Freesteel Blog » Foobar found at Mach2010

Foobar found at Mach2010

Saturday, June 12th, 2010 at 11:32 am Written by:

Ran into many of the usual suspects at Mach2010 in Birmingham yesterday.

Dan Heeks was there with his fine Open Source Heeks CNC tee-shirt ad.

The Cad/Cam world isn’t ready for Open Source for at least another generation, if the response from the totally miserable Boxford machine tools is anything to go by: “If you’re not from the education sector to talk about buying one of our machine tool and crap-CAM product package designed to teach people about tooling, but nothing about software, then you must f*ck-off now!”

I was trying to press them for a means to have a programmable CAM that would allow students — with the right aptitude — to progress and make amazing things.

Rather like how I learnt to do programming on the BBC Micro, which had a programming language right there for you. Although modern computers with their fancy GUIs allow people to use computers without knowing how to program — they actually prevent children who could pick up programming easily from ever doing so.

We don’t have this attitude with musicians. We check out if kids are really good at playing a musical instrument, and give them special treatment. But for computer programming, everyone must not be allowed to learn beyond the same moronic level.

Just let a little bit of programmability into your mini-educational machining system, and amazing stuff might happen:

But, no, we’re all too blinkered and fundamentally idiotic.

Look, for example, this image relief feature of theirs in their crap-CAM product could be implemented in the following 10 lines of Python — if it was possible to drive these machines directly:

import Image
import camdriver

image ="picture.jpg")
for x in range(0, 100):
  for y in range(0, 100):
     if (x % 2) == 1:
         y = 100-y
     intensity = image.getpixel(x,y)
     camdriver.move(x,y, intensity*10)

But, no, it’s hard-coded into their proprietary non-open crappy software that can only do things limited by their tiny miserable measly imagination.

What if someone has an idea, like pumpkin carving

Do you know how much a kid would learn about 3D trigonometry to get this idea to work?

And then they could have apps and trade the software, and so on. Boxford could enable a whole open source market with students doing really cool and intricate things — because they’d have access to the software.

But no. The world doesn’t work like that. We dress up in suits, go to trade shows in Birmingham and and act like total gits.

And another thing. The trade show website said it closed at 5, but it actually closed at 4 so I had hardly any time there in the afternoon with Aidan. Blame the rubbishy Manufacturing Technology Association who are incapable of allowing me and Martin to join them. What is their point in existing, exactly?


  • 1. Mark Wassell replies at 14th June 2010, 10:20 am :

    Nice to hear you haven’t lost your love for the industry 🙂

  • 2. Dan Falck replies at 26th June 2010, 9:54 pm :

    I’m glad you caught up with Dan at the show. Have you tried HeeksCNC out? I’ve been using it for over a year now and it is progressing rapidly.
    Too bad the Boxford boys are set in their ways. The world is going to pass them by. The open source movement has introduced a lot of people to a whole new world. I think the EMC2 movement is fueling a lot of pent up demand for OS CNC machines and CAM. I work in manufacturing and we are receptive to this movement.

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