Checkout the updated ProbeApp User Guide for detailed information about all the features.
As I have seen on many forum posts, configuring and using the correct Tool Height Offset method can be a very confusing subject as the method that should be used differs based on machine and tool holding type. I have to admit that I personally struggled with this subject at the beginning as CNC12 does not have a clear built in guidance to select the correct method and I had to do a lot of searching and reading to find the answers. But even then, when I was not using my machine for a few weeks I had to go back to my notes again to make sure I’m setting Tool Offsets correctly.
The ProbeApp Tool Offsetter is designed to put an end to this confusion. When the Tool Offsetter is started for the first time, it will walk you trough a Guided Setup Questionnaire and will configure the correct Tool Height Offset Method automatically based on the answers to those questions. If a method has been configured, this method will be enforced and there’s no more guessing what method to use and how to use it even when you come back after a few weeks of not using the machine.
Machines with fixed Tool Holding and a fix distance between the Z-Home position and the machine table can use a simplified method by setting a fixed Reference Height at the Z-Home position and measure all Tool Height Offsets as the distance from the Z-Home position to the point where the tool touches the Tool Setter. This method only works reliably if the Z-Homing process has an acceptable, repeatable accuracy. If the machine is homed with a Servo Index Pulse (ZRI) there’s no need to verify the accuracy but depending on the type of homing switch, it might not be as accurate as you think it is and it’s recommended that you check the homing accuracy before you use this method.
The Guided Setup does include a process to test the Z-Homing accuracy by re-homing the Z-Axis multiple times and re-measure the distance from the Z-Home position to the top of the Tool Setter and it will tell you the maximum deviation that occurred on all measurements.
Checkout the Tool Offsetter User Guide for detailed information about all the features.
Here’s a screen shot of a typical "ProbeApp-Tool Offsetter” screen in Reference Tool Method mode. Right-Click the screen shot to open it in a separate browser window and than read the legend below with a description of all the features:
- 1) Shows which Height Offset Measurement Option is currently Active
- 2) Tool Information is read from the currently open job file and if the Diameter in the CNC12 Tool Library doesn’t match the Tool Info from the job file it will be highlighted with red font on yellow background
- 3) & 5) If a Tool that’s being used in the currently open job file has a height offset of 0, it will also be marked with red font on yellow background (unless the tool is the reference tool)
- 4) The currently active tool is marked as such and if any tool information is found in the currently open job file it will be displayed here
- 6) The Manual Positioning check box allows to mark tools that are oversized or have an odd shape like a fly cutter that need to be positioned manually with the Tool Setter. The probing cycle will prompt for manual positioning before probing
- 7) The Height Offset of the Reference Tool is forced to be 0
- 8) No Height Offset measurement is possible for the Reference Tool as it needs to be set at 0
- 9) The Reference Tool is highlighted with blue and it the TP is the reference tool it will also show the Input the TP is connected to
- 10) If a Diameter Offset # or Height Offset Number doesn’t match the Tool#, it will be marked in red font on yellow background. Also tools with the same D# or H# will be synced if a change is being made.
- 11) The currently set Reference Height is being displayed with the date and time when it was established. If you try to measure a new tool height offset and the Ref Height was set more than 24 hours ago, you will get a warning that you might need to establish a new reference height first.
- 12) This button is used to set the Reference Height. 11) and 12) will not be displayed in the Fixed Home Method
- 13) The Return function will re-open the Tool Offsetter after a probing cycle has been completed
- 14) Allows to fine tune the probing cycle as needed
- 15) Will give detailed Information about the currently active Reference Height Method and which cycles of the ProbeApp should be used. The Instructions are dynamically built based on configuration settings.
- 16) This button will change to SAVE if any tool information has been changed that needs to be updated in CNC12
Other new Features of ProbeApp v2
- Enhanced Dual Probe Tool Setter cycle for machines without fixed Tool Holdings. This cycle now also supports the combination of a Touch Probe and a fixed Tool Setter. Also the Tool Setter screen now shows the currently active tool on the bottom of the screen. The probing cycle with the fixed TT does support the “Manual Positioning” flag of a tool set in the new Tool Offsetter module. If a tool has been flagged for “Manual Positioning”, the probing cycle with the fixed TT will pause above the TT with the message to manually positioning the tool. Pressing the Cycle Start button will continue the probing cycle.
- New temporary default Probing Cycle overwrite function when the ProbeApp starts. In version 1, the macro file mfunc58.mac could be customized to directly open a certain probing cycle instead of the main menu by calling the ProbeApp.exe file with a parameter like this: ProbeApp.exe -ToolSetter. Changing the mfunc58.mac file like this changes the default behavior of the M58 command so pressing the Probing Button on the VCP will always open the ProbeApp now in ToolSetter mode. If it is preferred that the M58 command always opens the ProbeApp with the Main screen but would like to have the M6 command to open the ProbeApp-ToolSetter directly, the temporary overwrite function can be used by setting the CNC12 variable #29500 to a certain value before calling the ProbeApp with a M58 command. Check out the Tool Setter User Guide on how to use this function.
- Selection frames are now much more visible with a bright, red selection frame
- The Bore Cycle has a new option for a 3-point only cycle. This can be used if the center of a bore needs to be probed that doesn’t provide a full 360 degree surface
Here some more links showing the features of the ProbeApp and the ProbeApp in Action:
The new ProbeApp V2 is available now to all Supporters. You can become a Supporter by making a donation in the amount of whatever you think is reasonable. Contact me at email@example.com if you are interested in becoming a Supporter and get the ProbeApp.
If you have any Probing Devices you should definitely look at the ProbeApp as it will give you many options you don't get with the CNC12 built in probing cycles. If you have a Tool Setter and ever wondered if you are setting the Tool Height Offsets correctly, you must get the ProbeApp V2 as it will make things a lot easier and more transparent. If the ProbeApp does safe you from a broken tool by setting the Tool Height Offsets properly, you'll be happy you made that investment to become a Supporter.
If you have any questions or comments, please post them in this thread for everybody to see.