CNC Services Northwest

Method 1a: Use your touch probe as the reference tool

Use this method if you have several tools you wish to set up, keep, and reuse, and you have a DP-4 or similar electronic touch probe. The following instructions assume you also have a TT-1 electronic tool detector, but that is not required in order to use the touch probe as the reference tool.



Preparation (one-time)

  1. On the Machine Parameters screen, set Parameter 12 to the tool number you want to use for the touch probe. For example, to make the touch probe be tool #200:
    1. Press F1/Setup
    2. Press F3/Config
    3. Enter "137"
    4. Press F3/Param
    5. Arrow down to Parameter 12
    6. Enter "200"
    7. Press F10/Save
    8. Press ESC twice to return to the main screen.
  2. In the tool offset library, set the height offset for the Probe to zero:
    1. Press F1/Setup
    2. Press F2/Tool
    3. Press F1/Offsets
    4. Press End to go to the end of this list (to number 200)
    5. Press the left arrow to move back to height offset 200
      (if you chose some other tool number for your Probe, highlight that height offset value instead)
    6. Enter "0"
    7. Press F10/Save
    8. Press ESC twice to return to the main screen.

Operation (for each job)

  1. Load all of the tools for the job into their tool holders.
  2. Put the Probe (the Reference Tool) in the spindle.
  3. Plug the Probe into the control. Unplug the TT-1 if necessary.
  4. Go to Part Setup: F1/Setup -> F1/Part
  5. Touch off and set X and Y positions using F4/Auto or F5/Probe.
  6. Touch off and set the part surface in Z using F4/Auto.
  7. Go to the Offset Library: F1/Setup -> F2/Tool -> F1/Offsets
  8. Press F1 to set Z Reference. Following the instructions:
    1. Place the TT-1 on a convenient surface and jog the Probe over it.
    2. Verify again that the Probe is plugged in and its light is on.
    3. Press F3 to automatically probe and set Z Reference.
  9. If you unplugged the TT-1 in order to plug in the Probe, unplug the Probe and plug the TT-1 back in now.
  10. For each tool in the job:
    1. Highlight the tool/offset number.
    2. Load the tool.
    3. Jog over the TT-1.
    4. Press F3 to automatically measure the tool's height offset.
  11. Press F10 to save the measured offsets.

If you have to replace one tool

  1. Go to the Offset Library
  2. Set Z Reference using the Probe and TT-1 on any convenient surface, as you did before. If you can place the TT-1 back on the same surface you used before, then you don't need to reset Z Reference.
  3. Load and measure the new tool on the TT-1.


When measuring a replacement tool, you do not have to use the same surface you used to measure the other tools, as long as you reset Z Reference with the Probe and TT1 on the new surface before measuring the new tool.

If the previous tool measuring surface has remained unchanged (e.g. you measured the tools with the TT-1 on the vise jaw, and have not moved the vise or knee), then you can measure replacement tools off that same surface without resetting Z Reference. Z Reference remains valid as long as the measuring surface does not move.

If you always place the TT-1 in the same location, you can set one of the reference return points (G28 or G30 positions) to be over that location. If you then set Machine Parameter 17 to the number of that return point (e.g. 1 for the G28 position, or 2 for the G30 position) then the control will automatically move X and Y to position over the TT-1 whenever you choose F3/Auto in the offset library. This will save you the time of jogging over and lining up before measuring tools.

When measuring large diameter tools (notably boring heads or shell mills) on the TT1, you may need to slide the TT1 around to line up the plunger under a flute, insert, or cutting tip. You can use the Feedrate Override and Feed Hold controls to slow down and pause Z movement as it comes down to measure, so you have time to move the TT1 and verify that it is lined up properly. Try to get the Feedrate Override back close to 100% before the actual measurement is taken. Large differences in the feedrate override setting when the measurement is taken can result in small errors in the measured offsets. These errors are generally under 0.002".

Copyright © 2017 Marc Leonard
Last updated 15-May-2017 MBL