I’ve spent some time working through the todo list for V4 in the past few days. One change, that may only be important to me, is to have the units dialog show the size of the geometry to be loaded. I thought this would be important because I regularly get files in both mm and in and I usually do not know what units were used until I open this file. By looking at the magnitude of the units, it’s pretty easy to tell which it is.
The bigger change is the new adaptive stepover code for parallel finishing. This was something I came up with a while ago that would give some of the benefits of a constant-scallop mode but without the brutal development that a constant-scallop mode would take. Basically, the code will analyze the model as the toolpath is being laid out and insert more parallel passes in steep areas. Before and after photos of both the x and y versions are shown below:
In the sample above I made sure to machine the whole stock so you could see the spacing change in the surrounding areas but this will also work if you constrain the machining area.
I have several questions for everyone here and I need some feedback. Just keep in mind that I am trying very hard to add features without complicating the UI. Also, I know that the ability to run this at arbitrary angles would be more useful but I do not think I’m ready for that yet- maybe in V5 or 6… or 7. On to the questions:
1) Is this useful?
2) How should I specify the parameters? Currently I have built-in parameters to let MeshCAM shrink the stepover by a factor of 5. I could let users specify a minimum and maximum stepover but this might require too much knowledge to understand the implications of the values and it complicates the UI. I am more inclined to leave a hidden factor and just adjust the stepover if the “adaptive” mode is chosen. If I go with this approach, would you expect the defined stepover to be the minimum or the maximum?
3) This seems like it might be a good “Newbie Mode” where you just pick the quality level, high, medium, or low, and MeshCAM would pick the minimum and maximum as a percentage of the tool diameter. Does this sound like it would have helped you when you were new to CNC/MeshCAM?
I am also looking at taking this code and porting it to the waterline algorithm which should be more widely applicable (I think).