My Cheap and Dirty Probe

Saw someone on here made a probe that runs on 3 AAA Batteries (4.5v)
So I thought I’de try my hand at making one but didn’t want to deal with the batteries.

I went to Amazon and bought a touch probe plate with the leads already attached for $13.00. The probe plate is 15 mm in height. Then I scrounged up an old 5.0 Volt DC (5.0v - 4.5V Doesnt Matter) power supply. Got an LED and a 150 ohm resistor. Found a tiny plastic box to mount the LED, and the resistor in and hook everything up.

When I move the Z down and it touches the plate I know I’m exactly 15 mm off the top of the work piece. I then go to CM and Zero out the Z axis position. Now I set my X and Y axis position and move Z down 15 mm. Go back to CM and Zero X, Y and, Z and I’m good to go. Sounds complicated but only takes a minute or so once you’ve done it. Got 10 150 ohm resistors and 100 LED’s for about $11.00. The plastic box and power supply I scrounged from my “Never Throw Anything Away” stock.

Now i have 99 extra LED’s :slight_smile:

Here’s the touch plate I bought

If i do this again i would use a little larger box to mount the wiring, resistor, and LED. I was kind of a pain getting everything to fit in that small of a box


Using something from the “never throw away” inventory is bittersweet since it saves time and money, but then it justifies collecting a lot of miscellaneous things haha.

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when I feel an urge like that, I remind myself of everytime I set aside a random item, then after a few years I forced myself to throw it away during a cleaning session, and then had the perfect opportunity to use it shortly after that. That’s just too painful, so I might as well not collect things in the first place :smiley:

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I know that pain all too well. Especially when you waste so much time looking for that item only to realize that you had finally thrown it away after years.


There is a science to throwing things away. Stuff that you want to throw away, put it in a sealed box and if after say a year you haven’t had to go dipping into the box, throw it away without opening it. That way you are not reminded of those ‘one day, maybe’ treasures that a week later you regret. The regret is partly coming from having seen the stuff again - it doesn’t mean it is actually useful, you just think it might be…


My solution is if it’s worth keeping, it’s worth having a place for — ideally things get sorted into organizers, mostly:

(I use a few others, but standardizing on one size seemed to help the process along)

There’s a catch almost all box containing a series of nested trays sorted by type which has anything I don’t have enough of to properly sort.

The last resort is a box which all other hardware and odds-and-ends go into — it’s quite the triumph when I dig into the bottom of that box and find the perfect bit of hardware for a project — best ever was finding a former lamp clamp which turned out to be perfect for making an archery string jig.

Anything which doesn’t fit in that box gets sorted w/ raw materials or pitched.

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Took 2000 pounds of stuff I may use someday to the dump from my shop. Still have about 2000 pounds of scrap metal and wire to go. Next is the garage.

And yes, after the dump run I needed something I tossed.

So nice to see the floor again


I had a really old laptop (barely Windows XP compatible) sat in my loft for years - literally.

Last year I emptied the loft of all the accumulated crap - including the laptop - filling a 4-yard skip, then two months later started this hobby. Oh how I wish I’d kept it!


Yeah, I loaded up my truck w/ old electronics and hauled them off to the electronics recycling pickup the county runs — I wasn’t quite the most expensive load that day (they charge by the pound), but I was close.

Haven’t wanted any of it back though (it was almost all not working, or even more out-of-date than Windows XP).

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I thought that is what the bit setter is used for?

The bit setter is used to set the length of the bit for tool changes. The touch probe is used to set the bit to the top of the work piece.

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