News: PixelCNC v1.75b is Live!

PixelCNC v1.75b

 

v1.75b is a smaller update for PixelCNC that's largely a bugfix update. This update also includes a new under-development option for the Shapes From Paths function that allows creating a wider range of interesting shapes for projects!

Since the last update, Paul over at the DE Hammer channel on YouTube released a new video exploring PixelCNC and creating a few projects with it. Check it out!

Leon also just put up an Instructable explaining how to use PixelCNC and its included raster-editing functionality to carve photos. Check it out!

 

Round Inside-Corners Option

  Shapes From Paths now includes a new under-development option to disable the existing shape generation behavior which rounds inside-corners of 3D shapes. Disabling the new option allows creating shapes whose inside corners are creased instead. This affords the opportunity to create a variety of new shapes that could not previously be generated with rounded inside corners.

 

  Faceted shapes like the star shown above are now possible by disabling the new option. This option also affects the other shape modes as well, which can produce some nice looking fillets like is shown below.

 

 

 However, there remain a few caveats when generating shapes with creased inside corners! Disabling rounded inside corners to yield shapes with creases requires quite a bit more computation (especially when Super Resolution is enabled!) as a crease can extend unpredictably further into a given path's 2D area which requires that height values in the resulting raster-layer be aware of line segments that may be farther away from themselves. The original inside-corner rounding behavior was more readily optimizable due to the fact that computed height values always derive their final value from the nearest line segment in a path which allows the shape generation algorithm to skip considering parts of a path that are farther away. This is how shape generation has been able to produce raster-layers at a decent speed.

 

  Another issue when disabling the rounding option is that neighboring paths can influence each others' resulting shape. This isn't always an issue and only occurs when one path has a sharp corner near another path as shown above. While the simple solution would be to only compute height values from the path that each value being calculated finds itself inside of, this would break the ability to generate 3D shapes with holes (i.e. paths within paths), which relies on being able to have height values calculate their relationship with multiple paths, rather than just one, as shown below:

 

  We will be working on improving the performance of the new creased shape generator as well as a solution to the issue of neighboring paths affecting one-another's resulting shapes - a solution which ideally keeps compute time down. There's also a chance that the new option will see a name change to where it's something you turn on, rather than off, in order to produce creased shapes - such as "Crease Inside Corners".

 

Fixed Creating New Paths-Layers From Selection

 We discovered after v1.74b's release that the ability to create new paths-layers from selected paths of an existing paths-layer while in the path-editing mode was broken. The layers produced are not positioned or sized correctly. This was caused by interference from a bugfix in a previous update that was meant to resolve an issue with determining the bounding rectangle of a paths-layer's paths once the path-editing mode has been disabled.

 

Stereolithography/STL Model Loading

 While working on the latest Holocraft update it was determined that the method used to detect whether an STL model file is binary or ASCII was not as reliable as it could be. While binary is the most popular STL file format, due to its substantially smaller file size, there was still a possibility that some binary STL model files would be erroneously detected as being ASCII STL model files and they would fail to load.

 While PixelCNC supports both binary and ASCII STL model files, it was using the same method that Holocraft previously used in order to distinguish between the two. This could result in an error or a crash when loading an STL model file that was improperly detected to be the opposite format. The same fix that was included in Holocraft v2.5a has been added to PixelCNC and any STL model files that users may have had issues when loading should be tried again as it is likely they will be compatible now.

 

Apply Button Highlighting

Apply buttons for canvas, layer, and operation parameters now light up with a green rectangle around them when the user interacts with their parameters. This is to serve as a reminder for users to apply parameter changes as it can be easy to get ahead of oneself and forget to apply them!

 

New Post-Processors

 At the request of our users we've included two new post-processors. Users should proceed with caution and make sure that the resulting G-code behaves as expected!

 The existing GRBL post-processor was previously compatible with Carbide3D's Carbide Motion software, but a recent update they've released has broken compatibility. This is due to the inclusion of a G91.1 command in G-code that's exported by the GRBL post from PixelCNC and the new version(s) of Carbide Motion now produce an error when a G91.1 is encountered. Users should now use the new Carbide Motion post if that's the controller software they use to drive their machine, instead of the GRBL post that may have previously worked with earlier versions of Carbide Motion. This post is virtually identical - with the exception that it no longer includes a G91.1 at the beginning of exported G-code.

 We've also included a new Buildbotics post-processor for machines like the Onefinity. This CNC controller works a bit differently than Mach3/GRBL and uses different M-codes among a few other things. Send us an email to let us know how the post works for your Buildbotics based machines!

 

Null G-Code Delimiters

 Post-processors now allow for a null delimiter. This was originally the case in early versions of PixelCNC's post-processor system but functionality added at a later time broke the ability to have a blank delimiter defined in a post. 

 

What Next?

 We've dusted off our original plan to include a built-in content library full of common shapes and interesting designs for users to incorporate into their projects. We feel that this will be a resource for users that adds significant value to PixelCNC as a whole. All users (trial and paid) will be able to access the content library but only activated copies of PixelCNC will be able to submit and share content to the library. We will be working on integrating this functionality and expanding upon it over the coming months.

 We were hoping to have an American Flag tutorial to include with this update but felt the bug fixes included warranted that the update go out ASAP, unfortunately before the tutorial has been finished. Look for it in the next update! :)

 Thanks for reading and happy CNCing!

  - Charlie

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