State of Carbide 3D 2017

  • Jan 9, 2017

It’s time for our somewhat-annual State of Carbide 3D. We’re a small company but at the core we’re product development people so we always have a lot going on. Here’s what we can share:

GRBL

Two of the most common requests for our machines were feedrate overrides and more fluid jogging. Both of these depended on changes to GRBL, the embedded motion controller we use, so we were not able to make those changes alone.

Sonny Jeon, the developer behind GRBL, has managed to fit both of these into the latest 1.1 release.

We’ve been testing 1.1 here and it’s been flawless. Unfortunately, the protocol that GRBL uses to speak to the PC changed so we’re having to change Carbide Motion to match. Rather than try to make Carbide Motion work with both versions of GRBL, we’re shifting over to Carbide Motion 4 which will only work with GRBL 1.1 .

Just to be extra clear, GRBL 1.1 will be a free upgrade for all Carbide 3D machines.

GRBL Updater

Reflashing your machine to change GRBL is not incredibly difficult but the current method to do so is not something we want to inflict on our users. To simplify the process we’ve got a “GRBL Updater” being completed right now. Just download the program and click a few buttons to change it over.

Carbide Motion

Carbide Motion will be shifting to V4 with the release of our GRBL 1.1 . In V4, we’re changing to an entirely new architecture that will form the basis of some big changes to come later this year.

A new architecture means we’ve had to redo the code for the user interface so it’s taken longer than we’d like. The good news is that we were able to simplify the code a lot and it will be more maintainable moving forward.

We’re trying to get this tested and completed ASAP.

Carbide Connect

“Carbide Connect” is that big change I mentioned above. Carbide Connect is our way to embed Carbide Motion into the machines themselves so that a Nomad or Shapeoko can be controlled by any computer on the network (even Linux). Carbide Connect will not require that a computer be connected while the machine is running.

Right now, we’ve got the software running since the core application code will be shared between Carbide Motion and Carbide Connect. Once we get the new Carbide Motion released, we’ll jump on the hardware.

Carbide Connect will be available as an add on for all Carbide 3D machines.

Carbide Motion Electronics

We shipped our 2.3 and 2.4 Carbide Motion PCB’s for most of 2016 and they’ve been flawless as long as you don’t use a poor-quality, very long USB cable. (The one case we’ve had was from a guy that got disconnects with his Shapeoko, PC, Shopvac, and air compressor all connected to a single outlet.)

We’re ready to call the Shapeoko “disconnect problem” completely soved.

Jorge has been testing a 3.0 version of the electronics with a couple of customers that refines the PCB but it’s more of an aesthetic improvement since the 2.3 and 2.4 boards don’t have any known problems.

Funding

We’re proud to announce that Carbide 3D still hasn’t taken any funding, it remains completely owned by the founders and is profitable.

This is the best way to ensure that the company is sustainable and will remain here to support present and future customers.

What would you like?

As we start the new year, we have a lot of things that we’d like to do this year. We’d also like to get your input. If you’d like a little input on what we work on this year, click on this link to share your preferences.

Thanks

We’re coming up on 4 years of working on Carbide 3D and it’s been the most difficult thing we’ve ever done but also the most rewarding. We could never have gotten this far without your support.