A touch plate can make it quicker and easier to find your origin point on your material. There are a lot of different types of touch plates, but the vast majority use some sort of metal block that detects when your end mill makes contact with its surface by completing a circuit.
Amongst touch plates, you can find ones that measure just the Z-axis or some that can also find the offset between the X and Y-axes as well. Locating in the X and Y-axes is a nice additional feature, but it doesn’t work for irregularly shaped bits such as v-bits and dado bits due to their inconsistent diameter along their height or radius.
The Sienci Labs Touch Plate is an excellent example of a touch plate that lets you find the corner of your material in all three axes automatically.
This guide will help you set up and use your Sienci Labs Touch Plate with UGSPlatform. If you have a different touch plate, these steps may help you set up yours as well.
Inside the package:
Step 1: Wiring and plugging in your unit
Your LongMill control board (the LongBoard) comes with a detachable two pin screw terminal on the Probe/GND pins. With a small flathead screwdriver, start by screwing the two bare wires into this terminal. Ensure that the red and black wires are in the correct spot as in the photo.
When properly wired, the red wire will be on the Probe pin and the black wire will be on the GND pin.
Next, plug the banana plug into one of the two holes on the touch plate. Ensure that it is well seated. You can pick the hole you want to use that helps keep your wires out of the way.
Ensure you have an end mill firmly secured in your collet. If you are planning on doing a probe on the X and or Y axis, make sure that you have at least 15 to 20mm of your bit coming out of the collet. For other notes on end mill compatibility, please go to the end of this guide.
Attach the magnet to your end mill. You can also attach it to the collet nut or another part of your router or spindle as long as you have a conductive path through your end mill.
At this step, you are ready to start setting up your touch plate in UGSPlatform!
Step 2: Setting up Probe Module in UGSPlatform
UGSPlatform comes with a simple plugin that allows for your machine to send the commands to your machine to utilize the touch plate for finding the X, Y, and Z-axis.
Start by going to the top of your screen and clicking Window -> Plugin -> Probe Module. You will see a new tab appear on your screen.
Next, we will change a few settings. Click on the “Settings” button on the plugin.
Within the left side of the plugin, you’ll also see a few more tabs
In these sections, makes sure that these settings are changed. If your section does not have that setting available to change, you can skip it. This means that in the XYZ tab you’ll enter all these settings, in the XY tab you’ll only use the settings pertaining to the x and y-directions, and in the Z tab you’ll only use the settings pertaining to the z-direction.
Step 3: Operation of your machine
We’re pretty much ready to go!
If you want to measure XYZ,
If you want to measure XY only, follow the same steps, but your end mill will have an indeterminate Z height.
To find only the top of your material in the Z direction (Z),
Remove your magnet and set your touch plate aside, and you’re done!
You may have some issues with using your touch probe if your end mill is:
If you get false detections when using your touch plate, double-check that the polarity of your wiring and the connector are correct.