Equipment: idle and busy states

While members use a machine, Fabman can distinguish between idle and busy states.

"Idle" usually means that the equipment is turned on but not performing any work. Examples include a laser cutter during job setup, a CNC router while the spindle is not running or a 3d printer that has just completed a print run.

"Busy" is the fully-operational state, eg. a laser cutter with active laser tube, a CNC router cutting through material or a 3d printer extruding filament.

Once you’ve set up busy/idle detection, you’ll be able to…

  • … distinguish between busy and idle usage in the activity log:This gives you better insights into the utilization of your machines. It also allows you to bill your members differently for setup and usage times, if you want.
  • … set different time periods before the equipment is turned off based on whether the equipment is busy or idle. This ensures maximum safety without interrupting members unnecessarily while they set up their work:
  • … gives you additional configuration options like:
    • automatically turning off the machine when it switches from busy to idle (useful for 3D printers) or
    • preventing power-off while the equipment is busy (also useful for 3D printers and essential for some machines like water-jet cutters).

How to set it up

To let Fabman know whether the equipment is currently busy or idle, you can configure one of the bridge’s inputs to "machine status":

Then connect you equipment to the bridge’s corresponding input pins – see the bridge schematics for examples.
Alternatively, you can use the bridge’s built-in power monitor (for V2 bridges) instead of a status input to detect whether the equipment is idle:

Caution: Using the power monitor for busy/idle detection works only for equipment with a clear increase in power consumption when busy. Some examples:

  • It works well for some 3D printers with heated beds or printing chambers since the power consumption for heating the bed while printing is often a large fraction of total power consumption.
  • It doesn’t work at all for laser cutters since the laser tube requires relatively little power compared to the rest of the system (actuators, controller, …). It’s usually not possible to find a clear threshold between idle and busy states for these machines.

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