Zero Like a Pro

Most people start off probing with an XYZ touch block, a simple block of aluminum. These are fine, but you CAN'T forget to put the magnet on the collect or you'll damage something. First and foremost, a 3D touch probe solves that problem.    The offer a slew of other perks, including:
  • They're also easier to position around your part without the need to place a bulky touch block on a corner. 
  • You're not even limited to corners at all. 
  • The visual indication of it's working or not is right on the probe, instead of on the touch screen. 
  • You can mount one in a tool holder for your ATC
  • It will not light up and the machine will arm if it's not properly connected.

With a 3D touch probe, you'll have very little use for your old aluminum touch block.  It's essentially a better tool for the same job.


I chose the DIG3D.LP.M for my probe.  Similar to the tool setter, it's a 3-wire unit with many configuration options.  Again, I chose PNP, because it's a tiny bit easier to install without the need for a resistor, and the NC (Normal Closed) because it's a bit safer option when the machine has to see the closed (functional) circuit to be considered present.


You can always refer to the Masso documentation for setting it up, but in my opinion, their documentation makes it seems more complicated than it is and isn't as complete as it should be.  I'll outline my version of the installation process, which I think will get you even better results.


Like the Masso documentation, this instruction set assumes you have a working tool setter.   For information on how to set that up, read this blog entry:  Stop Re-Zeroing Every Tool Change


1. Before we get started with wiring, please power your machine off.

2. Now, let's look at the wiring.  The unit comes with ferrules installed.  In my case, I combined the power of the 3D probe with the power of the tool setter, in a single ferrule, so I could reduce the number of power terminals I used in on the Masso.  I did the same with the ground.  With all of the upgrades I've been doing, this is a must for me.  Just wire the brown wire to any open power terminal, the blue wire to any open ground terminal, and the black wire to any unused input terminal.  I'm using input 17 for my 3D probe.

3. Now, let's make sure everything is wired correctly.  This procedure uses your XYZ touch block, so we'll confirm that's working as well.  Go to the Setup (F1) screen.

Under Inputs, confirm which input is set to Probe.  This should be where your XYZ touch block is connected, and it's probably on input 12 if you have a stock configuration.  To confirm it's working, touch your magnet to the XYZ touch block and confirm that the green Low changes to a red High when you touch them together.  If not, stop and fix that now.

4. Connect the magnetic cable to the 3D touch probe and its white LED should light up.  Now, watch the input you wired up to your 3D touch probe.   It should be a green Low.  Gently nudge the tip of the probe off center, and watch the input you used change from green Low to red High.  At the same time, the white LED on the probe should change to blue.  If so, it's wired correctly.

5. First, go to Jogging & Probing and set your Probe Diameter, X Offset, Y Offset, and Z Offset.  The probe diameter is the diameter of the tip of your 3D probe. Mine measured 2.03mm.  Set all of the offsets to 0, as there will be nothing between the probe's tip and the stock when you're zeroing.  When done, click Save and Exit Probing.

6. Now go to the Program & MDI screen and click the MDI CTLR+M button.  Now, load a standard end mill by entering tXm6, and hitting Run.  Any end mill will do.  I'm loading tool 5 with t5m6.  The machine should measure the tool against your tool setter.  We need that as a relative measurement to base the 3D probe's length off of.

7. Now place your touch block under the spindle and connect the magnet to the end mill as you would normally have done.

8. Jog down so that tool is ~10mm from the touch block.  Go to the Jogging & Probing screen, and zero the Z.

9. Go to the Setup screen.  In the left-hand column, select the Touch Probe button.  Enter your probe's tool number and click Save.   I use 1 for my 3D Probe.

10. Double Tap your touch block's input and set it to Not Used.

11. Double Tap the input you wired your 3D touch probe to and set it to Probe.

12. Go back to the MDI screen and change to the probe.  I'm using t1m6, since probe is tool 1.  When you load the probe into the collet, don't use the wrenches.  You'll notice that the magnetic cable will stick to the collet and the probe will stick to the cable.  You can finger tighten, but don't tighten any more than that.  It's critical that the probe is always mounted in the exact same position.

13. One done, and you press cycle-start after a tool change as normal, the Masso will present a message informing you that you're using a probe, implying that it won't be measured against the tool setter.

14. Go to the Setup screen.  Double-tap Auto Tool Zero.  Uncheck "Enable auto tool zero" and click Save.

15. Go to the Tools & Offset screen and select the probe.  Set the tool length to 0 and click Save.

16. Put the touch block back in place under the loaded probe.  We will now measure the probe against the touch block.  This time, the 3D probe is the probe and the touch block is just a reference surface.  Jog your Z down one click at a time, until it turns blue.  Go no further or you risk damaging the probe.

17. Look at the Masso screen and note the Z machine location.  In my case it's -107.4mm.

18. Now jog the Z up about 5mm to relieve the probe and prep for a precise measurement.

19. Back on the MDI screen, run a manual probing cycle.  For the Z value, use a value .1mm less than. your value you found in step 18 and use 100mm for speed.  Be sure your units are set to mm in the General Settings screen or 100 inches will be WAY to fast for probing.  In my case, I enter: g38.2 Z-107.5 f100, and click Run.

20.  The probe will be moved down just until it detects the touch block and stop.  At that point, look back at the Masso screen and record the DRO Z value.  In my case, it's -124.025mm.

21. Go to Tools & Offsets and enter the negative of that value as the length of your probe.   The Masso documentation says to enter the negative of this value as the probe length.  I'm not sure if they mean to enter that seen value multiplied by negative one, or as in my case, just enter the value, which is negative.  In either case, we'll test to confirm it's right, but remember this in case you run into an issue.

22. Jog the probe up a little bit.  Go back to the MDI screen and select the g38.2 probing command you previously entered and press Run.  The probe should jog back down and stop on the touch block. When it does, the DRO Z should read 0.  If not, you have a problem.  Stop and figure that out now.  If it's twice the value you recorded in step 20, you probably have the sign inverted.  

23. Now go back to the Setup screen.  Select Auto Tool Zero and check the Enable auto tool zero box, and click Save.

24. Now we will test our installation.  Go to the MDI screen and load a different tool.  I'm using tool 6, with t6m6.  

25. After the tool measures off agains the tool setter, jog it down until it's very very close to the touch block.  Once you've done that, look at the Masso and not the DRO Z location.  It should be positive, and just over 0, matching the distance of your tool over the touch block.  This test serves as a quick visual confirmation that our installation is correct.   

That's it!   You've installed your 3D probe.



Links: DIG3D.LP.M Probe:

Masso Documentation:

Ferrule Kit:

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