Auto tool height sensors and probing between tool changes

Does anyone know anything about this?

Ideally I’m looking to:

  • Home my machine
  • Probe to corner of a work piece
  • Go to a set position for a tool change
  • Perform the change manually
  • Send the machine to a fixed coordinate where it can touch a probe
  • Auto calculate for tool length
  • Resume job



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Depends on your software. You could do this with a macro and some g-code in UGS I think.

Can you give us examples of software with capacity of what Luke requests?
Also a new driver is required?

Carbide motion for nomad does exactly this. That doesn’t help you on a SO3 machine though because it doesn’t have the carefully placed switch that the nomad uses for this. Again, you could do this with a gcode macro (or two) on UGS, maybe others.

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So I have UGCS and thats pretty all I run now.

Do you know the G code to tool offset and probing?

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Can’t help but mention it… Estlcam does all those with commands in the program, except with Estlcam you don’t bother to home the machine. It only calculates from the set start machining point (probed corner, center etc. of work piece). These are some of my favorite things about the program. No macros, other programs, coding or calculations. I have paused jobs for hours even overnight and resumed again without a single hitch. It has a “reference” tool length command and when change bits you “measure” the new tool length and it calculates and adjusts for the new tool length based on the previous one, no limit of tools used. For the tool position (measuring tool length) I simply glued a small chunk of wood on the front edge and aluminum tape over it. Jog over the “tool post” and “measure” the new tool.
I’m not trying to promote the program, it’s just the simplest “tool” for me because I am not a machinist nor do I want to become one. I just want to draw and cut and this is the easiest and simplest program that actually works that I have seen. It really helps that all the commands have explanations for them “just hover the mouse”. You can stop or pause a job and shut everything down and restart the job next month and the program will “ask” you if you want to start from where it left off or you can override this and start from the beginning. “Try it, you may like it.” Jude

Was thinking about this, and you could make it a little easier by

Move to tool change position and manually change the tool (Pick an X/Y/Z you like)
Macro 1:
M5 G0 Xxxx Yxxx Zxxx

Change your tool, attach the ground.
Jog into the region of the corner probe (assuming it’s like the carbide/triq one). I assume if you’re probing for your work piece corner, this is ok. You can then pick up x/y/z all at the same time.
Macro 2:
This guy over here ->
has the bit you want in this macro for the xyz probe. When you probe Z, that’ll give you the tool length offset implicitly.

An alternative would be drop your probe into a known spot, and Z probe only at that spot, but then you would pretty much need two probes - one for the x/y corner of the workpiece, and a second one of known thickness to pick up the tool length/Z. In that case, you also need to set the Z tool offset and do it that way, rather than just setting work Z.

I have no idea how to save the location before you do this, and return to it. I think UGS supports some scripting that might be helpful here, but I know next to nothing about it.

This all seems a little strange, not really understanding why you want to do it this way. UGS’s probe functionality is great, and that’s all you really need to do to handle the tool change.

My quick probe video.

My gcode for probing XYZ with a 1/8" bit is below:

;Probe XYZ 1/8
G38.2 Z-20 F60
G10 L20 P1 Z.1
G0 Z10
G0 Y-20
G0 Z-20
G38.2 Y20 F60
G10 L20 P1 Y-1.688
G0 Y-10
G0 Z20
G0 X-20 Y20
G0 Z-20
G38.2 X20 F60
G10 L20 P1 X-1.688
G0 X-10
G0 Z20
G0 X0 Y0
G0 Z0