CAD mock up of R8 Spindle and QTC tooling

Drawbar tension for R8 and MT3 collets to work safely with QTC tooling?

We have been asked on a number of occasions, and seen in a number of forums, the question of “How much tension should I put on my drawbar when I use  Emvio (or Tormach) repeatable Z tooling?” This question is a very common for those looking to make a pneumatically actuated drawbar using Belville washers. So what do you need to know about Drawbar Tension?


Quick change and repeatable Z tooling for MT3 and R8 spindles?

Industrial and hobby machinists alike all have the same pet hate when it comes to changing tools whether using a Bridgeport knee mill or a bench top CNC mill:

“It takes too long!”

Lets explore this topic and how will help small and large workshops alike become more efficient.


Smoothstepper series: Lets send some pulses

Welcome to the third instalment of the Smoothstepper series of posts. In this post we discuss what you need to do to make the computer communicate with the Smoothstepper over Ethernet.

When you connect you Smoothstepper to you computer you will need to make a very important decision: Which IP range do you want to use?

This decision will be influenced on whether you want the computer you have running the CNC machine to easily access you home network. In home networks we usually expect the router to do all the work assigning the IP addresses to each computer using the DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol). For those not familiar with the term IP address, it is the numeric address assigned to a node on a network. Home networks will usually use the form where xxx is a number from 0 to 254. Do be aware that some routers will issue addresses

For a SmoothStepper to be able to talk to your computer you need to have the IP address of the Smoothstepper and the PC on the same range. This means that they need to have an IP address that only differs in the last of the 3 sets to digits. We have set ours as for the Smoothstepper and our computer as

From the factory, every Smoothstepper is programmed with an IP address of which means that you would need to set your computer to have an IP for example This is easy enough however should you wish to plug an ethernet cable into the PC, it may not communicate with the home router.

I will let the Andy over a do most of the talking. The next two videos show two different methods which can be used to set up your Smoothstepper. Most people that have a computer dedicated to the CNC machine will be covered by following the first video. More advanced users should follow the second.