Carbide Motion problems and bugs (Nomad 3)

I recently finally found some time to work with my Nomad 3, and while overall the results were great, it seemed to me like Carbide Motion could really use some improvements:

  1. Tool change problem: when using a long tool and tall stock, it is impossible to change the tool, because Carbide Motion stops the spindle over the workpiece, and there is not enough Z clearance. I think this is quite possibly the worst possible place for a tool change (even with shorter tools I managed to nick my workpiece several times), and at the very least I would like to have a preference of where to go for tool changes (SE corner?). This problem means that I have to manually split my jobs into several parts, which quickly gets old when you’re doing two-sided milling with multiple tool changes.

  2. When stuck in one of those situations I tried selecting the left button on the dialog that pops up when a tool change is requested (I think it says “remain paused”?). The result was a completely unresponsive machine, where I couldn’t do anything (e.g. I couldn’t jog) and had to eventually quit and restart Carbide Motion. This happened twice. I think it could be related to the door sensor, it seemed like it didn’t quite notice that I placed the magnetic key and remained stuck.

  3. I am not quite sure what the “remain paused” button is supposed to do, but what I would expect is the ability to jog, replace the tool once the spindle is in a reasonable position, and then resume the job. Why can’t we do that?

  4. The jog buttons do not work well, at least on a Mac. I often click a button only to see it remain depressed, my spindle going somewhere I do not want it to go. And yes, I know this will sound crazy, but I’m fairly certain that recently I clicked on “Z up”, but the tool went “Z down” and got stuck in that mode, crashing 20mm into my stock. There is something wonky with those buttons. I now tend to avoid “fast” mode as much as I can, and approach these buttons with a lot of suspicion.

  5. Please do not make CM totally panic when a limit switch gets activated, or use a software limit for the Z axis. It is frustrating to finish a long careful zeroing session only to lift the spindle a bit too much afterwards, hit the limit switch, and have CM panic, needing to re-initialize the machine. I now try to remember to be extra careful when lifting after zeroing, but every once in a while I’ll forget, or get bitten by the “stuck Z up button” problem described above.

  6. I managed to end up in a state where a job was started, but Carbide Motion remained in the initial screen. This means that I had no control over the job: could not pause/stop, could not modify the feed rate. Still, the job was running, so I left it running and it completed without my intervention. I think this is something that should never happen. I no longer remember how I got there, but I seem to remember there being an unreasonable number of tool measuring cycles (3? 4?) just before it happened. Carbide Motion is always overly aggressive about measuring the tool length, but I recall that this was over the top even for CM.

I know that these are not nice easily reproducible bug reports, but please do not discard them altogether — for example, a good question to ask for the last problem would be “how could we ever end up in that state?” or “how could we detect that we are in that state and abort immediately?”.

I use Fusion 360 with the “Carbide3D (Grbl)” postprocessor. It seems to be set up for tool changes, as I’m happily changing tools most of the time :slight_smile:

Problem #5 as described happens to me during manual jogging (although now that I think of it the reaction when a limit switch is hit during a job is the same: abort the job, needing to re-initialize the machine).

  1. Tool change location is hard coded into Carbide Motion, @WillAdams. Nothing to do with post processor.

  2. The on screen UI has never been perfect because of how clicks are interpretted. Try using keyboard controls. WASD for XY jog, comma & period for Z.

  3. That should be a GRBL setting, it’s because hard limits are enabled.

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