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Description[edit | edit source]

The Renishaw head is an electronic auto-detecting head for the Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM). It is an add-on for the CMM which increases utility and simplifies operation (especially for a single operator).

Principle Uses[edit | edit source]

  • Simplifies CMM operation
  • Easy reorientation and angling
  • Selection of small probe-tips

Principles of operation[edit | edit source]

The Renishaw uses electronics to immediately detect tiny deflections of the probe (upon contact with a solid surface). It passes this detection to the CMM and records a hit. This eliminates the need for the operator to manually press the record/measure button.

Tutorial[edit | edit source]

Image Step


The Renishaw tip is stored in the IEW office (GJ 113) locked tool-chest. Contact an IEW member and/or shop supervisor for access.



Insert Renishaw head-shank into Z-axis and lock in place firmly against the bottom of the Z-axis rail and attach Din cables.

Note: The machine should have been homed in the X, Y, and Z axes prior to performing this step. CAUTION: Failure to lock shank and adjust counterbalance can result in falling head and equipment damage


Select and attach probe:

Select and attach (screw in) the desired detector and probe tip.


Enable auto-probe:

Press the auto-probe button on the controls

Note: The probe auto detect can be deactivated when navigating tight spaces to avoid accidental detection.


Angle Adjustment:

Loosen knob to choose direction and angle then re-tighten.



Calibrate and use normally according to CMM use instructions

Note: The probe requires re-calibration after any direction/angle change, but part alignments should stay constant.



When not needed: unplug and store Renishaw head in storage box.

Once complete: Return box to the IEW toolbox.

Note: The Renishaw head is heavy compared to standard probes; its removal may cause the counterbalance to lift the Z-axis.

Renishaw tips/reminders[edit | edit source]

  • Tip can rotate and change angle
    • Needs to be recalibrated each time
  • Don’t hold the head while moving
  • Deactivate auto-detect if moving quickly moving into a tight space
  • Basic head better for determining center of small holes
  • Always verify direction of measurement (inside/outside radius)
  • SLOWLY approach surfaces