Quick tool change system for MTC spindle

Hi everyone,

I wonder if anyone know a system to make the tool change easier while keeping a MTC spindle. What I want to do is to be able to have different ER32 collets already tightened so when I change them, I don’t have to go through the touch plate procedure to measure tool height, they will already be registered in my tool library.
I can’t afford moving to an ATC right now, plus I’m very happy with my 8.7HP spindle.

I found this : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQSXEi8xL6M
It sounds interesting, but it’s mainly for metal milling and can’t run above 3kRPM. I’m looking for the same kind of idea but 18kRPM.


Check out https://youtu.be/CkufjneQ_fM?si=Wmfdf7vAr2uYA_pi and CNC Tool Holder Tightening Stands-ISO-30 - www.cnc-tool.com Applicable?

You’d likely be better served by either using the MTC software we have built into Mach already: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUXeJywH46I

Or you could even take it a step further and come up with a little lua script to measure your tool every time a G Code file calls for a new tool.

Hi @Christopher,
Thanks for those links. If I get it well, those tool holder are for ISO30, so ATC systems. I’m looking for something for the MTC ER32 spindle.

Hi @Eric,
This is the procedure I use today, but I’m trying to reduce the time it takes to change a tool by removing the need of doing a Z touch.
The main problem is when the 0 point for Z is not the spoilboard. Then I need to place the touchplate, move the spindle, change the bit, move it to the touchplate, …
It would be way easier if the tool height was consistent so I could do the touchplate procedure only once at the begining of the job.
But perhaps I’m looking for something I will only get with an ATC.

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You can automate this a little with some scripts, and mounting a touch plate at a fixed location, but honestly an ATC is the way to go.

Have you seen the CNC Depot plug and play kits for our machines? They are great.


@corbin Has written an excellent screenset for ATC as well.

Yes, I probably made a mistake not going straight to the CNC depot Spindle when I bought my machine. I wanted a kit 100% from Avid and now I’m not sure I will be able to sell my Hiteco 8.7HP to be able to switch to an ATC. But you are right, that’s probably my next step.

There are a lot of people who want to upgrade to larger spindles, or go from routers to spindles, you just might find a buyer.

Also you might be able to use the VFD you have, but I’d check with CNC depot on that.

Although ISO30 is commonly employed to support ATC operations, my understanding is it is not exclusively ATC, also used for manual operation; the linked-to video depicts both manual and ATC tool holders being confronted.

Sure, but my spindle comes with an ER32 collet, not an ISO30. I looked for an ER32 to ISO30 adaptor but I can’t find something like that. It would solve my problem.
Looks like upgrading to an ATC spindle is the only way to go :frowning:

So it sounds like you are ok with the time and effort to swap the tool manually on an ER32 collet, and its just the touchplate operation you want to avoid?

If thats right, then then I would just write a screen function that does the Z height probing with a push of a button to a touch plate in a fixed location on your table. You would have to do one probing up front to get the location of the materials Z height wrt the touchplate, but then all of the subsequent changes’ probings would be fully automatic.

Thanks @jjneeb, I think I’ll start with that and probably move to an ATC early next year.

I’ve used bit collars and set length offsets in the tool table so I could change bits without re-measuring.

If you use the Avid touch plate script to measure your offsets, it does (did?) a thing where it would apply the T1 offset before retracting, which could lead to a negative retract and damage your touch plate. The recommendation was to leave your T1 tool length offset at zero.

That should be resolved in the latest version. Double check to be sure.

Eh, that’s actually pretty smart. Very non expensive solution and it will solve my immediate issue. Thanks

I am in a similar position. I ended up using a tool height setter like this one:

I still have to do the physical changing of the bit, but I can push a button and the machine handles the zeroing by itself. (This is easier since I typically zero to the spoilboard. There would be an offset to adjust per setup otherwise.)

It isn’t as good as an ATC spindle, but at < $100 it sure is cheaper. :slight_smile:

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I’ve fooled around with a few of those tool setters and they are actually pretty accurate, especially for the price.

The problem with manual tool changes and ER spindles is that it takes 3 hands to do it; one for each wrench and one to hold the tool bit so it doesn’t fall out.

Since we don’t have an air powered draw bar and quick change holders, it takes some creativity.

I just recently picked up one of these to play with:

It’s an ER16 collet holder with a 3/4" shank. What’s nice is that it’s short enough to not add much length to the spindle, and it has a threaded hole through the shank. This means you could put a set screw in it so that it bottoms out in the mill spindle to give you repeatable length positioning. I’m thinking that you could also put a strong magnet on the end of that screw or in the mill spindle itself to hold the holder in place while fiddling with the wrenches.

You could also do it the other way around and put a stop screw and magnet in the ER16 holder itself, and have the tool bits stop against that screw/magnet. This is trickier though because some bits may not be long enough to extend through the bottom of the ER16 collet enough to make contact with a stop screw/magnet.

So far I’ve just been using the holder as is without any magnets. This by itself helps because the wrenches are smaller and the tightening torques lower, making the juggling act easier. I need to try the magnet thing soon.

Stop collars on the bits themselves is a good idea too. Although it may not be as repeatable because the stop is against the collet face. This is not great because the collet will pull itself in as it’s tightened. And the effect varies depending on how close a fit the collet ID is to the bit. The closer the fit the better.

After seeing how much interest there is in quick/automatic change tooling, I’m surprised Avid doesn’t also offer the Hiteco spindles with CAT holders and pneumatic draw bars. They do exist, but the pricing might be pretty steep.



Hi @kb9ydn ,
Actually that’s a good one too. I’ll give it a try. Thank you for all those explanations.

They don’t have to. CNC Depot offers drop-in kits.