MPCNC: Z-Axis Height Probe

A slight modification to the MPCNC LM12UU collet pen holder turns it into a long-reach Z-Axis Height Probe:

CNC 3018-Pro - Z-Axis height probe - overview
CNC 3018-Pro – Z-Axis height probe – overview

A flange on the top plate holds a Makerbot-style endstop switch:

Collet Holder - LM12UU - switch plate - solid model
Collet Holder – LM12UU – switch plate – solid model

The brass probe rod sports a 3/32 inch ball epoxied on its tip, although for my simple needs I could probably use the bare rod:

CNC 3018-Pro - Z-Axis height probe - ball tip detail
CNC 3018-Pro – Z-Axis height probe – ball tip detail

I clamped the rod to extend a bit beyond the plate, where it can soak up most of the switch release travel, leaving just enough to reset the clickiness after each probe:

CNC 3018-Pro - Z-Axis height probe - detail
CNC 3018-Pro – Z-Axis height probe – detail

The probe responds only to Z motion, not tip deflection in XY, so it’s not particularly good for soft objects with sloped sides, like the insole shown above. It works fine for rigid objects and should suffice to figure the modeling workflow.

The bCNC Auto-Level probe routine scans a grid over a rectangular region:

Insole - bCNC AutoLevel Probe Map - detail
Insole – bCNC AutoLevel Probe Map – detail

Which Meshlab turns into a solid model:

Insole - Meshlab triangulation
Insole – Meshlab triangulation

That’s the bottom of the insole probed on a 5 mm grid, which takes something over an hour to accomplish.

The OpenSCAD code as a GitHub Gist:

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  1. MPCNC: Z-Axis Probed Height Map to Solid Model | The Smell of Molten Projects in the Morning

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