Customize / extend the ProtoMAX software?

General discussion of OMAX Intelli-MAX software.
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I_Make_Stuff
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:35 pm

Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:32 pm

What options are there to customize and extend the ProtoMAX software?

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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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Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:02 pm

The ProtoMAX software can be reconfigured and modified in multiple places.

Here are some easy changes to LAYOUT (the CAD design software) and MAKE (The machine controller software):
  • General Preferences: In both LAYOUT (under “File / Configure Preference”) and MAKE (on the Setup Menu), there is a “Preferences” dialog where preferences can be set regarding the English and Metric units, line thickness, background colors, zoom speed, and similar.
  • Assignable function keys: In LAYOUT, the Preferences dialog can also be used to assign function keys to some common commands, or to launch scripts or plugins. Look for this in the “hot keys” tab of the Preferences dialog in LAYOUT.
  • Command preferences: In LAYOUT, many of the commands have their own option dialogs, or ability to tweak them. For example, when specifying the Angle and Number of Copies in the Rotate Copy dialog, there is a small icon that if clicked on will swap the order of the edit boxes. This might be handy, for example, to match the order you are used to in another CAD system. Likewise the Snap Toolbar has an Options button to specify whether or not you wish to break entities that are snapped to, leave the command open when finished, and what angle to force to when the SHIFT key is held down.
More advanced customization options:
  • Plugins for LAYOUT: There are a few additional commands available as plugins for LAYOUT that you can install by clicking on the top menu and choosing “Scripts and Plugins”, and then “Install a plugin…”, and then choosing a plugin to install. None of these are very fancy, but serve as simple examples of what can be made using OMAX Scripting. Over time, features people request that might be a little obscure or disruptive to other users, or might be experimental may be available as a plug-in. It’s also possible to make plugins to share as scripts…
  • OMAX Scripting: This is extremely powerful, but also not for the beginner.

    OMAX Scripting allows one to:
    • Create new commands for LAYOUT
    • Create File Open Filters for LAYOUT or MAKE
    • Execute on events in MAKE to extend some of MAKE’s functionality
    • Launch external programs written in your favorite programming language, and optionally feed the results of them back into the ProtoMAX software.
    • Create utilities
    • Automate some kinds of tasks.
    OMAX Scripting runs using a built in scripting engine that is essentially a simple programming language with hooks into features of the OMAX software.

    For more information, launch the OMAX Scripting Editor from the Scripts and Plugins menu in LAYOUT, and then consult the help screens within the Script Editor. There are over 200 sample scripts included to learn from.
  • Layer filtering when importing files: You may notice a file “Layer Substitution Map” in the “Import from other CAD” tool in LAYOUT. Make a copy of this file, and modify it to do your own special layer filtering to customize how Qualities are assigned from LAYERS imported from another CAD file.
  • Custom Tool Path Fonts: While there are many Tool Path Fonts already in the software, designed specifically to work well with the ProtoMAX, it is also possible to make your own. The way this works, is that one makes a tool path for each character, and then the software stitches the paths together as the user types the text in. Instructions for how to make Tool Path Fonts are available upon request, and will eventually be documented in the help screens.
  • Custom theming: It is possible to change the “look” of the software slightly by applying a custom them to it. To do this, run the hidden utility that can be found here: C:\Program Files (x86)\OMAX Corporation\OMAX_LAYOUT_and_MAKE\OMAX_ThemeSwitcher.exe. My favorite theme is either the default “Windows” theme, or “OMAX Friendly Gray”.
  • Script Editor Color Schemes: In the Script Editor, hold down the SHIFT key when clicking on a color scheme from the pull down menu, to open an editor for editing the text and background colors for the Script Editor, if you want to make your own.
  • Colors.INI file: If you modify this, you can set the colors that the various lines are drawn with. For example, make a new palette that works best with your aesthetic tastes, or fits your vision impairment.
  • MTConnect Support: For the advanced user with many machines to be monitored by MTConnect, contact Support for information on how to configure your ProtoMAX. MTConnect is an industry standard protocol for machine tools to broadcast their status over a network for 3rd party software to monitor them. (For example, to monitor a large machine shop). All OMAX, MAXIEM, GlobalMAX and ProtoMAX machines have MTConnect support built-in, though the ProtoMAX has it hidden away as an INI file configuration to enable it.
  • Joystick Support: Some joysticks can be used to jog the machine around, provided they report themselves to Windows as a standard joystick (most joysticks used for gaming do this, though many industrial joysticks may not.) This can be used instead of the normal arrow keys on the keyboard as a way to move the machine around.

:!: Warning about editing INI files: It is possible, and a bit tempting to modify the various configuration files (INI files) by-hand. They are kept in the C:\Users\Public\OMAX_Corporation\AllUserData folder. BEWARE that this is not advised because:
  • The ProtoMAX software will likely overwrite what you do here, next time it runs. Many settings for ProtoMAX are hard-wired to your particular machine and simply cannot be changed.
  • It is very easy to make simple mistakes that can be very difficult to diagnose.
  • There are many INI files here that have little or no effect on the ProtoMAX version of the software (but are used by OMAX, MAXIEM, and GlobalMAX brands)
It therefore is strongly recommended that you DO NOT edit INI files by hand, with the exception of under the direction of Tech Support, or the Colors.INI file. (Colors.INI is an exception in that the worst case scenario is that the colors in the software end up weird, and you may have a visual impairment where a specific color pallette may be useful to you.)

Tip: If you do screw up a ProtoMAX INI file, just delete it, and it will be reset back to ProtoMAX defaults.

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