v1.25a - G-code Post-Processor Support!
CNC G-code post-processing support has finally landed with v1.25a being released today. The caveat is that I've only included two posts... well, three, actually, but two of them are for GRBL/Mach3/LinuxCNC based machines and are differentiated only by the measurement units that they employ. So there's both an Inches and Metric GRBL post. The other post is a completely untested Marlin post, for MPCNC and other machines. Marlin is (apparently) a CNC controller that's more geared for 3D printing, and has some different conventions, but PixelCNC's new post-processing system - and the format of posts themselves - allows PixelCNC to generate G-code for both Marlin and GRBL/Mach3, and many other CNC controllers. More posts will be added over time.
Users can either create their own and/or share them with other users via the PixelCNC messageboard, and they'll be included with subsequent versions of PixelCNC. Users can also directly request posts for specific CNC controllers. I am personally willing to work with users who need a post that is compatible with their specific CNC controller because it affords the opportunity for expansion of PixelCNC's library of included posts, benefiting everybody. I do not have the resources to buy and setup all of the common CNC machines that are out there, so the best I can do is have people report when they need a post and I will then create it in tandem with them - where I'll do a first pass on creating one based on their controller's G-code specification and we'll go back-and-forth with them testing and me tweaking until everything works smoothly.
The crux of the problem is that I simply do not know what kind of controllers are common, but I do know that the vast majority of them are relatively similar enough that posts can be created within a few minutes from one of the included posts. Just be sure that if you're going to create your own post that you leave the included ones alone, and create a copy of one of them to use as a starting point, instead of directly editing and modifying the existing one - because your changes will likely be overwritten by future PixelCNC updates.
Keep in mind the Marlin post is 100% untested! It was derived from a sample of Marlin G-code output by Estlcam, and that specific sample of Marlin G-code was confirmed to run properly, so PixelCNC's Marlin post emulates Estlcam's Marlin G-code output almost exactly.
As for what's coming down the pipe concerning PixelCNC:
- New cut engage modes (ramp/helical)
- New operations (inlays, pattern/waveform, concentric polygons)
- Improved SVG import
- Better utilization of older hardware (faster toolpath generation/simulation updates)
- Stock material shape for confining generated toolpaths to
- Automatic speed/feed calculation
- Adaptive stock removal: toolpath generation that's aware of the material removed by previous operations
- Toolpath optimization: re-sorting of operation's cuts to minimize total distance traveled via rapid moves
- ...a bunch of little interface/usability fixes
PixelCNC is approaching its departure from 'alpha' as all the features originally meant for it to have are almost all in there. After that I will split PixelCNC into two versions, because I definitely have some awesome ideas for a PixelCNC 2.0 which will allow for much more than just loading images.
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