Waste Board as Z-Zero

How would one go about setting your waste board as the Z-zero in Easel? Right Now I think it assumes your Z-zero is the top of you material.

Why do you want to do that?

I could see it being useful for cases where the zero point on the stock is completely milled away during roughing and so starting with the base z-zero (or even a touch plate built into the board) would help.

My purpose right now is for drag knifing. It seems like it would be easier to just zero out the blade on the waste board opposed to trying to zero out a knife on the top of a piece of paper/foamcore/cardboard.

Also when I’ve used other CAM software this was an option and for myself I kind of like working in positive numbers.

This would also lend itself nicely to, like @sketch42 mentioned, having a touch plate permanently installed in the waste board.

It would be great if this was an option!

So the problem with this is that you need to know where the surface of the material is for Easel to generate the tool paths that won’t dig too deep or too shallow on the first pass. The reason we use Z=0 at the material surface is that it is (generally) more accurate than trying to guess (or accurately measure) the height of the material.

The drag knife case is interesting because (1) you know the knife will have to come to z=0 to be successful anyway and (2) the material is “squishy” and the blade is sharp, so making contact at the material height is not reliable.

In fact I can imagine that any time you intend to cut all the way through a material you may want to zero at the waste board because it would be more accurate than measuring the material and zeroing at material height. I need to think a bit about this.

In terms of the touch plate, if you look at our other machine, the Carvey, you’ll notice that the touch switch is not actually on the waste board. It is on a clamp that holds the material down. We know the height of the clamp exactly, so we are effectively putting the touch plate at the material height, not at the waste board height. This is the way I’ve usually seen touch plates work.

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Those are good points. It’s been a while since I’ve used a CNC, and when I did it was an industrial one.

I was wondering how “fixed” touch plates work when they are built in, putting into a clamp is a pretty good idea.

My main reason for wanting a feature like this is that Donek Tools corner action spreadsheet requires the Z-zero to be at the table for it to correctly process the g-code and then add the corner swivel actions. If there is another way to add these corner actions without spending a ton on drag knife CAM software I’d be open to it!

Thanks for the replies!

Donek Tools Swivel Actions Spreadsheet