QtVCP is an infrastructure to build custom CNC screens or control panels for LinuxCNC.

It displays a .ui file built with Qt Designer screen editor and combines this with Python programming to create a GUI screen for running a CNC machine.

QtVCP is completely customizable: you can add different buttons and status LEDs etc. or add python code for even finer grain customization.

1. Showcase

Few examples of QtVCP built screens and virtual control panels:

QtDragon Router
Figure 1. QtDragon - 3/4-Axis Sample
Qtscreen Mill
Figure 2. QtDefault - 3-Axis Sample
Qtscreen QtAxis
Figure 3. QtAxis - Self Adjusting Axis Sample
Qtscreen Blender
Figure 4. Blender - 4-Axis Sample
Qtscreen x1mill
Figure 5. X1mill - 4-Axis Sample
Qtscreen x1mill
Figure 6. cam_align - Camera Alignment VCP
Test Panel
Figure 7. test_panel - Test Panel VCP

2. Overview

Two files are used, individually or in combination, to add customizations:

  • A UI file that is a XML file made with Qt Designer graphical editor.

  • A handler file which is a Python code text file.

Normally QtVCP uses the stock UI and handler file, but you can specify QtVCP to use local UI and handler files.
A local file is one that is in the configuration folder that defines the rest of the machine’s requirements.

One is not restricted to adding a custom panel on the right or a custom tab as QtVCP leverages Qt Designer (the editor) and PyQT5 (the widget toolkit).

QtVCP has some added special LinuxCNC widgets and actions.
There are special widgets to bridge third party widgets to HAL pins.
It’s possible to create widget responses by connecting signals to Python code in the handler file.

2.1. QtVCP Widgets

QtVCP uses the PyQt5 toolkit’s widgets for LinuxCNC integration.

Widget is the general name for user interface objects such as buttons and labels in PyQT5.

You are free to use any available default widgets in the Qt Designer editor.

There are also special widgets made for LinuxCNC that make integration easier.
These are split in three heading on the left side of the editor:

  • One is for HAL only widgets;

  • One is for CNC control widgets;

  • One is for Dialog widgets.

You are free to mix them in any way on your panel.

A very important widget for CNC control is the ScreenOptions widget: it does not add anything visually to the screen but, allows important details to be selected rather then be coded in the handler file.

2.2. INI Settings

If you are using QtVCP to make a CNC control screen, in the INI file, in the [DISPLAY] section, add a line with the following pattern:

DISPLAY = qtvcp <options> <screen_name>
Note
All <options> must appear before <screen_name>.
Options
  • -d Debugging on

  • -a Set window always on top

  • -c HAL component name. Default is to use the UI file name.

  • -g Geometry: WIDTHxHEIGHT+XOFFSET+YOFFSET. Example: -g 200x400+0+100

  • -m Maximize window

  • -f Fullscreen the window

  • -t Theme. Default is system theme

  • -x Embed into a X11 window that doesn’t support embedding.

  • --push_xid Send QtVCP’s X11 window id number to standard output; for embedding.

  • -u File path of a substitute handler file

  • -o Pass a string to QtVCP’s handler file under self.w.USEROPTIONS_ list variable. can be multiple -o

<screen_name>

<screen_name> is the base name of the .ui and _handler.py files.
If <screen_name> is missing, the default screen will be loaded.

QtVCP assumes the UI file and the handler file use the same base name.

QtVCP will first search the LinuxCNC configuration directory that was launched for the files, then in the system skin folder holding standard screens.

Cycle Times
[DISPLAY]
CYCLE_TIME = 100
GRAPHICS_CYCLE_TIME = 100
HALPIN_CYCLE = 100

Adjusts the response rate of the GUI updates in milliseconds.
Defaults to 100, useable range 50 - 200.

The widgets, graphics and HAL pin update can be set separately.

If the update time is not set right the screen can become unresponsive or very jerky.

2.3. Qt Designer UI File

A Qt Designer file is a text file organized in the XML standard that describes the layout and widgets of the screen.

PyQt5 uses this file to build the display and react to those widgets.

The Qt Designer editor makes it relatively easy to build and edit this file.

2.4. Handler Files

A handler file is a file containing Python code, which adds to QtVCP default routines.

A handler file allows one to modify defaults, or add logic to a QtVCP screen without having to modify QtVCP’s core code. In this way you can have custom behaviors.

If present a handler file will be loaded.
Only one file is allowed.

2.5. Libraries Modules

QtVCP, as built, does little more than display the screen and react to widgets. For more prebuilt behaviors there are available libraries (found in lib/python/qtvcp/lib in RIP LinuxCNC install).

Libraries are prebuilt Python modules that add features to QtVCP. In this way you can select what features you want - yet don’t have to build common ones yourself.
Such libraries include:

  • audio_player

  • aux_program_loader

  • keybindings

  • message

  • preferences

  • notify

  • virtual_keyboard

  • machine_log

2.6. Themes

Themes are a way to modify the look and feel of the widgets on the screen.

For instance the color or size of buttons and sliders can be changed using themes.

The Windows theme is default for screens.
The System theme is default for panels.

To see available themes, they can be loaded by running the following command in a terminal:

qtvcp -d -t <theme_name>

QtVCP can also be customized with Qt stylesheets (QSS) using CSS.

2.7. Local Files

If present, local UI files in the configuration folder will be loaded instead of the stock UI files.

Local UI files allow you to use your customized designs rather than the default screens.

QtVCP will look for a folder named <screen_name> (in the launched configuration folder that holds the INI file).

In that folder, QtVCP will load any of the available following files:

  • <screen_name>.ui,

  • <screen_name>_handler.py, and

  • <screen_name>.qss.

2.8. Modifying Stock Screens

There are three ways to customize a screen/panel.

Minor StyleSheet Changes

Stylesheets can be used to set Qt properties.
If a widget uses properties they usually can be modified by stylesheets.
ie:

State_LED #name_of_led{
  qproperty-color: red;
  qproperty-diameter: 20;
  qproperty-flashRate: 150;
  }
Minor Python Code Changes

Another Python file can be used to add commands to the screen, after the handler file is parsed.

In the INI file under the [DISPLAY] heading add USER_COMMAND_FILE = _PATH_

PATH can be any valid path. It can use ~ for home directory or WORKINGDIRECTORY or CONFIGDIRECTORY to represent QtVCP’s idea of those directories.
ie:

[DISPLAY]
USER_COMMAND_FILE = CONFIGDIRECTORY/<screen_name_added_commands>

If no entry is found in the INI, QtVCP will look in the default path.
The default path is in the configuration directory as a hidden file using the screen basename and rc, ie: CONFIGDIRECTORY/.<screen_name>rc

This file will be read and executed as Python code in the handler file context.

Only local functions and local attributes can be referenced.
Global libraries can not be referenced. (usualy seen as all capital words with no preceding self.)

What can be used can vary by screen and development cycle.

For a valid example:

self.w.setWindowTitle('My Title Test')
Full Creative Control

If you wish to modify a stock screen with full control, copy it’s UI and handler file to your configuration folder.

There is a QtVCP panel to help with this:

  • Open a terminal and run the following command:

    qtvcp copy_dialog
  • Select the screen and destination folder in the dialog

  • If you wish to name your screen differently than the builtin screen’s default name, change the basename in the edit box.

  • Validate to copy all the files

  • Delete the files you don’t wish to modifyso that the original files will be used.

3. VCP Panels

QtVCP can be used to create control panels that interface with HAL.

3.1. Builtin Panels

There are several builtin HAL panels available.

In a terminal type qtvcp <return> to see a list:

test_panel

Collection of useful widgets for testing HAL components, including speech of LED state.

QtVCP HAL Test Builtin Panel
Figure 8. QtVCP HAL Test Builtin Panel
cam_align

A camera display widget for rotational alignment.

Qtscreen x1mill
Figure 9. cam_align - Camera Alignment VCP
sim_panel

A small control panel to simulate MPG jogging controls etc.
For simulated configurations.

QtVCP Sim Builtin Panel
Figure 10. QtVCP Sim Builtin Panel
vismach_mill_xyz

3D openGL view of a 3-Axis milling machine.

QtVismach - 3-Axis Mill Builtin Panel
Figure 11. QtVismach - 3-Axis Mill Builtin Panel
loadusr qtvcp test_panel

3.2. Custom Panels

You can of course make your own panel and load it.

If you made a UI file named my_panel.ui and a HAL file named my_panel.hal, you would then load this from a terminal with:

halrun -I -f my_panel.hal
Example HAL file loading a QtVCP panel
# load realtime components
loadrt threads
loadrt classicladder_rt

# load user space programs
loadusr classicladder
loadusr -Wn my_panel qtvcp my_panel.ui  # <1>

# add components to thread
addf classicladder.0.refresh thread1


# connect pins
net bit-input1     test_panel.checkbox_1        classicladder.0.in-00
net bit-hide       test_panel.checkbox_4        classicladder.0.hide_gui

net bit-output1    test_panel.led_1             classicladder.0.out-00

net s32-in1        test_panel.doublescale_1-s   classicladder.0.s32in-00

# start thread
start
  1. In this case we load qtvcp using -Wn which waits for the panel to finish loading before continuing to run the next HAL command.
    This is to ensure that the panel created HAL pins are actually done in case they are used in the rest of the file.

4. Build A Simple Clean-sheet Custom Screen

QtVCP Ugly custom screen
Figure 12. QtVCP Ugly custom screen

4.1. Overview

To build a panel or screen:

  • Use Qt Designer to build a design you like and save it to your configuration folder with a name of your choice, ending with .ui

  • Modify the configuration INI file to load QtVCP using your new .ui file.

  • Then connect any required HAL pins in a HAL file.

4.2. Get Qt Designer To Include LinuxCNC Widgets

Install Qt Designer

First you must have the Qt Designer installed.
The following commands should add it to your system, or use your package manager to do the same:

sudo apt-get install qttools5-dev-tools qttools5-dev libpython3-dev
Add qtvcp_plugin.py link to the Qt Designer Search Path

Then you must add a link to the qtvcp_plugin.py in one of the folders that Qt Designer will search into.

In a RIP version of LinuxCNC qtvcp_plugin.py will be:

'~/LINUXCNC_PROJECT_NAME/lib/python/qtvcp/plugins/qtvcp_plugin.py'

For a Package installed version it should be:

'usr/lib/python2.7/qtvcp/plugins/qtvcp_plugin.py' or
'usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/qtvcp/plugins/qtvcp_plugin.py'

Make a symbolic link to the above file and move it to one of the places Qt Designer searches in.

Qt Designer searches in these two place for links (pick one):

'/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/qt5/plugins/designer/python' or
'~/.designer/plugins/python'

You may need to create the plugins/python folder.

Start Qt Designer:
  • For a RIP install:
    Open a terminal, set the environment for LinuxCNC <1>, then load Qt Designer <2> with :

    . scripts/rip-environment   <1>
    designer -qt=5              <2>
  • For a package install:
    Open a terminal and type:

    designer -qt=5

If all goes right, Qt Designer will launch and you will see the selectable LinuxCNC widgets on the left hand side.

4.3. Build The Screen .ui File

Create MainWindow Widget

When Qt Designer is first started there is a 'New Form' dialog displayed.
Pick 'Main Window' and press the 'Create' button.
A MainWindow widget is displayed.

Warning
Do not rename this window !
QtVCP requires the name to be MainWindow.
Set MainWindow Minimum and Maximum Size
  • Grab the corner of the window and resize to an appropriate size, say 1000x600.

  • Right click on the window and click set minimum size.

  • Do it again and set maximum size.

Our sample widget will now not be resizable.

Add the ScreenOptions Widget

Drag and drop the ScreenOptions widget anywhere onto the main window.

This widget doesn’t add anything visually but sets up some common options.

It’s recommended to always add this widget before any other.

Right click on the main window, not the ScreenOptions widget, and set the layout as vertical to make the ScreenOptions fullsized.

Add Panel Content

On the right hand side there is a panel with tabs for a Property editor and an Object inspector.

On the Object inspector click on the ScreenOptions.
Then switch to the Property Editor and, under the ScreenOptions heading, toggle filedialog_option.

Drag and drop a GCodeGraphics widget and a GcodeEditor widget.
Place and resize them as you see fit leaving some room for buttons.

Add Action Buttons

Add 7 action buttons on to the main window.

If you double click the button, you can add text.
Edit the button labels for Estop, Machine On, Home, Load, Run, Pause and stop.

Action buttons default to no action so we must change the properties for defined functions. You can edit the properties:

  • directly in the property editor on the right side of Qt Designer, or

  • conveniently, left double clicking on the button to launch a properties dialog that allows selecting actions while only displaying relevant data to the action.

We will describe the convenient way first:

  • Right click the Machine On button and select Set Actions.

  • When the dialog displays, use the combobox to navigate to MACHINE CONTROLS - Machine On.

  • In this case there is no option for this action so select OK.

Now the button will turn the machine on when pressed.

And now the direct way with Qt Designer’s property editor:

  • Select the Machine On button.

  • Go to the Property Editor on the right side of Qt Designer.

  • Scroll down until you find the ActionButton heading.

  • Click the machine_on action checkbox you will see in the list of properties and values.

The button will now control machine on/off.

Do the same for all the other button with the addition of:

  • With the Home button we must also change the joint_number property to -1.
    This tells the controller to home all the axes rather then a specific axis.

  • With the Pause button:

    • Under the Indicated_PushButton heading check the indicator_option.

    • Under the QAbstactButton heading check checkable.

Qt Designer: Selecting Pause Button's Properties
Figure 13. Qt Designer: Selecting Pause Button’s Properties
Save The .ui File

We then need to save this design as tester.ui in the sim/qtvcp folder.

We are saving it as tester as that is a file name that qtvcp recognizes and will use a built in handler file to display it.

4.4. Handler file

A handler file is required.

It allows customizations to be written in Python.

For instance, keyboard controls are usually written in the handler file.

In this example, the built in file tester_handler.py is automatically used: it does the minimum required to display the tester.ui defined screen and do basic keyboard jogging.

4.5. INI Configuration

[DISPLAY] Section

If you are using QtVCP to make a CNC control screen, under the INI file [DISPLAY] heading, set:

DISPLAY = qtvcp <screen_name>

<screen_name> is the base name of the .ui and _handler.py files.

In our example there is already a sim configuration called tester, that we will use to display our test screen.

[HAL] Section

If your screen used widgets with HAL pins, then you must connect them in a HAL file.

QtVCP looks in the INI file, under the [HAL] heading for the entries below:

POSTGUI_HALFILE=<filename>

Typically <filename> would be +<screen_name>_postgui.hal+, but can be any legal filename.
You can have multiple POSTGUI_HALFILE lines in the INI: each will be run one after the other in the order they appear.
These commands are executed after the screen is built, guaranteeing the widget HAL pins are available.

POSTGUI_HALCMD=<command>

<command> would be any valid HAL command.
You can have multiple POSTGUI_HALCMD lines in the INI: each will be run one after the other in the order they appear.
To guaranty the widget HAL pins are available, these commands are executed:

  • after the screen is built,

  • after all the POSTGUI_HALFILEs are run.

In our example there are no HAL pins to connect.

5. Handler File In Detail

Handler files are used to create custom controls using Python.

5.1. Overview

Here is a sample handler file.

It’s broken up in sections for ease of discussion.

############################
# **** IMPORT SECTION **** #
############################
import sys
import os
import linuxcnc

from PyQt5 import QtCore, QtWidgets

from qtvcp.widgets.mdi_line import MDILine as MDI_WIDGET
from qtvcp.widgets.gcode_editor import GcodeEditor as GCODE
from qtvcp.lib.keybindings import Keylookup
from qtvcp.core import Status, Action

# Set up logging
from qtvcp import logger
LOG = logger.getLogger(__name__)

# Set the log level for this module
#LOG.setLevel(logger.INFO) # One of DEBUG, INFO, WARNING, ERROR, CRITICAL

###########################################
# **** INSTANTIATE LIBRARIES SECTION **** #
###########################################

KEYBIND = Keylookup()
STATUS = Status()
ACTION = Action()
###################################
# **** HANDLER CLASS SECTION **** #
###################################

class HandlerClass:

    ########################
    # **** INITIALIZE **** #
    ########################
    # widgets allows access to  widgets from the QtVCP files
    # at this point the widgets and hal pins are not instantiated
    def __init__(self, halcomp,widgets,paths):
        self.hal = halcomp
        self.w = widgets
        self.PATHS = paths

    ##########################################
    # SPECIAL FUNCTIONS SECTION              #
    ##########################################

    # at this point:
    # the widgets are instantiated.
    # the HAL pins are built but HAL is not set ready
    # This is where you make HAL pins or initialize state of widgets etc
    def initialized__(self):
        pass

    def processed_key_event__(self,receiver,event,is_pressed,key,code,shift,cntrl):
        # when typing in MDI, we don't want keybinding to call functions
        # so we catch and process the events directly.
        # We do want ESC, F1 and F2 to call keybinding functions though
        if code not in(QtCore.Qt.Key_Escape,QtCore.Qt.Key_F1 ,QtCore.Qt.Key_F2,
                    QtCore.Qt.Key_F3,QtCore.Qt.Key_F5,QtCore.Qt.Key_F5):

            # search for the top widget of whatever widget received the event
            # then check if it's one we want the keypress events to go to
            flag = False
            receiver2 = receiver
            while receiver2 is not None and not flag:
                if isinstance(receiver2, QtWidgets.QDialog):
                    flag = True
                    break
                if isinstance(receiver2, MDI_WIDGET):
                    flag = True
                    break
                if isinstance(receiver2, GCODE):
                    flag = True
                    break
                receiver2 = receiver2.parent()

            if flag:
                if isinstance(receiver2, GCODE):
                    # if in manual do our keybindings - otherwise
                    # send events to G-code widget
                    if STATUS.is_man_mode() == False:
                        if is_pressed:
                            receiver.keyPressEvent(event)
                            event.accept()
                        return True
                elif is_pressed:
                    receiver.keyPressEvent(event)
                    event.accept()
                    return True
                else:
                    event.accept()
                    return True

        if event.isAutoRepeat():return True

        # ok if we got here then try keybindings
        try:
            return KEYBIND.call(self,event,is_pressed,shift,cntrl)
        except NameError as e:
            LOG.debug('Exception in KEYBINDING: {}'.format (e))
        except Exception as e:
            LOG.debug('Exception in KEYBINDING:', exc_info=e)
            print('Error in, or no function for: %s in handler file for-%s'%(KEYBIND.convert(event),key))
            return False

    ########################
    # CALLBACKS FROM STATUS #
    ########################

    #######################
    # CALLBACKS FROM FORM #
    #######################

    #####################
    # GENERAL FUNCTIONS #
    #####################

    # keyboard jogging from key binding calls
    # double the rate if fast is true
    def kb_jog(self, state, joint, direction, fast = False, linear = True):
        if not STATUS.is_man_mode() or not STATUS.machine_is_on():
            return
        if linear:
            distance = STATUS.get_jog_increment()
            rate = STATUS.get_jograte()/60
        else:
            distance = STATUS.get_jog_increment_angular()
            rate = STATUS.get_jograte_angular()/60
        if state:
            if fast:
                rate = rate * 2
            ACTION.JOG(joint, direction, rate, distance)
        else:
            ACTION.JOG(joint, 0, 0, 0)

    #####################
    # KEY BINDING CALLS #
    #####################

    # Machine control
    def on_keycall_ESTOP(self,event,state,shift,cntrl):
        if state:
            ACTION.SET_ESTOP_STATE(STATUS.estop_is_clear())
    def on_keycall_POWER(self,event,state,shift,cntrl):
        if state:
            ACTION.SET_MACHINE_STATE(not STATUS.machine_is_on())
    def on_keycall_HOME(self,event,state,shift,cntrl):
        if state:
            if STATUS.is_all_homed():
                ACTION.SET_MACHINE_UNHOMED(-1)
            else:
                ACTION.SET_MACHINE_HOMING(-1)
    def on_keycall_ABORT(self,event,state,shift,cntrl):
        if state:
            if STATUS.stat.interp_state == linuxcnc.INTERP_IDLE:
                self.w.close()
            else:
                self.cmnd.abort()

    # Linear Jogging
    def on_keycall_XPOS(self,event,state,shift,cntrl):
        self.kb_jog(state, 0, 1, shift)

    def on_keycall_XNEG(self,event,state,shift,cntrl):
        self.kb_jog(state, 0, -1, shift)

    def on_keycall_YPOS(self,event,state,shift,cntrl):
        self.kb_jog(state, 1, 1, shift)

    def on_keycall_YNEG(self,event,state,shift,cntrl):
        self.kb_jog(state, 1, -1, shift)

    def on_keycall_ZPOS(self,event,state,shift,cntrl):
        self.kb_jog(state, 2, 1, shift)

    def on_keycall_ZNEG(self,event,state,shift,cntrl):
        self.kb_jog(state, 2, -1, shift)

    def on_keycall_APOS(self,event,state,shift,cntrl):
        pass
        #self.kb_jog(state, 3, 1, shift, False)

    def on_keycall_ANEG(self,event,state,shift,cntrl):
        pass
        #self.kb_jog(state, 3, -1, shift, linear=False)

    ###########################
    # **** closing event **** #
    ###########################

    ##############################
    # required class boiler code #
    ##############################

    def __getitem__(self, item):
        return getattr(self, item)
    def __setitem__(self, item, value):
        return setattr(self, item, value)

################################
# required handler boiler code #
################################

def get_handlers(halcomp,widgets,paths):
     return [HandlerClass(halcomp,widgets,paths)]

5.2. IMPORT Section

This section is for importing required library modules for your screen.

It would be typical to import QtVCP’s keybinding, Status and Action libraries.

5.3. INSTANTIATE LIBRARIES Section

By instantiating the libraries here we create global reference.

You can note this by the commands that don’t have self. in front of them.

By convention we capitalize the names of globaly referenced libraries.

5.4. HANDLER CLASS Section

The custom code is placed in a class so QtVCP can utilize it.

This is the definitions of the handler class.

5.5. INITIALIZE Section

Like all Python libraries the +__init__+ function is called when the library is first instantiated.

This is where you would set up defaults, as well as reference variables and global variables.

The widget references are not available at this point.

The variables halcomp, widgets and paths give access to QtVCP’s HAL component, widgets, and path info respectively.

5.6. SPECIAL FUNCTIONS Section

There are several special functions that QtVCP looks for in the handler file.

If QtVCP finds these it will call them, if not it will silently ignore them.

initialized__(self):

This function is called after the widgets and HAL pins are built.
You can manipulate the widgets and HAL pins or add more HAL pins here.
Typically there can be

  • preferences checked and set,

  • styles applied to widgets,

  • status of LinuxCNC connected to functions.

  • keybindings would be added.

class_patch__(self):

Class patching, also known as monkey patching, allows to override function calls in an imported module.
Class patching must be done before the module is instantiated, and it modifies all instances made after that.
An example might be patching button calls from the G-code editor to call functions in the handler file instead.

processed_key_event__(self,receiver,event,is_pressed,key,code,shift,cntrl):

This function is called to facilitate keyboard jogging etc.
By using the keybinding library this can be used to easily add functions bound to keypresses.

keypress_event__(self,receiver, event):

This function gives raw key press events.
It takes precedence over the processed_key_event.

keyrelease_event__(receiver, event):

This function gives raw key release events.
It takes precedence over the processed_key_event.

before_loop__(self):

This function is called just before the Qt event loop is entered. At that point, all widgets/libraries/initialization code has completed and the screen is already displayed.

system_shutdown_request__(self):

If present, this function overrides the normal function called for total system shutdown.
It could be used to do pre-shutdown housekeeping.
The system will not shutdown if using this function, you will have to do that yourself.
QtVCP/LinuxCNC will shutdown without a prompt after this function returns.

closing_cleanup__(self):

This function is called just before the screen closes. It can be used to do cleanup before closing.

5.7. STATUS CALLBACKS Section

By convention this is where you would put functions that are callbacks from STATUS definitions.

5.8. CALLBACKS FROM FORM Section

By convention this is where you would put functions that are callbacks from the widgets connected to the MainWindow in the Qt Designer editor.

5.9. GENERAL FUNCTIONS Section

By convention this is where you put your general functions.

5.10. KEY BINDING Section

If you are using the keybinding library this is where you place your custom key call routines.

The function signature is:

def on_keycall_KEY(self,event,state,shift,cntrl):
    if state:
        self.do_something_function()

KEY being the code (from the keybindings library) for the desired key.

5.11. CLOSING EVENT Section

Putting the closeEvent function here will catch closing events.

This replaces any predefined closeEvent function from QtVCP.

def closeEvent(self, event):
    self.do_something()
    event.accept()
Note
It is usually better to use the special closing_cleanup__ function.

6. Connecting Widgets to Python Code

It is possible to connect widgets to Python code using signals and slots.

In this way you can:

  • Give new functions to LinuxCNC widgets, or

  • Utilize standard Qt widgets to control LinuxCNC.

6.1. Overview

In the Qt Designer editor:

  • You create user function slots

  • You connect the slots to widgets using signals.

In the handler file:

  • You create the slot’s functions defined in Qt Designer.

6.2. Using Qt Designer to add Slots

When you have loaded your screen into Qt Designer, add a plain PushButton to the screen.
You could change the name of the button to something interesting like test_button.

There are two ways to edit connections - This is the graphical way.

  • There is a button in the top tool bar of Qt Designer for editing signals. After pushing it, if you click-and-hold on the button it will show an arrow (looks like a ground signal from electrical schematic).

  • Slide this arrow to a part of the main window that does not have widgets on it.

  • A Configure Connections dialog will pop up.

    • The list on the left are the available signals from the widget.

    • The list on the right are the available slots on the main window and you can add to it.

  • Pick the signal clicked() - this makes the slots side available.

  • Click Edit on the slots list.

  • A Slots/Signals of MainWindow dialog will pop up.

  • On the slots list at the top there is a + icon - click it.

  • You can now edit a new slot name.

  • Erase the default name slot() and change it to test_button()

  • Press the OK button.

  • You’ll be back to the Configure Connections dialog.

  • Now you can select your new slot in the slot list.

  • Then press OK and save the file.

Qt Designer Signal/Slot Selection
Figure 14. Qt Designer Signal/Slot Selection

6.3. Python Handler Changes

Now you must add the function to the handler file.

The function signature is def slot_name(self):.

For our example, we will add some code to print the widget name:

def test_button(self):
    name = self.w.sender().text()
    print(name)

Add this code under the section named:

#######################
# callbacks from form #
#######################

In fact it doesn’t matter where in the handler class you put the commands but by convention this is where to put it.

Save the handler file.

Now when you load your screen and press the button it should print the name of the button in the terminal.

7. More Informations