09

Updating PlanetCNC controller with PlanetCNC TNG software

To update your PlanetCNC Mk3 series controller with PlanetCNC TNG software make sure that your PlanetCNC USB driver is updated to latest version and that PlanetCNC controller is updated with latest version of CNC USB controller software.

This link will guide you on how to update your PlanetCNC USB driver: Updating to new PlanetCNC USB driver

You can download latest version of CNC USB controller software here: CNC USB controller software download page

After you successfully update your controller with latest CNC USB controller software version start PlanetCNC TNG software and click: File/Settings/Connection

Controller is recognised with controllers serial number and version(V1):
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Click: Machine/Firmware Update
After update this message is displayed:
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You can check controller in settings:
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Controller is now updated to latest PlanetCNC TNG firmware version.

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Updating to new PlanetCNC USB driver

PlanetCNC TNG software uses new and optimised USB driver.

In order to update and use your PlanetCNC Mk3 series controller with PlanetCNC TNG software, you would need to use latest PlanetCNC USB driver.

To check your USB driver version click: Win Key/Control Panel/Device Manager

Under connected devices you will notice CNC USB controller:
01

Right click on it and choose Properties, and under Driver tab you will see USB driver version:
02

You will notice that USB driver version is 1.0.0.0. and that it is not digitally signed.

You can get latest PlanetCNC USB driver here: CNC USB controller software download page

After you download file double click on the .exe file and follow installation wizard.

After installation is complete, it would be best to restart your computer.

Now check if your USB driver has been updated to latest version, click: Win Key/Control Panel/Device Manager

You will notice that PlanetCNC device has a new name: PlanetCNC controller
04

If you check properties of this device you will see that under Driver tab driver version is now 1.0.0.1. and is digitally signed by PlanetCNC d.o.o.:
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PlanetCNCMainScreen

PlanetCNC TNG software overview and performance guidelines

USB_bad

PlanetCNC TNG is a high performance CNC system. It is designed with flexibility in mind and it can be used for mills, routers, lathes, plasma or laser machines as well as any other machine or system where coordinated movement of servo or stepper motors is needed.

PlanetCNC TNG software works with Mk3 series of motion controllers and PC running windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 or Linux.

Further in this post we will describe few guidelines that you can follow in order to achieve better performance of PlanetCNC TNG software and more stable communication with PlanetCNC controllers.

  • For best performance of PlanetCNC TNG software, PC with 4 virtual processors(cores) CPU is recommended. Various services running in the background, antivirus software and program updates can interfere with PlanetCNC TNG performance and that is why dedicated computer is recommended.
  • Controller should be connected directly to computer USB port and should be the only USB device on this port. All devices on same root HUB share available bandwidth. Data traffic is prioritised by OS. This means that is not uncommon if another device connected to same HUB interferes with controllers. You can check what is connected to your PC USB ports with “UsbTreeView” software. You can get it here:UsbTreeView
  • Images below describe bad and good type of USB connection with PC:

    Example of bad USB connection with PC as seen in UsbTreeView software:
    USB_bad
    You can notice that PlanetCNC Controller is connected with PC trough various USB HUB devices(3 in total). Also, if you look closely at the USB HUB device to which PlanetCNC controller is connected, you can see that other connected devices to this USB HUB, are mass storage device and USB camera, both known as devices with huge data flow. The data flow of camera or storage device could interfere with communication of controller which as result would not perform at its best performance.

    Example of good USB connection with PC as seen in UsbTreeView software:
    USB_good
    You can see that PlanetCNC controller is connected directly to one of computers root USB ports. There are no other devices connected to root hub.

  • Use double shielded USB cable. If cable longer than 1.5m is needed then it should be one with active repeater.
  • If Ethernet connection is used then dedicated network card just for controller is recommended. This prevents that high network utilisation interfering with communication.
  • Controller should have its own separate external power supply.
    If controllers voltage is supplied only trough USB, than there is a possibility that voltage fluctuations on the USB power line could interfere with USB communication and as a result communication would drop.
    For Mk3 and Mk3/4 controllers you can use 8-24VDC, 200mA power supply.
    IMPORTANT!!! For Mk3ECO controller power supply must be +5V VDC.
  • Use shielded cables for wiring of limits switches, motors…

 

 

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Using G01 and G00 g-codes with PlanetCNC TNG software

When it comes to g-codes that specify machine motion we need to mention G00 and G01.
G00 or also known as rapid or traverse move. G00 command is usually used for moves when machine travels from position to position above the material and when no cutting is applied.
When G00 command is stated we also need to specify in which direction move will occur. For example: G00 X100 Y50
Speed at which this move will be executed is usually maximum speed of machine.

G01 command activates linear motion of machine. We use G01 with moves when machine is moving tool trough material and therefore applying various types of cutting.
Normally speed of G01 move is set with F-word(distance/time). In this case F stands for feed rate, which specifies speed in mm/min or inch/min.
When G01 command is stated we also need to specify in which direction move will occur. For example: G00 X10 Y5 F1000

g00

g00g01

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Using “Optional Pause” feature with PlanetCNC TNG software

PlanetCNC TNG software supports, next to the conventional M00 pause, also optional M01 pause.

While M00 command pauses program every time when it appears in program, M01 pauses program only when “Optional pause” option is enabled in machine menu: Machine/Options/Optional pause
optionalpause_menu

You can enable/disable optional pause while program is running, so you would not need to restart the program in order to use optional pause feature.

Example:
You can insert M01 optional pause at different locations in your program.
So when you run your program for the first time, you can have these pause checkpoints in-between, where you can check up on machine or machining parameters, measure your work piece or tool wear, check fixture position etc..

Optional pause disabled:
optionalpause_disabled

Optional pause enabled:
optionalpause_enabled

You can download “Optional pause” example program here: Optional pause example

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Using “Block Delete” feature with PlanetCNC TNG software

This feature comes useful when you need to test proof your program or if you have two versions of the same workpiece with minor changes etc…
In such case you can use “Block delete” feature which allows you to skip or execute marked lines of g-code of your program.

Block delete feature executes or skips lines of program that have character “/” at the beginning of the program line:
blockdelete_g-code

Example:
Lets say we would like to create two half’s of one part. For first half we would like to mill the cutout and holes, while for other we would like to create also pockets for screw heads.

Bottom screenshots display the same program file, with Block delete option disabled in first case and Block delete option enabled in second case:

With “Block delete” disabled:

blockdelete_disabled

With “Block delete” enabled:
blockdelete_enabled

You can see how quickly we can get two versions of the same file using this feature.

You can download “Block Delete” example program here: Block delete example

Windows-8

Disabling Driver Signature on Windows 8

PlanetCNC Drivers are now signed. This tutorial no longer applies!

 

 

Invoke the Charms bar and click on Settings. Open control panel by clicking on “Change PC Settings”:

Slika1

Slika2

Select “General” and then “Advanced Startup”:
Slika3

For Windows 8.1: Select “Update and Recovery” and then “Recovery”

Click “Restart now”. Now the system will restart and might take some minutes to show up the boot menu. Wait for It patiently.

After some time you will be prompted with a menu with following options:

– Continue
– Troubleshoot
– Turn off

Choose “Troubleshoot”:

Slika4

Then the following menu appears:

– Refresh your PC
– Reset your PC
– Advanced Options

Choose “Advanced Options”:

Slika5

Then the following menu appears:

– System Restore
– System Image Recovery
– Automatic Repair
– Command Prompt
– Windows Startup settings

Choose “Windows Startup Settings”, then Click Restart:

Slika6

Now the computer will restart and the boot menu appears.
Choose “Disable Driver signature Enforcement” from the menu.

Slika8

When Windows start, you will be able install PlanetCNC USB driver.

Win-10

Disabling Driver Signature on Windows 10

PlanetCNC Drivers are now signed. This tutorial no longer applies!

 

 

Select “Settings” from the Start Menu:

StartMenu

Settings

Select the “Update & recovery” option:
Update and Recovery

Then click on the Recovery option on the left hand side, and once selected, you will see an advanced startup section appear on the right hand side. You will need to click on the “Restart now” button.

AdvancedStartup

Once your Computer has rebooted you will need to choose the Troubleshoot option:

Slika4

Click Advanced options:

Slika5

Click Startup Settings:
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Since we are modifying boot time configuration settings, you will need to restart your computer one last time:

Slika7

You will be given a list of startup settings that you can change. The one we are looking for is “Disable driver signature enforcement”. To choose the setting, you will need to press the F7 key:

Slika8

When Windows start, you will be able to install PlanetCNC USB driver.

activate_request

How to activate, import, request and export license

1. If you don’t have a license you need to send us activation code and controller serial number.

activate_menuactivate_request

2. If you have registration key, open “License activation” dialog and paste your registration key
.activate_menuactivate_response

3. If you have license data file (.dat, .lic or .zip) you can import it. There is no functional difference if using registration key or license data file.

import_menu

 

4. If you want to create backup copy of your license you can export it as license data file.

export_menu
Shortcut on desktop

How to use different settings for different machine configurations on same computer

CNC USB CONTROLLER DESKTOP SHORTCUT TUTORIAL

If you have multiple CNC machines(Machines of different dimensions or different types of machines) with its designated controllers, and you want to use them with only one computer,
it comes very handy to create desktop shortcuts with preset settings for specific machine. This way you can avoid importing setting files for specific machine every time you start the software.
However, note that you can not have multiple USB cables connected to your computer at the same time. Only one USB connection per machine usage.

This tutorial will help you create CNC USB Controller software shortcuts with desired settings.

Exporting setting file

When you set and adjust your machine’s settings you can export them into a file.
This way you will be able to use different setting files for different machines.

So that you would be able to distinguish which setting file is being used, you can write
desired name in the Description bar in Settings menu. E.g. CNC 1

Description

Name of setting file currently in use, will be seen in the title bar of CNC USB Controller software:

Name

In File menu, find and click Export settings.

Export settings

Your setting file must be saved in the install folder of CNC USB Controller software.

Save export setting file

Creating Shortcut

Right click on the CNCUSBController.exe file which is located in your install folder, and click Create shortcut.

Create Shortcut

You can name your shortcut like: CNC1

Name of shortcut

Right click on the created shortcut, choose Properties, and paste the name of the exported setting file (including .setting file extension)
in the Target dialog box at the end of target path, like this:

Shortcut properties

Be sure to leave a space in-between target path and pasted name of your settings file.

Shortcut is now ready to use. You can move your shortcut onto your desktop for an easier use.

Shortcut on desktop

For creating more desktop shortcuts using different setting files, just repeat the whole procedure.

IMG_0090

How to set network connection on Mk3 controller

How to configure network settings for Mk3?

Computer can communicate with Mk3 controller via USB or Network connection.
If you choose to use Network connection then make sure that your computer with installed CNCUSB controller software is connected to network with network cable. One side of network cable goes to network switch, the other side goes to computer.
The same goes for controller network cable. One side goes to network switch other side goes to controller.

STEP 1: DISABLING WINDOWS FIREWALL

Windows firewall protection can prevent your computer from accessing controller over network. You can allow CNCUSB software to communicate with controller through Windows firewall.

1.)Click “Start” button

Start_button

2.) Find and click “Control Panel”

Control_Panel_button

3.) Click “Windows Firewall”

Windows_firewall_button

4.) Click “Allow a program or feature through Windows Firewall”

Allow_a_prog_button

5.) From list find “CNC USB Controller” entrie and enable first checkbox and the one under Home/Work.

Windows_firewall_allow

Go to Step 2.

STEP 2: CONNECTING YOUR CONTROLLER TO NETWORK

Plug your network cable into Ethernet connector on Mk3 controller.

Start CNCUSB controller software and click: File/Settings/Connection.

USB_connection

Enable “Scan” option and wait for about 30 seconds, and if everything is OK, you should be able to see your controller ( its serial number and IP number) on scan list.
USB_connection_scan

Now enable “Network” option. If you double click selected controller, its IP address copies into IP value boxes.

USB_connection_scan_Network

If you don’t see your controller on scan list proceed to Step 3.

STEP 3: RESETTING CONTROLLERS NETWORK SETTINGS

To reset the controller you have to “jump” two designated pins for about 15 seconds.

NOTE: Make sure that you don’t create any other short circuit on the board and that you are “jumping” the correct two pins. We recommend using tweezers for this.

1.) Unplug your power supply and USB cable ( Green “Power” LED must be OFF )

2.) Place jumper or create shortcut between two designated pins (see picture below)

3.) Plug in your power supply. (LED will be blinking rapidly for about 15 seconds then it will start to blink in bit slower frequency. This will indicate that your controllers network settings have been reset.)

4.) Remove jumper or shortcut from designated pins.

IMG_0092

IMG_0090

Controllers IP address is now 192.168.1.200 and DHCP option is enabled.
This assures that IP address and DHCP option are really at default values in case someone was changing controllers network settings.

Unplug and plug in your power supply and again try Step 2. If you still don’t see your controller on scan list then go to Step 4.

STEP 4: IDENTIFYING COMPUTERS IP ADDRESS

In order that your computer properly communicates with controller, computer and controller must be on the same network, which means that computer and controller must have the same sub net number.
Procedures below will help you to configure network settings of your computer and controller.

Identify how your computer gets its IP address assigned

The easiest way to find out is to click:

1.)Click “Start” button

Start_button

2.) Find and click “Control Panel”

Control_Panel_button

3.) Network and Sharing Center

Network_and_sharing_center

4.) Change adapter settings

change_adapter_settings

5.) Right-click on your local area connections and click Properties.

Local_Area_Connection

6.) Select Internet Protocol Version 4(TCP/IPv4) and click Properties.

TCP_properties

Here you will be able to see if option “Obtain an IP address automatically” or “Use the following IP address” is selected.

Option A: DHCP service present

If option “Obtain an IP address automatically” is selected, then your computer is probably using DHCP or is not on the network.
If your computer is on the network and is using DHCP then reason why your controller is not visible on the scan list is probably something else (make sure you followed Step 1 and Step 2).
If your computer is not on the network then see Option C.

TCPIv4

Option B: Configuring controller network settings for network without DHCP service

If option “Use the following IP address” is selected, then this means your network does not have DHCP service present.

When you connect your controller to network, controller waits for IP number from DHCP for about 30 seconds.
If after 30 seconds IP isn’t assigned, controller gets last assigned IP number. New controllers have this number in range 192.168.1.100 to 192.168.1.200.

This IP number maybe isn’t recognized by your network and therefore your controller is not visible on scan list.

You will have to:

1.) Change computers network adapter settings to be able to connect with controller (Step 5).
2.) When you are connected with controller change controllers network settings (Step 6).
3.) Change your adapter settings back the way they were (step 7).

It is advised that you write down computers network adapter values to avoid any stress later.

Go to Step 5.

Option C: Not on network

If there is no available network, your computer and controller can communicate if you connect them with network cable.
Connect your computer and controller with network cable and go to Step 5.

STEP 5: CHANGING COMPUTERS NETWORK ADAPTER SETTINGS

Like it was said previously in tutorial, if there is no DHCP device present in your network, controller gets last assigned IP number.
These numbers are range 192.168.1.100 to 192.168.1.200. But since you had to perform Step 2 (reset controller network settings) controllers IP address is 192.168.1.200.

Now you must set your computers network adapter settings to this sub net so that you will be able to change controllers network settings.

For Windows7:

1.)Click “Start” button

Start_button

2.) Find and click “Control Panel”

Control_Panel_button

3.) Network and Sharing Center

Network_and_sharing_center

4.) Change adapter settings

change_adapter_settings

5.) Right-click on your local area connections and click Properties.

Local_Area_Connection

6.) Select Internet Protocol Version 4(TCP/IPv4) and click Properties.

7.) Write down all current numbers of IP Address, Subnet Mask and Default gateway. You will need them later.

8.) Now for IP Address type in : 192.168.1.50
For Subnet Mask type in: 255.255.255.0
For Default gateway type in: 192.168.1.1

Use_the_following_IP_address_2

Go to Step 6. (If there is no available network go to Step 6.1)

STEP 6: CHANGE CONTROLLERS NETWORK SETTINGS

Connect your computer and controller with network cable.

Start CNC USB controller software. Click: File/Settings/Connection. Enable ‘Scan’ option.

If everything works, you should see your controller (its default IP address 192.168.1.200 and serial number) on scan list.

Select your controller from scan list and click the ‘Change’ button.

Disable DHCP option and for “Subnet mask” and “Default gateway” type in the values of your network adapter that you previously wrote down. For “IP address” first three values are the same as the values of your network adapter, just fourth value should be unique.

Click OK to confirm and save changes made. Now unplug/plug power supply.

Disconnect your computer and controller and connect controller to your network.
Go to Step 7.

STEP 6.1: CHANGE CONTROLLERS NETWORK SETTINGS

Connect your computer and controller with network cable.

Start CNC USB controller software. Click: File/Settings/Connection. Enable ‘Scan’ option.

If everything works, you should see your controller (its default IP address 192.168.1.200 and serial number) on scan list.

Select your controller from scan list and click the ‘Change’ button.

Disable DHCP option and click OK to confirm and save changes made. Now unplug/plug power supply.

This is your final step if you don’t have network available.

STEP 7: RESTORING SETTINGS OF COMPUTERS NETWORK ADAPTER

Don’t forget to restore previous “IP Address”, “Subnet mask” and “Default gateway” values of your computers network adapter.

Connect your computer and controller to your network. You should now be able to see your controller on scan view.

008

How to cut tapered cone with 4 axis foam cutter?

HOW TO CUT TAPERED CONE WITH 4 AXIS FOAM CUTTER?

Lets make a tapered cone with 150mm diameter on one side and 50mm on other side.

1. Create DXF file with circle
It is important to know diameter of circle. I’ll use 100mm circle which I created with CAD software. You can also get 100mm circle from sample files in your PlanetCNC software installation folder.
2. Import DXF
Uncheck everything except “Shift Extents To Zero”.
001
002
003
004

3. Convert Arcs to Lines
Because in g-code you can not use arcs with coordinates U, V and W you need to convert all arcs to lines.
005

4. Shift to center
We need to position our circle to center. Without this we will have problems later when we’ll scale this.
Because our circle diameter is 100mm we need to shift X and Y by value -50.
006

5. Copy XYZ->UVW
We can now copy circle to UV plane. Now we have cylinder with 100mm diameter with ceter at 0,0.
007
008

6. Taper cylinder
To create 150mm on XY side and 50mm on UV side we need to scale out 100mm cylinder by 1.5 on XY and 0.5 on UV side. As a result we have tapered cone with required dimensions.
You may need to shift it away from center before cutting. You may also need to rotate it get correct entry point for hot wire.

009
010

Try with different values and different DXF files. There are a lot of shapes you can get. Experiment.