Solo vs. Post Processor

Since the Solo was announced recently, I wonder, when we will get some more informations for developing the PP.
Especially about the topics “tool change” and “touch probe”.
All other things like TCPC did hopefully not change?

I’m interested in this as well, especially if a post will be developed for SprutCAM since the PocketNC already has a post for this CAM system.

Looks like they have to finish the development first… Somewhere I read the probing on the Solo currently works only in A0,B0 which would be drawback for me. Currently I use probing on my PNC in any direction and in any A/B modulo 90 degree angle combination. Therefore I decided to wait…

We’ve been actively working with Fusion 360 and Mastercam to have posts ready for the Solo. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet documented the probing codes, so if other CAM softwares want to implement a post processor they should reach out to me for the time being.

The Solo has a BC rotary configuration and the current probing routines can only adjust the work offsets when at B0 C0 (on the Pocket NC A0 B0). Probing feature dimensions should work at other orientations. We are actively working on probing work offsets at other angles, which should be ready sometime in Q1 2024. Once this is ready, I’ll have time to more fully document the probing routines.

The Solo has 14 tool slots, with one dedicated to a probe (so 13 available for tools). Tool changes are automatic when issuing an M6 T#.

TCPC and RWO are essentially the same between the Solo and Pocket NC machines, but post processors will need to take into account the BC configuration rather than the AB configuration of Pocket NC machines.

Our simulator supports the Solo so that’s a good testing ground for developing a post processor (note that the simulator does not currently support the probing codes): Penta Simulator

Hello John,

Congrats on the Solo release - if only Santa would bring me one for Christmas…

Beyond the changes to post-processors to support probing and the possibility of using these routines with the Pocket NC, are there any noteworthy changes to the Linux CNC side of things which might influence how one goes about integrating a touch probe with the Pocket NC?

I’m aware that the ‘de facto’ approach is to integrate a probe as per probe adapter listed on Tindie
However I would be interested in directly interfacing to the Linux CNC I/O rather than piggybacking onto the existing offset probe integration.

So I’m just wondering if there are any interesting/useful changes done for the Solo which might filter down to the PocketNC firmware before looking more at M codes or GPIO pins (as ‘touched’ upon here: Any IO options? - #2 by john)


Thanks @vectronic! We’re excited about the Solo’s release and eager to see what people do with it.

The biggest change with the Solo in mind that will benefit Pocket NC machines as well is the addition of the new probing codes. They are designed around the probing cycle types listed in the Autodesk Post Processor Training Guide (they’re listed in a table on page 256 and 257):

As for tying into the GPIO, I think Josh Pieper’s method is still the best for probing on the Pocket NC. We have plans for allowing a deeper level of integration with LinuxCNC’s HAL layer, but there’s not a great way to access the physical pins on the Beaglebone inside it, which is ideal for something like a probe. Josh’s probe ties into the same signal as our tool measurement pin, which allows for the best possible latency when responding to a probe trip. We have tentative plans for a GPIO expander of some kind, but it will likely be a USB device so there would be extra latency and no timing guarantees so it wouldn’t be ideal for something like a probe.

Hi John,
thanks for the informations. Do you probably have a 3D model of the solo to share?
Would be cool to start with the PP over the holidays.

Here are STL files for a simplified Solo model: (367.6 KB)

I’m hoping to get STEP files from Bob at Penta as soon as they get produced.

Hi John,
thanks, but as these objects are all separated of each other, I would also need the geomtric relationships. A drawing, sketch or similar would be helpful.

Unfortunately, we don’t currently have a step file, but the relationships should be fairly straight forward between these models. They all share the same origin, the center of rotation of the machine. So, spatially, they are all in the correct place at 0. The spindle should be moved nominally 8 inches up in Z to be at the G53 G0 Z0 position. The trunnion rotates about Y (B axis) and the table rotates about Z (C axis).

Just an update regarding SprutCAM - I did get the STEP files for the Solo from Penta and believe that I’ve set up at least a basic machine definition for SprutCAM. I’m hoping to start working on a post for the Solo soon. This will be my first experience write a post processor so success is not a given.

Are there any Penta resources that are Solo-specific and that would be helpful for this endeavor? I’m currently looking through the User Resources pages for Kinetic Control but it looks like that is specific for the Pocket NC series of machines.

@MikeH the information found here will be good to know when building a post processor. Even though it is in the Pocket NC user resources, it still applies since the Solo is controlled using Kinetic Control as well.

Thanks, I saw that. Good to know that they also apply to the Solo. Are the axes the same for the Solo as they are for the Pocket NC?

Not quite. The Solo has X, Y, Z, B and C axes.

The B axis is the trunnion that rotates around an axis parallel to Y.

The C axis is the rotary table that rotates around an axis parallel to Z.

OK, that’s what I thought. SprutCAM suggests that modifying an existing post is the way to develop a new post so I was thinking of starting with the SprutCAM Pocket NC post, so I’d need to keep in mind the axis changes between the 2 models. Should be “fun”. :grinning:

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