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What's new in DeskProto Version 4.1

New features in DeskProto V 4.1 (released in 2006 - now obsolete).

(May 2006) We are very glad that the new Version 4.1 has been released, as the development has taken more time than expected. DeskProto V 4.1 is a free update for all registered users of DeskProto 4.0 (email us when you have not yet received it). For users of older DeskProto versions the upgrade is not free (see the Price info page).


Completely new features:

  • The Freeform segment has been requested by many users. It offers the option to draw any freeform boundary in the top view of the part, and limit the toolpaths to only the area within this boundary, which may of course save a lot of time. It can be set in the Segment tab of the Operation parameters. You can even import a 2D DXF file to define the boundary.
  • A 2D wizard has been added, as 2D milling can be difficult to find in DeskProto.
  • Border settings "No extra for cutter" and "stay within segment" are now exact, using one extra toolpath with a different path-distance. This works great when using both Roughing and Finishing while Two Sided milling.

DeskProto screen with freeformed segment
DeskProto toolpaths for detailing a fish model, using the new Freeform segment to exactly define where to machine. Fish model used by courtesy of Sensable Technologies, Inc. (click on the image for a larger size)

Improvements for heavy calculations:

  • Better predictability for memory intensive jobs: the user can decide whether or not to start the calculation, based on ample information as supplied in a dialog.
  • Faster toolpath calculations: for standard cutters up to twice as quickly, for multiple diameter cutters and/or collision check situations the improvement even is better.

Improvements for NC file and file output:

  • Support for USB machines for the NC output, using the machine's printer driver. This works great for the new Roland machine MDX-40 and JWX-10. See Preferences -> NC output.
  • When multiple NC files are written by one Write NC command (for instance when two Operations use different cutters), the names of the operations are added to the filename. This makes it far easier to see which NC file is for which purpose.
  • When the Plunge Rate is set, more feedrate reduction is applied to movements that are not vertical.
  • Roughing added for 2D milling, including peck drilling for drilling movements.

Improvements in the user-interface:

  • Complete mouse-based view control without screen button use: left mouse button = rotate, press middle mouse button (mouse wheel) is pan, rotate mouse wheel is zoom.
  • Pressing Cancel during a calculation now immediately responds (multi-threading).
  • Graphics screen is updated also during some other activities (multi threading)..
  • Lines (names) in the Tree editable conform Windows conventions.
  • And many improvements in the dialog layouts.

Various improvements:

  • DeskProto can be called with command line parameters for automatic calculations. This now also supports calculation of multiple parts. Plus: now also DPJ file as command line parameter supported.
  • Save Geometry As now can be done including Rotation, translation, etc, up to support blocks (all optionally).
  • Preview option for "Add geometry".
  • The DeskProto preferences are stored in the Registry. Now these settings can be saved in a file, for backup, and for easy transfer to different PCs. See Tools... (Options menu).
  • Plus many, many small bugfixes and improvements.

Exciting new features

  • The N-Sided Milling Wizard, which enables rotation axis users to machine a part from several (N) sides, making it possible to cut very complex parts without undercuts. This wizard uses a new chaining option to combine operations from different parts in one NC file.
  • High on the user's wish list was the Waterline strategy, with toolpaths on constant Z-level.
  • Second new strategy is the Contour-only strategy, which is useful both for roughing (machining the block to size first) and for finishing (contour at higher precision).
  • Also new is the Spiral strategy, where the top view is a real spiral.
  • Simple 2D Machining has been implemented, using a new 2D Operation. This allows you to import a 2D DXF file, enter Z-levels for "pen-up" and "pen-down" and machine the lines in the file. Optionally you can even project the 2D contours on the 3D geometry.
  • DeskProto now can show a Machining Simulation: a rendering on screen of the part to be machined. The simulation shows where the cutter cannot reach (rest material), how smooth the surface will be, and eventually also where too much material will be removed.


DeskProto's Strategy dialog
The Strategy tab page of DeskProto V 4.0 shows the new strategies that are now available.
Each strategy comes with its own detail settings

Exciting new features

  • Translation can now be set per axis.
  • You can select where to start for parallel toolpaths: at the front/left toolpath or at the back/right toolpath.
  • For rotation axis machining the Z=0 can be set on the outside of the cylinder (Z translation).
  • Default Project Parameters have been added, allowing to skip backfaces by default.
  • Roughing can be done without vibrations: the vertical surface protection that creates the vibrating staircase toolpaths now is optional.
  • DeskProto saves the status and the position of Geometry Info dialog: will now automatically pop up if needed, and at the right screen location.
  • DeskProto saves the position of all Edit Parameters dialogs: no need to always move them aside in order to see your part.
  • The coordinates of the mouse position are shown at the right bottom of the screen (in case of a view along an axis), for easy positioning and measurements.
  • A Calculation Precision Details button has been added, allowing subsampling (calculation precision higher than Distance between toolpaths) - for advanced users.
  • The error dialog "Part does not fit in machining area" exactly tells you what is wrong.
  • Custom Borders can be set all 4 individually.
  • Many new machines and postprocessors have been added.
  • And many more smaller improvements and bugfixes have been implemented.


Toolpaths at 0 degrees
Toolpaths at 60 degrees
The new N-Sided Milling Wizard machines a part from N sides, with a rotation axis move in-between.
These pictures show a small statue, N=6: left the first operation at 0 degrees, right the second operation at 60 degrees rotation

DeskProto Lite

For DeskProto Lite [now obsolete, see the DeskProto Entry Edition] a new Version 4 has been developed as well. DeskProto Lite is basically the same as DeskProto Full, only part of the Parameter tab pages is not present (part parameters and operation parameters). It is meant for home users and has a much lower price.
DeskProto V4 Lite includes the Simulation and 2D machining just mentioned, however does not include the N-Sided wizard and the new strategies.

Upgrading

Of course an option to upgrade at a special price is offered to all registered users: an offer has been sent by email. For ordering upgrades see the DeskProto Order Form. [now obsolete, use the Webshop]. All users that have bought DeskProto V 3.1 on or after Sept 1st, 2003 will receive a free upgrade to Version 4.0 !