Create/Motion UI Wish List

So our FRC team has been slowly getting up to speed on the Shapeoko over the past few months, and I’ve been keeping a list of the UI pain points we ran into. There are a lot of tiny tweaks that IMHO (as someone who’s been building software for 40+ years) would provide a lot of QoL bang for the buck.

These are in no particular order of priority. I hope they provide useful feedback.

Carbide Create

  • Can’t draw objects from corner to corner; suggest using SHIFT as a modifier when selecting object creation.

  • Can’t specify diameter instead of radius. Suggest popup in the dialog that lets you toggle this, and which remembers setting between uses.

  • Radius of polygons is defined as center to vertex. Unfortunately, a large fraction of the time, center to face midpoint is a lot more useful – for example, a hole that slides over hex shaft. And defining by face length would also be handy.

  • Can’t have multiple windows open at the same time (Mac). Can apparently do this on Windows.

  • When selecting an object/group that does not have a node at its geometric center, it would be nice if a temporary one was created. Same goes with nodes in the corners and middle of the edges.

  • Grouping objects that are in different layers moves them all into the same layer.

  • When mousing around, it would be very handy if it showed the current snapped coordinates as well as the exact mouse X,Y cursor position. Display as “From Left, From Bottom, From Right, From Top” to make it easier to click on locations that are symmetrical to other locations (ie: after we’ve put something at 2,1 from left, bottom, it will now be easier to put something at 2,1 from top, right). This will also make it easier to read the positions of objects by just snapping to the center.

  • Consider displaying bot/left/top/right/centerX,centerY values in the Info area – this would be very convenient, since right now, you have to select and Move to get this information.

  • Changing the radius of a circle and hitting TAB defocuses the radius field, leaves it showing whatever you entered, but does NOT change the value. Similarly, in rectangle creation, entering a new width and hitting tab correctly moves the focus to the height field, but does NOT change the width to the new value. Instead, you must hit RETURN/ENTER and then TAB. You can also hit TAB, enter a new value in height, and hit ENTER to accept both. As far as I know, this behavior is inconsistent with UI standards on both Mac and Windows. It appears to occur on every modeless dialog (one that doesn’t have an OK button to accept changes). Dialogs that have an OK button, like Pocket Toolpath, work properly with TAB (though you have to hit tab several times to get between value fields; TAB should skip UI entries that cannot be modified or clicked on).

  • Consider adding “Disable other toolpaths” / “Enable all toolpaths” options to popup. This will make it easier to hide things that are getting in the way when setting up a new toolpath. Ability to select multiple toolpaths and enable/disable would be nice too.

  • It would be nice to have a checkbox in the edit toolpath dialog that hides all the other toolpaths. This will make it easier to see and select the objects to be included in the toolpath.

  • Suggest defaulting the .nc filename to same as previous save of gcode for the file being currently edited; if first save since .c2d has been loaded, default to the filename of the .c2d (with suffix changed to .nc)

  • Consider defaulting the anchor to whatever the last anchor was (in Move, for example). 95% of the time, this will be what the user wants. For me, it’s almost always center, so I have to change the selection every time I do a move. The same goes for Align to Stock / Align to Last Selection in Align menu.

  • Offsets of simple objects (like circles and rectangles) can no longer be edited as objects (ie: have their size changed). Consider a special case for these kinds of offsets where they are created as duplicates of the underlying object(s) with size adjusted. Alternately, an option to convert objects in a selection to fully editable form if possible.

  • It would be really handy to be able to mirror with respect to a reference line.

  • When editing a toolpath, if simulation is being displayed, option to hide it should be available.

  • Ability to enter offsets in addition to absolute positions when using the Move tool would be very helpful. Alternatively, the ability to do simple math in numeric fields (ie: “1.00-.25”) would provide equivalent functionality and be generalizable to other tools.

Carbide Motion

  • Zero dialog has same TAB/ENTER issue as in Carbide Create. You can enter a new current position in X and Y, but if you hit TAB to move to the next field, this position is not saved; only ENTER updates the value. The result is that the dialog and the position status display now disagree.

  • Having a feature in the Zero dialog where you can enter the diameter/radius of a tool and then jog the currently focused X/Y/Z input field by this amount (by hitting the arrow keys, for example) would be a nice QoL touch. Alternately, maybe make the coarse movement amount be settable as a preference instead of 0.100; then we could set it to half the cutter diameter.

  • Ability to use BitZero on other corners would be very convenient.

  • Rapid Motion doesn’t need the DONE button. It should let you click on Jog to exit back to the Jog page (or get you to any of the other tabs). Ditto on some of the other suboptions.

  • If possible, a failure to probe (esp a probe Z that doesn’t detect a top) should not require a machine reinitialization.

  • In some circumstances, XYZ locations can be displayed as -0.000. 1’s-complement arithmetic? :slight_smile:

  • Note how the ability to do simple math in numeric fields (as mentioned in the Carbide Create notes) would make several common operations much easier. Often when doing tests I was offsetting the X or Y zero to before doing a test cut; currently this requires either external math or moving to 0,0 before entering the offset. Alternately, an easy way to offset the current xyz zero would be very helpful.

  • Move to 0,0 option in Set Zero would be nice since often you just want to offset it. Of course, if we could do math in the fields it wouldn’t be needed.

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Your #1 is probably mine too. Creating a rectangle from the center gets me every time. I’ve resolved to creating it from corner to corner, and then scaling it by 0.5. Of course, I then have to move it, but I get the size I want when I don’t really have a center point to work from.

I assumed this was because there was another value out past the last decimal that we just couldn’t see. i.e. -0.0004" showing as -0.000
It would be nice to see that last digit, and to be able to jog by 1 step as well (0.0004" on my machine).

Ah, that explanation of the -0.000 makes sense. Thanks.

You mentioned using the BitZero on other corners. which I agree it is a good step forward :slight_smile:
The BitZero is nice but so very limited. It assumes you have a corner and … :slight_smile:
I would really really like to see a 3rd option for custom ( old school V1 style would work, simple offsets ) IE I cut small pieces out of a long board. so I have a front edge only and a pencil mark. some time just 2 pencil marks. (zero offset ) I don’t expect C3D to make a plate that is right for every situation. But at least if there was a custom option, those of us that don’t fit the mold might have a chance to use the feature. It just seems a shame that it is an all or nothing solution.

And on the topic of Zero setup, I remember a discussion to be able to add a note into the .nc file. I believe there was talk about a setup note. Things like which corner to use and top of work or base, Maybe stock size … I know for myself, only the NC files are in my shop, I have to go back to the office to find the setup info. I can never remember the thickness of the stock I need to prep. :slight_smile: (256 Char)

Hope that helps

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Both my Bitzero v1 and BitZero v2 are always off by a fixed amount (different for each).

It would be great to be able to specify an correction value to make them more accurate. Given the v2 is plastic screwed onto aluminium, it’s not surprising it needs something to help with calibration.

I would also like a BitZero v2 conductivity probe for Z for smaller metallic objects that the BitZero is too large to fit on and not wobble. In this mode, you tip the BitZero v2 on its side so the edge is in contact with the top of the metallic object. Then you can probe directly on to the metal’s surface.

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Good point. I forgot to include extending the BitZero to work with metallic objects. My thinking was to have a sensing mode where the BitZero was just touching the object somewhere, and then you could sense X/Y/Z off the object and offset by half the tool diameter in the case of X and Y. And maybe on the v3 there could be a jack for an external probe point?

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