2000 Emco 365MC w/ Siemens 840D many questions

I have a model year 2000 Emco 365MC with a Siemens 840D controller. The machine has a sub-spindle, Y-axis, and live tooling on a 12 position turret (above/behind the spindle). I have retrofitted and used machines with Linuxcnc (and a tiny bit of Mach 3 on an older Fadal) but this is my first experience with a commercial controller. So not much baggage to bring along to my Siemens learning curve.

I have been spending some quality time with the machine and the Emco and Siemens manuals that I have. The manuals are mostly reference manuals, not a lot of practical use information or “how to” in them. It is slow going but I am patient and making progress. I am now mostly familiar with navigating the control, I am able to load programs from a pc or enter in commands in MDA(aka MDI). But, needless to say, I have many questions.

I have quite a few tool holders on the turret, but at the moment only have one actual cutting tool to play with. I need to order tooling. The tool I do have is a 55-degree DCMT insert type in a holder facing backwards so it can do profiles on the main spindle. I think this is considered a right-hand tool as on an old school lathe the tool cutting face would be on the left side and it would cut moving right to left. However since the turret is above and behind the spindle it is flipped over. I have holders that can accommodate either left or right handed orientation of tooling for either spindle. I will have to be careful that spindle direction is correct for any given tool.

Anyway, to my first question…setting up tool length offsets. The machine’s tool reference point is in the dead center of the turret of a given tool position. How does one determine the offset in Z from tool tip to reference point? I have seen examples of first touching off the tool tip and then the face of the turret to the end of a workpiece to measure the offset, but that doesn’t help because a) my reference point isn’t on the turret face and b) I can’t get the turret down far enough in X to touch the face even if I wanted to. The X travel interferes with the sub-spindle before the turret gets down far enough.

In the Emco manual they say they have tools available for easy tool referencing. Anyone know what these are or look like? I see there are instructions to “scratch” a workpiece to determine lengths but don’t I first need to enter the tip and reference point offset before doing that?

Also, I was playing around with trying to do some measuring by pinching a piece of paper between the tool and workpiece. However, I need three hands to do this! When the door is open, and I have the key in special mode, I still have to hold the consent key in order to jog the machine. I can’t hold consent key, and the jog buttons, and hold the paper too… Am I missing something about operation with the door open? How is one supposed to do that?

Tom