My new software (Getting there!)

This is my new software so far:
It can send files, but I plan on adding an override to allow for speed adjustments on the fly soon…

It currently can carve boxes without editing anything in a CAD software:

It will soon do helical drilling arrays, x, y or both maybe even diagonal soon.
It has 2 kill options, and pause and resume option. Plus it has a log and you can type gcode in directly:

All Jog functions, homing and resetting 0 options work. Soon adding the control for joystick and mapping.
Already added new tool selection / editing for simple tool definitions:

It determines if it’s a valid tool by checking if the fields are numbers etc. If it is not valid it will remain read and un-selectable from various menu’s automatically.

Aside from drilling, and Circles, maybe even polygons, any features you would be interested in? This allowsyou to on the fly re-surface or carve out boxes, circles and on the fly drill arrays by simply using the current machine’s positions to define points.

I plan to add laser type options as well an 3d printer options soon as well.

Any further suggestions that may make this a more usable software?

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I think just getting a version out that is stable would be great. If you can get half of these features stable then you will be ahead of what I’ve seen so far. People are much more likely to realize what they really want after they are using the software. At that point you will probably get a bunch of complaining and demanding of new features. That’s just human nature :wink: Simple is good to start. Although, I know there’s a certain high that comes from working on making something perfect compared to working through final implementation which isn’t fun at all.

I hope you are able to get this running. It looks like it could be really good if it doesn’t get too complex. Many of the 3D printer slicer software have buttons for “Beginner” “intermediate” “expert”. Beginner hides all of the functions that a beginner is likely to screw up but doesn’t really need. Its their way of trying to make the software work for everyone. After 6 years of working through 6 different 3D printers I pretty much only use one now and it doesn’t allow many user settings (about 10% or less compared to everything else out) but the printer puts out nearly perfect prints every time. They are one of the most popular brands now and are gaining share in the commercial printer world because the software and hardware are so simple, cheap and reliable they are a much better alternative than printers costing 10x as much.

IMO reliable is more important than lots of features. I can’t wait to see where you land on this though!

I’d lose the extra adjectives (Fast this-and-that) when they don’t differentiate between a normal (non-fast) mode.

Missing an a in ToolParmeters

I would suggest tweaking the spacing around the jog buttons to make it more regular, and move the Units control down to one side or other of the Rapid Go To line, or give it its own line below, since there’s the vertical space for that.

The big features which I want to see in comm / control programs:

  • scalable user interface — it should adapt nicely and neatly to whatever screen size, or window it’s in
  • configurable user interface — only the basic features should be shown by default, others can be disclosed or shown at need (please don’t do the beginner/intermediate/expert thing — it’s ugly and kind of insulting to my mind. Design your user interface so that it works well for beginners, but people can disclose / use additional features at need
  • option to re-zero (G92) at current machine position and re-run a loaded file — I’ll do that for things such as making countersinks, or cutting additional parts in scrap.
  • cut preview — this needs to be a separate, lower priority window / process

Quick update.
So far so good:

Macro’s are working, Slots, Circles, Boxes and Probe are all functioning at this point. I am working on the Drill with peck and helical drilling operation options. And after that is completed, I will be adding an ARRAY option so you could array any of them. Just enter # of rows and # of columns and the offset X and Offset Y and it should do slots, drill holes, cut pockets and boxes and circles in the array.

It’s fairly stable so far. It pushes memory from the log to disk periodically to maintain a minimum memory footprint. And I find myself using it more then the other software now.

Each option generates the G-Code and you can send now, or save it off.

Also added a converter window:

Drill and Array functions.
Tidy up error handling (Make it user readable)
Build a G-Code pre-processor which will allow for quickly changing the speed of the cut during the file send function!
Also want to be able to check for fast plunges and total width, height and length before sending the file.

Would like eventually to build a display showing what actually will happen (simulator like) -This is almost it’s own program though.

I have to give the CAM and 3D slicer people props. The amount of math involved in graphing is not simple, I can see why Carbide Motion doesn’t support these features!

This looks really awesome. When you get it done, if you want some testers, give me a shot at it. I have been testing UGC, Carbide Motion, bCNC ande even playing around with Chilipeppr. All of them have their pluses but it looks like you got them all in your code. You may be my newest hero when you release it

Which one of those three do you like the best? I think Carbide Motion still has a ways to go before its ready.


Looks pretty. What are you coding in / what platforms will you support?

Over the years I have spent a lot of money on schematic/pcb/other cad related software, and I have yet to find anything I felt was truly intuitive and effective with a tolerable learning curve. I sincerely wish you great success in being the first.

In the meantime, I am open to suggestions as to what I should use while waiting, the Carbide software just isn’t there yet.

I have had alot of problems with Carbide Motion. I used UGC for several days testing it and never could get it to stop a job in progress. Overall it does a good job but dont like it nearly as well as bCNC. I have found it much more intuitive and the fact that you can change your step distance in many steps give you more control. I still have to do some more testing but bCNC is the top of the list. The only downside I have found, and it may just be my ignorance, is it will not address my home network where I store my CNC files. It seems to only access your local drive. However that can be worked around by copying files from the network to your local drive before cutting them out.

I was hoping Mach 4 would work with the Shapeoko but they are not currently supporting it it seems. It will not talk to it at all. And of course Mach 3 without a parallel port doesnt work either.

I would encourage people to try out all UGC and bCNC for themselves.

Thanks. …

The main issue I have with Carbide motion is: It keeps doing unexpected things!
The other issue with it is, it lacks lots of options/ features.
Don’t get me wrong it works ok for sending a file. But without homing switches it always wants to mess up my machine!
The lack of documentation on how to use it is also an issue. I may be doing something wrong but no where have I found the right way to use the software. If the machine is on and I disconnect / reconnect the usb, I can’t figure out why when I try to jog the machine it starts going crazy and hitting the ends! I want to Jog to 0 then set 0 where it’s supposed to be no?

Anyways. My software is offering multiple stop points now. I can use a number pad to control pretty much most of what I need to do now. I am working on a mapping screen now, but as it stands I can use the number pad to move the machine, and set 4 stop points plus a toggle for the G92 command… I can increase and decrease the increments of the jog as well all on an external usb (cheap) number pad as a controller!

Yeah, w/ a little creativity, one can get a reasonable number of functions out of a numeric keypad.

I’d still like to see a simple, non-web-based app which could allow one to jog Grbl using a jog wheel such as the Contour Design ShuttleXpress.