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Custom keypad for Mach3 (Mill) and Touchscreen questions

Discussion in 'CNC IN THE HOME SHOP' started by slow-poke, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. slow-poke

    slow-poke Canada Active Member Active Member

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    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?
     
  2. DAT510

    DAT510 United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    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.
     
  3. MontanaAardvark

    MontanaAardvark United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    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.
     
  4. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    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
     
  5. MontanaAardvark

    MontanaAardvark United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    How does that connect to your computer?
     
  6. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    It is a corded USB model. I know of a few people that use the wireless but I don't want to deal with batteries.
     
  7. Boswell

    Boswell United States Hobby Machinist since 2010 H-M Supporter-Premium

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    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
     
  8. MontanaAardvark

    MontanaAardvark United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    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.
     
  9. MontanaAardvark

    MontanaAardvark United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    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.
     
  10. MontanaAardvark

    MontanaAardvark United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    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.
     
  11. shooter123456

    shooter123456 United States Active Member Active Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]

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

    MontanaAardvark United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    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.
     

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