madhatter wrote:I bought a set of brass feeler gauges and use one of them to set my Z height. I use brass so I don't damage the end mill. Then just plug in the thickness of the feeler gauge I am using.
Currently, I am using the 0.356mm thick gauge. I put it down and slowly lower the spindle while moving the gauge. When I get friction, I stop and put the Z height at 0.356. When that feeler gauge gets all scratched up, I'll move on to the next one.
After feeler gauge do you set z-axis to zero or leave it alone?
When I get the end mill just touching the brass feeler gauge, and the feeler gauge is 0.356mm thick, I go into the "Zero" screen and enter 0.356 in the Z-height box and Hit enter.
This tells the software exactly where the cutter head is in relation to the work piece surface. Up until that time, the software did not have the slightest idea of where your work piece zero was.
Imagine This, you wake up and you're in a pitch-black room. You can't see anything. You're pretty sure it's your bedroom, but you don't really have any way of knowing. You stand up and slowly start walking until you bump into a wall. Until you hit that wall you had no idea where you were in your bedroom. Now that you have found that wall let's call it X.
Now you wander along that wall until you bump into another wall. We will call that wall Y.
So now you are in the corner of your bedroom you know exactly where you are in relation to your bedroom. That is essentially how your software is every time you fire it up. If you have homing switches you send them home and it automatically does this. Ifnot you have to tell the software exactly where the cutter head is on your machine every time you turn it on.
For me, I mostly have the X & Y zero in the bottom left-hand corner as I'm drawing it on the computer. I measure out the dimensions of what I'm going to cut so I don't hit my clamps and I move my machine cutter head to right above the little hash marks I put for X and Y zero.
Then I go into the zero screen and zero X & Y.
Then I will usually move my cutter head to the middle of my work piece and zero the Z-axis somewhere in the middle of my work piece. To reiterate, when I zero the z-axis I'm not actually putting in 0 or clicking a 0 button, I'm putting in the thickness of the feeler gauge I use so that the software knows that my cutter head is exactly that far away from the work surface.
The term "zeroing" is really about telling the software where are the cutter head is in relation to your work piece not necessarily putting it at a point and hitting zero, zero, zero.