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View Full Version : Mach(X) on Multiple Monitors, Etc.



vacpress
03-24-2006, 03:52 AM
Hello.

My surfing uncovered something of potential interest to everyone.. Check this link out:

http://www.bit-tech.net/modding/2005/10/18/matrix_orbital_mx6/1.html

I have been planning a very nice PC based CNC controller hardware enclosure.. IDEC switches, encoder job wheel, IDEC E-stop, keyboard emulator and membrane switch(inkjet printed onto transparency sheet and RS485, LCD screen(possibly touch), nice stylish case...

I am an industrial designer, so this sort of project where I can create a stylish yet working sophisticated device is appealing.

Questions.. Are either the idea of an RS232 powered screen, or a 2nd-monitor made of a small 640x480 screen usefull to mach3? would using those system monitor programs mentioned be of any benefit to mach(x)?

could the 5-7" TFT be configured to show a seperate xyzab... DRO type display? Could the rs232 device display things like 'Gcode program running, Spindle on' etc etc'?

Anyone?

vacpress
03-24-2006, 05:45 PM
noone knows?

noone has even tried extending their mach setup onto 2 screens?

Let me simplify this question: In mach, are all the popups and views contained within the main program window, or can dialog boxes be dragged outside that border?

ger21
03-24-2006, 06:13 PM
There's only one "dialog" box or window. The jog screen. It can be stretched over the main screen, but not moved. It's hidden with the Tab key. Mach3 is different from most windows programs. The screen will not "fit to" smaller screens. Screens are designed at a fixed resolution. If Mach3's not maximized, stretching the window smaller will actually hide the screen. It can be set to enlarge the screen if using a higher res than the screen was designed at.

I just reread your first post. Imo, a second monitor would only be of use if you used 2 identical monitors, and stretched one big desktop across them. But I'm not entirely sure that would even work all that well, as you'd probably need a custom screen.

As for the LED screen, the simplest way is to use the ModIO board. A few people have made pendants using this board and the available LCD screen. http://www.homanndesigns.com/ModIO.html

vacpress
03-24-2006, 06:22 PM
thanks gerry...

you are really quite wonderfull.

i had seen this board.. $100.00.. ick

I can make my $35.00 BX35 chip do RS485 quite easily...

Oh well. I should stop trying to plan ahead on things.. I just ask to many obscure, weirdo questions...

I have this other idea for the second screen... run a little VB program in it that monitors the machine.. like a system-status screen... would be easy... however, its a silly idea, and any VB application running may messup mach's timming...

cannot wait for the g-rex to be more widely supported.. so i can buy one.. (well, plus i need to finish the current machine!)

thanks.

ger21
03-24-2006, 07:20 PM
i had seen this board.. $100.00.. ick

I can make my $35.00 BX35 chip do RS485 quite easily...


I think it's quite a bit more complicated than you may think. The ModIO gets rave reviews from the Mach community.

ynneb
03-25-2006, 09:14 PM
Robert for some time I have lobbied Art to implement the idea of Mach having movable modular windows, similar to what you find in photoshop. This will allow the users to set up his/her screen as they wished, without having to use the screen designer. Art has told me that in a future version of Mach he will look at doing this. If this is done then, you will be able to use more than one monitor.


Let me simplify this question: In mach, are all the popups and views contained within the main program window, or can dialog boxes be dragged outside that border? Mostly not, but there is one sort of exception. There is a new feature in Mach that allows for the user to display video of his machine while it is in operation. This window is dragable outside of mach. I am guessing that this feature is in reality just a seperate program from mach, that is launcjed from within mach only.

EDIT: I just thought of a work around for you. You know how you can extend your desktop over a few monitors? Well you could make a doubley wide mach screen that spans over two monitors. Now that would work ! You just wouldnt have the feature of independantly been able to adjust the screen seperately over each monitor. Other than that, all should work well. EDIT: I just re read the thread, Gerry had already suggested this.

Did you know that Mach supported touch screen monitors? How about using two of these. It would be a lot easier to implement than building special electronics for small LCD panels.

vacpress
03-25-2006, 11:27 PM
well, the idea is to extend your desktop onto a Car or videogame system LCD with a tv out on a video card.. That way you can get a neat 7" LCD for like $60.00/US...

i posted a link to these case-mod projects that inspired this... in some other thread... cant remember where... it was recent..

I think it was here: http://www.bit-tech.net/modding/2005/10/18/matrix_orbital_mx6/5.html

page 5. they run some widget program that displays status screens in the little windows

those of us with 3d models of or machines could maybe write a widget that shows temperature of the motors and drives, warning states, bit changer info.... door open status... crap like that.. sorta cheesy... but the sort of flashy crud i am into (for whatever bad reasons!)

check it out..

santiniuk
03-26-2006, 05:08 AM
I just reread your first post. Imo, a second monitor would only be of use if you used 2 identical monitors, and stretched one big desktop across them. But I'm not entirely sure that would even work all that well, as you'd probably need a custom screen.
http://www.homanndesigns.com/ModIO.html

Some great ideas cropping up.

I couldn't resist trying this Gerry and I'm pleased to say It looks like it should work ok. I wasn't using my 'cnc' pc but from what I can tell a dual monitor graphics card should let you drive mach over spanned windows.

I then tried the new screen 4 designer and selected a new custom screen of some hideous dimension, basicaly 2560*1024 (i.e a 1280*1024 screen doubled)

Screen4 allowed me to design a screen that would cover both windows. Just think of the possibilities ! (I can just see some of the masterpieces that Benny could create !!!)

So I guess for cheapness a second pci graphics card driving a dual monitor setup could be done.

Finally a test to see if Mach 3 would run dragged over a split monitor and it works fine.

Ok Benny... fire up Screen4 and Get to work :)

ynneb
03-26-2006, 07:13 PM
Thats a great test Santini, I am glad you have confirmend this can be done.
It really does open up some scope for users who want a full on flight deck.
I guess I should publish a working screen for single monitors b4 I do a dual monitor screen.

I dont suppose you could start a new thread in the mach forum with the same details, I want to preserve your results, and post a link in the Yahoo forum to it. I think that will get a good responce indeed.

vacpress
03-26-2006, 07:39 PM
Wow. That rules!

That is exactly what i wanted to know... santiniuk - handshake. So, that first screen was designed with a nice gap so it would stretch across the 2 monitors?

What do you think would happen if it was 2 different sized screens with different resolutions?

ynneb, at some unknown time in thefuture i will be working on this as well..

Also, benny, while ive got your attention - all this stuff you have been doing is a great gift to everyone! all these screens and diagrams and information.. You are a real assett to cnczone...

But here, check this thing out!
http://www.hurco.co.uk/images/ultimax_steuber.jpg

i do beleive it would look more impressive running mach x

Robert

santiniuk
03-27-2006, 09:08 AM
Benny, No problem. Post added to forum... I will await the laughs :)

Robert - Yes basically using screen designer I just left a small band where the monitor split would be. I don't think that different screen resolutions would work too well. I find MACH a bit primitive the way it handles screen resolutions anyway. i.e it does not autoscale and requires fixed screen sizes. Then the fonts look weird... etc etc...

I do like your cockpit control :)

ger21
03-27-2006, 09:28 AM
I find MACH a bit primitive the way it handles screen resolutions anyway. i.e it does not autoscale and requires fixed screen sizes.

It autoscales up, just not down I don't think.

santiniuk
03-27-2006, 04:08 PM
It autoscales up, just not down I don't think.

'Primitive' was probably the wrong expression (chair)

What I meant to say is that although Mach does have an effective method of scaling up screen size (In the state Page) it's not ideal after resolutions of 1024 * 768.

The bitmaps included in the x:\Mach3\Bitmaps\MillBitmaps folder are obviously designed for a fixed resolution. They do scale larger but unlike a vector graphic they soon suffer at larger resolutions.

The graphic borders and fades escape not too bad, the problem is that text is included in the image. Take a look at backgroundmain.jpg for example.

This background when scaled to 1280 * 1024 suffers in appearance due to the blurring of the text on the graphic.

Other Graphics like the buttons are also prone to this.

If I look at the G-Cdode or M-Code Page they look pretty horrible due to this scaling.

Maybe not including the text as a graphic image would be a solution and use 'active' buttons where the code defines the text.... It would then lend itself to multilanguage varients a lot easier .....

But that said It's still a great program and a few hours on screen4 would soon let you do a nifty screen for a higher resolution....

ynneb
03-27-2006, 04:20 PM
Santini, You are right about scaling been an issue, and also text scaling not looking so good. The current reason I dont use the text labels in mach is because you can only set the one colour for all labels and buttons. This causes a problem when you need to place a label over a light background and also a black background. It would be good if we could individually change the settings, instead of a global change.

It is possible to have vector inages in mach that scale well, however they suffer from not been able to handle much more than gradient colour, and you lose out on rich textures that jpgs can offer.
Essentially its all a series of comprimises to get what you feel is best for the situation.