Sunday, February 04, 2007

File Modifier...a weird one.

The newest program in ShopBot Labs is a file modifying program that lets you select an axis... X, Y, or Z... and do some action based on the value of that axis. It was originally suggested by a ShopBotter that had part files and wanted to turn an output switch ON right before the Z-axis became less than 0, and turn it back OFF when the Z-axis became greater than 0. The file modifier I created lets you pick the axis that you want to test, pick the test you want to do (and the value to test for), and decide what to do if the test is true.

Based on the reselts of the test you can modify the original value...add, subtract, multiply, or divide it by some number...or insert commands before or after it. You can delete the line, replace it with another line, or make it a comment if you want. And you can do this every time that axis IS >, <, or = that value, just once when it's value BECOMES >, <, or = , or EVERY time it becomes >, <, or = that value.

What other uses does it have? Well you could have it take any Z-Axis value that was less that 0 and make it 0, so that you wouldn't cut into your table. Or you could add an PAUSE or INPUT statement to your file any time the Z-axis became equal to it's safe-z value, so you could examime the parts before continuing. Or have the cutting speed of a file decrease when the cutting depth became deeper than some value.

To be honest I'm not sure what sorts of things you can do with it, but I figure there are plenty of clever ShopBotters that will find plenty of neat uses for it...I'll post any interesting ones here.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New projects in ShopBot Labs

Lots of action in ShopBot Labs recently. The Checkit checkist program which is one of my favorites has gotten a big update with new features and a program to help create and edit checklists. I think it's got a lot of potential to make ShopBotting easier, in classrooms and shops in general, and I'm working on checklists for projects like the Workstation and Sawhorses. Check it out if you haven't already.

We've also got a couple of programs from Ryan Patterson, the creator of Cabinet Parts Pro and ShopBot's newest employee. One is an updated Part File Editor and the other is a program that interacts with a Delta VFD for controlling the speed of a spindle.

Friday, January 19, 2007

More graduates

A couple more programs from ShopBot Labs will soon be graduating to the ShopBot Software install. The one that's been the most popular is the Extruder which you will be able to find in the Virtual Tools menu. We are also creating a "Utilities" Virtual Tool that will hold all the Part File modifying routines like the File Splitter that don't actually create anything new but instead do something to modify an existing Part File. Once these end up in the ShopBot Software we'll delete them from ShopBot Labs to make room for new stuff.