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What's new in DeskProto Version 5.0

New features in DeskProto V 5.0 (released in 2008 - now obsolete).

(October, 2008) The new DeskProto Version 5.0, just released, contains a number of exciting new features. Please find them listed below:


relief toolpaths projected on an STL geometry
A Bitmap Operation Starting point is a bitmap file, like the shell in this illustration. DeskProto converts this 2D picture to a 3D relief by assigning a height (Z-value) to each pixel of the bitmap, based on it's grey value. For instance Z=0 for black and Z=2 mm for white.
Optionally the resulting relief can be projected on the underlying 3D geometry.

Completely new features:

  • Script wizards are completely new in software development. This means that any user can add a Wizard to DeskProto using a Scripting language and HTML layout. Three great wax-ring wizards for Jewelers have been added, see below. As DeskProto can autoload a script wizard customization can be easily achieved. Also (32 bits version only) non-wizards scripts are possible.
  • Support for a manually controlled 5th axis has been added, as available for instance on some Roland machines. Such axis makes it possible for instance to also machine the inside of a ring, see the illustration below.
  • The Bitmap operation offers automatic grey-value to Z-height conversion based on a 2D bitmap file (bmp, jpg or gif). This feature has been requested by many users for a long time already.
  • Nested Freeform Segments are now supported: the inner contour indicating an area that does not belong to the segment. Repeated nesting is possible too.
  • DeskProto V 5 is Vista compatible.


Rotation axis machining the inside of a ring
Using the 5th Axis Rotation axis machining the inside of a ring, with the 5th axis on 30 degrees. The outside of the model has been machined already, with the 5th axis on 0 degrees. All toolpaths can be created very easily using the 5thAxisWaxRing wizard.

Improvements for calculations and NC file output:

  • Improved quality of spiral strategy: in V4 the Z-movements in the spiral toolpaths could be very jumpy, in V5 these are smooth movements.
  • True circle strategy and radial strategy.
  • Custom center point for spiral, circular and radial strategies.
  • Parallel toolpaths at a custom angle with the X-axis.
  • The contour only strategy now first machines the innermost contour, and ends with the outmost one: the material remains fixtured as long as possible.
  • Extra support block option: Use bridges of first part: editing the blocks of Part one will change them in the other Parts too.
  • Support for 64 bit Windows, allowing DeskProto to use more than 2 Gb of memory. This will allow calculations with very large STL files and/or very long toolpaths, that until now needed to be split into separate segments. Note that we have found that 64 bit Windows does not make calculations much quicker. You need a PC with much RAM, as swapping will make any calculation dead slow.
  • Extra option for Skip Ambient: Ignore enclosed Ambient.
  • Multiple diameter cutters now may have a conical transition between the two diameters.
  • Plunge rate now also for 2D Operations.
  • New option for Free Movement Height: "always stay low" for positioning moves.
  • Feedrate and Spindlespeed can be stored per cutter (optional), to be set automatically when choosing this cutter. This is handy for instance in case of very thin cutters that always need a low feed and high rpm.
  • Direct output of toolpaths, without first saving an NC program file. The new command "Send current toolpaths to machine" will make some machines (or instance Roland) start immediately.
  • DeskProto project files (DPJ files) now optionally also can be saved including all calculated toolpaths. So after changing one operation is is not needed to again calculate all operations of the project.


A nested freeformed segment
Nested Segments In DeskProto V 4.1 freeformed segments have been added. In V 5.0 it is possible to draw a segment boundary inside another one (nested). The inside boundary then indicates a hole in the segment, which can save much machining time. In the illustration two circle boundaries have been used, with the toolpaths only in the area in-between. You can also see that the new Radial strategy has been applied.

Improvements in the user-interface:

  • Sizeable window for graphically setting the segments.
  • A new NC files window, showing the NC files that have been saved from this project and making them accessible.
  • In the Project Tree light bulb icons have been added to show/change the current project and visibility of the operations. Double-clicking a line in the Tree now opens the Parameters dialog for that line.
  • It is now possible to keep working with parts and operations that contain errors, with a red light in the Tree as error indication (in V4.1 an error could lead to a deadlock situation).
  • A new option in the cutter definition allows you to set a Feedrate and Spindle speed to be automatically used when that cutter is selected: ideal for very small cutters (jewelry).
  • Undercuts in the geometry now can be drawn using the option Show downward faces.
  • Optional large buttons for users with a very high res screen.
  • Segments now can be drawn as Translucent, which very clearly shows if and where the geometry is larger than the segment.


Screen shot of the new Project Tree
Easier Tree navigation The new light bulb icons in the tree can be used to change the current part, and to make operations visible and invisible. A red light indicates an error status.
Important advantage is that now a tree item can be edited by double-clicking it's line.

WaxRing wizards and fixtures:

  • The 4AxisWaxRing (TM) Wizard.
    For 3-axis machining of a ring from a wax tube.
  • The 123WaxRing (TM) Wizard and 123WaxRing fixture (optional extra).
    Makes it easy to machine a complicated wax ring using three different orientations: see the illustration below. More information on www.123waxring.com.
  • The 123WaxModel (TM) Wizard for the 123WaxRing fixture (optional extra).
    In order to do two-sided wax machining (brooches, charms, pendants) on the same fixture.
  • The 5thAxisWaxRing (TM) Wizard and 5thAxisWaxRing fixture (optional extra).
    Makes it possible to also machine the inside of a ring (see the illustration above).


123WaxRing fixture with wax ring
The 123WaxRing system One of the new wizards is the 123WaxRing Wizard. Combined with the new 123WaxRing fixture this system offers a revolutionary new system for wax ring machining (patent pending). Pre-shaped waxblocks can be attached to the fixture in different orientations: a very easy process with very accurate results. Also see www.123waxring.com.

Various improvements:

  • Simulations and Z-grid now can be exported, as STL file, bitmap file (grey values) or Point cloud file.
  • First and last point of the NC file positioned above first/last point to be machined (in V4 in the corner of the segment).
  • Support blocks now may also be cylinders.
  • Import of EPS files for 2D Operations.
  • Extended Chaining options:
    - now also commands can be added before the toolpath of that operation starts (Start/End commands).
    - a Chaining tab has been added to the Project parameters, showing the complete chain.
  • The Trial version now can always save DPJ files, also after the 30 days have expired. That is ideal for schools, where one DeskProto license combined with trial versions for all students makes a very lowcost school license.
  • Plus many, many small bugfixes and improvements.

DeskProto Lite

For DeskProto Lite [now obsolete, see the DeskProto Entry Edition]. 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.

Updates

DeskProto V 5.0 is a major update, meaning that for users of previous DeskProto versions this will be a paid update. Update prices can be found at the Price info page.
Any client who has bought his/her V 4.1 license in 2008 will receive a free update.

Compatibility

DeskProto V 5.0 runs OK using Windows Vista and Windows XP.
DeskProto V 5.0 can not be used with Win95, Win98 or WinNT, sorry about that.
DeskProto V 5.0 can be used with Win 2000.
However it might be that in Win2000 the Setup shows an error that module dpkernel.dll could not be registered. In that case download a file called gdiplus.dll, copy that to the same directory that contains DP.exe (created by the DeskProto Setup) and run Setup again. Gdiplus can be downloaded from www.microsoft.com/downloads/.