STEPCRAFT Attachments and Accessories
What software is recommended to run the Touch Probe?
STEPCRAFT customers can use UCCNC for the Touch Probe. We have a special screenset and macros to control it for various functions (DOWNLOAD HERE). For 3D object scanning with the Touch Probe, you will need a CAD/CAM program like Vectric Cut2D or VCarve to be able to draw a box and create a simple tool path for the scanning area. Once a point cloud file is created, you can download Meshlab (www.meshlab.net) for free, which will convert the point cloud file into a STL 3D file that you can CNC machine.
Non-STEPCRAFT customers will need to setup a macro for their machine control software to allow it to work. You would need to reference your software’s manufacturer to obtain information on this.
The videos below will give you much more information the setup and use of the STEPCRAFT TOUCH PROBE
What is “MPG” on the STEPCRAFT RMC 100 Wireless Controller?
The term “MPG” stands for Manual Pulse Generator and is basically and electronic hand wheel. Selecting “MPG Mode” will allow you to rotate the wheel and move the axis on the machine in steps based on the indents in the wheel. This is a great way to move the spindle around, specifically when setting the starting position for each job.
What collet sizes come with the HF-500 spindle?
The HF-500 Spindle comes with 1/8″ and 1/4″ collets. It uses standard ER11 collets and you can get them in metric sizes as well. The 1/4″ is the largest that they make for ER11 and 8mm is the largest metric size.
I have a HF-500 Spindle and I want to add an Engraving Point, how can I do this?
To use the engraving point you have a couple options
1) you can get an 8mm collet and then simply put the engraving point into the collet like you would an end mill – just make sure the HF500 is powered off – link to collet: https://www.stepcraft.us/shop/product/10040-008-er11-collet-8mm-for-hf-500-spindle-and-mm-1000-automatic-tool-changer-291?search=8mm
2) If you want to remove the HF500 then you will need two tool adapters: Links: https://www.stepcraft.us/shop/product/10120-mini-tool-adapter-from-20-mm-to-8-mm-29?search=mini AND https://www.stepcraft.us/shop/product/10107-tool-adapter-from-43-mm-to-20mm-proxxon-28?search=proxxon
How do I setup and install the Tool Length Sensor on my STEPCRAFT CNC?
The Tool Length sensor is a great addition to your Stepcraft 2 machine, saving time in zeroing the Z axis. There are a few steps to getting the sensor installed and configured properly.
1. Connecting to the mainboard:
Remove the Rubber plug on the front end plate of the machine and run wires inward through the chassis. Run the wires along the channel and through the grommet the X and Z wires are run. Connect the sensor wires to the mainboard in the two open positions between the emergency stop switch wiring and the X/Z end switch (Refer to the manual section 9.6.) Leave enough slack to be able to move the sensor throughout the work area.
2. Replacing the Macro file:
UCCNC needs instructions to be able to properly use the sensor. Download the replacement M31.txt file (listed below) to the machine profile macro folder. For example for a Stepcraft 2 Model 300 the folder is C:\UCCNC\Profiles\Macro_Stepcraft2_Model300 If you have a 3D printing head and plan to use the sensor with that as well make sure to copy to the 3D profile folder as well. You will need move the existing file first as it is set to read only and will not let you successfully copy the file otherwise.
Download the latest macro file here: http://www.stepcraftsupport.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/M31.txt
*Note: Opening the M31.txt will allow you to fine tune the height based on personal preference. Edit the newZ value (default 33) adding to the value to lower the Zero height. Since the setup will be separate for the 3D printer profile, you may want the print head slightly higher for 3d printing to avoid dragging.
3. UCCNC Setup:
Now we need to edit the profile for the machine so that it knows the tool sensor is connected. In the is C:\UCCNC\Profiles\ find the .PRO file for your machine. First right click on it and choose properties. On the properties box there will be an option for read only, make sure that box is not checked. Click apply and close the window. Now when you change the setting in UCCNC it will be able to save and be stored for each time you open UCCNC.
Go to the configuration tab and I/O setup from there. You will see the choice for “Probe pin:” change that to 10, and “Port:” to 1. At the bottom of the page click Apply settings, and then Save Settings.
4. Verify switch function and setup:
Almost there, to verify the switch is operational and that it is properly configured open UCCNC click on the diagnostics tab. Press the sensor switch directly and you should see I10 and Probe light up in green. I10 is showing that the switch is working and Probe is showing that it is correctly configured.
5. Using the sensor:
After homing your machine setup your machine with some test material and place the sensor on top. Move the axis over the sensor and zero all. Now press the tool probe button from the main screen. The Z axis will lower slowly until it contacts the sensor. It will then retract and calculate the Z zero taking into account the height of the sensor. Move the sensor out of the way and you can now click Go to Zero. The Z axis will lower to the calculated height for the work material.
Does the Laser DL445 use the same port on the STEPCRAFT as the 3D Printer and HF500 spindle?
Yes, they both use the same serial port on the back of the machine. You would need to disconnect the cable and reconnect the attachment that you wish to use. STEPCRAFT also offers a Switchbox which allows you to connect everything and simply turn the dial to select the attachment you wish to use. This is very handy if you are constantly changing attachments.
Can I cut carbon fiber on the STEPCRAFT CNC?
Yes, you can. In fact, carbon fiber cuts very easily on the STEPCRAFT. The main issue with cutting carbon is the dust that is created is very hazardous to your health if you breathe it in. To combat this, STEPCRAFT has a Milling Bath in three separate sizes for the 420, 600 and 840 machines. You can find information on the Milling Baths here: https://stepcraft.us/product-category/accessories/system-accessories-accessories/cnc-accessories/
Additionally here are a couple videos that you can watch containing more information on using a STEPCRAFT CNC for carbon fiber.
Can I connect my HF500 spindle and 3D printer to the STEPCRAFT at the same time?
Yes you can with the use of the of the STEPCRAFT System Attachment Switch Box. To use the Switch Box, you simply plug a serial cable from the Switch Box to the serial port on the CNC and then you plug the 3D Printer and the HF500 Spindle into the respective ports on the back of the box. Then you can just rotate the dial to select the attachment that you would like to use and mount that attachment into the tool holder on the STEPCRAFT.
Can I buy the STEPCRAFT Touch Probe for use with a non-STEPCRAFT CNC machine?
Yes, you can purchase the Touch Probe and it will most likely work with just about any CNC. However, you be responsible for the correct software setup, macros and configuration for your system. STEPCRAFT will NOT support the operation or configuration of the Touch Probe for non-STEPCRAFT machines. The unit will, however, be warranted for mechanical defects.