CandCNC announces a new 28 function pendant for our MP1000 Interface boxes . Named the MPG101B, the small hand-held unit features a Jog Stick that allows 2 axis Proportional jogging of either XY or ZA (selectable). Three Jog Ranges (Fast, Slow and Single Step "Bump" modes) make setup and positioning easy. The control uses 6 input signals of a parallel port for high speed response to MACH. The first version plugs into the front (DB9) connector of any of our MP1000 series THC, Spindle Speed or Basic units.
A universal port adapter will be available in about 30 days. Adapters for use with our existing series of MINI-IO Port2 cards (or complete Combo/SuperCombo boxes) will appear in 2-3 weeks.
The unit ships with a 25' cable, MACH3 Plug-in with on-screen configuration and instruction manual. Install takes 10 min. See Http://www.CandCNC.com/MPG101.htm for more information and pictures.
Will this new pendant work with the Campbell Design breakout board??
The Campbell Card is a port 1 breakout and only has 5 inputs open (which are normally used for Homes / limits). THe MPG101B is designed to work on a 2nd parallel port with MACH. To use it with the Campbell or any other port 1 breakout you will need to install a port 2 and then order the Universal Port Input adapter which will screw to the 2nd parallel port (actually a form of breakout too) and let you plug the 9 pin cable from the MPG101B in AND get access to the other port two signals (5 more). It's not isolated inputs (MPG101B are buffered from the unit).
We will have the Universal Port Input cards available in a couple of weeks.
The scope of the project has changed considerably. There will be two versions of the Hand Control. The 200 will have proportional jogstick and membrane keypad and be similar to the older MPG101B in functions and pricing. The 400 will have a back lighted graphics LCD, full MACH control including entering G-code (MDI) commands and full readouts (DRO's) for both Router/mill type cutting and interface for our screen based DTHC products (display/set all DTHC parameters.) It will be like having a hand-held control panel you can control with one hand. The MPG400 will be priced at $350 with discounts when combined with our products.
We have decided to use high speed noise immune RS485 communications to/from the PC that supports up to 1 MHZ at up to 300 ft across standard UTP (unshielded) . The Ethernet approach we started with was noble but way more complex and expensive for a tethered hand controller than it had to be. Some of the controls on both units will be slide type pots for things like Feed rate override and jog speeds. Both units will work with MACH3 and plug to the PC directly so are largely independent of hardware. Special functions like the display and setting of Torch Height parameters and Spindle Speed RPM and setting will be specific to our products for those functions Both units will be able to run preset or custom macros (written by the user if desired).
I don't have any drawings or photos yet but I do have a case and custom keypads selected.
The time line is for us to have working prototypes in October and shipping production units in November.
No offense Tom, but paying someone to make an attractive and functional faceplate would probably pay for itself in sales. Looks matter, and that faceplate...well...she ugly.
I assume you are referring to our MPG101B
No offense taken. Everybody has a concept of what a hand control should do and look like. When we do a design we use the following criteria:
1. Functionality. Is it usable to run a table and put full control of the table in the operators hand. It's one thing to have a "jog control" It's another to have enough functions that you don't have to constantly run back and forth to the keyboard to be able to run a job. Does it make the job of running a CNC machine better, faster, easier? The vast majority of Hand Control advantages come on larger CNC tables where its difficult to have the operatior screen close to you and interface with (see/touch/move) the material or position of the cutter at the same time. Can you move to the end of an 8ft (or longer) table and still run the machine?
2. Ease of use. Do a design that does not require two hands to twist switches, spin knobs or change modes. Have enough single function buttons that you don't need a manual to figure out how to use it. Single handed operation (because man was born with only two arms/hands) lets you have one arm available to interact with the table/material, etc
3. Reliability. Does it work in noisy and adverse conditions. Will it last in the shop. Do we use it in our daily production cutting so we know the kind of actions you have to perform over and over?.
4. Cost. If packaging doubles the price is it worth it for "looks"? One problem with this market is that the volume will not justify things like custom cases, custom molded components, etc. You can easily get thousands of dollars in tooling and prototypes that you have to spread over a few hundred units in sales. The only way to get pricing down on some components is to buy them in bulk up front. It then means a lot of your money sitting in boxes on the shelf over a long period. It doesn't sound too bad to add a few dollars to your cost but the raw cost of a component is only part of the equation. If you do this as a business (and want to stay in business) then you know that you have to multiply each penny of raw cost by a factor to account for all the "hidden" costs.
While beauty is an eye feature it's not on the top of the list. I'm open for suggestions. Just point out a design(s) you think has the characteristics of beauty you find desirable in the same price range for me to study.
My only input as one that would use it for a 4 axis mill is to make as many keys as possible, programmable, rather than assigned; allowing the user to decide what functions are on the pendant and where they are located.