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Software suggestions (Ground Control)

Having cut a few projects now, I am throwing out a few ideas that would be nice to see in Ground Control. Hope someone finds it useful.

First, some type of time estimation on the cut. I seem to keep getting in trouble of having 1 hour of free time and finding the cut actually takes longer. There is a % complete, but I am guessing that is not in time but in lines of gcode or something. I know some CAM programs have time estimates built in. Does anyone know if they match the real world on the Maslow? Even a stopwatch to measure how long an actual cut took would be nice, so you can get a sense for the next time you cut. Of course I could do this myself, but I don’t think about it til half way into the cut.

Second, It would be really neat to see the sled move, with the bit up and not cutting, to the bounds of the part you are cutting. Either following the perimeter, or the four corners of a box that contains the part, etc. This would help fitting the maximum number of separate cuts onto a sheet of plywood.

Third, some type of max. Z limit, like you would enter after zeroing. I am using a C-beam and accidentally drove it past its physical capability (somehow entered 2.0in instead of 0.2in for my safety height). Same could happen when using manual controls. But when zeroing a new bit it would be really quick to measure and say for example you want the max Z to be +1.5in.

Last, the scroll bars in the settings are really hard to use with a touch screen monitor. They are very narrow and you end up clicking a setting instead of scrolling. I think this can be adjusted in Windows settings also. The other screens, like number inputs, are fantastic for touch screens.

1 Like

I have been thinking about doing some of these too.

Completely agree and think this would be a very useful feature. Probably would need pre-processing the gcode file to work out the extents. Possibly make it optional before opening the file as it may slow things down. Might be tricky if relative and absolute positioning is being used interchangeably in the gcode.

Other pre-processing that could be done at same time:

  • If z-axis is disabled check if gcode can be cut using manual height adjustments. e.g. no boring, helical cuts.
  • If z-axis is disabled list number of height adjustments that will be needed.
  • Warn if gcode includes unsupported codes.

Yeah, this is very important for the stock z-axis kit as it can easily fail when pushed to extents. Could be done as additional calibration steps with UI to move Z up down and save measurements at Top, Bottom, and Zero. Might also be useful to save a default safe traverse height.

First, some type of time estimation on the cut. I seem to keep getting in trouble of having 1 hour of free time and finding the cut actually takes longer. There is a % complete, but I am guessing that is not in time but in lines of gcode or something. I know some CAM programs have time estimates built in. Does anyone know if they match the real world on the Maslow? Even a stopwatch to measure how long an actual cut took would be nice, so you can get a sense for the next time you cut. Of course I could do this myself, but I don’t think about it til half way into the cut.

this is harder to calculate than you think (but not impossible)

there are two issues

  1. movement
  2. time to process a line of g-code

and you have to take into account the actual speed of the machine, not just the
feed rate specified in the g-code (especially with the Z axis)

Second, It would be really neat to see the sled move, with the bit up and not cutting, to the bounds of the part you are cutting. Either following the perimeter, or the four corners of a box that contains the part, etc. This would help fitting the maximum number of separate cuts onto a sheet of plywood.

running the cutbox has been a common request

Third, some type of max. Z limit, like you would enter after zeroing.

This is a good idea

Last, the scroll bars in the settings are really hard to use with a touch screen monitor. They are very narrow and you end up clicking a setting instead of scrolling. I think this can be adjusted in Windows settings also. The other screens, like number inputs, are fantastic for touch screens.

take a look at webcontrol, there really isn’t anyone doing much
maintinance/development on groundcontrol, and it has dependency issues on newer
versions.

David Lang

there is already a setting for this, but it’s only used for homing

David Lang

My board management feature in webcontrol is intended to give this functionality (without you needing to run the gcode). It does require you to position the board in software…

Agree. both Max and Min make sense. The firmware already does x,y bound checking. Z bound checking could be added to firmware as well.

how does the board manager do it? Is that in the java code?

It’s in webcontrol (python)

I went digging and I think I found it… gcodefile.py -> updateGcodeFile(). I just want to plug in a max x, min x, max y, and min y coordinate flags that get set as the gcode is initially read to make the board picture and stored in the data object so I can poll those from the web socket.

Okay, sounds like I will have to read up on webcontrol.