Manual Touchplate

My current project is what I’m calling a manual touchplate. Eventually I’ll wire up a normal z-axis touchplate, but for now I’m testing a manual version. I’m currently using a 1-2-3 Block, a continuity tester, and some alligator clips. If I like the results I’ll likely refine it a bit later down-the-road (solder the contacts and such).

Basically, I just connect the clip to the bit and the use Easel to manually (SLOWLY) jog the Z-axis closer until the LED lights up. Once that’s done, since I’m using a 1-2-3 Block I know I’l exactly 1 inch from the board. I can then set the distance to 1 inch and lower the bit exactly to the board.


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I was thinking about using the same kinda set up with a 1-2-3 block also

Clever. It’s good to have options when you need them.
You should still use the same setup, but hook the probe up to your G-Shield.
Once you do that, it’s real simple to issue g-code commands via Easel to zero the axis.

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Actually, you connect one side of the probe to pin A5 on the Arduino Uno and the other to ground. Grbl G38.2 and other commands make it happen.

Thanks for those important details.
I knew about the wiring / probing details, but I hope @NAM37 and others now do :smile:

I set up a macro in UGS. Here’s the one that makes this work for me:

G20 G38.2 Z-.5 F2; G92 Z.5; G91; G0 Z0.25; G90

Breaking it down:

G20 = set system to inches

G38.2 Z-.5 F2; = move Z down to Z-0.5 at 2ipm until it touches the plate (it never reaches -0.5, of course)

G92 Z.5; = set the coordinate offset to 0.5", the thickness of my plate

G91; G0 Z0.25; = set to relative mode and raise Z by 0.25" for clearance

G90 = set system back to absolute mode


What would this process be in Easel?

Yes it is definitely possible.
See Macros like in UGS

Possible, but not ideal. Still better than nothing.
Once Easel has macros or native probing it will be much easier.