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Thread: Post Processor Modification

  1. #61
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Marquette, MI
    Posts
    3,365

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    Brian...
    Please understand that I was not questioning ShopBot's commitment to education. I was referring to your defense of that position. SB is to be commended for their commitment to educators. A natural thing, as most of the company principals, as I know of them, had their roots in academia. Sadly not more CNC mfgr's devote as much effort to education.

    I agree with getting Handybot to kids as early as possible. Your comments about being successful with the elementary level make sense. I would propose "Little Tykes" brand recognition evolved into a science project. (Sorry, had to do that!)

    You have, as most SB employees do, have the ability to recognize shortcomings. Both personally and those of the company. It seems that is universal among all the SB employees I have known, with 1 exception. It is an admirable trait. That said, don't you think that the ability to take charge and fix some of that **** would be desirable too?

    A quote from Mr. Einstein:
    "
    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." Think about it, …..please
    Gary Campbell
    CNC Training & Technology
    GCnC411(at)gmail(dot)com
    The Ultimate Woodworking Machine
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Islaww1


    "We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them"
    Albert Einstein


  2. #62
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Durham NC
    Posts
    19

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    Gary,

    I'd say that the last three years for me personally have been one long exercise in recognizing my and my product's shortcomings--from trying to manage people and production schedules to quality control and support to documentation and software issues--so I'm coming back to ShopBot in the right frame of mind to be honest with myself. Around me here, I see a group of young guys like Tom who are ready to take charge and fix shit -- and they're starting to get traction as they get experience. We should do a better job discussing some of the stuff we're doing with the crowd on here--I'll encourage other people to do so--and in a thread with a more interesting title than "post processor modification"

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,265

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    If only Shopbot would put enough memory on the controller to just send the job to it and then let it run from there.

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Durham NC
    Posts
    19

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    That’s exactly how it works on the handibot right now. You send the job and once it is started you could turn off your laptop, pack up and go home and the tool would still be able to run the job. The connection issues that we’ve had there are the result of some poor choices on hardware, relying on a WiFi connection to send files and talk to the tool. There is the option for a hard-wired connection over an Ethernet cable to the tool and that is likely how it will be used on any tool other than a handibot.
    For the handibot I’m making a small computer that will stay with the tool like a control pendant—just so that a computer with Ethernet port is not required to run the tool.

  5. #65
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    78

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    As the originator of this thread, I have watched and watched the posts hoping that there would be a solution for the ever present communication issues. I don't even see a light at the end of the tunnel.

    I have never been bashful about sharing my opinion of the PRSAlpha I purchased in 2014. Read some of my posts if you're interested. I made my purchase, thinking I was getting a great machine, and then reality set in when not one, but three machines had to be shipped to me in order to receive one undamaged functional machine. It's working, most of the time, not because of shopbot support (which was usually unavailable when I called during working hours), but because of my own tenacity to problem solve and the assistance of a few people on this forum. I'm an engineer, over 30 years experience in the aerospace industry designing and developing state of the art weapon systems. I understand design, development, early production, user feedback, production and on-going production support of high-tech electronics and systems which are highly reliable. Most of that doesn't appear to happen at ShopBot.

    The view that users of the HandiBot are the ones that will educate you as to what users, current owners, potential owners want, need or desire is ill-fated. If you want to sell only hobby level machines, keep believing that. As has been written multiple times in the thread, reliability of the machine/controller communication is the number one issue. There are others, but why spend any time solving them if you can't solve Issue Number 1?

    If I could sell my current machine and recover even 50% of what I spent I would do that and move on, but I can't. So my question is....can anyone at ShopBot, in a position for their opinion to be meaningful, state when a reliable replacement for our unreliable controllers be designed, reliability tested, beta user tested and available for purchase at an affordable price? Not we're trying, we're planning, we're blah, blah, blah. Tell me a date.

    If ShopBot can't answer this question, then the answer is plainly clear to me as to what the future is for these blue machines that come in a box.
    Jim

    96 x 60 PRSalpha, 5HP Colombo spindle, Custom indexer, Custom vacuum table, Custom Fire Extinguishing System

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Memphis TN
    Posts
    609

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    >> If I could sell my current machine and recover even 50% of what I spent I would do that and move on, but I can't.

    It's silly to let a few thousand dollars stand between you and happiness. Dump the machine if you hate it that much. You're never going to get 50% of what you paid for a five year old highly customized machine no matter what the condition. Put it up for sale and get rid of it and move on. You'll feel better. Isn't reducing your anxiety, anger and frustration level worth a few grand?

    I had a similar frustration with a supposed top of the line consumer level $5,000 lawn tractor a number of years ago. One day, I drove it to the curb, placed a "Free" sign on it and went down to the John Deere dealer and bought a $10,000 professional grade ZTR. It was the best feeling. Months of frustration and anger were simply gone. I don't know who took my old mower away but it was gone and good riddance. Sometimes it's best just to cut your losses and move on. We eventually moved to a smaller lot in the city and I sold that ZTR for 85% of what I paid for it. That was one great piece of equipment.

    After reading this forum for the last five years, I feel I must be one of the lucky ones. I've never had any problems with my PRS Alpha and it continues to this day to do exactly what it is told to do, when it is told to do it, without nary a problem, ever.
    ShopBot Details:
    PRS Alpha 96x60x12
    4hp Spindle
    12" indexer
    Aspire
    Rhino

  7. #67
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    78

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    Quote Originally Posted by coryatjohn View Post
    >>
    After reading this forum for the last five years, I feel I must be one of the lucky ones. I've never had any problems with my PRS Alpha and it continues to this day to do exactly what it is told to do, when it is told to do it, without nary a problem, ever.
    Statistically, it has to happen once in a while. I'm very happy for you.
    Jim

    96 x 60 PRSalpha, 5HP Colombo spindle, Custom indexer, Custom vacuum table, Custom Fire Extinguishing System

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,265

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    I have owned 3 different Shopbots and have had very good luck with them. The only big problem came from a lighting strike that not only took out the shopbot but my welder, air compressor and some other stuff. I thought I was safe from that but it came used the ground wire as all the grounds were burnt and the shopbot was unplugged

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kennebunkport, Maine
    Posts
    3,931

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    Add 2 more Desktops, that once UPS was used to even out country power,cut protos and then production for a year and a half perfectly. Only operator malfunction caused problems.
    Looking forward to the proto Desktop that TJ mentioned with the new system though...TJ said it cut the same exact files 20% faster than the current Desktop in side by side test.
    Hope it will wok with our 2 2013 Desktops!
    Scott Plaisted
    2013 Desktop/spindle/VCP 9
    Maine

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Durham NC
    Posts
    19

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    Jim,

    I can give you my opinion--I sometimes think mine is meaningful! Based on my experience with Handibots running FabMo, the new control software--the new control system will not be reliable until a monitor can be connected directly to the control card -- not a computer over a wireless or ethernet or usb connection. The control card needs to be where the files are stored and where they're run from--and manual control needs to be responsive in a way that no over-wire connection has been able to provide for Handibot so far.

    So far we have: a control card that runs the control software locally and stores and runs files from its own memory. A monitor connection is not an option with the current control card (the one that was built around the now discontinued Intel Edison). A new board has been designed and prototypes ordered. This board will have a video-out for monitor connection. I do not expect this to be ready before the end of 2019. There are too many things that the current SB3 software does better than FabMo (crazy I know!) FabMo should be everything that is good about SB3 + + + .

    In the meantime, for my part I'm trying to limit the number of variables that go into connecting to and running handibots. The range of varied accounts of reliability in the last few posts are very familiar to anyone who has talked to a lot of ShopBot users. Discussing them internally usually sounds something like this: "connection issues aren't a problem if x and y and z are true. If a and b and c happen then we tend to run into problems". Some people are going to be xyz and their tool will work fine, others are abc and have trouble, most are a mix. Either through the creation of better hardware and software or including more of the equipment needed to run a tool optimally we need to guarantee xyz and prevent abc.

    Using the example of my Handibot tablet again--we are guaranteeing that the device used to control the tool has a compatible OS, network configuration and internet browser (the control software runs in a browser). By having the tablet boot directly to the control interface when the tool is powered on, we're preventing the issues that people have with finding their tool on a network and getting to the right address in their browser. That will all work even better when I can just plug a touch-screen into the actual control card.

    As Scott mentioned, FabMo can run faster than SB3 because the ramping action is tuned to allow faster acceleration and deceleration around corners, keeping the speed more consistent and spending more time at top speed.

    One last bit that bears repeating about Handibot--It is most definitely not the vision that ShopBot has for the future of CNC. It is a vision of how ShopBot might maintain a presence in a newer (and very real) market. Not just so that we can expand our customer base, but so that we can do our part to give CNC a good reputation in schools that don't have the budget for a big tool. It only took a few bad eggs in the low end 3D printer market to tank the whole thing a few years back. I feel confident in the quality of the design of Handibot but think that its use as a normal tabletop milling machine needs to be made more obvious. It is harder to use than it needs to be at the moment because of work that still must be done on the control software. But my experience supporting customers has given me plenty of ideas that I pass along to the guys developing the control system and software--but that is all tempered with opinions of more old-school CNC users inside and outside ShopBot.

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