Why Not Open Source.
I am one of the few that actually can create a machine tool operating system from scratch. I know this because I have had clients using my software to run machines for almost a decade now.
From my research I have concluded there are probably less than ten(10) people that are capable of such a feat.
It is a daunting task to combine machine, motors, electronics, computer interface and software program into a system that will readily perform tasks that are useful and profitable.
I got the idea to do just that in 1989 and pretty much have been in hot pursuit of it since then. I figure I have about 48,000 hours invested in SuperCam and SuperCamXp.
Pigs will fly to the moon before I ever release my sources to the public domain or for that matter contribute to an open source software project. Thatís because my machine tool operating system programs are my sole source of income.
I got the idea of combining a graphical AutoCad like user interface directly to the attached machine. Moving the machine carriage around is as easy as pointing and clicking with the mouse to the graphics area of my CAD part of the program. You can draw lines, circles, points and text and cause the machine to follow the centerlines of the graphic items. DXF and HPGL files can be imported and edited by rotating, scale, move, copy, erase. There are commands for swapping ends, changing order and moving to the front of the tool path list. And you can edit the nodes in complex polyline.
My latest efforts have been to create a USB to Parallel port adopter to make create a XP version of my original SuperCam program. I have considered publishing the protocol so that other manufactures can create products compatible with SuperCamXp but then why should a privateer give away his booty?
We live in truly revolutionary times. You may not have notice the significance of what has happened in our lifetimes. We are the first generation of humans that get to play with smart rocks. We are laying down the first sparkly layer in the geological sedimentation of the earth. We are the first generation that has found it is more profitable to make custom rocks than it is to work on the farm.
History is being created. One of the huge advances for mankind has been the use of tools. We now can easily create computerized machine tools for less than the cost of a used car. Personal robotics is what this whole thing is about. Itís just that the robotics is not looking quite like what the science fiction writers would have thought they would look like. A computerized wood router is a real joy to watch especially when it is making something for your personal profit. In someway it is like gathering the crops from the fields. What better way to use a robot than to make money with them, I can get my own beer from the frig.
What we need is a new way to think about machine tools and their movements. The conventional method of creating g and m code files is not the only way that a machine tool can be controlled and used. I do not feel like I am creating CNC machines, I make computerized tools.
Computer software programs are like magician tricks. Once the audience knows the trick they find it foolish to pay the ticket to attend the show. The magician soon finds himself selling sodaís at the concession when his tricks have been found out.
So I think there are compelling reasons why open source projects are domed to failure or snarled tangles of second rate code. But then I maybe wrong, but if I am, we would all be speaking Russian by now. The concept of a collective open source project smacks of Marxism at least to me. If you succeed we will hang.
The demo version of SuperCamXp, my three-axis machine tool operating system is at:
It will export 2K of G and M codes to a file. The command on the right sidebar bottom is EXPRTCNC. With it you can pick graphic items and cause G and M codes to be imported into a text box that can be used for editing and saving files. The release version has no limitations on exporting G and M code files.
The motion control part of SuperCamXp only works with my CamPod's. For using SuperCamXp with out a machine there is a Similation mode that can be entered by clicking on the Simulation panel in the top status bar, then the program thinks there is a CamPod attached.
I work for profit. I am a profiteer. And thatís what colors my thinking. If I were an old fuddy-dudy living off retirement I might think differently, there is a spiritual quality to endeavors that can be used by generations to come.