Before starting to use gSender, let’s briefly cover the way it’s functions are laid out so that you’ll know where to find things moving forward. The program only has one main screen, it’s into three major sections:
- The top toolbar has all the things you’ll only use occasionally. This includes machine connection on the left side (boxed in red) and gSender’s Settings, Help, and other additional ‘Tools’ on the right (boxed in blue).
- The left-side control (boxed in green) has all the functions you need for loading, monitoring, and controlling g-code files and cutting jobs
- The right-side control (boxed in purple) has all the functions you need to manually control your CNC when jobs aren’t running. This includes jogging, zero setting, homing, probing, running macros, manual laser / spindle control, and more.
We’ve built gSender’s layout around these primary boxed sections so that you can have all of the CNC functionality most hobbyists need on one screen without getting confused about what each button does. If you’re doing anything during a job it’ll be on the left side, if you’re doing anything outside a job it’ll likely be on the right, and if you want greater customization or functionality it’ll be found in the tools or settings.
Another of gSender’s Design Principals is colouring. It can be scary to have an assortment of buttons in front of you and not know what they’re going to do. This is why we made every button on the right-side control that moves the CNC, blue. This means you shouldn’t ever find yourself startled when the machine moves unexpectedly since the colour will help to communicate whether it’s a ‘machine moving’ button or not.
Let’s do some configuration before connecting up to your CNC. Click the ‘gear’ at the far right of the toolbar to bring up the program settings. Some things you’ll likely want to configure would be:
- General Settings
- Baud rate needed for your particular CNC. Baud rate is setup for the LongMill by default.
- Preferred Units
- Reverse workspace (flips the left and right-side controls if you prefer)
- Visualizer Settings
- Set to light theme if you prefer
Running Longer Jobs (optional)
Windows machines can have a tendency to ‘fall asleep’ on the display and USB ports when running longer CNC jobs, this can cause your intricate cuts to stop short. To circumvent this, you’ll have to change your computer power settings so that the port ‘stays awake’ while cutting.
To keep the display on, you’ll want to click the Windows icon at the bottom left corner of your screen and start to type “control panel” to bring it up.
Once you’ve clicked to open it, go to Hardware and Sound then Power Options
Now, whichever plan you have currently selected (circled in the picture) will be the one that you want to click Change plan settings
Go to the second drop-down and set it to Never, save the changes to ensure that your computer never dozes off on its own.
To keep the USB ports on, click Change advanced power settings
In the separate window that appears, you’ll want to Expand the USB Settings, then USB selective suspend setting, and finally change this drop-down to ‘Disabled‘. Click to Apply these new settings.
After having done all of this, just be mindful now that sometimes a Windows update can remove these settings. If you have an update and want to be confident running your CNC, we’d recommend checking back on these settings to make sure they’re still set properly.
Configuring Display (Raspberry Pi)
Sometimes you won’t be able to see the full gSender window due to your screen size and how it’s minimum aspect ratios are set up. If this is the case, its sometimes possible to accommodate by following these steps. On the Raspberry Pi:
- Click the Pi icon on the top right -> Preferences, then click screen configuration once in screen configuration
- Click Configure then click Screens
- Select HDMI-1 (or whichever screen that is connected to the pi), then you’ll find you can select your Resolution
- We’d suggest you choose a minimum resolution of 1280×1024. Once chosen, you should be able to verify if this fix has worked for you or you can go back and continue to tweak it as needed.