Tool Change without Probe

Is it possible to do a tool change without a probe? I just received my machine and tried a simple raised lettter sign. It had two tool passes. When it prompted me to change the tool I couldn’t get passed it as it kept saying estopped.

I tried to go back to Vcarve and just export the second tool pass but that didn’t work. I had to rehome my machine and it wasn’t exactly the same as the first home and the cut was slightly off.

Well, technically you could - but you wouldn’t want to. You don’t know what the length of the tool is once you change a bit. Probing is how you let the machine know where the new “Z zero” is.

The simplest approach is to put each toolpath into it’s own file, and run them one at a time - setting Z-zero after changing the tool (but don’t probe for X/Y!).

You mentioned that the 1F was “estopped” - something else happened that shouldn’t have.

A more advanced approach is combining multiple tool paths into a single file coming out of V-Carve - but you should get the multiple files working first before attempting it.

Thanks, Michael. As I said, I’m brand new at this so I’m sure I’m doing something wrong. When the machine stopped for a tool change, my assumption was that I could raise the Z, change the bit, and then reprobe manually for Z only. However, the 1F said something like “change the tool and connect the probe”. There was no option to move Z or any axis manually. When I started trying to raise the Z, it gave the error about “estopped”. At that point, my only option was to shut it off and reboot. I’ve got the probe on order but I just wanted to know if there was a way to do that manually.

So that leads to a follow up, if that probe is really “mandatory”, why not include it in the base package as a required item? I would have gladly paid the extra few bucks when I placed the order had I known I couldn’t really operate the machine without it. Just wondering.

OK, that makes sense. You can change the position where the VCarve tool change happens. In the Material Setup section, there is a Home/Start Position entry, that looks like this:
You can change the “Z Gap…” setting to be higher, and allow room for the tool change to happen. The spindle will go to this setting when it’s time to change a tool. But, it does require a probe to measure the new tool length.

You can work without a probe - you just need to separate each tool into it’s own file, and reset Z-zero like you did when you started the job (likely using the “paper method”). A probe technically is not required - but most people find it convenient.

There’s a long-standing feature request open to allow the 1F to manually move the spindle and re-zero Z during a tool change, but it’s not available right now. No ETA has been provided for when/if this will be possible.

Separate out your tool paths into separate files for now, and you should be in good shape.

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Thank you. I’m going to have to retry it. As I recall, I could not change any axis. It only said, “change tool and connect probe”. I tried to use the screen to manually move the Z up, but it kept yelling about the probe not being connected. Basically, I couldn’t figure out a way move any axis as it just kept telling me no probe was connected. I’ll take a piece of scrap and retry and see exactly what the error is telling me today.

Thanks again for the detailed info.

You won’t be able to move anything on tool change - it will go to the home/start position and stay there. After you connect a probe it will then go straight down and measure a new Z zero. So you need to make sure the home/start position is where you want to probe for Z zero (in my example, it’s off the piece so I can measure Z zero at the wasteboard).

Ok. Sorry if this is a dumb question: If I had homed XYZ in the bottom left corner of the piece, wouldn’t I want to keep XY the same and just rehome Z after bit change? I’m confused as to why I’d rehome off of the piece to the wasteboard.

You’re OK - you don’t re-home X and Y, you just set Z with the new bit.

The screen-shot is from a carve that had set Z to the wasteboard, so I had to move X and Y (-2, -2) so that I could reach the wasteboard when resetting Z. If XY of 0,0 is OK to probe (top of the workpiece), you can just probe for Z after changing the bit.

It’s a little confusing until you try it once, then it all just makes sense…