3D Surface Probing

On a previous Mach3 controlled cnc router i had i was able to use a touch probe to get a grid contour of a part and use software to modify the gcode to engrave along that contour. What am I going to need to do this with my HDM? A probe of course, (NC or NO?) what grbl software allows for probing like this?

I believe @sjj47 did that in this post:

It relies on using a specific g-code sender (bCNC) that natively support grid probing, and then running your gcode applying the resulting heightmap.

The probe should be a NO type, as this is what the Shapeoko controller expects.


Thanks @Julien. @sjj47 do you have a recent windows exe compiled by chance or would you be willing to compile one for me?

Estlcam 2d/3d cam program has a feature that may work for you.

Here is a video CNC surface scanning / auto leveling - YouTube
[(CNC surface scanning / auto leveling - YouTube)]

Estlcam web site = https://estlcam.de/

I’d be happy to help, but I’m not clear on what you are asking for.

In the probing I did, I used the (free) gcode sender bCNC. Here’s a link that describes how to get it set up on a Windows 10 machine:

Installing bCNC on Windows 10 64bit (Python 2.7.13 and Pyserial 3.3)

That sender includes a probing capability.

The surface I wanted to probe was non-conductive (wood) so I used a piece of aluminum foil smoothed over it, to create a conductive path for the probe. For the actual probing, I used a v-bit chucked in the router (with the power cord unplugged :grinning:). This works the same way as the bit-setter and uses the same connections on the Shapeoko control board.

There’s a good discussion of how to set up the probe process on bCNC at this link:


Basically, you set up the probing to be a grid pattern. The distance between the individual probed points will of course be a function of the complexity of the shape you are trying to capture. You run the Scan function, and if everything works the CNC will probe across the region you’ve defined. This results in a “point cloud” file. I don’t remember if that is in a DXF or STL format.

Is this the kind of info you are looking for?


I was able to get bCNC installed and working. The exe complied also but I can’t get it to launch so looks like the py version it is. Thanks for the assist.

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You might want to take a look at this YouTube video:

CNC Surface Mapping.

It’s not directly applicable but it gives some useful information.

I’ve down surface mapping several years ago using mach 3. Just trying to figure it out using grbl.

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