Heading home from France and Welding Course

Well we came out for the New Year to France with lots of jobs to do and both ended up totally incapacitated with flu.  Not felt so miserable in a long time and now totally weak and wobbly.

We did manage to get the new office sorted and it’s nice to sit here working in it.

We have decided to leave early and stay overnight near Tours on the run to the ferry.  The prospect of the normal 7 hour drive in one hit did not appeal to either of us.

You know what, if you are going to be ill, it is best done at your home with your own bed and I am really looking forward to unlocking the front door on Tuesday.

Wednesday night looms exciting however as my mate and I have registered on a 21 hour introduction to Welding Course over the next 7 weeks.  Got to get back on my feet ready for that.   Hopefully some new skills to be added to my very mature CV …

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The Power of Fing

While struggling to sort out the network folder issue with PathPilot v2 I mentioned that I could ‘see’ the Tormach and ping it.  One of the readers asked how I managed to find the IP address of the Tormach when it was automatically allocated by the server under DHCP ?

OK I am far from Cisco qualified so the next bit is how I see things work.  When a new device is added to the network for the first time you can either allocate a fixed IP address manually or let the server do that for you.  If you are a bit nerdy like me you might prefer to have a nice ordered manual list of all your main devices.   There is a slight danger that with fixed addressing you can drop the ball and allocate the same IP address to two different devices.   This is not good for the network and leads to smoke coming from ears.

DHCP takes the problem away.  Simply plug the new device into the network and it will talk to the server, get a IP address allocated and off you go.

The server keeps a register of which devices are active and generally will leave the IP address it has allocated unchanged between switch on uses.  It is a simple easy way to do things particularly for the non IT user.

To find if a device is live on your network you can send a ping command to the IP address of the device you are looking for.  The device will respond back and you know all is well.

BUT … if the device has been added using DHCP you will have no idea what the precise IP address of the device is.   So how can you ping something that you don’t know ?

There are lots of geeky commands to solve this problem but there is also a wonderful little App call FING.

FING can be loaded on desktops or portable devices.   When you run it up it sniffs the network and gives a listing of all the devices on the network with their associated IP address.   It also lists devices that have been seen on the network but not currently active.  You can tag names to each device and add icons for similar device types. Here is one of its screens

But that is just the start ….. it gives you the MAC address of each device.  MAC address is a unique number embedded in a network device by the manufacturer.   It is in essence a serial number.  The MAC addresses from a manufacturer will be similar looking so you can identify a device source.

On my wifi system I use MAC address filtering as extra security.  When a friend comes round and needs to log onto my network I can immediately see the device trying to get on but being blocked.  I can see the MAC address of his device and add it to my white list.

So back to the story.   I had loaded PathPilot version 2.0.0, enabled DHCP and connected to the network.  Fing immediately saw the Tormach and it was clearly communicating within the network.   This meant the problem was not network related but something in the Tormach not advertising the shared folder properly.

I thought that was going to be a short explanation post and look how long it ended up.   Short story – FING is a great app.

(BTW I have no connection, affilation, financial involvement etc with Fing.  I just like to tell people about what I regard as really useful apps).

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In France for the New Year

It is raining and continues to rain ….. but we have a few jobs to do about the place and plenty of logs for the woodburner.

Being confined in doors has its advantages as it gives an opportunity to write up something for the website. You might find my new page on using Printed Circuit Board as a construction medium of interest.  Click and follow : –

Printed Circuit Board as a Construction Medium


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Tormach PathPilot Version 2 Release – Issues with Shared Folder

I ordered my upgrade to newly released Version 2.x.x of PathPilot for my PCNC440 machine and to be honest the instructions for doing the upgrade were clear and straightforward.   Care is needed as this is a complete clear out of the old version so backups needed to be taken of your GCode files and your Tool Table etc.  Don’t fret however as all this is talked through quite clearly in the downloaded support document (TD10530).

The software loaded well but I then had a couple of problems.

Prior to the upgrade I had a shared folder on my desktop PC that allowed me to blob across the GCode files to the 440 machine without leaving my desk.  After the upgrade this shared folder had disappeared and try as I might, refused to return.   I could ping the Tormach so it was on my network but it was not being seen from a data point of view.

I eventually gave up and posted the problem with Tormach.  They came back quickly with a fix as follows.  This is a simple to do and assumes the ‘green light’ on the internet button (on the status PathPilot page) is lit.

  1. When in the PathPilot working screen, press CTRL+ALT+X to bring up a terminal window.  (A word of warning here …. my keyboard silicon protector overlay supplied by Tormach had legend that did not match the keys underneath …. check what you are really pressing …)
  2. Type gedit smb.conf.share and click enter on the keyboard. This should launch the file for editing.  (Note: 1 space between gedit and smb.conf.share)
  3. Change “security = share” to “security = user”
  4. Reboot the PathPilot controller
  5. Open a folder mapping dialogue on your desktop PC File Explorer and map to an unused drive letter.   Note the format is something like “\\tormachpcnc\gcode” but read the instructions from Tormach.

The other issue I had initially is that I could not load DropBox which is a new facility on PathPilot.  As by now I had solved the shared folder issue, this was less of an issue but belt and braces called and finally it loaded OK.

Note that you must reduce the number of folders seen by DropBox on the Tormach or it will flood your memory storage space.  Tormach give instructions on how to do this by listing the folders that need to be ignored.  You cannot cherry pick them from a dropdown list but instead you need to paper list them and then manually enter them.   Also note that any folders you are blocking that have more than a single word name format need to be encapsulated with ” ” when entered in the blocked folder list (unless you have underscored any spaces).   I reduced my DropBox folders ‘seen’ on the Tormach to just one which will contain my GCode files.

DANGER – do not simply delete the DropBox folders that are not of interest in the PathPilot File screen or you will delete them permanently from the DropBox cloud storage.   All your pictures of Auntie Agnes with her Sherry at Christmas will go down the tube ….

Upgrade Documents on the Tormach Site can be found here and you will need the following two documents

TD10345 Networking PathPilot

TD10530 Upgrading to PathPilot V2.x.x

I have posted this information on the NYC CNC Forum and John has also created a document in his site Library.

Good luck with the upgrade.  The resulting code isn’t dramatically different but general presentation of graphics and fonts is better and the conversational programming is slightly changed.

Finally I cannot emphasise enough how responsive Tormach Tech Support are if you have an issue.  Without their help I would probably still scratching my head regarding the above.

Disclaimer : –  This post and many others on my website feature references to Tormach and its products.  I have no connection to Tormach Inc financially, commercially or otherwise.  I acknowledge that Tormach®, Tormach Tooling System®, TTS® and PathPilot® are all registered trade marks of Tormach Inc.

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I’m not saying our kids are alcoholics …

But this was a nice exercise in Fusion 360 and Sindoh printing and provided some simple UNO winner prizes.   (Yes we always play at Christmas and it can get very bloody …).

The challenging part was wrapping their names round the body and I am indebted to John at NYC CNC for his video on putting text on a cylinder (Fusion Friday FF104).  Editing the names was not quite so simple – the clue is to turn the body off so you can get at the text which sits in a different plane.

Happy Christmas to anyone who reads my stuff.  More in the New Year and hopefully less Haimer probe breakages.

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