BitSetter Changes in Carbide Motion

Posted on Feb 07, 2024 by Rob

BitSetter Changes in Carbide Motion

We're about to make a big change in Carbide Motion so we wanted to give everyone the biggest heads-up possible. It’s something we’ve had on the drawing board for a long time, but we held off because it's a breaking change to the existing workflow.

This is a deep change, so we were also able to go into the BitSetter and initialization code to remove some of the delays that give the spindle time to spin down. (They’re not removed; we now track the time of the movement and only dwell for the remaining time)

Why are we doing this?

We’re moving the moment that we use the tool measurement closer to the moment that we measure it, which makes it harder for someone to change the tool at the wrong time.

Again, this is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time, but people don’t like change, so we kept putting it off. (I’ll skip the straw that broke the camel’s back)

When does the tool get measured now?

The tool is going to be measured with BitSetter every time you set a Z zero:

The spindle will then return to the prior X/Y position, with the spindle retracted to the top.

What does this mean for normal use cases?

We've worked through the two most common workflows that our customers follow, plus two that are more for advanced users to see how this will affect them.

Case 1- Start the machine, set a zero and run a CM project

There is no real change here; the initial tool measurement is deferred until the zero is set. Some popups are avoided.

Case 2- Set the zero once, then never again. Start the machine and run a CM project

This should be a net win, with the initial “Load Tool” process eliminated. Some popups are avoided.

Case 3 - Start the machine, set a zero, and run a custom program without an M6 tool change

No real change here; the initial tool measurement is deferred until the zero is set. Some popups are avoided. (We’d call this a “Winston Workflow” that is not frequently used)

Case 4 - Start the machine and run a custom program without an M6 tool change

There is no real change here; the initial tool measurement is deferred until you try to run the program. Some popups are avoided. (We’d also call this a “Winston Workflow” that is not frequently used)

Why didn't we do this before?

Like we've said before, very little of what we do is driven by "can we do it?" It's mostly driven by "should we do it?" The calculus for "should we" comes down to how much trouble we'll cause for people who are used to the current way things work, or never took the time to learn how to use the machine when they got it.

History has shown that small changes can lead to massive support headaches, so we take them very seriously.

We've wanted to do this for years, but it never felt like the right time. At this point, the pain of continuing to support the old way is greater than the pain of changing it.

When will this happen?

This will begin in Carbide Motion 623, and there will be an obnoxious popup before you download, pointing to this blog post. If you don't like change, feel free to stick the the existing builds; they'll continue to run for a long time.

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