Benefits of Scanning Touch Probes for Setups
Touch-trigger probes are commonly used to speed and simplify setups for new jobs, but scanning touch probes are valuable for these duties, too.
I’ve written a number of articles about on-machine probing as have other Modern Machine Shop editors. (You can find these articles in our Inspection and Measurement Zone.) These probes for machine tools generally come in two flavors—touch-trigger and scanning. The most common use for touch-trigger probes, which take data points one touch of a part at a time, is to use them during setups to automatically determine the position of a part fixtured on a machine and then update the coordinate system to match the part location. What I hadn’t considered is how scanning probes, which scan a part surface to take many data points and are typically used for on-machine inspection routines, can further reduce setup times compared to touch-trigger probes. Learn more here.
The irregularity of a machined surface is the result of the machining process, including the choice of tool; feed and speed of the tool; machine geometry; and environmental conditions. This irregularity consists of high and low spots machined into a surface by the tool bit or a grinding wheel.
Measuring workpiece dimensions is relatively simple for machine operators but measuring workpiece geometry which involves more complex comparisons of part shape to an ideal shape--is now also practical on the shop floor. The gaging equipment for doing this is coming down in price while becoming easier to use.
A laser scanning system helps this shop capture the free-form surfaces on a hand-sculpted original. The resulting digitized models are the basis for CAM applications such as programming a CNC machining center.