Hello, my name is Patrick Drew. I am the founder, lead programmer and software engineer at CNC Tech N.W.
In the early 80's, I had a dream. I wanted to become a computer programmer. My interests were centered mostly around game development. At that time the Kaypro, Vic 20, and Timex-Sinclair were the 'latest and greatest' hardware available. Most were based on the Motorola 6500 series chip, the flagship 'power' chip of it's time. By today's standards, it wouldn't even be suitable to start your computer, much less run it. I pursued a programming career, taking courses in Basic, C and Assembly languages. It was very exciting learning how this chip worked, at the very lowest of levels. As I progressed, however, it became evident that, although this career choice had it's rewards, it was not going to be a viable option for me. It did, however, expose me to the concepts and proper structure of programming, the foundation for what was to come. At the assembly language level, these fundamentals are in their 'rawest' form. Once understood, the higher languages were much easier to learn and use. As fate would have it, I entered into the woodworking industry manufacturing both office furniture and custom millwork. I was primarily a sawyer, but did assembly, mill, and other work as well. I still had a relentless love for computers and programming which continues to this day.
The years flew by and along came the CNC Router / Machining Center. To anybody just exposed to these machines, it is a daunting and intimidating prospect. I felt the same, until I attended various courses and had the opportunity to examine the language and principals on which these machines were based. In a short amount of time, I realized that this was the perfect blend and use of the skills I had developed over the last 15 years. It was another dream, only this time true. I could finally use my programming and woodworking skills, all rolled into one. Even better, the results are physical and not just a vision displayed on-screen. I was the first and primary operator on a Routech 250, as shown in the section on Allen-Bradley. Within a year, the company added a Morbidelli Point to Point to better meet the workload. Later still, a third machine, a CMS Router was added to our array of CNC equipment. Though a different manufacturer, this was also based on the Allen-Bradley controller.
After some time, the opportunity presented itself to leave the floor and join the engineering department as the programming lead. I jumped at the chance. I already knew AutoCAD® and, with my floor experience, felt I had a good command of operational techniques. With time, more personnel were added to the programming team and I was designated head of the department. After some 3+ years, I decided to make a shift and return to school with a new/old goal in mind.
I currently am enrolled in college and updating my programming skills in the hopes of producing CNC related software. My experience in 20 years of using all kinds of software, has given me a good overview of proper and not so proper user interfacing, continuity and ease-of-use issues. In short, the difference between 'good' and 'bad' software. My CNC programming involved using multiple software packages from multiple developers. I have come away from this with one undeniable conclusion. There is room for vast improvement in the tools used to perform this job. Many of the packages are finicky, broken and suffered from poorly thought out and implemented user interfaces. It is my goal to help improve this situation.
As a programmer working in a high volume shop, you don't have time to be constantly fighting touchy, one-step-at-a time procedures, or programs requiring you to delete large amounts of work if a mistake is found. You need easy to understand and learn tools that offer the flexibility and automation to attack any job at the level it requires. I could write a book on the nonsensical things I have crossed paths with, but let it suffice to say, I think you'll like what I have in mind. But in the meantime...
I hope you'll consider using me to help your business keep it's production flowing and programming reliable. I know what needs to happen and have the know-how to 'make it so'. I look forward to doing business with you...
Patrick S. Drew