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  • FTC & WinCNC Errors


    It seems there is still some confusion regarding use of the “Measure Tool”, “Calibrate Switch” and “Touch Top” features. These features can also be known as “Buttons”, “Macros” or “Routines”

    The Calibrate Switch and Measure Tool buttons will only be enabled and visible on the screen when the “FTC” (fast tool change) feature has been enabled. This feature enables use of multiple tools in a single cutting file vs. one file per bit without it. I will explain the use for FTC enabled machines below:

    Calibrate Switch:
    This routine has the user carefully lower the bit (any bit) to the table surface and then traverses to the tool measure block and touches off. WinCNC then stores this (switch offset) distance permanently until changed (by running the Calibrate Switch routine) by the user.


    There are 2 cases where you should use this routine:
    1) You have surfaced your spoilboard (changes height)
    2) You have changed the height of the tool measure block (rare)

    Do not calibrate the switch to a height other than the spoilboard surface!

    Measure Tool:
    This routine measures the tool to the TM block, applies the switch offset (from above) and sets the tool length offset from the G53 Z0 (high limit Z) position. This zeros the tool to the spoilboard surface. This tool offset is also saved (for this bit only) until changed by the user. There will now be a blue box next to the Z axis in the position window.

    Once this tool offset or height has been established the Z low boundary is enabled. This safety feature will prevent a file from running that has Z movement that goes more than 1/8” into the spoilboard. Each time you change a tool you must Measure Tool and reset the tool length offset.

    Touch Top:
    This routine is used when a user wishes to set his Z zero to the top of the material. It MUST be done AFTER that tool is measured to ensure that the user material offset is applied to the proper tool length. This user material offset is stored until changed by the user.


    Z Errors:
    Most “-Z boundary” or “low limit Z” errors are caused by a user using the Touch Top after a bit change. Either when he should have done a “Measure Tool” or if material thickness actually did change, a “Measure Tool” first. This applies the perceived user material offset to the previous bit length! After a bit change, simply Measure tool.The material offset has been stored you only need to use it once for that material thickness.


    Most “+Z boundary” or “high limit Z” errors are caused by Touch Top used as above or a material thickness plus bit length plus a Home Z” or “Safe Z” height that exceeds the amount that the Z axis can physically move.

    X & Y Boundary Errors:
    These should be fairly easy to diagnose by a simple preview of the file.Based on the User XY offset (home or 0,0 position) the current cutting code will exceed the distance that the machine can physically move.


    As you can see, these are not WinCNC errors, they are either an operational procedure error or a design error. Both of which can/should be easily corrected by the operator.

    Common Scenarios:
    1) If you Surface the Table: Calibrate Switch
    2) If you Change a Tool (Bit): Measure Tool
    3) If you Change Material Thickness and Z zero to Material Top: Touch Top

    NEVER DO A TOUCH TOP BEFORE THAT TOOL IS MEASURED

    If you Need to do More than One: DO THEM IN THE ORDER ABOVE!

    To "toggle OFF" these features, simply initialize and use the "CAMaster Single Tool INCH post processor for Vectric.
    Zero your bit to your design zero plane (either top of material or Spoilboard) with the "Zero Z" button or Touch Top
    Last edited by Gary Campbell; 05-11-2015, 10:29 PM.
    Gary Campbell
    Servo Control Upgrades
    GCnC411@gmail.com
    https://www.youtube.com/user/Islaww1/videos

    "There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those that understand binary logic, and those who don't"
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