Conversing with a Smoothie-powered Rong Fu RF-30

I've enjoyed driving the lathe with OctoPrint so much, I decided to get my conversational milling plugin working this weekend to chat with the mighty Rong Fu mill. It doesn't do a whole lot just yet, but it does successfully probe the location and dimensions of rectangular stock and apply probe and cutter offsets for linear moves to known vertices. Lucky for me, that's all I need for my current project.

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Nice @cilynx very smart idea replacing the temperature tab. Once you get it working well you should submit it to the official plugin repository.

That's the plan, but there's a ways to go yet. I spent about 8-hours yesterday surfacing two faces, cutting two straight shoulders, and drilling one hole. Lots of fits and starts, some OctoPrint based (like the jogger using G1 instead of G0 and resetting the F parameter every usage) and some just dialing in my machine (like discovering my z-axis steps_per_mm was way off by crashing the cutter into my vise jaws when I should have had 2mm clearance).

I did get a workable part at the end though. I have hours and hours of footage to edit down, but I'll post a video here once it's done as well.

In all its janky glory, I present a cautionary tale of why this plugin is not yet ready for prime time. =)

Because it didn't fit? Really looks like you should inject the control tab into your Mill tab, a lot of jumping back and forth it seems. I have an example of that here if it helps.

The part worked in the end in as much as the fit is loose because the shoulder cuts were too aggressive on account of me not noticing the the speed issue until after the cutter jammed at 2:18. (The steppers on the mill are quite a bit underpowered deliberately so I get jams like this instead of catastrophic cutter failures and the like.)

The worse "catastrophe", however, wasn't a problem with OctoPrint at all, but rather the z-axis stepping being off causing me to chew up the vise jaws. I guess that means I'll have to resurface the jaws now =)

I feel you :100: with respect to the control tab. The back and forth was painful. I'm still debating with myself if I want to incorporate a jogger into the Mill tab or not.

The end goal of the Mill tab is to automate all of the operations that I was doing manually. Basically, I want have it probe/trace the material once, then give it high-level instructions like "take the face down 2mm with 0.2mm passes at 200mm/min" and "cut a shoulder 4mm in from each of yMax and yMin and 12mm deep using horizontal passes of 0.5mm at 200mm/min".

Once I've got that working, I can start baking in some of the known materials feeds and speeds so the operations can be simplified to "the stock is aluminum and the cutter is carbide with a 3" diameter and 1/2" shoulder, take the face down 2mm then cut a 4mm x 12mm shoulder on yMax and yMin" and the plugin will be able to deduce its own feed, step size and direction, number of passes, etc.

I'm not sure yet if I want to make a bunch of tabs for different operations (Joinery, Slots, Surfaces, etc) like you see on the screen today or if it would make more sense to have a single screen for all of the common parameters and some sort of multi-modal selector for what operation to do. I'll have to feel that out as I go.

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Not sure if you saw this, but might be of interest.

Yup -- I've stared at that thread a bit and I completely agree that the current UX on my Mill plugin sucks a lot. That said, it's a stepping stone. The automation is the real fun piece and the whole point of the plugin. I'll share progress on this thread as I lean it down and make it more robust and user friendly.

Made some progress on the automation piece yesterday evening. Probing the stock is much more efficient now and it handles multiple-pass calculation and execution as well. No more flipping back and forth with the control tab.