Bit setter Future enhancements / recommendations

I haven’t seen a talk specifically for requested features using the bit setter. I have seen in many post recommendation and work flow issues. So opening this up to get one started.

Here are my things.

  • Changing Bits, when changing bit, it brings the gantry all the way forward. This hangs the bit over the edge of the rail. I see a bit hitting the floor from that. I would rather have the bit change over the work space or a defined area of my choosing, prefer of my choosing. I use a spunge to catch the bit if I can’t hold onto it . Make this a defined area just like you defined where the bit setter is.

  • Bit changing in jobs, machine bring the bit setter to the front of the gantry when needed great. Issue, say I need to adjust the piece, like turn it over for a double sided job. I recommend taking the gantry to either the middle spot or the back middle. This enables you to see your job, then press another button to move the gantry to the bit change position of your choosing.

  • Initialize of the machine when turning on. When you initialize it immediately goes to the front middle for bit change. I say initially then ask the user if bit change is required. This allows user to make work peice adjustments. If all good user tell system to either make a bit change, bring it forward to make the change, or go directly to the bit setter. Leave the X/Z axis in the back until we request it.

I add a few of these from comments I have seen in post I have read and they make sense.

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the biggest gotcha I have seen is if you end up zeroing on the top of the work piece in the wrong order, you then end up probing after that and CM adjusts your zero to something wonky. it is currently only correct if you, on bit change, first probe and THEN zero.

the easy fix for @robgrz and co is to, if you click zero in the CM GUI, make sure that the next probing does not destroy the manually set zero, but just remeasures the bit length for the NEXT bit change.

I disable my bit setter for now, didn’t want to drop a bit on the floor until I made a box to catch the bits.
I was wondering when you do the touch probe does it affect the bit setter setting.
Bit setter first, then the touch probe, how doesn’t that work in relation to each other. This kind of scare me, I have driven a bit into a piece and it wasn’t nice.

you must do bitsetter first, then touch probe. in the other direction you will either cut air or destroy your work piece.

I wonder if the C3D folks could make a nice little “basket” in the style/look of the bitsetter to catch the bit.
maybe call it “bit catcher - a bitsetter companion”


This has actually been something I have wanted to do for ages… way before bit setter.

It could be a slam dunk :yum:



I would like to be able to specify the bit change position.
I would also like the option to not do a bit change when initializing the machine.


in all seriousness there is a small vulnerability in the current workflow

I’ll try to write it below in the form of a “story” since often that’s the easiest way to get software fixed

< pre phase >
A. My SO3XL is finishing a piece, the last bit is a nice #302 V bit
B. It is done and the HDZ moves up and backwards
C. I remove the old piece from the work area

< problem phase 1 >

D. My next piece starts with bit #201, so I change the 302 out for a 201
E. I put a nice new piece of wood and tape it down/whatever workholding

< problem phase 2 option 1>
F. I jog to the left bottom part of my new piece of wood, and use a piece of paper to to to my perfect zero point
G in CM, I click “zero all”

< problem phase 2 option 2>
F. I put my probe on the new piece of wood, corner overhanging
G I jog to approximate over the probe
H I click “probe” in CC

< post problem phase >
I. I load the new G code into CM
J. I clock “run”
K. CM will prompt me to change the bit
L. I already have the right bit in there so click “OK”
M. CM will then move the bit over the bitsetter and then do its’ bitsettery thing
N. CM will adjust the zero I set in the steps G/H by the difference in length of my bits 301 and 201 <— this is where things go wrong
O. CM prompts me to turn on the spindle
P. CM cuts deep into my wood badly due to wrong Z zero

now the correct way to have done this would have been to, rather than just changing the bit in step D, to click “change bit” in the CM GUI, and wait for the HDZ to come to the front, then change. CM would then have reprobed the new bit before I set my zero.

but… humans and old habits.
Now to possible solutions:

for the case with using the probe, CM could just remeasure the bit length as part of the probing process, either just before or just atter using the probe. this is also more accurate/whatever… so really not a bad idea in general

for the case of using a piece of paper… when I hit “zero all” or “zero Z”… CM could offer me a “remeasure bit length” on the bitsetter, or steer me to a button on the “run” screen that would do that. Where “remeasure” would adjust its internal measurements but NOT the Z zero.

do we have to hold your beer?

Bit buck sounds nice, but do I need to buy another fancy buck. I would prefer giving me the option to let me choose where I change bits, over the table sounds so much better. Plus as I described before, between bit changes I may need to move my piece or look at it. It would be nice to have the gantry move out of the way. then let me select the option to move the gantry into place to make the bit change.

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I had the same issue/concern and developed a new way of changing the bit. This may be difficult to describe, but I will try. I use my left hand to cup the bit and use my thumb to grab the spindle lock on the router. This works easily with short bits and I have large hands so it work with most long bits too. Then with my right hand I will use the wrench to loosen the chuck until the bit falls right into my hand.

Best easiest option would be offer a question, change bit? Yes/no,
yes changes bit, no uses prior bit and doesn’t bitset probe. This should be option whenever new Gcode is loaded and maybe even at startup after initialization.

Thanks, sounds like you got it down. I have the dewalt and use the new collet for it, so it hard to hold the button down, turn the wrench and catch the bit. I will be making a bucket to catch it when I get a chance and put some old tshirts scraps in it.

I just loosen it until it’s past the weird two stage loosening. I then loosen the collet by hand while holding the end mill shank. Reverse the process for inserting new tool…tighten by hand until I can’t.


Oh I get it and I have tried, I have been putting bit in for years now. This collet I uses loosens then you have to use the wrench a second time to do loosen it again. Bucket for me or sponge below is the way to go, unless you have a third arm

I’ve put the BitSetter back in the box until the engineers at 3D get their act together on the product that they sold to us prematurely.

If its that easy to stick a bit into the spoilboard, I’m not using it, and I won’t keep it for much longer.

I think your missing the point here - the product works perfectly (at least it has for me for about a dozen times) as long as you follow the correct workflow. Just like if you change a bit without the Bit Setter, you need to re-zero so if you do not use the change tool button to re-zero, just fall back on your old habit of manually re-zeroing the Z and you will never have a problem.

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Then why are there so many “points” in this thread? :smiley:

I see 3 main “points” -

  1. fear of dropping bits on the floor. I’ve dropped more bits taking them out of the packaging than the router and while I see the concern it is one that can be addressed a number of ways.

  2. fear of changing tool without clicking the change tool button AND not re-zeroing the Z. I think this is an irrational fear and there really is no way with hardware or software to fix someone not following procedure.

  3. dislike of the need to zero when turning on the machine. While I agree this takes an additional 15 seconds, I would 1000% rather have the machine require this, than finish a toolpath and realize I forgot to initialize the machine correctly.


Nothing wrong with the bit setter. It works fine. Just like the rest of the machine, there is a fixed workflow. I’ve used it 6 or so projects now and while I think there are updates with the programming, it works. Actually works better than the probe in my opinion.
There are tweets that would be nice. Not necessary, nice


I agree, there are always tweeks to everything. It is all about work flow. The bit setter from using works just a few things that could make it so much better. Hence the reason for the forums. I give the carbide guys a lot of crap for the little thiings that may not work initially. But all in all I am happy with Carbide, yes they have been slow getting things to market, probes and now the bit setter. The recent upgrade from XL to XXL machine and HDZ was a game changer. I have been using my Shapeoko for the past 3 plus years hard and it keeps working. I use my machine allot for production and its a work horse, not an industrial spindle but hey I have already bought a second dewalt router to replace the first one. All in all it good, just would like a few tweeks.