GUI for PlasmaC - QtPlasmac

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24 Jan 2021 11:07 #196394 by tommylight
E-stop should be left as is.
Z jog will cause issues.
Just dont.

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24 Jan 2021 11:07 #196395 by rodw
Replied by rodw on topic GUI for PlasmaC - QtPlasmac

phillc54 wrote: I don't really understand what you are suggesting.


Assuming there is no need to hit an estop button in the gui, how can we just turn the machine on with no more than a single keystroke (or physical button press) so its homed and ready to go?

That would solve Pedro's issue.

Allowing an external button as an option like you have with estop. would be nice.

But what is legally allowed? How do real machine tools turn on?
I know an estop must use a safety relay if its triggered by low voltage (24v) which you need to use for safety if you have multiple estops around a large table. I have a couple of them here I paid $250 each for and the wiring diagrams scare the hell out of me!

But it seems there are machine start contacts on it too. That would be similar to turning on my hydraulic pump I think.
There is a safety issue that requires the contactor to turn off on a power fail so that if power is restored the motor must be physically started by a human.

I have no clue about this stuff

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24 Jan 2021 11:15 #196396 by phillc54
I am not sure automatic homing is a good idea.
I don't see a problem with pressing the power button to enable the GUI then a homing button when you are ready.

With the voltage overrides I would have thought that next to the voltage display where they are now is a good place.

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24 Jan 2021 11:44 #196400 by rodw
Replied by rodw on topic GUI for PlasmaC - QtPlasmac

phillc54 wrote: I am not sure automatic homing is a good idea.


Neither do I. still thinking through it all!

phillc54 wrote: I don't see a problem with pressing the power button to enable the GUI then a homing button when you are ready.


Thats Pedro's point. The buttons are hit one after the other whenever you turn the machine on so they should be grouped together, not separated by a long distance as they are now. Hence my commitment to a smaller screen. The buttons are still large enough to work but excessive hand movement is reduced. I've studied that motion quite a bit with QTPlasmac.

phillc54 wrote: With the voltage overrides I would have thought that next to the voltage display where they are now is a good place.


I don't use them very often. But when you think about it, the objective is to alter the Z height, not alter the voltage so it is more natural to think that way.With auto sampling, I rarely even bother to look at the voltage. But then you'd need to store the volts per mm and then the jog distance per click.

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24 Jan 2021 13:48 #196406 by tommylight
Again this is getting to the point that i can no longer agree with = adding useless features that cripple or complicate stuff to the point of being a pain to use or maintain.
-E-stop should have been left as it was, there are many reasons why it was and is there. My personal reason for plasma use it to switch on the compressor power when a physical e-stop or F1 are used, switch on power to the plasma cutter when the machine is enabled with F2. E-stop is there in case of emergency to cut the power to everything, activate the brakes, activate braking resistors, bring the entire machine to a halt as fast as possible. Not much use on hobby machines, but it should be there.
-Since when did pressing F1, F2 and CTRL+Home become such a tedious task ???
-Voltage override, i do not recall how this feature got in there, it should have not existed, instead we should have THC voltage at the exact spot where override is. THC voltage must be adjusted during cutting as it will vary a lot just from the nozzle/electrode state/use and the humidity of the compressed air. These two conditions alone will vary the cut voltage anything from 4 to 8V, even more if the consumables are used till the very end and no air dryer. And this should not be saved, that should be left as is in the material cut parameters. Having to change between pages for this was and is not the best solution, but i can live with it and i refrained from asking to be changed as it does require a lot of time and effort on Phill's part.
-Auto homing is never a good idea, and despite all the effort i can not think of any case where it would be.
-I use 24" monitors with 1920X1200 resolution so the default QtPlasmaC looks tiny, so i installed everything required and learned to use the QT editor to modify it, i did not complain here and wait for Phill to fix it. He has done a magnificent job with it and everything he does.
Since it came to this, again, i have over 20 plasma cutters that i built or retrofitted for customers that still use my old config and it never fails, it has only what is absolutely required to work properly, and despite several attempts at switching to PlasmaC i have failed to convince them to use it for a very simple reason : IT IS TO COMPLICATED ! It has to much stuff they can mess up on the menus and tabs and pages.....and they get scared and do not want to remember what can be changed and what not. One time settings should not be easily accessible, ever.
I have used PlasmaC a lot lately on 2 of my machines and it works very good, but it took a year of hard work from Phill to iron out the wrinkles caused mostly by useless features requested here.
To much............
In general:
To all members, please keep asking for features
To Phill, please stop implementing requested features, at least till some more feedback is gathered
Personally i would remove over half of the existing stuff from it, but there are some that i see a clear reason for.
The following user(s) said Thank You: shpatb

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24 Jan 2021 16:01 - 24 Jan 2021 16:07 #196420 by snowgoer540
The ESTOP GUI button is still there, as Phill pointed out just set ESTOP_TYPE = 2 in the QTPLASMAC section of the INI file.

I don't think there have been many (if any) "new" features added to QTPlasmaC. Some of what you are maybe seeing as "new" is born of necessity in writing a GUI in a new environment, or working around existing issues in general.

I also don't think PlasmaC (or QTPlasmaC) is meant to be a solution for one type of table for one type of user. Plasma cutting and using PlasmaC does require reading the user guide, understanding the options, and deciding whether or not they are useful. An option you never touch may be critical for someone else's table success. It requires test cuts, tuning, understanding, etc. I think most of us are here because we enjoy the process of building machines, messing with these settings, and figuring out how to be successful with these tools. Which, are FAR better than any of the air plasma control systems I'm aware of.

The nice thing about QTPlasmaC is that the ui file, style sheets, etc. can all be edited to suite the end user's preferences fairly easily (and yes, currently updates would overwrite them, but I don't think that will always be the case ;)). If Tommy's customers don't need to change setup speed (for example), or the parameters are too complicated to look at, just edit the aforementioned file(s) and hide them. EZ PZ. It's something that was not as easy in AXIS or GMOCCAPY.

A lot of time has gone into making sure the dependability we're all used to is present in QT, some bugs were squished in the process that lingered in the PlasmaC comp and affected AXIS and GMOCCAPY (Tommy, the issues you experienced around cutting material near the top of Z travel, for example). So everyone wins :)

I imagine there are plenty of things still in process, so just be patient. :)
Last edit: 24 Jan 2021 16:07 by snowgoer540.
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24 Jan 2021 16:34 #196423 by tommylight
@Snowwy,
I explicitly wanted to mention you up there, but decided to leave it out as the post got to long.
If i am not mistaken, you proposed several enhancements to PlasmaC, like cut recovery that to me seemed a bit to much for to little but i kept my cool and waited for several posts till it occurred to me that it is actually a useful feature, so although i never used it, it is there and it should be as it has a very clear purpose and saves a lot of trouble when dealing with thin material and failed pierces.
And the implementation form Phill into QTPlasmC is perfect, it shows up only when it might be needed, otherwise there is no trace of it! :)
Then there is the "Mesh" thingy ..... :)

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24 Jan 2021 17:24 - 24 Jan 2021 17:25 #196432 by snowgoer540

tommylight wrote: @Snowwy,
I explicitly wanted to mention you up there, but decided to leave it out as the post got to long.
If i am not mistaken, you proposed several enhancements to PlasmaC, like cut recovery that to me seemed a bit to much for to little but i kept my cool and waited for several posts till it occurred to me that it is actually a useful feature, so although i never used it, it is there and it should be as it has a very clear purpose and saves a lot of trouble when dealing with thin material and failed pierces.
And the implementation form Phill into QTPlasmC is perfect, it shows up only when it might be needed, otherwise there is no trace of it! :)
Then there is the "Mesh" thingy ..... :)


I can't take credit for cut recovery...that was Phill's idea/implementation. I just helped by testing it. I agree, it's brilliant, and it's saved my butt a few times. I used it most recently on a large piece of 1/4" (6.35mm) thick material that would have likely been scrap otherwise.

I can take credit for mesh mode. :) Expanded mesh metal to be more precise :laugh: (referencing an old confusion for the new folks here). Works awesome for when I have to cut expanded metal. Admittedly it would not work with everyone's Plasma Power Source, but it's a nice feature to have for those who have the capability and the need.

Though neither of those are new to QT. But now you can easily just hide the mesh mode button (for example) if your customers don't want/need it. Then you can be like Tesla and charge them $2,000 to turn on what's always been there in a future "update". :laugh: Bastards.
Last edit: 24 Jan 2021 17:25 by snowgoer540.
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24 Jan 2021 17:52 #196438 by tommylight

snowgoer540 wrote: Then you can be like Tesla and charge them $2,000 to turn on what's always been there in a future "update". :laugh: Bastards.

LOL
I would love to do that, but my messed up brain will not let me. Extreme sense of fairness does not allow me to do such things.

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24 Jan 2021 18:29 #196444 by rodw
Replied by rodw on topic GUI for PlasmaC - QtPlasmac
Tommy, I think you've overlooked the fact that a well excecuted QTplasmac machine will not have a keyboard. There is no reason for it. I for one have never used the keyboard shortcuts you have referred to.

QTPlasmac is designed for touch screens so therefore button placement is much more critical to achieve a streamlined, ergonomic HMI. So take the keyboard away, get a touch screen if you don't have one and try it.

You'll soon find that in the absence of a keyboard, the little things you take for granted with one will become tedious and you will become conscious of excessive hand movements on the HMI.

This is where Pedro's comments are coming from and he's talking exactly about something I've observed just using the Sim becasue I've been watching for it due to past experience with Gmocappy which is terrible from this regard.

So I'm questioning everything about this interface to make sure it is OK. We are never going to get 100% agreement among all users.

So as we move from a keyboard based environment to a touch screen environment, we must question everything critically.

The big one I'm questioning is that why must we turn a machine on and then turn it on at the GUI? does a vacuum cleaner have two switches? My press brake certainly doesn't.

The same goes for homing. Most of us are using joint axis features. The machine is useless until its homed. With the right servos and encoders, finding home switches is not required on startup. Should it auto home? I don't know.

I do agree there are a lot of things I don't use and many of the settings could be buried in the ini file but I think the right things are on the front screen.

I'm excited that the estop button can now be removed from the GUI.

We know you have made a lot of plasma cutters and you have a deep understanding of the process. Pedro has made a number of tables so he gets it too. But new users don't have that. They don't really care about torch voltage, and neither do I, all we care about is cutting parts. Thats why I bought a refrigerated drier. I had no chance in our climate without it. Plasmac does such a good job of controlling torch height, I think Pedro's idea is a really good one.

Likewise, Pedro's concerns about button placement should be heeded. But while we do that, we should also question everything about the current status quo.
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