Layer based tool selection

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Rusty Chrome
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Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:17 pm

Layer based tool selection

Post by Rusty Chrome » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:04 pm

First - the issue. We built a plasma tube cutting machine. It runs a 24 foot long tube per cut. The tube is fed to the torch as opposed to moving the torch. Since it cuts sequentially, that is it cuts then moves to the next until the whole tube has been processed, I have to mark the part between cuts. Right now, that means lots of layers, i.e. cut1, mark1, cut2, mark2, etc..

Makes for long process in setting up the drawings and the job.

My thoughts on how a solution could work: I could make my drawing with two layers, Cut and Mark. If you had an "all layers" option which would process all layers as though all elements were on the one layer, I could simply set up the plasma tool as normal and set the cut sequence as I need it to cut AND mark sequentially as required. The challenge now is changing from the torch to the scribe where required. If you could pass the layer info to the post processor, I could change the behavior based on the layer. For example, On pen down, if layer == mark, then offsetx and offsety and insert Mx into the code else do the normal code insertions.

I'm thinking simple workaround here as opposed to major code writing.

I also don't know if more goes on after the post processor which could render my thoughts impractical or impossible but being able to mark and cut large batches is becoming a major issue for me. Based on what I've been finding on the internet, a lot of guys are adding scribe functionality to their CNC's. Maybe there is more support for a more formal approach to easily embed a switch over between cut and mark.

RC

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Les Newell
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Post by Les Newell » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:11 am

That would be very difficult to implement. How would SheetCam know when to switch between the two layers?

Rusty Chrome
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Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:17 pm

Post by Rusty Chrome » Mon Dec 18, 2017 4:44 pm

In my mind, the post processor is called for every operation, cut a circle, a line, etc. That gives me the opportunity to handle a switch over in the post processor. So, when it calls the on pen down function, I could check what layer it is and if it is the "mark" layer, I would simply insert a different macro into the gcode which would trigger the plate marker instead of the plasma torch. From Sheetcam's perspective, it is still using the torch. For it to work though, Sheetcam would have to ignore layers and cut everything i.e. "All layers" option in the layer selection window and a layers variable be made accessible to the post processor.

BTW - thanks for the response.

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Les Newell
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Post by Les Newell » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:21 pm

The post itself is the least of the problems. The difficult bit is making sure the correct layers get output at the rigth time.

Rusty Chrome
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Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:17 pm

Post by Rusty Chrome » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:33 pm

I don't know your internal code structure and sometimes something like this can be simple. I figured I'd ask and see. This is only a benefit for tube because, as it is, we have to fully feed out the tube to mark it then retract it fully to start the cutting or add many operations. If you ever implement a way to mark a cut without having to add a separate operation I will be a big fan. I can think of a few ways to do it but I don't know your code so not much help I'm afraid.

Thanks for thinking about it

A little about me - I headed a college computer technology department housing robotics, process control, telecom, instrumentation, electronics and a few others. I also taught and coded in machine code, assembler, Fortran, Cobol, C, and others from 1987 to 2005. Started a metal products hobby shop after retiring from teaching which is now a family business. When I see useful code, part of me always wants to dive in.

R

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