View Full Version : ShopSabre WinCNC User Interface Update Recommendations, plus...

08-26-2015, 08:49 PM
Long time Shopbot user and I am a new owner of a ShopSabre 5ATC 4896 CNC Router. A bit of a learning curve as my Shopbot wan't an ATC. I like my new Shopsabre ATC, but have a few recommendations for them to make their interface and machine better:

1. The ShopSabre's WinCNC interface is generic and very basic. See pic below. Having to figure out what G-Code to input is very old school--did that way back in the early 1990's. Need to have simple check boxes, input fields and click buttons--command line G-Code is old school.
2. A "Pause Toolpath & Rise tool/bit to a Safe Height" and "Resume" Buttons. It would be nice to start the job with the dust skirt off, wait an verify it started out correctly then pause with a bit lifted to a "safe height". Snap on the magnetic dust skirt and click "Resume" and have it drop back down and resume the tool path. ShopBot's interface has this and it is awesome!
3. A "Pause and nudge (X, Y & Z)", and "Resume".
4. The ability to click on ShopSabre's WinCNC user interface X,Y,Z coordinates and enter a value to move to instead of inputting G-Codes commands (again old school).
5. A "Park" command button that will unload the current tool and move to a designated parking spot.
6. An "Initialize button that will cycle through all the tools in the ATC holders and automatically measure their Tool Heights. Having to type all the tool holder numbers and click HT after each one is repetitive and time consuming.
7. The "Fluffy Stuff" Add some color and a little bit of branding to the ShopSabre's WinCNC user interface. Compare ShopSabre's interface to CAMaster's -- both use WinCNC. Which one is more refined?
8. Specific documentation on how to customized ShopSabres WinCNC interface--as it is too basic. If I had the decent documentation could do all the above myself.


As a wish list for ShopSabre:

1. They need their own hosted forum like ShopBot and CAMaster. The CNC Zone is good place and I am very appreciative of it but being along time ShopBot owner and forum member I have been very spoiled. There is a ton of specific information on their forum pages.

2. A Z_Zero plate similar to Shopbot's metal one that uses a small current to active. So when installed router bit touches the top of metal zero plate it complete a simple circuit and a signal is sent back into the control box tell the system it has found the top of the material minus the thickness of the metal Z-Zero Plate. Shopbot's Zero Plate can also be easily and freely "hacked" to be made into a Center finder too that will go through X and Y coordinates. A large copper plumbing cap works great for this. This would Eliminating the need for a touch probe to do this with the ShopSabre. ShopSabre has a touch plate, but I believe it using pressure instead of electrical current.

3. Laser sights to locate the X and Y center.

Overall I believe the ShopSabre 4896 ATC it is well build, solid machine. I selected it over the CAMaster Stinger IV. With a few minor updates --especially to their user interface it can be a great machine as I just discovered out how to program in specific "Move To" locations and store them in WinCNC. That is cool!

What other improvements would ShopSabre and WinCNC owners like to see?

ken rychlik
08-26-2015, 10:24 PM
Pretty much everything you mentioned can be done. I have custom screen set up and buttons, I added a zero plate and I can use either to zero bits. If you didn't get the wincnc book with your machine, you can download it online. I had three different shopbots before going shopsabre. It's a really solid machine. I changed the x and y on mine, as i was used to it having a zero in a certain place. If you can dream up something you want to do, it can be done. Also you will get spoiled not having comm issues and a new update every week. lol Feel free to pm me if you have a need for email help, Kelly and Mike are great at wincnc also.

08-26-2015, 10:59 PM
Thank you Ken. You gave me encouragement to know others can & have customized their WinCNC interface. I am a newbie to WinCNC and ShopSabre and want to get the most out them. 290848

08-27-2015, 09:07 AM
X-2 to what Ken says.

There are few control software packages that allow the customizing that WinCNC will. That said, most modifications are not supported by the OEM's. (better back up "stuff" you intend to modify) An OEM will provide a somewhat generic and consistent screen to ease training and tech support with new users.

That said, you may wish to become proficient with operation, macro writing and screen modification before you start messing with "stuff" You might also want to make double sure that you are pretty independent of the OEM's tech support prior to doing unsupported mods.

Here is a screen grab from a custom rotary machine I built: (attached below) This is operated by both touchscreen and/or keyboard

It is built around the OEM WinCNC screenset and uses a number of different functions than your screenset shows, including hilite (brite green) of active buttons.

This YouTube video shows another screen (1st 5 seconds) for a 2 axis lathe that is built on a generic carbon fiber background. This screen is 100% touchscreen operated.

As you can see, with a little knowledge and some practice, you can make what you want. FYI: Most will not learn to do this in a day!


08-27-2015, 11:21 AM
Since we both started on the same brand of CNC and moved to one controlled by WinCNC, here are a few more things that you may wish to know: (from your numbered list)

First, you should know that the majority of "product improvement suggestions" come from those prior to fully learning the software. Sad but true.

1) Inputting GCode coordinates is not "old school", it is what all control systems require. Also, there are less keystrokes required to input "x23.679y16.765" into the WinCNC command line than are required to open the SB keyboard and enter them to the axis boxes.

2) SB has that feature on their manual toolchange operations, but not on the ATC, as it is seldom needed by an experienced operator using an ATC

3) That "axis adjust" feature is available in WinCNC and the nice part is that you do not have to stop or pause cutting motion to "nudge" the axis

4) Same as #1, and using the G90 or G91 make that move as an absolute position or relative distance. Also accommodates both user and machine coordinates

5) Can easily be added once you learn how

6) Same as number 5, requires learning on your part

7) Same as number 5, requires learning on your part

8) Read or download the WinCNC manual. All the information that applies to custom screensets is in there AND it is the source from which all of us that have learned to do this have learned it from.

Selected from the second set:

2) Be careful what you wish for on this one. Having run a SB ATC for a number of years, I can tell you that once you learn the "real system" behind ATC operation, you shouldn't need it. Also, no machine I own will ever use a signal run thru the machine frame (conductivity thru a bit) to set its z position.

08-28-2015, 06:36 PM
Nice lathe video. We have two off those JET's in our shop--minus the CNC feature. Future wish list item.

Thank you for the insights. I will make triple backups of everything and only perform one change at a time. Plan to start slow and gradually work my way up. Simple screen mods first, then start adding in automated button features like Park, etc... Found out on the WinCNC website that they offer help with this (see quotes "..."). Which is great because the WinCNC controller user manual reads a bit like a dictionary, in-that it lacks solid learning tutorials. The words are they but...ugh!

"WinCNC Screen Customization
The WinCNC interface is highly customizable. The window layout is defined by a script-based INI file. Bitmap images can be added for a background and for button faces. All program text is customizable through INI files and can even be configured for translation to other languages. Buttons can be created to simplify workflow by eliminating the need for navigating windows or typing in commands. We can help to develop the screen layout that works best for you and looks the way you want. Basic screen modification is part of the free support included with a new WinCNC purchase or upgrade. Extensive screen modifications or customization may require additional technical support fees."

Our ShopSabre CNC will be used in a high school fab lab/wood shop. Mainly to produce guitar bodies, necks and other projects. I started writing g-code files for lathes and mill projects back in the late 80's and early 90's. Thankfully those days are gone and Vectric's software automatically does that. Thus, I termed g-coding "old school". A well designed graphical user interface will be efficient, powerful and easy to use. Mine is not there yet--but it will be.

03-29-2016, 07:51 AM
you can get a lot of help with WinCNC customization in this Facebook "ShopSabre / WinCNC" Users Group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1141969885814946/