For debug: mark issue, like a button that can be pressed if the Nomad messed up. the approximate gcode can then be marked to troubleshoot where in the gcode the nomad was when the error occurred
    -Email on completion (sends an email to a certain address when job is completed or on error)

Thanks Oliver

  • We won’t be able to give an accurate time unless we simulate the whole toolpath with the motion planning. We cannot do this right now but we do want to have some kind of feedback. The current plan is to add something like “XX% Complete in XX minutes”. It wouldn’t make any claims of when you’d be done but it should give some feedback so that you can extrapolate. What do you think?

  • Recall X/Y: This is in there now. For V1, it’s held in the machine itself. For V2 it’s held in the computer. This means that it would be lost if you move the Nomad to a different PC but for most cases it’s saved (including the Z depth which is compensated for but the tool probe).

  • Carving Status: I have this in the code now but I don’t have it in the UI. We’ve been reluctant to add any optional information to the user interface. I’ll add your vote in the “Add More Info” group.

  • Turn off spindle during pause: This is in the latest firmware but it’s not fully tested yet. It required major changes to GRBL but we worked with Sonny to get it added. Once we’re confident that it’s a stable change, we’ll make it available. Playing with the builds we have, it’s very cool.

  • In the “More info in the user interface” category, we might add a line number display. Again, the code is in there so it’s more a matter of making the information available.

We’re working on how to add more information for more advanced users, like the ones on this thread. It’ll probably be a slow, incremental approach but we’ll get there.

I also have the basics of a “Rapid Positioning” mode for the jogging partially running. It will let you rapid to a number of points on the table with a single click instead of holding down the jog buttons. If it comes together quickly, it might be in the next V2 release (the final beta).



I think what he’s asking for (and I would like also) is a button to “auto-jog” to the last program x0y0 location when you go to set zeroes, so that you can then adjust it slightly if needed and set the z correctly for a new piece of stock, assuming your stock isn’t all the same size. Currently you have to mash the buttons and watch the read-out for a while. Having a one-button “go to current zero” for each axis would be helpful, and maybe set the default jog speed for the Z to be considerably slower, and have it continue jogging only as long as you’re holding the button. You could add this kind of thing to the list of available “rapid-positioning” points.

Thanks Rob, yeah any time information or percentage would be helpful, even if its not 100% accurate. My jobs sometimes run for hours and it would be nice to know if its like 1 hour left or 2 hours. Meshcam seems to underestimate the time too greatly, but it seems like if i double the time estimate in meshcam, its about right.

If you don’t want to overload the GUI with too much information for the casual user, you could add something like a ‘advanced view’ option that shows more information for advanced users. That would also help for future troubleshooting, even for you guys, because we could see in which carving phase certain issues show up, or how much time into the carving the issues started (or even in which Gcode line even if only approximately).

The ‘caffeine fix’ i mentioned in my post really seemed to have helped with failed carvings on my Mac (Yosemite). Since i used that, i didn’t have any really crazy issues like the double images anymore. It might be coincidence of course, but it certainly also would not hurt to implement since all it does is keeping the Mac from sleeping (that way USB ports don’t get powered down, or the whole Mac).

And UnionNine is correct, I meant a button that auto-jogs to the last x0y0 position that was set so that the only thing that needs adjustment is the z axis. Saves some time setting up the job.

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I like the idea of a “go to last X/Y” (Z is a bit more dangerous). I’ll see if there’s a logical way to work that into the current UI.


Thanks! Yeah Z would be dangerous due to the fact that the new workpiece might be thicker than the last one, but having X and Y would tremendously help speeding things up :smile:

Rob, I noticed that the key handling of the current beta of Carbide Motion 2 still doesn’t work properly on a MacBook Air (it works on a MB Pro). A single key press is always ignored, but two quick successive key presses are treated like a single one.

A nice functionality for PCB makers: an auto leveler
Will it be difficult to add on Nomad the connection to implement an auto leveler?

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Command line is occasionally helpful from my days off using UGS (Shapeoko user here). Would like to add a request for an indicator for which line is being sent. This is often useful for restarting paused/cancelled/disconnected/failed jobs.

Probably someone already requested this, but “bring table forward” would help a lot with loading and unloading jobs.

True MDI–enter lines of gcode to be immediately executed. On my big mill I use “G0 X0 Y0” a lot to verify Program Zero while cutter is still up in the air.

I’ve emailed this to the team, but echo the last MeshCAM comment encountered. Rob has excellent comments placed in the gcode–“Roughing level -0.245”, “Parallel Finishing” etc. that are wasted in the CM interface.

Larger font for the current axis coordinates.

Display of current commanded RPM.

Display of current tool.

Permanent inch display for us backwards Americans.

I’ve requested this already elsewhere, but Move Cutter and Zero Axes screens combined to reduce a whole lot of clicking on job setup.

Reliable keyboard jogging. It goes away after a couple of trips back and forth between the Move Cutter and Zero Axes screens (would probably be alleviated by the above).

More even continuous jogging. It pauses every second or two, at least with my PC. Probably being interrupted by interrupts. In the next few days I’ll try setting up the PC as non-ACPI and do the other Mach3 optimizations, whcih would probably not hurt here.

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Carbide motion ends up homing and measuring the tool twice on each job. The extra overhead of doing homing and tool measurement twice adds up, especially on short test cuts, can we find a way to just do this once.

For the majority of my work I use just one tool per job. On the page where carbide motion asks to insert the tool can we have a button for ‘use existing tool’ and a button for ‘change tool’ or something like that. The 'change tool ’ button could work the way it does now. The ‘use existing tool’ button could perhaps skip the extra homing and tool measurement cycle…

I would like to have an elapsed time field when the job is running.

It would also be nice to run the same job again with just setting a new zero point, to cut the same thing out of a different part of the stock, and not having to run through tool selection, tool measurement, etc…

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Steve, haven’t been following nomad development for very long, but are you sure the “double homing” isn’t just a Fast find, followed by a slower fine adjustment touch-off?

A lot of high-end CNC’s go in fast to get a rough estimate of where the tool is, and then crawl in to touch the sensor a second time to verify.

@wmoy, it is a true double-homing. You need to have a tool installed to Move Cutter and Set Zero during your setup. The home at the beginning of that is the first home. Then when you load a gcode to run, it homes all the axes again, prompts to insert the first tool, (re)measures the length and then runs the gcode. That is the second home.

Carbide Motion is just being really conservative and not assuming you are using the actual first (or only) tool for the gcode to do the initial axes zeroing. In all my years of using CNC I have never used a random tool to touch down on the rawstock so I echo 3DSteve’s request for a *use the tool you already measured" option.

I’d also like to be able to set the height that CM rapids down to during tool length measurement before it slows way down to probe the tool. It is very uncommon to have a 1/8" tool longer than 1.50", and at least half of that is up in the collet, so if the slowdown point was 1" above the probe it would be fine. But for people who use long-reach tools the current height would be appropriate.

I applaud the Nomad team for being proactively conservative in their settings, which shows they are taking account of the broad spectrum of users. But it would be nice to be able to tweak the settings for your individual working style.

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i would like a “go to zero” command within the move tool dialogue. This would allow me to quickly verify that zero is still where I think it is and that neither the stock or the nomad have come adrift. while z is tricky it could be go to zero x, zero y and +30 Z and I would still be happy.