UGS and Glitches

UGS and glitches. I know others with LongMills have had issues in the past with UGS so I thought I would throw out my issues. The majority of the time things run smoothly but occasionally it acts up. The biggest thing I have a problem with is jogging. UGS seems to ignore when I press a jogging key. Happens with mouse, keyboard or usb numeric keypad. Doesn’t matter which one I use or which way I try to send the router. I can press it ten times in a row and it will work. Other times I press a key once or multiple times and it ignores me. Wait is anywhere from 5 to 30 seconds before it will move again. The other issue I have had a couple of times is when I pause a cut. When I try to resume it won’t. I have to restart UGS, reset XYZ and restart the job. This has happened only twice but it shouldn’t happen at all. When these things occur it destroys my train of thought about what I am trying to do. With my old brain this can be disastrous trying to get back to where I was. Wait a minute, what was I talking about. Oh yeah! UGS. Anybody else having these issues. I havn’t had any of the issues previously reported. I am seriously thinking about using something other than UGS just to see if it is truly a UGS problem. Any thoughts? Anybody?

WRT the jogging issue, try hitting the soft reset button, then jogging. I find that UGS is glitchy, but when the jogging goes wonky, this will often fix it. For some reason, the jogging will frequently not work after I’ve hit the manual jogging button several times to move the router out of the way. Soft reset works in this situation.

Pausing UGS is risky. More often than not, I can pause and send and all is well. However, like you, I have had cases where UGS will not resume from a pause. I am not concerned about losing my train of thought. :slightly_smiling_face: My issue is that, when UGS does this, the piece is ruined. Resetting zero and starting all over again never works perfectly. So, even though the Mill may be cutting air until it gets to where the job stopped, the new cut will never line up perfectly with the first one. No CNC is that accurate.

FWIW, I’m looking at UGS alternatives, but have not yet found one that has all that I would like.

Thanks G. I’ll give that a try. I have been looking at PicSender ($35) but it doesn’t do macros. You have to develope “Snippets” and store them in the QCodes panel. Basically macros but straight gcode. I am also looking at GrblGru (Free) but haven’t gotten that far analyzing it yet. Others I’ve discounted because of certain restraints such as browser based.

I’m interested to see what you find, H. I am looking at grblgru, too. My initial look showed that it did not have a probe module. I really like my probe. :slightly_smiling_face: I may be wrong, there. I need to put more time into it. I would like to find something that is not java-based. I am willing to pay if need be. I looked at Mach 3, but it is not grbl/arduino compatible, from what I can see. That was confirmed my a mach3 tech, too.

G, I just did some reviewing of GrblGru. That is one powerful program. The XYZ probing is done with a regular touch probe and doesn’t use a touch plate. Just measures the material surfaces. I like that but it appears to be manual. I think it is mainly for measuring as you would have to insert your bit and you’re back to square one. At least on the Z axis. It does support macros so it wouldn’t be hard to write one to use the Sienci touch plate. Or just to automate their manual process if you have one of those probes. I have the code to write one for the touch plate. It appears that this program has features to auto construct things like gears and many other features someone might want to do. Too many to list. You can also do cad designing from 2D to basic 3D (like extruding) or just run gcode. I think I’m going to give it a try. It is definitely overkill if you just want to run gcode but that’s ok by me. I’m also going to test out the free demo version of PicSender even though it won’t run a full part cut. Only half. I’m guessing their QCode shippets are like macros but there seems to be a limit of 6. I’ll just have to play around with it and see how it goes.

Please keep us posted. I, too, looked at grblgru this afternoon. I am lucky to have access to vcarvepro and its add ons, so I’m not really looking for anything other than a gcode sender. I like the simulation option. I have an arduino board with grbl 1.1 loaded. I have been using UGS on my office PC to send the gcode to it to see if all is well before actually running it on my shop PC connected to the Mill. But, the grblgru option to simulate the toolpath would still be a plus. I looked at his list of CNC routers and I think the Mill is likely close enough to a ShopBot that we could use that as our machine.

I like being able t use the Sienci touch plate, so if I change to grblgru, I would be learning to write a macro to use it.

Have fun. I’m very interested to see how this works.

As an aside, I read today on the UGS google list that there is a new nightly build of UGS. I may try running it on my stand alone arduino board. One strange thing in the screen cap that I saw was that it does not seem to have a separate jog size option for z, as the version that I am using does. That will be a deal breaker for me. I leave the Z jog size to 1mm, but change the xy frequently to move the router out of the way.

I am totally confused with grblgru. It is more complicated than I thought. I still haven’t figured out how to just run gcode to grbl. It has so many settings and options that I’m beginning to think it’s not worth the effort. So far I have not been able to find how to switch from MM to Inches. That’s a killer for me being in the US and growing up on the imperial system. I did find a setting for turning on a touch plate probe but it’s only for the Z axis. I’m going to try a little more but I’m running out of patience. Oh, and I run vcarve desktop. I wish Vectric would come out with a gcode sender for hobbyists. The big guys can keep their MACH3 and other proprietory programs. Open source is great and cheap but can be buggy at times. I’ll check out the beta for UGS and run it, like you, on a standalone arduino uno.

@Heyward43: Have you seen this video

If you jump ahead to the 11 minute mark, he shows how to load a gcode file. I have not had time to try it yet, but that part, at least, seems simple enough. (I’m open to be proven wrong.)

Like you, I cannot find any mention in the user manual to convert grblgru to use inches.

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Lol, I looked at the video but noticed it’s only 11 minutes and 2 seconds long. Thought you were joking. The part you mentioned started around 8 minutes in. That did seem easy. You really have to dig and be watchful to find info you need. That seemed to be easy enough on my test arduino. Now all I need to do is figure out how to zero the bit to the work piece. Thanks for the info.

I think I’m giving up on grblgru. It’s very complicated. I found a video on youtube but it’s weird. It shows actually powering off your machine, setting the bit to zero position manually (turning the screws) and then powering back on. And this was for the Z axis only. I’m not doing it that way. Only other way I found was with an actual probe device I mentioned earlier. Just another expense. I guess I can live with ugs for the time being. I’m still checking out picsender but the demo mode is very limited so there are options you can’t test. Also doesn’t have a visualizer. Does anybody else have gcode senders to try?

H: Here is a link to a thread on the latest version of UGS. It seems that it now comes with a bundled version of java, which is eliminating some issues with UGS.!topic/universal-gcode-sender/BOmnFohicyc

I have not downloaded it yet, but plan to do so and will run it on my arduino uno to see if I can see any improvements.

In case you guys haven’t seen, I put together a list of other gcode senders that I tested and documented on the LongMill here:

I understand that UGS isnt fully fledged or exactly what works for some people, I hope this helps in your research @heyward43. In case you were wondering @gwilki I also did a page on visualizers:

WOW! Thanks Chris. That helps a lot narrowing down a possible replacement. I really like UGS but not the glitches. The others may have glitches too but willing to try them out. I really liked GrblGru but it was very intense trying to get into it. It does too much in some areas and not enough in other areas. Maybe the author should separate code into different functions. I also like the idea of a separate gcode visualizer. I will try them too.

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Chris: I am crushed that you would think that I have not read everything that you have posted on the site. :wink: I have been reading up on CNCjs, but have much more to learn before diving into it. Like Heyward, I played with grblgru and just found it overwhelming. UGS works well when it works well, which is most of the time. There is a guy on the ugs google list that is trying to convince its developer to finish the surface scanner/auto leveler module that he started. That would add something that I would be very interested in.

Thanks for reminding us of the options that are out there.

LOL Grant. You and I seem to be on the same page. I was just thinking of downloading and giving CNCjs a workout. I’m glad you agree with me about GrblGru. I just couldn’t really get into it. I want something that is easy to learn and use without all the bells and whistles I probably would never use. Like UGS! That scanner/autolever would be nice. Right now I’m trying to get my table somewhat more level before redoing the spoil board. It’s either high on the left or low on the right (glass half full or half empty). It’s off from 0 and varies up to somewhere between 1/16" and 1/8". I haven’t yet gone all the way across or back so it may just be a sag in the middle. Obviously not good. I’m going to partially disassemble the LongMill and fix the table. I have been checking level manually using the Z axis - up and down - back and forth. Slow and painful.

I just had a thought! UhOh! Lookout! I have an old Carve Wright CNC machine that no longer works. Bought it about 10 years ago and not worth the cost to repair and upgrade. Upgrade costs more than I paid for it originally. Anyway one of the items I had with it is a 3D probe/scanner. I have never used it. I’m wondering if maybe Chris or Andy or anybody else with the programming knowledge could code up a program/macro to be able to use it. It would sure save some time checking level.

H: I’m interested in the auto leveler module for another purpose. If I understand it, you put a probe of some kind into your router. You leave the router off, but run it in X and Y over the piece and it creates a map of the “terrain” if you will. Then, when you run your Gcode, the coordinates that the auto leveler created allow you to carve out your design to a consistent depth from the rough surface.

In VCarvePro, there is a function where you can carve something into a dish or a dome. However, you had to have created the dish or dome in VCarvePro in the first place. The program then knows how deep or how raised the surface is from the flat surface and compensates for it when carving the design. If I understand the auto leveler, it does something similar, except the dips and rises in the piece don’t need to be created in the CAM software.

G: I understand what you’re saying. That is what this probe I have is designed to do. As I mentioned I never tried it so not sure how I could interface it with the LM. In my research for a good reliable gcode sender one of the packages I researched would do what you want. Unfortunately I don’t remember which one. The only 2 I have recently researched were GrblGru and PicSender. I’m pretty sure I saw it on a youtube tutorial. You basically define a grid of touch points and the software runs the probe across those touch points. It then shows a surface model that you lay over your work piece or something like that. I’ll see if I can find it again. I just went looking and it is in fact GrblGru. Here is a youtube but sorry it’s in German but gives you the idea. I’m sure there’s an english version out there somewhere. Oops. Forgot the link -