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MPCNC: Autolevel Probe, Endstop Edition

When in doubt, use an endstop switch:

MPCNC - Endstop Z probe - USB camera

MPCNC – Endstop Z probe – USB camera

The USB camera lurks in the upper right.

Just after that picture, I clipped off the NC switch terminal so I can wire this endstop in parallel with the tool length probe. Epoxy coating to follow.

The DW660 collet grabs a length of 1/8 inch drill rod jammed into a hole positioned to put the switch actuator directly in line with the spindle axis when it trips the switch, so as to measure a known and useful location:

Z Axis Height Probe - MBI endstop - Slic3r

Z Axis Height Probe – MBI endstop – Slic3r

After mulling things over for a while, I fired up the Sherline, drilled a #54 hole in the actuator, and epoxied a 3/32 inch bearing ball in the hole:

MPCNC - Endstop Z probe - bearing

MPCNC – Endstop Z probe – bearing

A #54 drill hole is half the diameter of the ball and, with a bit of luck, enough of the ball will stick through into the epoxy on the underside for a good grip:

MPCNC - Endstop Z probe - bearing - detail

MPCNC – Endstop Z probe – bearing – detail

The general idea is to convert the stamped steel actuator into a single, albeit not particularly sharp, contact point that can glide over the platform / PCB / sheet-of-whatever to measure the surface. The actuator pivots as it depresses, so the ball must slide horizontally just a bit. I prefer a rod-in-tube probe poking a linear button switch, but those weren’t getting me anywhere.

If I were really cool, I’d use a ruby ball. Maybe silicon nitride?

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

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