Here is a list of all major updates and changes to the system:
Added the minEngine Studio
Added minEngine functions for the the minEngine Studio software
Added new “Keyframes Mode” which is dedicated to (currently) only work together with the miniEngine Studio
Added a function that updates settings to the new version during a software update (no configuration gets lost any longer)
Improved dashboards to show only relevant data
Improved settings menu-header
Optimized system modes and run styles for easier use
Fixed a bug where the motor was not moving when motor sleep was enabled
Fixed a bug that not saved the keep powered status.
The new Windows client has no documentation yet but should be pretty self explanatory as all button have a tooltip to guide you as much as possible. I also tried to make the user interface as clean and straight-forward as possible. If anyone of you still is not able to figure out how it works, please contact me via the forum. I will help you as good as I can to make it work together with your miniEngine!
If you have any suggestions or find bugs, please let me know. This is the very first release and there is surely lots of space for improvements!
…but mainly I just hope it is of any use for you guys!
Here are some limitations to the functionality which I am aware of:
The defined curves can not yet be stored on the miniEngine. After a reboot everything is gone and needs to be sent to the miniEngine again (this will surely some later).
The communication between the Studio and and miniEngine might not work 100% in any case. If something is not working, try pressing the button again.
The system is not yet “water-proof” and might have some unexpected behavior. I highly recommend using it with care, common sense and limit switches to not destroy your hardware.
It does not work together with the miniEngine v1.
I also added a big portion to the documentation which should explains the system-assembly in much more detail.
I want to let you know what the current status fo the project is and on what I am working on. So let’s get started…
The major development that is ongoing right now is a Windows based client software for editing and testing Bézier-based curves – in other words: you’ll have full control over all axes and thus will be able to define when your motors should be where. The software will connect to your miniEngine via the USB port. The curve / graph editor is basically done and it is already possible to create, save and load setups. Even the basic communication with the Arduino is working.
Here is a screenshot of the client in its current development state:
In the screenshot above you can see a setup with 2 axes (the second axis is the gray one in the background). The currently selected axis is using just 2 curve-segments (see below for an explanation what a curve-segment is). You can fill up your miniEngine with setups up to 25 curve-segments in total. This means that all your axes can together use 25 curve-segments. And here is a little graphic that shows what a curve-segment actually is (for the ones that want to know it in more detail – one curve-segment is one quadric Bézier curve):
Here is another screenshot showing that a curve does not need to be curved. The 2 last curve-segments are simply flattened to a linear segments (there is a button for doing that)
The client supports selecting multiple points and moving them all together as well as numeric point placement for very precise setups where every mm / ms counts.
The connection to the miniEngine will be initialized by simply choosing its COM-port:
The next steps will be to finalize the communication part of the software so that the the paths can be send to the miniEngine and the program can be started.
The software will be released as open Source under the GPL license. It is being developed in .NET Visual Basic. Please contact me if you want to port it to Mac or Linux (I simply don’t have the time to take care of the miniEngine as well as 3 different computer-clients thanks to the need to sleep regularly)
The other place where things are happening is the documentation. I received some valuable feedback regarding the assembly of the BED-board. The next release will also contain some additional details about how to assemble the BED-board. There will also be explanations about different variants for connecting the Big EasyDrivers to the BED board and for connecting the BED board to the main Board of the miniEngine.
I am looking forward to the next release and hope you too!