Tool change while doing a job

Hi all. I recently got my one infinity woodworker machine. I’m currently performing a cutting operation where I rough out a section of material with an end mill. I then move on to cut using a v-bit to finish the cut and the job. I was wondering how to change tools in the middle of operation? The spindle will not move up to let me change tools and and I am unable to re-zero the z-axis. Is there a way to change tools and re zero Z with the other bit?

Normally you would do this by having two separate gcodes for each toolpath when you are using different size endmills

In addition, set your safe z to what you are comfortable with. Me is use .250, and your home Z to 2 inches. This is done in the tool path software. I usually have mine set at Y=0, X=0 and Z=2. That way when a tool path is complete the router comes back to it’s starting point. and the z is high enough to change bits.

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Do you have to put these coordinates in by hand in the program or is there a way to do it in a design software

It is done when you set up your tool paths

The simplest solution is to put each tool in a separate file - then you can move around, probe for Z, and do the next step.

In V-Carve, in the material setup screen (where you set up where zero is on your model), there’s section called “Home/Start Position” - this is where the router/spindle will go when it’s time to change tools. You can set the Z Gap to a higher value, giving you enough room to change tools. The X/Y (normally 0/0) is where it will try and probe for Z - so make sure that’s a good spot!

This is what mine normally looks like: image

Hi Mike,
So you put multiple different bits into one file and run it that way vs. separate file for each different tool?
I am having issue doing that with clearance tools being different depths for pockets and v carves and Onefinity is telling me the fix is to use separate files per bit. I am asking if I redo XYZ between bits or just Z after first XYZ bit.
P.S. I did what you did with Z Gap after getting stuck once with no way to change a bit out.

Just z between changes.

The simple way to manage this is with a separate file for each tool. Then you can move around, reset Z wherever it makes sense, and you have complete control over the job.

V-Carve does have a way to put multiple tool paths into a single file - but you have to think ahead to make sure you know where you want to measure your Z-height when you change tools, and make sure you put the Home/Start position in the right spot. 0/0 works well if you’re zeroing off of the top of the material (for most cuts), otherwise I’ve used -2/-2 to get the router out of the way so I can zero off of the wasteboard.

If you get stuck, you have 2 choices:

  1. Stop the program, re-export the next tool path from V-Carve, and load it back into the 1F.
  2. Pull the router out so you have enough room to change the bit, and then put it back.

There are some jobs - usually simpler ones with 1 tool change - where I put everything into 1 file. Other times, I export multiple files when I know I want to be able to move things around after the tool change.

And, you should only have to re-probe for Z when you change a tool - the X/Y location will stay fixed as you change a tool.

Good luck, try a few files each way and see what works.

Mike.

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Thanks. File per tool seems to have addressed the issue with clearance tool paths being different depths. I think machine should work same either way but that is the way it is. I think it gets a little off if you raise the Z on return in between bits in a one file toolpath.

Hi Mike,

I have just downloaded the free trial of VCarve Pro while I wait for my Journeyman to arrive. When you say use a separate file for each tool, do you mean saving a tool path file individually or creating different tool paths for different cuts? For example, if i am making a plaque with writing on it, and holes in it, that is using a V bit for the text, and 1/4" end mill for the holes and pocket cut (around the plaque), would I do the text with the V bit save that file off. Then go back and do all the 1/4" cutting in 1 additional file? Just playing around with it, I created multiple tool paths and organized them so that the text cut was first, then change bits, to the 1/4" for the holes, then another tool path for the outline cut. So I have 4 tool paths that would be saved in one file, I guess. Does the machine know that the second tool path needs a new bit and will it stop and give you time to change with this method? The tool path preview feature shows each cut separately.

Also on a related subject, I was watching VCarve tutorials (specifically the Avalon and Vectophone) , on the 2D vector drawings they set the XY zero to the center, but when it comes time to create the tool paths they set the XY zero to the lower left corner. I would have thought they have to be in the same place? Am I missing something?

Very fun to do by the way.
Thanks

If you have all the 1/4" tool paths in one file (at least in Vcarve) you have to select the run pointer to get it going. There is probably no reason to set Z if you do not change the bit.

Hi,

You can safely combine multiple tool paths that all use the same tool into one file. So, in your example, the 1/4" endmill for the holes and the profile could all be put into one file. You don’t have to worry about resetting Z - so you can go from one tool path to the next without issue.

Where you draw from, vs. where you set Zero to cut from, can be two entirely different things. The bottom left corner works well with the probe, so it’s often convenient to set zero there for tool path creation.

After you try out a few pieces, you’ll quickly figure out what works well - there’s so much to learn that it can be like drinking from a firehose when starting out. Keep it simple, and when it becomes tedious you can start looking for ways to optimize. I’m doing this purely as a hobby - it’s more fun to figure new things out than do the same thing 20 times in a row (for me at least). But I have a lot to learn yet.

Good luck!

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If you are using Vcarve . set the material starting point off the project where you can zero it off your project. have a small piece of scrap the same thickness to keep referencing, the machine will move off the amount you decide. remember to use a negative number if you are zeroing to the left of your project.

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