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Custom keypad for Mach3 (Mill) and Touchscreen questions

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slow-poke

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#1
I'm toying with the idea of making a smallish dedicated keypad with keys for the most commonly used functions. I would then mount the keypad in a optimum location within easy reach. I Prefer real buttons to a keyboard or a touchscreen. I would design it so the buttons could be easily re-assigned.

Do you think this idea has any merit?

If you had such a device what buttons would you like to have?

For anyone using a touch screen, does it work well or are the smaller buttons too finicky to select?
 

DAT510

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#2
I don't us a touch screen, but I do use a pendant. I use a Contour Shuttle. It has 5 assignable buttons and a scroll wheel. I've set mine up to Select the X, Y, Z, A axis Control and Home Location. I use the Scroll Wheels (Inner and Outer) for Fast and slow Jog of the chosen Axis. There's also a Shuttle Pro with I think 15 assignable buttons, and scroll wheels. https://www.contourdesign.com/product-category/workflow/

I've seen others on HM that have made their own Pendants, with many more features.

I like the fact I can have the pendant in my hand while I set up a part vs in my case reaching for the keyboard, to control movement.
 

MontanaAardvark

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#3
I'm toying with the idea of making a smallish dedicated keypad with keys for the most commonly used functions. I would then mount the keypad in a optimum location within easy reach. I Prefer real buttons to a keyboard or a touchscreen. I would design it so the buttons could be easily re-assigned.

Do you think this idea has any merit?

If you had such a device what buttons would you like to have?

For anyone using a touch screen, does it work well or are the smaller buttons too finicky to select?
I've seen other folks do this, and I think one guy used a game controller. Personally, all I'd want would be jog buttons. Left/right, front/back, up/down. A small, plastic box with 6 buttons would be all you'd need.

In Mach3, I've set up the keyboard arrow keys for L/R, and F/B, and Page Up/Page Down.

A few times, I've found it would useful, but my keyboard is within arm's reach of the table. It would be much more useful for when I'm farther away. I have three machines running Mach 3 and a Warp9 Ethernet Smooth Stepper. I'm not sure how I'd interface something else, but it would be handy on the lathe, which ended up far enough from the computer that I have to walk back and forth.
 

jbolt

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#4
I use a xbox 360 pc game controller. I like that all the buttons can be configured to the users preference. The sticks are proportional. I run the sticks at max 50% and have the triggers setup to switch to 100% when depressed. I have the colored buttons set at red= stop, yellow = pause, green = start and blue = .001 step toggle. The small pad that has up/down right/left is set to .001 jog for the X & Y axis. I prefer the game pad over a pendant. Much quicker to use.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk
 

MontanaAardvark

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#5
I use a xbox 360 pc game controller. I like that all the buttons can be configured to the users preference. The sticks are proportional. I run the sticks at max 50% and have the triggers setup to switch to 100% when depressed. I have the colored buttons set at red= stop, yellow = pause, green = start and blue = .001 step toggle. The small pad that has up/down right/left is set to .001 jog for the X & Y axis. I prefer the game pad over a pendant. Much quicker to use.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk
How does that connect to your computer?
 

Boswell

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#7
I have been looking into products by x-keys. They make a series of different keypads and button pads where all of the buttons are programmable. I don't know yet if they will work with Mach3 but they should
 

MontanaAardvark

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#8
I have been looking into products by x-keys. They make a series of different keypads and button pads where all of the buttons are programmable. I don't know yet if they will work with Mach3 but they should
I'd be interested in what you find. I have a spare USB port - a couple - but with three parallel ports in use, using one of them is just not happening.
 

MontanaAardvark

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#9
Just a followup that I finally got the running today.

I found a Logitech Rumblepad 2 I used to use for something very different (but still not gaming), and thought it didn't work. I just hadn't set it up properly. It's convenient to have that pad with me when I'm working on the mill's table.
 

MontanaAardvark

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#10
Just a short demo of using it on the mill.


I used this with my DTI to make sure the vise was square to the machine and it's much nicer to use than going back and forth to the keyboard.
 

shooter123456

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#11
This sounds a little bit like the control panel I used to control my power feed for a while. I used 8 momentary push buttons and an arduino to control it. I have been planning for a while to use the same principle to control my CNC mill. You just connect the arduino to the computer via usb, and the buttons each get an input pin for the arduino and they are grounded to the arduino. Then a simple program monitors the buttons and send the computer keyboard shortcuts when they are pressed, the same way a keyboard would. I use linuxCNC where everything has a shortcut, and the program can be modified to change the function of each button very easily. The buttons are cheap, ill include a link, and one arduino mega can support 54 buttons so it could support a very large keypad.



http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-Pcs-Latc...139811&hash=item2813b2920d:g:MlkAAOSwwpdW4ck~
 

MontanaAardvark

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#12
That's a cool approach. I've never played with the arduino platform, but I understand it's oriented toward controlling things more than the Raspberry Pi is. I have a Pi 2, but haven't gone anything useful with it.

The ergonomics on these things matters, and I think the Rumblepad is a bit too big and chunky. I'm only using about half of the buttons on the thing: the right side buttons (1-4), the front edge buttons for up/down and one of the four slim rectangles on top of the thing for the <CTL> button.

Still, it's a nice improvement over using the PC keyboard and it's good enough for now.
 

slow-poke

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#15
5" x 6.8" , I want decent size buttons for ease of use. I'm going to change the middle blue button to include MPG.
B-Bar.png
 

DAT510

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#16
I personally like to have the X and Y Jog buttons in a "+" pattern that matches the direction of the Part Movement. It's more a mental thing for me, so I don't need to convert in my head. Other than that I like your Layout.

(I tired to show the layout in ASCII, but the forum software is too smart and eliminates the extra spaces.)
 
Last edited:

MontanaAardvark

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#17
I personally like to have the X and Y Jog buttons in a "+" pattern that matches the direction of the Part Movement. It's more a mental thing for me, so I don't need to cover in my head. Other than that I like your Layout.

(I tired to show the layout in ASCII, but the forum software is too smart and eliminates the extra spaces.)
I use the 4 arrow keys on my PC keyboard for that reason. The Up/Down for Y are in the middle, Left/Right for X on either side. Same basic idea. On my game controller, it's four numbered buttons in a "+" pattern, and then Z up down is on the top edge. I have accidentally bumped a button, but unless you use two key presses to do anything, that's probably unavoidable.
 

Boswell

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#18
I use the jog wheel to .. well Jog. but to make it easy on me. I use an X-Key programmable button bar that has 4 dedicated buttons for the jog increment. I have them set to 0.1 ; 0.01 ; 0.001 ; 0.0002. the pendent I have has a switch for X, Y, Z, and Feed rate. I find that this covers most of what I need for zeroing and the nice thing about the X-Key buttons is that I can program more custom key strokes when I decide what I want to short-cut. Like setting Z with the 2" offset of my setter tool.
 

slow-poke

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#19
Getting closer.........

After researching boards that will give me more I/O, the Pokeys57E and UC300ETH seem like the best candidates. I decided to go with the Pokeys based on the small size, low cost and positive comments. I sent a few questions via the tech link on the Polabs website and received a quick and detailed response. I then placed an order and the board was shipped within the hour with DHL tracking. So A++ service. The board arrived in Toronto the next day, WOW!

I ordered the version without connectors and will mate the 57E directly to the back of the PCB as shown below to eliminate the wiring.

I will bet the moment I start using this thing I will want another button or two, hopefully the three function buttons will cover what ever I have overlooked.

LC30A-CNC.png

LC30A-CNC-back.png
 

MontanaAardvark

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#20
I like that keypad layout better, for whatever that's worth. The X/Y layout with Z along side makes sense. I use a rotary axis, so I'd need A also, but maybe that's just me.
 
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