Make a zero and corner/edge finding tool using the X-Carve

Finding the zero XYZ on you stock is often the first thing to do before milling. I have made a simple tool that can be milled in 6mm aluminum to facilitate this. I have uploaded files and pictures to this project:


Great tool! I imagine that could be milled out from a single piece of 1/2" or 12mm chunk of aluminum as well, just to keep from having to to drill and align the sides.

Big fan of the videos, Martin. Thank you for sharing this!

Is it possible to use it with chilipeppr? @MartinBarfoed

Hi Andreldo
I believe so. I’m not using Chilli myself but from what I can read it should be fairly straight forward. There is a Touch Plate button for Z that I would assume to send the same code. And at the bottom of the screen there is a field for sending serial commands. Here you can use the same commands I describe in the video.
Good luck, Martin

@MartinBarfoed - where did you get the 3mm aluminum bit?

thanks in advance

Hi Darryl, I got it from a Danish shop I do not think they ship outside DK. If you are in the US I would go for Onsrud. They have high quality bits for aluminum:

Here is a short video of the Auto Zero X3. It auto zeroes your X, Y, and Z axis all at one time with a short g-code file that is generated with my Auto Zero X3 G-Code Generator and the touch plate I made from a piece of 1 inch thick aluminum. It works with every bit I have tried including regular endmills, V-Bits, Large router bits, and even edge forming bits. It generates g-code for millimeter measurements as well as inch measurements.

I don’t use Easel because of a poor internet connection but as I understand it, you can now upload g-code files to Easel so it should work fine. It does work with UGS and Pic Sender.

Perfect Zero every time. In the video when the second bit is zeroed it looks like the bit left a mark on the touch plate but it was actually a spec of dust and wiped off.

Now what do you think about that!


The reason I used the 1 inch thick piece is so I could use it with 1/4 inch V-bits. It uses the shank of the V-Bit to zero with and not a flat side or the beveled cutting edge. Not sure what you mean by “drill and align the sides”.

Hi Charley, Great work setting up the macro to do it all in one go - also it’s a very nice bloc of aluminum you made. Have you posted the program where folks can find it?

Auto Zero all 3 axis at one time is a link to the post with the latest version as of 3/5/16 to the spreadsheet that generates the g-code.

There are videos in the that topic that explain in detail how to use it and show actual usage. Let me know if you have any questions.


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Hi @MartinBarfoed and @CharleyThomas , I’ve been reading both of your threads and watching your videos. While I gather that you both sell these now, I’m interested in trying to make my own finder, and have 1/4" stock (~6 mm or so).

My plan was to basically make it by cutting the 1/4" stock twice like @MartinBarfoed did.

The one issue i’m having, looking at Martin’s inventables project is that I can’t find the cutting example files anywhere. It’s probably easy enough to try and redo in EASEL, but I’m relatively new at this and would love if you guys have the STL or other files around ?

Hi Adam,

I don’ t have the files that would work in Easel. I don’ t use Easel. However, it should be simple enough to do. Just create a shape with the dimensions of your material and create a pocket to recess a cutout. Add a half circle to the inside corner to insure that the touch plate fits in place without any wobble and you should be good to go. The real trick is getting your feed rate, and depth of cut set correctly to mill the aluminum stock. For that you will have to experiment to get it right. It all depends on the machine you are using. What works for me may not work for you. To get you going in the right directions, I cut at 100 inches per minute at .008" depth of cut using a 1/4 inch bit designed for cutting aluminum.

Many people struggle with cutting aluminum using an X Carve but it is possible. It took me a lot of trial and error to get the proper cutting parameters figured out. That is one reason I have been so successful at producing and selling them to X Carve users. Most people prefer to pay for a tried and true product so that they can move on to doing what they want rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.

When I made my first Touch Plate to zero all three axis at one time (which I still use today) I couldn’t give it away. Nobody wanted to take the time to figure out the machining. Everyone kept bugging me to start selling them so I finally caved in and started selling them. I have sold over 400 of them to date and I still ship from 1 to 4 orders almost every day.

If you do get the machining end worked out, there are plenty of references to the g-code to zero each axis, just remember that it does depend on the diameter of your bit so you will have to incorporate that into your code. Putting the code into the Macro Slots of UGS is possible but not efficient. That is why I created the Triquetra Tool Box. It generates the code for each bit diameter and you just load the file like any other file you were going to carve. Run the file and it automatically zeros your bit to all three axis at one time and your done. The Triquetra Tool Box has several other features such as zeroing to an offset locations like circles, zeroing to the right corner instead of the left and more. You can purchase that separately from my website if that is something that interests you.

Best of luck to you,

Charley Thomas
Triquetra CNC

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Hi Adam, I posted a SketchUp drawing of the two parts here:

Can you use that as starting point?

This is a great product. Use it all the time.