McWire firmware
December 24, 2007 11:47AM
Will the reprap firmware work with a mcwire repstrap? Right now I'm attaching a dremel instead of a extruder so I won't have the dc motor or pwm boards. Will the arudino still work or will it be expecting those boards to be there?

Also can the host software handle gerber files? So i can make the dc and pwm boards myself?

Thanks!
Re: McWire firmware
December 25, 2007 01:14AM
> Also can the host software handle gerber files?

No, the host software works only with STL files.



Jonathan
Re: McWire firmware
December 25, 2007 12:06PM
mellery,

Yes, I believe it will work without those boards attached. During testing of the boards during construction, you test single boards or just a few boards at a time. The software has no problems with that so it should work fine without an extruder and such. Generating your tool paths with an STL file should be pretty hairy though--I'm not sure exactly but it looks complicated from where I sit. You'll probably want to modify the host software to do subtractive work instead of additive. This could be a cool little addition to the project. If you get it working, share it!

Demented
Re: McWire firmware
December 25, 2007 02:13PM
Mellery,
The Reprap host software has the ability to run as subtractive using stl files. I am not sure anybody has tried it yet?? I think it would be cool to see.

Bruce Wattendorf
Re: McWire firmware
December 25, 2007 02:35PM
Great! I should be able to find a way to convert gerber layouts to stl, and be able to make reprap pcb boards. Hope to do a lot of work on it this weekend.

thanks,
Mike
Re: McWire firmware
December 25, 2007 02:58PM
Good luck!!

the setting to change the host is in the preference tab.
Re: McWire firmware
December 26, 2007 12:15PM
mellery Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Will the reprap firmware work with a mcwire
> repstrap?


My observation is that Zach himself hasn't yet extruded anything as complex as the Minimug using the Ardrino + McWire combo; at least when I was with him in person last week.

Zach indicated to me that his goal with the new Ardrino firmware was that it could drive either McWire or Darwin.

Dan Putman said on 2007-12-03 [forums.reprap.org] that his worked. But I have no idea what software he was using, as Zach was just getting the "first version" of the software finished last week.

So speak up if anyone has been able to extrude with the latest Ardrino firmware + McWire.

// P.S. Zach suggested to me to hold off on McWire assembly until he tested the latest laser cut acrylic boards, as the opto endstop placement and a couple other changes had not yet been confirmed. Anyone comment on this? Things move quick...
Re: McWire firmware
December 27, 2007 12:57PM
hey guys,

couple things here:

1. you can use any electronics system (PIC/Arduino) with any cartesian bot (McWire, Darwin, or your own custom). the firmware is electronics specific, not machine specific. (ie: use the arduino firmware on the arduino boards.)

2. technically its possible to run it without the boards attached, but the host software is not designed for that yet at all. for extrusion, it fully expects an extruder to be there and will die if its not. this is just a software change, so if you're serious about it, then i'd love to see it happen!

3. as for doing GERBER stuff, i'd say that your best bet is not to go GERBER -> STL, but rather look into GERBER -> Gcode. Gcode is a standard toolpath code used in CNC. Eagle has scripts that can automatically create GCode based off schematics (and the new arduino boards are conveniently Eagle files...)

from there, the host software will need to be modified to handle Gcode files. it should be pretty straightforward since Gcode is intended for cartesian machines. you will essentially just read the file in, and feed the commands to the cartesian bot. it should be super easy.

of course, you should talk to adrian before doing it because its pretty hard to get 'unauthorized' changes into RepRap that the team doesnt agree to beforehand. i'm having a hell of a time with getting the Arduino stuff accepted and I'd hate to have you suffer the same fate. or maybe i'm just frustrated since i'm a core member, but my 'side project' isnt considered the work of the team.
Re: McWire firmware
December 27, 2007 02:35PM
GERBER -> Gcode:
Easy, Gerber IS Gcode with some extensions for apertures!

Well actually the PCB Gerber file is the gcode tool path for a photo plotter rather than a router, so to drive a router you need to do the conversion that Eagle does. I.e. read Gcode, calculate the outline offset by the tool radius and then output new Gcode.

If you add a gcode parser to the host s/w then as the reprap host s/w can do the offset tool path calculation you can import Gerber and apply the usual algorithm but inverted.

You could also parse gcode and pass it straight to the bot for routing conventional CNC gcode files. I.e. one parser, two places to inject it into the host s/w.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/27/2007 03:19PM by nophead.


[www.hydraraptor.blogspot.com]
Re: McWire firmware
December 29, 2007 09:19PM
> of course, you should talk to adrian before doing
> it because its pretty hard to get 'unauthorized'
> changes into RepRap that the team doesnt agree to
> beforehand. i'm having a hell of a time with
> getting the Arduino stuff accepted and I'd hate to
> have you suffer the same fate. or maybe i'm just
> frustrated since i'm a core member, but my 'side
> project' isnt considered the work of the team.


Zach - I say hang in there. My personal observation is that you go at an extraordinarily fast pace. I have almost no direct experience with the rest of the team, but I have been around the software industry. Hardware projects tend to move much slower than software winking smiley It is also my [not directly related] observation that the "Make Weekend Project" was extremely ambitious (way beyond one weekend) and probably put a lot of pressure on the new electronics being ready. You are doing a great job and I hope you aren't discouraged that perhaps others aren't keeping up with your pace.

For me, I intend to work with and maintain both electronics - with the intention of testing software and reporting problems. I am taking both of my sets of electronics to Houston in 12 hours (200 mile trip each way) to demo them and help others get theirs up and running. The more people who test/confirm/report and validate the new electronics, the better.

I encourage you to solicit more end-user feedback and comments; perhaps if it is more clear from people that it is indeed working (especially people who have _both_) then you will find more acceptance from the rest of the team. I myself am not sure where here on the forums it is getting feedback/questions - I assume it goes under "microcontroller".

// Off to bed, need to leave for Houston at 9:00am for RepRap meeting.
Re: McWire firmware
December 29, 2007 11:02PM
thanks... i was just frustrated the other day. i realized that if i just go ahead and get these things working well, then people will come around. i'm much more optimistic about the whole thing now =)
Re: McWire firmware
January 08, 2008 02:44PM
You're doing an awesome job and I fully support the Arduino movement. Arduino is a very popular DIY product that is readily available. Our Maryland User Group is banking on the sucess of your firmware. I just wish I had more time and knowledge to assist you more. I'd like to learn how the firmware and software interact so I could start putting in my $.02 (or is that $.03 now? Maryland sales tax just went up 1%).
Re: McWire firmware
January 08, 2008 03:59PM
=)

well the firmware is documented pretty thoroughly in the code. it should be easy to get in there and figure things out.

the communication between the host is also documented very well. here are the main links:

protocol: [www.reprap.org]
commands: [reprap.org]

i'd like to release the latest version of the Arduino firmware tonight.
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