The New Touch Probe, Looking for Some Testing Ideas

I am one of 2 Shapeoko users selected to test the new Touch Probe, and while I have tested the heck out it, I may have forgotten something.

Here is a link to an Unlisted YouTube video (below), DO NOT SHARE IT, but please watch it.

Now I can’t answer any questions about the final software release, but I am looking for additional ideas for testing. As they say, it never hurts to have a fresh set of eyes to look at something.

I’ve tested it on:

1/32, 1/16. 1/8, nd 1/4 End Mills

2, 3 and 4 Flute (Note, the user MUST rotate an odd flute cutter so that the cutting edge is facing the Stock. Care must be taken to not ground yourself, or you will complete the probe cycle early) (I believe it is using capacitive touch)

Coated and uncoated cutters (I have not tested it on an engraving cutter since it is not in the drop-down menu)

When the probe is complete, the cutter will move so that the cutting edge is even with the material (X and Y axis), and Z will be 28mm above the stock. I have checked the results and then are dead nuts. Meaning it does not offer the opportunity to move the cutter to the center of your material, etc.

Besides the above, I have also tested it by selecting the incorrect size end mill size, placing the cutter further and further away from the target circle, leaving the ground alligator clip off, on wood, on metal, the solid jaw of my vise, on the metal table, on a sheet of MDF, etc. and it’s pretty rock solid and just results in an incomplete probe cycle, and a re-home is necessary if you do something wrong.

What have I missed?

Thanks in advance for your help.

EDIT: I attached the alligator clip to the collet nut via a magnet and a tiny angle plate, thanks to @cgallery (Phil Thien) for this simple but brilliant idea. Now supplied with the Touch Probe.



Darn. My assumption from the circle was that the probe would probe to the circle’s perimeter twice and set zero based on that.

What happens if the cord to the probe is pulled during a homing cycle?

I thought that’s what that little circle was too.

If you remove the probe while it’s moving, the spindle will travel about 12 mm and then stop with a probe cycle failure error message.

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Hey @RichCournoyer, so excited to see this. Why are you not butting the probe block against your stock. I can see the probe block moving when the probe touches it. I can see there is a cut section in the bottom to butt it against the corner of your stock, right?. I remember on the early video that was released that there was no bottom cutout.

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Correct it WAS against my rough cut stock. I’m on the road at the moment and don’t have a picture of thrnprobe bottoms but it looks a LOT LIKE THIS: (just not that deep)

PS I should have said in my first post, this this is AWESOME. Works fantastic!!!

EDIT. Actually bottom photo now

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I’m having a hard time understanding this. So if you flip it over, it has a pocket cut away with a lip on two sides? So the device has to sit against a square corner and can’t be in the center of the stock? What if your stock is larger than the cutting area? Would it work if you flipped it over and touched against the cutout part? Or am I so far off on this that I should just go sit down outside until everyone is finished?

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Yes. Yes. Use it for Z only or use something else. Not as programmed.

You’re fine — it’s just a very specific bit of kit.

Not a testing question per se, but I guess with all the active ingredients therein, it wouldn’t really be possible to mill it down a bit if I wanted it thinner, eh?

Is the new CM 4.08 probing usable with “non-amplified” touch plates?
Wondering also if one can spec the touch speed and touch travel distances?

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Aside from Will’s statement, my stock is always larger then the probe, and I happen to know where I want my tool. For wood, it’s often in the center, and coincidentally I need to measure the center from the edge. Probe the XY&Z then move to your planned location, click zero. Does it matter where you get your cutter reference from? Almost never. It just needs to be recorded.

408 works WITH or WITHOUT a probe.

I don’t know. Meaning I don’t see anything in this beta version.

Yes but NOT a wise choice in my opinion. The macro would need to be changed or you would need to remember the new vs old dimension. And who needs that headache.

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What is the thinnest material it will work on?

If you put it down on material that is too thin, is there any kind of indication in the lights?

What happens if you place it at a funny angle (27.5 degrees? 45 degrees?) to x and y?

Can it be used as a tool probe only on a tool change?

Is there a way to set the x/y zero to the point of the corner, instead of the inside intersection of the two “walls” of the pocket?


Most of my work is on stock that is larger than the 16x16 cutting area, so I don’t have an edge where I can put the probe and still reach it with the cutter. That’s why I was asking if the probe would work turned upside down touching against the cutout for the z axis only.Otherwise, I think you’ve covered most of the things I would run into.

Look for my ((( ))) answers

What is the thinnest material it will work on? (((The milled surface is 3mm, so I would say 3mm (or you would need to shim and do some math)))

If you put it down on material that is too thin, is there any kind of indication in the lights? (((No, Or I should say not on this Beta unit)))

What happens if you place it at a funny angle (27.5 degrees? 45 degrees?) to x and y? ((( IDK, I think this is a 90º tool probe)))

Can it be used as a tool probe only on a tool change? (((You can probe X, Y OR Z separately. Tool change? IDK)))

Is there a way to set the x/y zero to the point of the corner, instead of the inside intersection of the two “walls” of the pocket? (((Once you have your cutter probed to the edge of the stock, you can move your cutter to wherever you want…manually. Meaning I do not see that option in this Beta unit)))

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OK, can you test CM4.08 with an “un-amplified” probe?

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Yes I can, I just need to remember. I will get back to testing tomorow afternoon and will try to use my (other) un-amplified" probe, and report back. I am 99.9% sure I can use it.

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Right, the technique being used here makes the maximum stock size you can use smaller than the machinable area. There is a simple software solution to get back the reduced machinable area but I don’t know if C3D will implement it.

The macros I use with the Triquetra touch plate have you start with the tool to the right of the block. It probes by touching the upper right corner of the block in X and Y, as opposed to the lower left corner as shown in the video here. Z probing is done after X and Y. By using the upper right corner of the block as the touch points, you keep the entire machinable area of the CNC.

A disadvantage is that you have to hold the block in place, because even a small probing force can dislodge it enough to disrupt acquisition of an accurate zero.


Thanks, you are right, I didn’t think about this.

I will test the Carbide Touch Probe today using this idea. A lot of my wood projects have the X0Y0 in the center (about). I will report back.

Good Stuff!