Gary Rinsem

CNC Chop Saw
by Gary Rinsem

I was contacted by an electronics hardware manufacturer who was looking to help their customer. The customer was a (friendly) foreign government. They built many of these machines and needed control software written by the next morning. Their people didn't admit defeat until the very last moment.

I had a reputation with the manufacturer of the motor controllers because I'd used their hardware before. They said I was the only person who could do the job overnight. Once the customer agreed to pay, I went to the closet and pulled out a big breadboard with one of those multi-axis motor controllers on it. It only took a few hours to write the program. Next morning, many time zones away, the customer opened the email and it tested fine. All they wanted was conversion to their language. Not a clue how to do that, so I gave them a configuration file containing all the words and phrases used in the software. All they had to do was change the words to their language. Huh, seems like a hack, but maybe I did have a clue how to do it.

Pictures were emailed with an explanation of what they wanted the machine to do.

All they would tell me is that the machines were built to make one part. It was a secret project and they only shared what I had to know in order to write the software. They needed to routinely make a great many of these simple parts.

I would have made the program prettier if I had more time.

They emailed me numerous pictures, so I'd know something about the machine I was programming for.