At the moment I am wrestling cords and manually switching the routers on and off. But I have a plan for automatic turning on and off, and I’ve tested it once or twice. It’s just not yet ready for everyday use.
I mentioned in the other thread my desire to get six-pin electrical connection working. I have almost finished a group of six “pogo pins” (not actually pogo pins but the same concept of spring-loaded pins) on the tool mount, and I ordered some simple PCBs to connect on the tool side. These custom PCBs are so cheap it’s staggering.
I actually had it working but it was using a 3-D printed spring which I found was quickly losing its springiness, leading to intermittent connections. This part needs a redesign, so until then I am without automatic on/off of the router and also without probing.
The way it works is this: the extruder “E0” pins for Step, Dir, and Enable are wired to the tool mount. Then the +5 and Enable pins are connected to a solid state relay. This is the small tan wire that snakes along each power cord. Enable is active low, so when Marlin tries to turn the extruder stepper on or off, there is voltage or no voltage between +5 and Enable. If you look closely in the first video, you can see that the power switch also has a solid state relay. These are wired in parallel, so the tool can turn on from the physical switch or the solid state relay. To turn on the enable pin, I used “G92 E0” and “G1 E1” to force an extruder movement to enable what would be the extruder stepper driver. Then to turn off the tool is “M84 E”. As I said, I had this working but right now I am needing to repair the pogo pins.
As for wrestling cords, the power cords do not have much room and during tool change I feel like I need to hold them to make sure they don’t get caught or pinched. This puts a damper on the “automatic” tool change and I don’t yet have a good solution in mind. I might move the parking fixtures so they are not so cramped, but this eats up working space. I am also considering drag chains to keep the cords within limited areas.