LinuxCNC for hi-def plasma questions

05 Jan 2023 13:02 #260997 by RDA
I assume you are speaking of a HPR260 as a 300 does not exist. Hypertherm has only a 300XPR and you talking about an old machine I don't think it would have a modern plasma. Please note that HPR is the legacy version from Hypertherm HD plasmas and XPR is the current generation.
First I would check with your friend if the plasma is equipped with a manual gas console or an automatic one. If its with a MGB, then you are in luck as there is nothing stopping you to retrofit the machine. LinuxCNC fully supports the plasma, note that I dont consider TrueHole etc being a part of controlling the plasma.
If its with a AGB then like Rod said its about someone having the time to make the serial protocol. I would say at least 90% of the HD plasmas with serial do not do anything fancy with it. The CNC is just sending the parameters and reading status messages. Fortunately if you want to do this, hypertherms implementation is probably the simplest from all of the major manufacturers, you can check appendix B from here HPR manual .
If we talk about XPR and all the current generation HD plasmas then go with EtherCat, I would not waste time doing the serial protocol although they all have it as an option too.
Then there are the TrueHole stuff that Rod talks about, I would think this as a separate thing as it doesn't have that much to do with the plasma. Most of the HD plasma owners dont even use these as they might tie you up to a specific CAM software. Some of the major CAM makers in this HD market have all the hole data implemented in the CAM already. You can get very nice results just playing around with the parameters in Rods video, the customer might even have all this in their existing CAM.
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05 Jan 2023 14:01 #261002 by caretech
Thanks for your comments and the correction, RDA. Yes I think it is the 260. Edited my post and removed the model number part just in case it's actually a 130. Been a while since I've looked at it.

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11 Jan 2023 20:13 #261615 by caretech

As you said, its time thats stopping people. You can't just go and buy a Hidef plasma cutter. That is reserved for the big guys who partner with hypertherm. So much so these guys near me are the distributors of hypertherm air plasma in Australia. I guess you can do that when you have tables in shipyards all round the world...

The thing is a lot of the hidef features are embedded in the front end and the gcode it generates. Linuxcnc can use a filter to achieve the same result. The Monokrom plasma config is designed to do this. It uses Plasmac under the skin and replaces any gcode cutting holes with its own version.
Unfortunately, James who did the development with my guidance got too busy to continue the project.

This video I did explains how it works. Its based on some info shared with me by somebody with years of experience in the hi def industry with several manufacturers.

I did use it a bit and it worked well.

So all that needed is the weeks of work and thousands of sample cuts to develop the database we speak of..

I've been browsing the forums and from what I can see, Monokrom was in development before QtPlasmac? If so, it looks like qtplasmac took design cues from monokrom (or maybe the other way around, I sure could be wrong).

I am not sure we need two plasma interfaces that look nearly the same. Since QtPlasmac is still in active development, could your hole cutting logic be built into it as an option? I like the ideas presented in your video, but don't feel like switching to an unfinished / abandoned interface in order to try them. If there would be an easy way for community contributions to the hole cutting rule database I'd be willing to contribute as I have time.
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12 Jan 2023 01:53 #261651 by rodw
Monokrom started on this thread
One of the QTPYVCP developers turned the design into a handful of working screens
At the time, PlasmaC ran in axis and Gmocappy.
Somewhere through that thread you will find PhilC the Plasmac/QTPlasmac developer asking if he could replicate it
So that is how QTplasmac was born.

The yellow was designed to still be visible through safety glasses and welding helmets.
I was approached  by a Scandanavian gentleman who had had a lifetime working in the plasma manufacturing industry. He wanted to contribute the database stuff and got a friend with the same background to do some coding to demonstrate how it should work. I enhanced the code to get it to work properly but it was nly a code generator

I asked the QTplasmac guys if they wanted to look at incorporating it into their software and there was no interest. I also asked Sheetcam and they had no interest.

Another of the QTPYVCP developers took it on as he wanted to build a plasma table. He took an earlier database design I had done and the hole cutting stuff and built it into a QTPYVCP database. Together we tested things until we got it installed and cutting on my table. Under it, it uses the plasmac.comp and a lot of pins were added to the GUI to continue support fpr the featureset.Then he changed jobs and I got busy too..

I must say that from a usability perspective, Monokrom is much nicer to use. There are many QTplasmac elements that are not touch screen friendly (too small)

I think it would be a challenge to migrate the database stuff from QTPYVCP to QTVCP which lacks the DB support of QTPYVCP.

So in answer to your question I doubt there is any appetite to incorporate the database stuff into QTplasmac.

But you would get very good support from the QTPYVCP guys if you wanted to continue it on.

Long term, we wanted a way for remote users to contribute database material settings.
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12 Jan 2023 02:46 #261654 by caretech
Thanks for the context. I'd browsed quite a bit of the thread linked, but it's long and parts of it I only skimmed; I missed the post where Phil asked permission to replicate it. I have no issue with the yellow and black scheme; I think it's kinda neat. Although on a mill or lathe I might prefer the look of something like Probe Basic, not sure if I can explain why!

I would like if I could contribute to monokrom in a meaningful way, but I feel like an imposter to even try. I've done bits and pieces of python over the last few years, very lightly. I built my first plasma table and it is working very well but that is only because the controller setup was simple; I was standing on the shoulders of giants.

Before I could contribute I'd need to spend a lot of time getting up to speed on qtpyvcp, and understanding the existing code base. Anyhow, since this started as a thread about possibilities of connecting HD units and is evolving into a Monokrom thread I'll probably go quiet here for now. If I have more to say about Monokrom I'll probably add to that 29-page thread!

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12 Jan 2023 10:03 #261675 by rodw
Thats great! To start with I would run up a Virtual PC with VMware Player or Virtual box and install bullseye
Then run this script to install linuxcnc and the qtpyvcp dev environment.

Then clone this repo and follow the installation instructions...

Note you have to checkout the plasma_db branch of qtpyvcp during this install to get the database goodies.
There is a active chat group for qtpyvcp I sometimes connect to via
You can contact me via this link. I might be able to make some introductions.
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12 Jan 2023 19:08 - 12 Jan 2023 19:09 #261727 by Joco
The plasma_db branch was merged into master a while back. So anyone has access to the underlying plasma elements I created for monokrom plasma.

Also it’s “paused” not “abandoned”. My current stupid busy period has an end in sight of ~May then I plan to get my own plasma table build moving. This will again drive my UI attention as monokrom will be my UI of choice. Which means any itch I find will get scratched.

Cheers - J.
Last edit: 12 Jan 2023 19:09 by Joco.
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