Editing G-Code File

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Peter Stenabaugh
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Editing G-Code File

Post by Peter Stenabaugh »

I have a product request to suggest that would be great to have added.

After having calculated a tool path in Aspire, it would be nice to have a button to select that would open up that text file for potential editing - without exiting Aspire. In many instances I create a g-code file that usually ends up being edited for brevity or other minor changes that cannot be accomplished when creating the main tool path. For example I quite often want to delete the first couple of passes on a pocketing tool path to prevent cutting air, so I do that outside of Aspire. There are also many instances within most all g-code files where there is a lot of wasted time where the cutter rapids up, moves a small distance, then down again to continue cutting, which is not always necessary. In these instances the cutter could just rapid to next location and then continue. So for files that will be used to machine multiple parts, in the interest of reducing machine time, I will edit these files to remove most of these time wasting blocks. The issue that arises is that it is then impossible to view the edited tool path in Aspire since there is no option to be able to load an existing tool path.

It would be great to be able to edit the just created tool path in such a manner, then close it and have Aspire display the newly edited tool path using the 'Preview Tool Path' feature. This feature would allow us users to customize the tool path to suit our individual needs and then be able to view the results to see if we have achieved the results we need.

In addition to having this editing feature, another minor revision that would be nice to have when previewing tool paths, is the ability to advance one block at a time, this way it would be simple to see if the editing changes the user has just made to the tool path are correct, or if you might have sent the cutter to some undesirable location by mistake.

These 2 feature additions would give us a great ability to fine tune the tool paths.

Thanks for your fantastic software, it is so cool.

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Re: EDITING G-CODE FILE

Post by mtylerfl »

Hi Peter,

I suggest you copy/paste your request into an email to support@vectric.com

The forum is not ideal for software feature requests. Emailing direct to Vectric is the best method. The Support Department will forward your request to the Development Team.
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Re: EDITING G-CODE FILE

Post by Adrian »

What do you mean by "one block at a time"? When previewing complex toolpaths I often use the Single Step and Run to Retract options. Have you tried those?

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IslaWW
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Re: Editing G-Code File

Post by IslaWW »

If your initial passes are cutting air, use a start depth when you pocket
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Re: Editing G-Code File

Post by dealguy11 »

Interesting ideas but the last couple (previewing modified code and advancing a code block at a time) seem difficult given how the Vectric products treat g-code. When you run a preview, Aspire is not actually previewing the g-code. It's previewing an internal representation of machine movement that is specific to Aspire. When you save the g-code, Aspire's post-processor converts this internal representation into the specific g-code for your machine using rules in the post-processor file. If you change a block of the g-code produced for a particular machine, Aspire has no way to backplot that into something that Aspire understands....that would require a sort of "un-post-processor" and the logic would need to be extremely complicated to handle whatever changes (or errors!) you introduce into the g-code during editing. In addition, some of the code that may be produced by the post-processor (for example, header blocks) are completely user/manufacturer created and are so specific to the machine that there is no way Aspire could model different behavior with changes to them.
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Re: Editing G-Code File

Post by LittleGreyMan »

I'll second Gary and Steve.

There are CAM programs that allow suppressing parts of the toolpath, but it's done within the app, generally using a graphic selection. These parts are deleted from the internal representation. So the simulation takes these modifications into account. Machine code (g-code or whatever you use) is post-processed after these operations.

I never needed it within an Aspire project, but used it with other programs and other kind of job. Good idea, even if I wouldn't put it on the top of the wish list.
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Re: Editing G-Code File

Post by Leo »

I am very fluent in G-Code as that is what I do for a living.

I find editing the Vectric program is 99.9% unnecessary. If using Vectric and the features in vectric to it's full potential, then G-Code editing is nearly totally unnecessary.

Of course the control one has with cleaver G-Coding one code at a time is something CAM can rarely compete with.

I find most of the CAM packages I have worked with are configurable to output 95% of what I want.

The example of pocketing can be addressed easily within the pocketing routine in Vectric.
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Re: Editing G-Code File

Post by dealguy11 »

+1 to Leo's comment. I use Aspire day-in day-out to run production jobs. I don't touch the g-code -- ever. Nearly anything I want to accomplish can be done within Aspire, although sometimes with a little thought. My belief, from years of programming, is that the ability to modify code by hand (when a reliable automated method exists) = the ability to create time-wasting errors. Any machine time I save is generally wiped out by the time required to code, verify and fix the hand-coded blocks.
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Re: Editing G-Code File

Post by LittleGreyMan »

+1

The feature I mentioned (deleting a part of a toolpath) if often a handy way to avoid defining complex limits for machining.

The only useful reason for modifying g-code is optimizing cutting time when you are manufacturing *a lot* of identical parts.
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Peter Stenabaugh
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Re: Editing G-Code File

Post by Peter Stenabaugh »

All good comments guys. What I was getting at was to have the ability to manually tweak the machine code to optimize the tool path, to save run time. I agree that the machine code that Vectric generates is rock solid, but it is just that it would be nice to be able to optimize it within Aspire - where we have the tool path preview ability. I know this would require some work on their behalf but it would be nice to have.

I have also, many times just used a code file as generated by Aspire rather than spend the time to optimize it for the same reasons you guys have pointed out. But I also have spent many hours machining duplicate parts and ended up tweaking the file within Mach 3 as I went along to reduce run times. It worked but I was doing dozens of similar parts. But you sure have to be careful once you start that as it's pretty easy to really mess stuff up. I have had some hard learning curves along the way.

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Re: Editing G-Code File

Post by Leo »

Again, I have spend many years writing G-code in an industrial environment including automotive manufacturing, where a few seconds means serious money. I fully understand your concern.

My guess is that the majority of Vectric users have no idea at all how to optimize G-code, or even know how to read it. For Vectric to develop such a feature, that also reads to g-code and displays the edits is something that few CAM users - in this arena - would use. I would rather see Vectric spend more effort into something more useful to more users.

Personally, I would like to see more development into "real" full rotary axis programming.

I fine notepad to do what I need on G-Code editing.

There is something else out there. I don't know if you can get is as a stand alone package but CIMCO Edit 8.0 is a great G-Code Editor with some feedback from G-code. http://www.cimco.com/download/public/

By the way - most CAM previewers do not preview the G-Code - they preview the graphics, or the code generated by the CAM - not the G-code. VeraCUT does in fact read the G-Code and display the G-Gode directly >> BUT -- that is 10's of thousands of dollars.
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Peter Stenabaugh
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Re: Editing G-Code File

Post by Peter Stenabaugh »

I agree with your idea about asking Vectric to spend time on developing full rotary machining. That would be nice to have. It would save some time in machining and ultimately produce better results.

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Re: Editing G-Code File

Post by IslaWW »

A few numbers regarding rotary axes: Around 5% or less of Vectric owners have rotary's. About 25% of them have been able to use the included gadgets to produce a few projects, the rest have found that rotary work is difficult and give up.

Prior to the introduction of these gadgets the number was closer to 10% in use, 90% gave up. (these apply to the 5% not the whole)

The vast majority of rotary axes, especially the OEM versions have been designed for length machining on the axial centerline. Most do not have the torque to hold position or provide accurate motion when machining off center.

As much as those of us that understand and enjoy rotary work would love to see software enhancements, in the end, the user numbers are such a small portion of the userbase it would be difficult to justify the development costs. Add to this the fact that the Vectric top down pixel depth based program requires the bit to be perpendicular to the surface... oh yea...complete rewrite of the software.

What type of parts or products can you not cut on your rotary axis?
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Peter Stenabaugh
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Re: Editing G-Code File

Post by Peter Stenabaugh »

I have a small light duty Chinese rotary setup now (4" chuck) but I haven't bothered to use it for rotary work, mostly because it didn't do what I wanted so I have just steered away from that stuff. It's all setup ready to go but I just haven's had much need. However I also have machined the components years ago to allow me to attach a stepper to my 10" rotary table and I am about to revisit that setup to attach a new Nema 23 motor instead of the current Nema 34 setup. I happen to have a 575 Nema 23 that will work nicely. I have an upcoming need to do some very basic rotary work so I have decided to get the heavy duty table into play. That will allow me to do some heavier machining on my mill.

One project I wanted to tackle was to make a set of large salt and pepper mills and do some rotary engraving on the outside. But the issue with the rotary table is the backlash in the system, so I'll have to see if Mach 3 will compensate for that to eliminate the problem.

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Re: Editing G-Code File

Post by Leo »

For Rotary axis stuff on a CNC router, I would not expect to see a significant percentage of users actually doing a lot of rotary work. Heck, for that matter, even in the industries I have worked in, only a small percentage of VMC work is rotary. HMC's are far more efficient at rotary work.

A lot can be achieved on rotary axis using it as an indexer and multi sided machining. Then again, fixturing without an indexer can do the same thing.

My comment earlier was simply that Vectric's efforts can be put to better use for features that benefit the population more. For "me" - I would like to see more full rotary axis ability, but, I can well work within my means, and the rotary stuff is not a show stopper.

I agree - the rotary axis's available for hobby machines likely don't have a brake and not well suited for much past center with a cutting tool.
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