Has anyone used a surface probe with Mach 4

I watched a video by this old Tony, and was very interested when he used a surface pro on Mach 4 to map the surface of a piece of material and then carved on it using machine coordinates to show a variable see depth without creating a 3-D profile. It doesn’t make sense until you watch the video. If anyone has any knowledge of using the surface pro, I’d be interested to hear what you have to say. Thanks.

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Its really required for using a ATC effectively.

TOT leaves out a lot detail and is merely entertainment for those “who don’t.”

I assume you are talking about surface mapping for doing engraving or accounting for changes in the spoilboard over time. That is a Lua script and a plugin for Mach4.

Some gotchas if you use the electronics package from AvidCNC;

There is a difference in how Newfangled perceives probing and how Warp9 perceives it and they conflict. You will need to disable ESS/Probing_Failure_Disables_Mach to use the Newfangled functions and then re-enable it for AvidCNC functions like stock probing, etc. Bad things happen when you forget it in either state and use the other’s functions. That said, if you leave it disabled and you use AvidCNC functions you will risk breaking things. The other way around it fails in a safe manor.

Next thing is specific to AvdCNC. If you use the touch-off plate from AvidCNC their settings are “NO” or normally open. Most probes are “NC” normally closed for a reason. If the probe fails it will fail open and thus not break your machine. You can get some the other way around but I personally would not use them. Probes tend to fail often because the whole purpose is to bump into things. Eventually they wear out or you bump a little hard and it won’t work next time around. When probing in series you can have a catastrophic failure and break your machine. Tread carefully with NO probes.

If you built your own electronics, use a different port than your touch plate. If you are using the ESS the part about the core operation will still effect you as that is a difference between Newfangled and Warp9 and AvidCNC is caught in the middle.


Do you have link to the video?

He might also be talking about 3D digitization.

To which I say get out your phone, the resolution is 1000x higher and takes about 5 minutes instead of hours and hours for low res output.

Yeah, I figured TOT was a lot of entertainment. He does miss a lot of stuff, but is a very fun channel to watch. AnyWho the question I asked was very well answered by you, and in retrospect, I do not have the talent northern knowledge to do something of this nature, so I will stick to vcarve And doing things the hard way lol thank you for your input and I’ll try to link up the video from Tony when I get back to the house

Noooooo! :pleading_face:

Take a deep breath! You will get there. When we all see the mountain for the first time we think, “ooh, now that is steep!”

But when you get to the top, it’s nowhere near as hard as it looked from the bottom. You are asking the right questions. You know where to get the info when you are ready.

TOT is great entertainment. Always has been. All of those guys in YouTube are fun to watch like Colin Furze and Peter Shripol (might be misspelling their names).

But you need to branch out to like CNCNutz, NYCNC and the king of CNC porn is none other than “The Titans of CNC.”

You have to watch that stuff even if you think you can’t do it or you don’t have the equipment or the knowledge!

The reason is this is ALL training by seeing and hearing. Ol Titan and his crazy machines will teach you jargon and end mill tech. NYCNC drive me nuts but he is also talking tech and educating but at a more entry level. CNCNutz is really low end DIY stuff. They all have been around forever and nowhere near as entertaining as ToT but it will push you to learn quicker.

Keep the attitude that you have started a journey. You have no idea where it will take you. I promise you if you stick with it in 2 years all this will be easy AND you will be programming in Lua as well as g-code like a master!

If it was as hard as you think it is, none of us would be here.

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Thanks for your reply and your kind words. It’s funny you mention those names because I do in fact follow them I’ve been messing around with Cnc since Covid it’s not that long, but I’ve learned a lot. I mostly watch those guys like you said to see different techniques and challenges that they overcome and I try to full that into my workflow I self deprecate quite a bit, but in the end, I know my skill level and it’s only going to go up as I learn and it’s on me to learn, thanks again for your reply


I really need to get you on a video chat to go over this, I need to add some 3d probing to my setup! I will make a not very entertaining but very educational video! :laughing:

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Yep! I can make some time.

I am doing a bunch of UI stuff and probing routines right now so I am hip deep in it as we speak.

I will probably start a GitHub project for this. I have no idea how much longer I can stomach Mach4 so keeping this in GitHub is the best option.

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Awesome man I would really appreciate it!

I stumbled down a rabbit hole of Masso G3 controller videos yesterday, that is one sexy looking controller!

Only because Mach 4… is, well “Newfangled.”

But there are many options!

You can find many examples of people (including myself) driving a CNC using just a Raspberry PI and a touchscreen with one of these; 7I76E picture

So, same thing as Masso or Centroid but 1/10th the cost if you go all out and buy the crazy best of everything. Some assembly required :rofl:

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Yes I am trying to not go down the rabbit hole of working on things I want to do work for me and stay firmly in the “make parts” realm for now but it is hard! :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

The way I see it is if I start futzing with that dern Mach4 my machine will never produce anymore product. At this point, I say to myself, “this is a turn-key system AvdiCNC made and I will stick as close to the AvidCNC way so they can provide support.”

We have some folks on this forum who just can’t accept defeat but I have learned that there is “perfection” and there is “good enough.” When you are poor, “good enough” and quit picking at the scab. Walk away…

However, my next machine will be LinuxCNC based and I will never stray again :rofl: