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New features in DeskProto Version 7.1


(May 2021) The new DeskProto Version 7.1 contains many improvements and new features.
Three of these new features stand out:

Rectangular blocks for rotary machining

Screenshot of geometry and rotary toolpaths in a rectangular block
DeskProto V7.1 can create rotary toolpaths for a rectangular block
(in the image the view has been rotated: the rotation axis along X is horizontal on the machine).


A highly appreciated feature in DeskProto V7 is its ability to create rotation axis toolpaths. Not just by wrapping a flat design round a cylinder, but real rotary toolpaths that go round the 3D geometry. A great tool for any user of a CNC machine with a fourth axis.
So far DeskProto has always used a cylinder shape block for all rotary projects, and many users have requested to also support rectangular blocks for rotary machining. We are very happy to announce that Version 7.1 supports rectangular blocks.

The screenshot above shows the Venus geometry in a rectangular block (the orange lines show the block). At the right side 4th axis toolpaths are present (for three roughing layers). For a cylinder block these toolpaths would have been full circles: part of the path cutting air when the block was in fact rectangular. This cutting air now is no longer needed.

Simulation now also for rotary machining

Screenshot of two simulations of a rotary part (Venus)
Simulating the result now also is possible for rotary toolpaths.
Left the simulation after three roughing layers, right after finishing.

A second feature request that has been made many times was simulation for rotation axis toolpaths. Calculating such simulation is much more difficult than for 3-axis machining, so it has taken us much time to add this feature. It involved implementing a completely new simulation algorithm, based on voxels.

The resolution of the simulation can be set in the Part parameters. As you can see in the screenshots above the new algorithm works fine.


Powerful new postprocessor options, using "placeholders"

Screenshot of the configurable postprocessor dialog
When writing the NC file each placeholder is replaced by the actual value it stands for.

A postprocessor is the part of a CAM program that converts the toolpath data to a format that is suited for a specific machine or controller. DeskProto features a configurable postprocessor: any user can add and edit postprocessors, using a graphical interface. This is in fact quite unique: for many CAM programs each new postprocessor needs to be bought, where the price for just one postprocessor may be higher than for the complete DeskProto license.

In DeskProto V7.1 new functionality has been added to this configurable postprocessor: it now is possible to add information about the current project to the NC file. This is done using placeholders: code words enclosed in curly brackets {}. In the screenshot above eight placeholders are present. When writing the NC file each placeholder is replaced by the actual value it stands for, the button "Show example" lets you preview the result. For instance: {TOOLNAME} has been replaced by the name of the cutter: "Ball nose, radius 2 = diameter 4 mm".

Placeholders are present for a number of values that can be useful in the NC file, look in the Help file for a list. Placeholders can be used in most edit fields in the postprocessor dialog, and also in the Operation's Start/End commands.

More new features and fixes:

Partial screenshots, scaled 100 %, 150 % and 200 %.
The main menu and the toolbar, scaled at 100, 150 and 200 percent.
With crisp and sharp high res graphics. This is done automatically on screens with a high DPI, an extra scaling of the user interface can be set in the Preferences.

The new version comes with more useful new options, like
  • Scaling of the user interface, see the image above. This is especially interesting for UHD screens (Ultra High Definition), where the default scaling is too small to be readable. DeskProto will then automatically scale up. On other screens many users also prefer some scaling for a better readability: that now can be achieved in the DeskProto Preferences.
  • Curve selection (in the Vector operation parameters) now can be done by selecting a Layer in the DXF drawing
  • For Ramping the space over the first toolpath line will be used, now that may also be a curved first toolpath.
  • All ten languages are now present in one combined installation file. DeskProto will ask you which language you want to use, which later can be changed again in the Preferences.
  • When a Simulation is shown all CAD data and toolpaths now will be automatically hidden, providing a clear view of the simulation.
  • A new option is present in the postprocessor (tab Spindlespeed): "Set Spindlespeed to 0 for rapid positioning movements". This allows an NC file (2D vector data) to be used for laser cutting, as most laser cutters respond to the Spindle command in G-code. The trick is to set Machining depth and Free movement height both on Z=0, otherwise some excess burning will result when moving down to machining depth after each positioning movement.
  • The wizard "Advanced geometry: Two or more sides, automatic rotation" will raise the cutter high enough to rotate the rectangular block without colliding with the cutter.
  • It is now possible to store some notes in a Driver file (a file with a cutter definition, machine definition or postprocessor definition). For instance mentioning the name of the creator, the date, the manufacturer, a later change, etc. You can open the dialog to edit these optional comments via the new button called "Notes".
  • As the DeskProto Drivers folder is not easy to find, in each library dialog a button "Open location" has been added.
And of course (as always) many small bugs have been fixed and many small layout improvements have been applied.

Updates

DeskProto V7.1 is a free update for registered users of DeskProto V7.0 !
Just download and install Version 7.1 (the Free edition): it can be unlocked using the Name/Key combination on your V7 license.
For users of previous versions a discounted update offer is available until the end of May 2021.

Compatibility

DeskProto is available for Microsoft Windows, for Apple MacOS and for Linux.
For Windows it needs Win7, Win8, Win10 or newer, a setup for WinXP (SP3) is available on request.
For MacOS it needs Sierra (10.12), High Sierra (10.13), Mojave (10.14), Catalina (10.15), Big Sur (11) or newer.
For Linux it has been developed and tested using Ubuntu 18.04, still it should also work on most other popular Linux distributions.