Can the protomax use G-Code

General discussion of OMAX Intelli-MAX software.
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titand
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:23 pm

Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:25 pm

I have a bunch of g-code files (2D .nc files), can i use these to cut parts on a Protomax?

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Carl O
OMAX Employee
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:43 am
Location: OMAX Corporation
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Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:19 am

Yes it is possible to use g-code with the ProtoMAX software. However, this is typically not needed or recommended because:
  • Support for g-code is not as extensive as it is for other OMAX machines
  • There are much better alternatives to using g-code in most all cases
  • Adding support for g-code to the ProtoMAX software requires installing and modifying a custom extension script, (though there is a sample script to get you started).
  • The built in OMX file support already in the software is very easy to use, very powerful, and a much better solution for nearly all situations.
  • Even if you are using a 3rd party CAM system to program your ProtoMAX, it likely already has an OMAX compatible .ORD or .OMX post processor that will go directly to the OMAX, which eliminates the need for g-code. (Contact support if your favorite CAM program does not support exporting as .ORD or .OMX and you need help getting a Post for that. We are here to help, as we very much want every CAM system in the world to be able to output directly to your ProtoMAX!)
Why g-code is not recommended:

ProtoMAX MAKE has cutting models built into it that automatically convert lines and arcs into cutting speeds that model the and compensate for the weird behaviors of the abrasivejet as it cuts through the material. This is all handled automatically for you. Typically, with g-code style programming, this modeling is done on the CAM side, which leads to a few problems:
  • The cutting model in the CAM is almost always inferior to the one built into MAKE, which means slower parts at less precision.
  • Different CAM systems produce different results, as they have different models, and different ways to implement the models. This means that if you make your part in one CAM system, you get different results from someone making the same part in a different CAM system.
  • Because the modeling has to be baked into the g-code itself, it is difficult to completely model for all the effects of the jet in the most optimal way, which leaves money on the table in terms of speed and precision. It is quite reasonable to crudely build in models of abrasivejet behaviors into g-code programs, but the results are far from optimal. (One trick is to simply cut so slow that cutting models do not matter)
Why you might want to use g-code anyway

There really is no advantage of using g-code on the ProtoMAX, except for the case where you have lots of existing files you may want to copy over, or have some really unusual setup where maybe there is some advantage that I'm not thinking of at the moment.

How you can do it anyway:

It is possible to extend the ProtoMAX software with custom file filters using OMAX Scripting. These filters can be g-code, or they could process just about any file type you like. However, someone has to write these filters (though there are some sample files to start from, including one that processes g-code)

How to do this is outlined in the scripting manual, which you can find by clicking on the help menu in the scripting editor. Search for the phrase "Filter Script" to find how they work, how to install them, make them, etc.

If you have the ProtoMAX software installed, you can find an example g-code parser, as well as a text file processor here:

C:\Users\Public\OMAX_Corporation\AllUserData\Scripts\Demos_and_Samples\Concepts_for_Learning\File_Filters

To use these sample scripts, be sure to read the section on Filter Scripts in the help screens of the scripting manual, but the long story short of it is that you need to copy the script into a special folder so that either LAYOUT, MAKE< or both will recognize them as valid filters. Once installed, the normal "File Open" commands will recognise these new file types.

Caution on g-code

G-code files vary all over the place in their formatting, syntax, and capabilities. There are as many "flavors" of g-code as there are machines. The g-code sample script provided probably will not work for your g-code file, which means you will need to modify the script to work with your particular flavor. This requires programming experience, and a bit of learning to learn OMAX scripting. The .TXT file importer, though, is a bit simpler, and will work with any .txt file. So, you might experiment with that one first.

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