AFL class in Atlanta at the IWF?

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Michael Kowalczyk
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AFL class in Atlanta at the IWF?

Postby Michael Kowalczyk » Sun, Jun 04 2006, 9:45PM

This first set of questions are for Ken, Dennis, Lee, Jody or whomever at Thermwood could teach this and or make the decision to offer it.

I was just thinking that this would be an awesome add on to offer us THERMWOOD CNC owners and or operators and or programers the ability to attend an hour or two session, at your booth, to show all the AFL functions or as many that can be shown, on paper and on the machine. If you send out a check list of what the benefits are of using these functions in real world programs, I think it would be a tremendous bonus for us. You could also open it up to potential customers to show how Thermwood's CNC controller does what others can't. What a way to show it without really showing off. Obviously I would set up a form for potential customers to make sure none of them are competitors, like The Jeff on the Woodweb forum, and make sure your salespeople think it may benefit them. What do you think? Is this possible?

I'm guessing that the ones, Thermwood CNC owners, who only use Ecabinets or do cabinetry only may not get as much beneift from this as some of the ones that do more high production parts? But by attending this may open up other areas for them too.

Who do you think could benefit the most? How would they?

You could offer a quick start AM session for beginning AFL and then those that want to take it to the next level could come back for the advanced afternoon session or however you see it fit. You could also have a CD and a handout for those that attend with all the info that will be covered plus some bonus files and or videos.:D

I believe there is so much more potential with what we already have and this could unleash it for us.

If anyone else thinks this is a good idea and would like to attend , if they offer it, please post your replies here also..

looking forward to some great feedback,

Michael Kowalczyk
DIT
Last edited by Michael Kowalczyk on Mon, Jun 05 2006, 9:44PM, edited 1 time in total.

Jeff Norris
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Postby Jeff Norris » Mon, Jun 05 2006, 9:15PM

i am all for this. i say all the time that we have barely scratched the surface when it comes to the things that can be done on our thermwod machine. the AFL language is somthing i would really like to exploit. and i dont think its just for high production shops. we build furnature in my shop and one of the things that we have started to do with our thermwood is to do all of our hinge mortising on our router before we assemble the face frames and doors. this is for the old style full mortise butt hinges found in furniture grade cabinetry. this is a perfect applacation for the AFL language. i keep makeing diffrent programs for dittrent applacations thinking that some time invested in the afl could yeild a program that could run at the machine to allow for all the variables. this is just one applacation that i personally would like to use the afl for. sign me up.

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Postby Michael Kowalczyk » Thu, Jul 06 2006, 6:10PM

Wow it's been one month and 151 views and only one reply. Thanks Jeff. I would have thought that this would be something more of us would want to know. I guess getting more out of what you already have is either not desired or there is 151+ operators that are already using AFL and getting the maximum throughput from their CNC(s).

I still think it's a great idea and but I guess Jeff N. and I are the only ones that want to maximize our CNC's potential. This is one of those times I don't mind being proved wrong.

thanks,
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Postby Jeff Norris » Fri, Jul 07 2006, 7:40AM

mike i dont think that a lot of users quite understand what the afl can do,

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Postby Bill Rutherford » Fri, Jul 07 2006, 8:38AM

I would have to agree, that probably would explain the lack of response to your post.
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Postby Rob Davis » Fri, Jul 07 2006, 1:01PM

Mike, Jeff and all,
If I knew what AFL was and how it could help me, I would perhaps be interested. At this moment, AFL is simply another acronym for something I have no clue about ( I am guessing it is not the American Football League). If it is my own fault for not keeping up with the forum, shame on me but could you enlighten me? (and maybe others who won't admit they don't know either)

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Brad McIntosh
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AFL

Postby Brad McIntosh » Fri, Jul 07 2006, 2:22PM

To quote from Thermwood's \"Thermwood CNC Control Overview\" Web page:

===========================================
Advanced Function Language

This is a programming language, similar to Microsoft Basic that can be included in a CNC program to make it into an intelligent program, capable of reacting to its environment or operator input. Advanced Function Language is an exclusive feature from Thermwood and supports sophisticated applications for the machine.


===========================================
I will try an post a simple example over the weekend.

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Postby DanEpps » Fri, Jul 07 2006, 2:39PM

Hey Brad--does it have any cool development tools like Visual Studio or the likes :wink: ?

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Brad McIntosh
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AFL - Development tools...

Postby Brad McIntosh » Fri, Jul 07 2006, 2:58PM

Yes Dan it does!

Neat stuff like...

Notepad with Cut and Paste, Calculator and errr.... that's about it.

:D

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Postby Michael Kowalczyk » Fri, Jul 07 2006, 6:19PM

Sorry Rob Davis and any others but I thought that everyone that purchases a Thermwood CNC would know what AFL is.

***Note to Thermwood Sales Team. Dealers may not be explaining what AFL can do to all customers and prospective customers. You may be missing a sale because of not mentioning it as an exclusive benefit of the Thermwood CNC controller.***

There are 96 pages in the 91000 Supercontrol User Manual that I believe is given to each Thermwood CNC owner. Chapter 6 starts on page 355 and continues to 451 if you would like to skim through it to see some of what it does.

Brad thanks for chiming in and putting together a simple example file to show how AFL can help us all.

lets keep this going and please lets not get off subject. If you need to please start another post. Thanks

It would be nice to see this hit 3-4 pages of direct replies.
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Postby DanEpps » Mon, Jul 10 2006, 6:32AM

So, is this screen shot from the same web page an AFL macro?
Attachments
AFL.jpg
AFL.jpg (36.29 KiB) Viewed 2838 times

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Postby DanEpps » Mon, Jul 10 2006, 6:43AM

Being a geek, I am always interested in new programming methods. Digging around the Thermwood site a little deeper I found this much more detailed explanation of AFL on the page about \"Aerospace and Special Applications\".

Our CNC control is arguably the most capable CNC on the market. It boasts extremely fast block processing time, servo closure measured in microseconds, maximum program size in the tens of gigabytes that can be executed without stopping and it has a unique feature that lets you do virtually anything you want.

We call it Advanced Function Language. It is a full function computer programming language that can operate within the standard CNC program. With it you can access and modify virtually every aspect of control operation, literally changing the control to suite your own unique requirements or even changing it during program execution using different control response for different areas of the part. You can also develop highly sophisticated and intelligent part programs. Program commands are available to read and modify virtually every machine control parameter. You can take measurements during program execution and use these to modify program execution. You can measure a part and automatically create a unique CNC program for that part within your CNC program. The use of variables, if-then and full math functions are supported.

The Advanced Function Language makes Thermwood CNC systems incredibly capable and flexible and allows us to address complex requirements without the high development cost normally involved with creating unique special purpose systems.

Michael Kowalczyk
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Postby Michael Kowalczyk » Mon, Jul 10 2006, 9:53AM

Hey DanEpps,
Thanks for looking into it further. I think anytime you use a variable or have operator input, AFL is being used somehow. I hope many others also dig further into what we already have at our fingertips and make productive use of it.

It also looks like the screen shot is from a CNC with the Turbo option. Notice the Feed Speed.
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Postby DanEpps » Mon, Jul 10 2006, 11:30AM

It is already way over my head since I don't have a CNC but the geek in me is definitely interested.

My interest lies more in the realm of building a GUI front-end for AFL to make it easy for people to use. Since so many people don't seem to know what AFL is or can do for them, it seems to reason that it it were as easy to use as eCabinets...

Of course I may be speaking out of league here. If it is used mainly for tweaking code rather than producing specific macros, a GUI would be of little benefit.

I will continue to watch this thread for developments.

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AFL EXAMPLE - As an example and reference only!

Postby Brad McIntosh » Mon, Jul 10 2006, 5:27PM

Okay - here goes...

!!! THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF SOME AFL'S SIMPLE FUNCTIONS. BRAD MCINTOSH, CNC AUTOMATION NOR THERMWOOD TAKE ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR DAMAGES CAUSED BY TRYING TO EXECUTE THIS CODE. PLEASE DO NOT RUN THIS ON YOUR MACHINE. IF YOU DO, IT IS AT YOUR OWN RISK !!!

What follows is an example of the use of some of AFL's capabilities to create an \"interactive\" program to cut certain quantities of rectangles one at a time. Yes... Control Nesting has a much better function, but this is only an example of how you could use AFL. THis could be modified to \"size\" solid wood pieces if the appropriate hold down method was applied. (Like that black matting..??)

Once started, the program would prompt the operator for the WIDTH, LENGTH and QUANTITY of a certain rectangle to cut. It would then cut the parts, one at a time until the Quantity was reached. The way the code is by default, it would then end gracefully. There is a line that is commented that, if uncommented, would have the program loop back and ask for another WIDTH, LENGTH and QUANTITY.

Read through the code. I have attempted to insert as many comments as I could. If you have any questions, please direct them to me. Do not \"bother\" Thermwood's Technical Services or Programming Support with questions concerning this example.

I have attached the following as a ZIP file. AGAIN - DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RUN THIS CODE!

START OF EXAMPLE =============================

% CUTTING RECTANGLES - EXAMPLE USING AFL - Brad McIntosh, CNC Automation
% Version 1 - July 10th, 2006
%
(*****************************************************************)
%** NOTE: THIS PROGRAM IS AN EXAMPLE ONLY AND ASSUMES CERTAIN
% THINGS, SUCH AS FENCE LOCATIONS, ETC. THM99 OR BETTER.
% IT HAS NOT BEEN TESTED AND COULD HAVE ERRORS.
%
% THE CODE IS FAR FROM IDEAL/PERFECT AS NUMEROUS VERIFICATIONS,
% LIMITS AND OPTIMIZATIONS COULD BE ADDED.
%
% THIS IS TO BE USED AS AN EXAMPLE ONLY!!
%
% User defined variables do not need to be prefixed with a \"u\", but
% doing so should help to prevent the modification of variables used by
% machine macros created by THERMWOOD and used for normal system operation.
%
% Lines such as these that have the \"%\" as the *VERY FIRST CHARACTER*
% are COMMENTS. COMMENTS are not required, but can help document your code.
%
% \"IN-LINE\" COMMENTS use the \"(\" and \")\" as a pair. Round brackets \"()\"
% and their contents within the quoted text used in AFL [PRINT...]
% statements are not considered COMMENTS.
%
% Square brackets - \"[\" and \"]\" - are used to have the embedded contents
% interpreted as an AFL command or calculation.
%
% \";\"'s near the end of AFL [PRINT...] statements keeps the cursor from
% proceeding to the next line.
%
(*****************************************************************)
% ** SECTION TO DEFINE FIXED PARAMETERS...
% NOTE: SET variable=#.#### and [variable=#.####]
% are equivalent. The SET variation is usually used when
% the parameter may need to be changed with the TAB EDITOR at
% the control, since it does not have required terminator at the
% end of the statement (as does the [variable=#.###])
% If the [variable=#.###] variation is used, attention must be made
% to insure that the final \"]\" is not omitted in order to avoid
% an AFL error.
%
SET uMAXTHICK=1.25
SET uCOLLAR=0.125
:
:

(Edited 2006-07-12) I Noticed, rather after-the-fact, that the code was too long for the forum. Please download and unzip the attachment for the full AFL example. Sorry for the oversight on my part... (Yes the code actually does a lot more!) Brad
Attachments
CUT RECTANGLE - AFL EXAMPLE.zip
FOR REFERENCE ONLY - DO NOT RUN!
(2.46 KiB) Downloaded 168 times
Last edited by Brad McIntosh on Wed, Jul 12 2006, 9:32AM, edited 1 time in total.


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