Laser for positioning?

I was thinking of ways to try and set x/y as accurately as possible when my work piece might move or change, etc. If I were to mark a crosshair on my bed, and attach a very low power laser to the side of my router mount, would it not work very nicely to repeatedly confirm/set my x/y? line up the crosshair laser with the marks on the bed, zero x/y and off I go.

thinking of something like this:


Edit: example situation, my workpiece zero is bottom left. I cut out the detail and outline from the larger stock. Now I need to flip it over and hit the other side but i need to re-zero to the new workpiece. Now i’m trying to estimate the center or corner of my workpiece with the endmill which is hard to get in to see. a small dot might make this a lot easier? I use a low power laser to just light up the edge of my piece, knowing the offset to the center of the router bit I enter that in for my zero.

Seems easier to setup a simple fixture to let you position the material in a repeatable way to avoid rezeroing.

I suppose the biggest problem I run into is trying to set the x/y at the center when i’ve had to re-fixture my piece such as flipping it over after cutout profile had been run.

I find it difficult to set my x/y with a bit in the router as I cannot get my head down to the level of the workpiece in the Y direction. I always end up getting it to what I think is right, and it being off a noticeable amount.

Can you make a fixture with the reverse of the profile to make alignment easier? Or use tabs to keep the profile attached to the stock until the reverse side is done. It’s very project dependent obviously.

The laser isn’t a bad idea but feels like there should be a better one

I tried making a nest that had a pocket profile of a piece before. it worked okay.

I put dowell pins in the bed to position the nest in the same spot each time and went off machine home. I’m finding machine home isn’t always the same place day to day. it can change due to several factors like belt tension. Thats why i was thinking of setting a reference on the bed manually.

Thanks for the input Dan. This is why I’m reaching out for peoples thoughts.

A Wiley Drill Press Laser may work better and eliminate the need to figure out offsets.

I use a fence system and Work Coordinates Systems settings with limit switches and homing for repeatability.

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Very shortly Carbide 3d are releasing a probe… might be worth waiting a couple of days…



I entertained the exact same idea a few days ago, mostly to find a creative use to the laser pointer/pen I have lying around, and because…lasers ! :slight_smile:

What I had in mind was to design a simple holder for my (coin-cell operated) laser module, that would fit in/around the spindle collet so that the laser points exactly where the center of the endmill would be (no offset correction needed). I also imagined I could use a laser range-finder to figure out Z, but I have no clue if precise-enough range finder could be procured for a reasonable price, so just a wild idea at this point.

For sure I’ll try the upcoming Carbide probe first, and it it most certainly a simpler solution, but still, how cool would it be to have a laser-based probe?!

If you progress on this path I would be very interested to know.


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