How to pause mid-cut, change or clean bit, then continue?

So I’m cutting 6061 aluminum and it’s a long slow process. I need to pause the project, raise the spindle and change out the bit then restart where I left off from.
Any help would be GRATEFULLY appreciated

As a Linux user I have never used Easel. I draw most of my project in Librecad and/or Freecad and make most of my tooling using Heekscad…and have been starting to use the path function in Freecad. Heekscad generates a tool change (M06) when the bit needs to be changed. I use Chilipeppr for my Gcode sender and it honors the tool change. Further I can jog during the pause to make it easier to make the change.

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XController or Gshield?

You’re looking for the feed hold with safety door feature enabled as part of GRBL (Gcode sender independent). With safety door enabled, GRBL will stop the cutting, will stop the spindle (if you have it being controlled via M3 output), and will raise the spindle up close to the Z homing switch.

If you are using the XController, if you press the pause button it does exactly what you want. Press resume when you’re ready to go again.

If you are using the Gshield, you’d need to wire a switch/button to the feed hold pin on the board and you’d also want a switch/button wired to the resume pin.

Based on what I’ve seen in the Inventables code base, they have enabled the safety door feature in their code.

You might be able to get away with sending the feed hold text command but I’ve never tried that.

You’re assuming he’s having a problem. He never stated that he had an issue cutting aluminum, just that it is a long slow process. Maybe he’s changing bits for a different size or a different type (ball vs straight vs bull-nose). Maybe it’s a Fusion360 code that would have tool changes across multiple operations (you can export to one Gcode file for multiple operations using different bit sizes). There’s way too much unknown to assume he’s having a problem. He asked about pausing and raising the spindle, so that information was provided.

For that matter. Why doesn’t Easel store the machine XYZ and line number every 10th G0 commmand? That would make resuming from a known point in your program significantly simpler…

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Wow, you guys are fantastic, what a resource. Thank you for the responses. I now have to digest and implement.
I will post results as/when they happen.
Merry Christmas!

Do you have the XController? It has a ‘pause’ button on the front.

No, I’m using the Shapeoko 3XXL and I’m very new to this whole deal. I am using VCarve pro and then either saving the gcode and using Carbide motion or exporting SVG and using easel.

use metal coolant in spray form. WD40 will work. I don’t know what you are doing but I have hogged myself through a few aluminum parts. I used to have a vertical mill that did iron, steel, and aluminum. Bits are usually strong.

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if metal chips are sticking to the flutes of the tool, speed may be considered, but the job of the lubricant is to cool the tool and to lubricate the tool to allow the centripetal force to remove the chip.

I agree with everyone. I have tried slowing the feed rate and rpm. I will try coolant next. Here’s an interesting symptom, I will probably run this by the Shapeoko people too. Sometimes at seemingly random moments during the cut, it “ramps” down, but sometimes 1/16" - 1/8". Obviously operator error, but I can’t wrap my head around what is making the machine do this.
Anyway, Happy New year to all and thanks so much for your wonderful advice.

I agree don’t just rely on my opiniop ask several people and then you form your ideas. happy carving

Might not be the best way, but you can disconnect one of the wires to the Z motor to stop it after pausing the project

Yeah…don’t do that. You could damage the motor driver if you connect disconnect the motor while powered.

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Speaking of pausing? How do you adjust how high the Z goes when you push the paus button?

That’s in the grbl config. You’d have to recompile the firmware.
Does it not go high enough?

Yes, it does not go high enough? How do I adjust that? Thank you

Default is 5mm from your Z switch. Does it not go that high? Does it retract at all?
Can you get a video?