I have some recommendations and glitch reporting for Carbide Motion, using Build 513 on a Mac:
First, sometimes when starting up and pressing “Connect to Cutter”, my 2.2kw spindle and vacuum turn on for a second or so. I use an IOT relay for the vacuum and my HY VFD for the spindle. Both are receiving input from the Shapeoko control board via the PWM/GND pins typically used for this application. I understand that these are not supported peripherals, but it is definitely a common use and the momentary “run” signal when connecting to the cutter could be a safety issue if someone or something was too close to the spindle as it turned on in that strange situation. I’m not sure if the voltage of this signal is inconsistent, because it doesn’t happen every time, but it definitely happens.
Secondly, I find it very difficult to switch between using the Bit Setter and not using it. When I do production runs of some of the items I sell, I prefer to the turn the Bit Setter off because it’s unnecessary to successful operation and therefore wastes some time and introduces a possible variable of inaccuracy. If I go from using it, to not using it, I first uncheck the Bit Setter Enabled box on the Settings tab. Then I zero my machine with the correct bit installed and press Start Job. The spindle navigates to the correct plunge location, spins up to speed, and instead of plunging, the Z carriage travels up, reaches the physical limit and then skips steps. During this phenomenon, you can watch the Z value decreasing on the screen as if it were appropriately plunging into the stock. I use an HDZ and I believe that this is an error in Z motor spin direction following the disabling of the Bit Setter. Once securing power to the machine and starting back up again, I reset my Z-zero (not sure that’s absolutely necessary, but I do it anyways) and then it functions and runs jobs just as it’s supposed to. I have tried all kinds of power cycling, reinitializing, and everything possible after unchecking the Bit Setter Enable box and before running the job, but it still insists on traveling the wrong direction the first time, every time. I contacted Support about this several months ago and was told that they would look into it, and that in the time being, I was most likely in a very small minority, if not the only person, who enables and disables the Bit Setter periodically as I use the machine. Otherwise I have not heard back on resolution or seen an update to Carbide Motion that corrects this issue.
So now for the recommendation that isn’t the result of a glitch… Because I do production runs and have a good bit of experience with my machine, I find that there are alot of button clicks required to start a job. I have spindle control and, as described above, often disable my Bit Setter because the only thing changing during the course of several jobs is the material that I pop into the clamping jigs I’ve made. Yet, when I click “Start Job”, I then have to click “Start”, wait a few seconds (or more if traveling front and center with the Bit Setter) for it to tell me about a tool change required (not required, but I get the point of the message), then I press “Resume”. While my view of how many button clicks is “alot” is subjective, I would really appreciate the ability to opt-out of pop up displays and extra button clicks. My suggestion to this would be to add a checkbox on the Job Info screen that, if checked, would allow the “Start Job” button to be the only obstacle before starting the job. The check box would remain clicked for future jobs until unclicked. Also, to minimize confusion to newer CNC operators, the ability to even display this check box could be an option in itself on the Settings tab.
I hope that these recommendations do not come across as gripes. I love my Shapeoko XXL, the software provided with it, and the amazing support provided by Carbide3D. I just can’t let these ideas fester in my head when I know that there are consistent efforts made by Carbide3D to resolve and improve, yet you can’t fix what you don’t know about.