A Really Good "Trick"

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A Really Good "Trick"

Postby TReischl » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:08 pm

Lots of people buying CNC machines these days. Which is great!

Sometimes I am not a very nice person. I stopped the other day at a popular national chain woodworking store that sells cnc machines. So there I am nosing around the machine, checking it out. Over comes Joe Salesguy. As we were talking I asked him if a person needed to understand G Code. He said very authoritatively "Oh, no, that is all done by the software, no need to understand it at all." So then I asked him what does a person do if there is a problem? "Just call tech support, they will sort it out for you." Then I asked him if he ever read any of the on line forums concerning CNC routing. "No."

I told him maybe he should and he would not be so quick and so glib with his answers. Explained nicely to him that if a person has no clue as to be able to basically understand the g code then they a very difficult time sorting out problems. Machine cuts too deep? MUST be the software! Machine does crazy things like run off the side of the workpiece? MUST be the software. That is because no one can SEE what the software is doing so it must be guilty.

So, my great tip is: Learn to read some G Code. No, you do not have to be able to write a program from scratch but you should be able to understand that Z-0.250 means the cutter is going to cut .25 deep. Makes figuring out a problem much easier. If the code is correct and the machine is cutting an inch deep then there is a problem with the machine so you do not have to waste your time asking about software on a forum.

I like to think of this as someone driving a car and not knowing what that needle pointing at all those numbers means. Or understanding that the little needle with F and E on it is actually important for continued pleasurable driving. Or better yet, wondering why the car does not move and what do those letters PRNDL mean anyhow?
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Re: A Really Good "Trick"

Postby Rcnewcomb » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:59 pm

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- Arthur C Clarke
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Re: A Really Good "Trick"

Postby TReischl » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:33 am

LOL, Randy!

Back in the way back days I swear people thought there was a little man running around inside the computer doing things they did not know about. THE COMPUTER did this, THE COMPUTER did that, THE COMPUTER. . . .no, how about YOU keep pushing keys and clicking that you have no idea about because YOU think YOU are too important to read the silly instructions. YOU do not have the time to do that, but YOU seem to have a lot of time to sit and whine about how the computer does not work right.

I was training a guy in the mid 80's and he had me frustrated with his constant clicking all over the place. I finally told him "If you click one more time when I have not told you to click I will kill you and catch the next flight out of here." That got his attention. LOL.
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Re: A Really Good "Trick"

Postby fixtureman » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:03 pm

A wise man once said a computer was the dumbest machine there is it can't do anything without human input
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Re: A Really Good "Trick"

Postby garylmast » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:24 pm

Back in the way back days I swear people thought there was a little man running around inside the computer doing things they did not know about.


There's not? :roll: :roll: :roll:

Just kidding, I know they're really aliens.

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Re: A Really Good "Trick"

Postby rtibbs2018 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:29 pm

Come on TReischi, don’t you know that we live in an instant gratification society :mrgreen: I think you’re being a little hard on us. I too wrote code for machine controls in a past life however today I don’t care to dig deep the code any longer so I guess I’ll continue to post dumb (In your opinion) questions here on the forum.
Oh yes, I do occasionally talk to my computer!
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Re: A Really Good "Trick"

Postby WNC_Ed » Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:19 pm

Learn "G" Code?
But, I am still looking for the "ANY" key on my keyboard... :lol:
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Re: A Really Good "Trick"

Postby TReischl » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:17 am

rtibbs2018 wrote:..... I guess I’ll continue to post dumb (In your opinion) questions here on the forum.
Oh yes, I do occasionally talk to my computer!


Whatever gave you the idea you were posting dumb questions?

BTW, it is NOT my opinion that people post dumb questions, that is what YOU think I think. A little projection maybe?

If I thought the questions on here were dumb I would not waste my time trying to help answer them.
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Re: A Really Good "Trick"

Postby Xxray » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:07 am

Never learned to read gcode myself but yeah, easy to see how it could come in handy, especially diagnosing problems.
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Re: A Really Good "Trick"

Postby TReischl » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:29 am

Here is the deal Doug: you really do not have to "read" gcode. Just understand a few simple things about it, most of which you already know. Fer instance time.

Fer instance, machine is diving for china. What gives?

We all know that if we zero to the spoilboard all the cutting moves are negative moves.

We know that if we told it to cut .25 the biggest Z- move should be Z-0.25. Simple enough.

So all a person has to do is open the gcode file in Notepad or some such and take a look at the Z- values as they scroll by. If there are any greater than -.25, time to take a look at what was entered in the vectric software. If the entry was correct then it is a software problem.

What throws folks for a loop is all that stuff in the header lines. Gobblydegook to most people. If a person has been running a machine a while with no problems then the chances of that stuff causing a problem are about zippity doo dah. BTW, most of that stuff is there to put the machine into a known state which is usually the same state it was in when it powered up. On my posts almost all of that stuff is gone. I do not use tool diameter compensation, so there is no need for a call to set it, I have never run in incremental mode in 45 years, etc.

It is a rare week on this forum when there are not a couple of questions like "My Z is cutting way too deep, what is wrong?"
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Re: A Really Good "Trick"

Postby newmexico » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:00 pm

In an effort to add to the concept of "A REALLY GOOD TRICK," here's ours'...

Vectors!
Learn all about the Vector world. It is one of the cornerstones to the foundation of the CNC world.
Paths, offset paths, open paths, closed paths, nodes, line weights, overlaps, joining vectors, etc... Understanding Vectors can be profitable to today's CNC operator.

For example, learning how to clean up a piece of vector artwork and remove unnecessary nodes can shorten the cut time. (A circle only needs 4 nodes, not thousands.)

We see almost 50% of the questions on this forum relating to Vectors. Hmmm...?
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Re: A Really Good "Trick"

Postby Leo » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:47 pm

I guess I can be called a CNC programmer. BEEN THERE DONE THAT!!

I know G-code pretty well and don't need CAM to make stuff on a CNC machine.

BUT - BUT

MAN - that CAM surely IS really nice to have.

It is my understand that as industry has - is - moving to a more CAM based industry, that G-code is not a critical thing to know. As long as there is maybe one person around that knows some G-Code to help out from time to time ALL is WELL.

With that said - I am glad that I am well versed in G-code. At work I still use it all day every day. At home I use it ocassionally. Vectric is just SOOOOO doggone good at posting it, I really don't need to edit anything.

Ocasionally I will edit a g-code program from vectric BUT that is maybe 1-2% of the time, and mostly just for convience to move a tool out of the way at the end of the program

I wrote 1-3 g-code programs at home from scratch, just because I wanted something very specific and vectric was too cumbersome for what I wanted. One of the programs is on my youtube channel showing the accuracy of my machine.

Personally, I think those of us that know the g-code in here are those few that help those that don't know it. It's just our lot in life. I am OK with that.

On the other hand, learning vectors and node editing is essential

A circle can be made with TWO nodes
Imagine the Possibilities of a Creative mind

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Re: A Really Good "Trick"

Postby TReischl » Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:29 pm

Leo wrote:..... G-code is not a critical thing to know. As long as there is maybe one person around that knows some G-Code to help out from time to time ALL is WELL.....

.


And if that person is a one man shop. . . . .

I have done a few "manual" programs in the last 12 years. One was for threading small round boxes and lids. I wanted to lead with one edge of the cutter not plunge as every threading program I have seen does. Wrote that using variables so I could fine tune the pitch diameters.

Also have one that I use for doing tenons on the end of rails. It spirals in rather than profile, move, provile, move, profile. It is much faster and puts nice rounded corners on the tenon.

But other than that? Nah. But it sure is nice to know some gcode when something goes south just to make sure it is not the software.
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Re: A Really Good "Trick"

Postby Tailmaker » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:56 am

Understanding some g-code essentials can help troubleshooting problems. Actually "writing" g-code does not make much sense nowadays except for educational purpose.
I sell some specialty CAM software that creates g-code and I must admit every time I do a new project I have to go back and read up on the details beyond G0, G1, G2 etc. But that is O.K. if I have to do that only every few months.
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Re: A Really Good "Trick"

Postby Savannahdan » Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:47 pm

I'm one of those that hasn't learned g-code, yet. I spent the first few years of my cnc experience using a machine that had controller problems and fighting with their "tech support" folks (whenever I would get a response from them). I have to admit that even when I made the change in machines I failed to get the setup proper and that includes proper grounding. Since I didn't have a properly functioning machine I spent a lot of time developing projects that "I'll get around to them, someday." Now I have no excuse and need to get about learning g-code or at least getting an understanding of it. I also recommend folks take time to analyze their situation (problems) to see if they can fix it themselves. This makes us more proficient with using our machines and a lot less dependent on that tech support. Interestingly, I haven't had to contact tech support for my current machine and I think a lot of that rests on me having to fend for myself. Forums (Vectric and machine specific) are great sources of information and help a lot of us muddle through this.
Thanks for the tip Ted.
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