Setting Arbitrary Toolpath Zero in design

Currently, CC is limited to positioning the Toolpath Zero to bottom left, center, etc.
I would like to be able to set my Toolpath Zero “Here”…or in other words, anywhere I’d like to. I’d like to click “Set custom Toolpath Zero”, and then click anywhere on the design…have CC confirm…and voila…origin is set.

I’ve noticed, with Tiling, that I can partially “mimic” this for a “Y” setting, by setting the tile size to the arbitrary “Y” value that I’d like to set my origin and setting the overlap to 0.1 and then only saving the second tile as my c2d file. Example:

What this tells me, is that CC is capable of setting the origin anywhere it wants to (at least, “Y” values right now)…so, how far off could it be to allow me to set an arbitrary “X” value as well? Then it’s just a question of providing an interface that let’s me click where I want to set it and, Whammo, another delighted customer!


  • Gary

I’ll 2nd this motion…

A few times I’ve set it to center & made the workpiece much larger to fit in the zero point where I wanted it.

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C3D would have to do some work to make your suggestion happen. First there would likely still need to be some reference to set your anywhere zero because the Shapeoko does not know where anywhere is. It would need some reference either from the material or from the internal coordinates. I could see your suggestion useful if you do not know the exact size of your material or on irregular shaped stock but for square or rectangular stock I dont see any benefit. Everyone has different requirements for the work they do so for you it might be a great feature. For me I dont see much benefit.

Guy, I don’t think it would be too much. (from a programmer’s perspective). It’s just a reference point that offsets the numbers. There are already 4 variable offsets. “Variable” meaning you can change the offsets by changing the size of the workpiece.
For example if the internal reference point for the workpiece is the front-top-left corner, the other points would add the workpiece height, and, or half the workpiece height & width. i.e. “Center” is X0.5w Y0.5h from the lower left corner. Allowing a variable Z may require some extra architecture to store & calculate the Z offset. But it has 2 options now that are also variable based on workpiece thickness, so likely not.

It has nothing to do with the machine at this point. It’s up to the user to set the machine zero at the same point as the CAD/CAM zero. No different than any other software or machine setup.

What about a case where you’re cutting on a pre-existing part, perhaps using a bolt hole or another arbitrary feature on the part to set zero?

Toolpath zero doesn’t need to be aware of any physical space on the bed of the Shapeoko - it’s only a value relative to the design elements. When you are in CM and “set zero”, you’re then making the connection to the physical bed, telling CM where zero is relative to the physical bed, but the Toolpath Zero is only important relative to the elements of the design.

I’ll give you one example of when I wish I had this capability:
I was working with an existing design that incorporated imported STLs and traditional geometry. The piece encountered a problem during cutting and one portion of the design was damaged. I wanted to create just that portion…but I wanted to cut it from a much smaller piece of stock (big enough just for that element of the design). I could limit the cut to just the piece I wanted, but since I could not relocate the modeled components - did not want to have to rebuild the entire design (re-import the STLs, etc.) and wanted to guarantee an exact match - I had to use the existing design which did not let me start cutting at the “zero” of the new piece.

Otherwise, I could have set toolpath zero to the bottom left of the part I wanted to cut, then placed my stock on the bed (anywhere) and set zero to be the bottom left of that stock.

Another situation where it could have come in handy is when you’re combining laser burns and CNC cuts…it would be GREAT to be able to put the mouse on a node of a piece of geometry and say “This is Toolpath Zero”…and then be able to place the cutter on a burned mark, zero it there, and let the CNC cut from that point of the design.

  • Gary

I just thought of yet another reason for this capability - and it’s perhaps the best yet:

If a piece of stock has a particular feature that you’d like to have located in a specific spot in your design - or a defect that you’d like to make sure is avoided, being able to very specifically lay out where your design falls relative to that feature (by making the area of the feature toolpath zero and then zero-ing on a specific point in the feature area) would be very helpful.

Could you do it without that feature? Not always…it would depend on where the feature is - and whether you can physically position the stock on the bed to be a specified distance from one of the standard toolpath zero locations. That may not always be possible (you may not even have the stock in hand when you’re doing the design work)…but even if it is, is imprecise and time-consuming to do.

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