Tools Changes: Forgetting to Z

Hi All,

This is a dumb one, but it’s a real problem for me. I’m forgetting to z zero during tool changes… and breaking tools becasue of it.

Is there a way to make Mach 4 require a z zero operation before enabling the “resume gcode” button.

Any other ideas? I was thinking of a sticker on the spindle or on my monitor or something. But it would be nice if I could just force the operation in the software.

The tool is suppose to have its offset computed. Newfangled has this documented in their tool table topic.

So you aren’t forgetting anything. You are not setting up your offsets in the tool table.

For every;

T99 M6

You will then do a;

G43 H99

This is the command to read from the tool table the offset and apply it.

Also, if you don’t have an ATC don’t do multi-tool cuts.

It does nothing for you except complicate what should be a simple process.

One tool per file. Do your Z every file.


This… What Subnoize said. Although I still break a tool now and then even this way. ADHD is a nuisance. :rofl:

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Us pilots are notoriously ADHD which is why we use checklists.

And remember; if you follow the checklist and it still goes sideways and you survive it? You get to add the new thing to the list :rofl:

Checklists have a survivorship bias…


Good point. I drove a twin commanche for several years and I have a little experience with sideways. I’m still here to talk about it. Really hadn’t occured to me how a checklist for a tool change, or program change, could give my adhd a run for its money. Not to mention saving me a few bucks on expensive bits. Gonna get on that.


I used to have a version of Mach where I had a fixed too touch off plate, and modified tool change script that would prompt you to change a tool every time a different tool was called. After you changed the tool it would re-measure the tool from the touch off and keep on cutting.

It was called the “meat tool changer”

It did require some custom scripting, and a re-think of how our version of Mach measures tools, but it did work.

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Oh interesting! That’s probably the path I need to go down.

Maybe I’ll reach out to Mach and see if they’ll take mercy and help with the custom script.

Checklist is pretty high on my list too. But I’m a big fan of implementing things that “force” doing it right whenever possible.

It’s interesting to see the “don’t use tool changes” thought that some have. I personally really enjoy the tool change feature in Mach with my avid machine. And I’d end up with like 9 files if I went the 1 file per bit route. So I’ll stick with trying to figure out getting the tool change workflow perfect.

Newfangled will simply point you to their forum for liability reasons.

That’s because you have a long journey ahead of you.

I would rather see you having fun and learning than breaking things. One day you will move up to a ATC and then you will look back to the days when your machine was so wonderfully uncomplicated.


To clarify, it’s more like “don’'t use automatic tool changes without automatic tool measuring”. You can do:

  • manual tool change with manual Z=0 measuring (i.e. one gcode file per tool)

  • manual tool change with automatic tool length or Z=0 measuring (if your machine supports “wait for manual tool change”)

  • automatic tool change with automatic tool length measuring

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