There is a tool used in robotics that is essentially just a rod of metal with a sharp point.

It is fastened to the robot not for the purpose of manipulating, stabbing or poking holes, but solely so the user can move the robot to a certain point in space. The tip of the tool provides a sharp reference point, and the user can move the robot until that point is at the desired position.

The German word I heard most often is "Teachspitze" or "Teachdorn", which is a faux-English term meaning "teaching tip" or "teaching thorn".

What is this tool called? Is there a professional term for it?

  • Try "idiot stick". Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 15:49
  • Since this is a technical term in a narrow area, you'd probably have better luck at a robotics site.
    – Mitch
    Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 15:53
  • @JohnLawler For real? "idiot stick" on google gives no results that seem to have any relation to the tool I am looking for, even when used in conjunction with robotics.
    – HugoRune
    Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 15:54
  • 1
    It's a nonce form that's usually slang for a shovel or hoe -- a stick with a tool on one end and an idiot on the other. In this case, the idiot would be the robot. Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 15:55
  • So that's what those things the Daleks had were. Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


For a milling machine it is called an edge finder or edge indicator. You use it to locate (in the milling machines axis) a point on the work piece.

On a coordinate measuring machine they are known as a probe tip or probe indicator

Often they have an electrical detector which senses touching another metal part, or are very delicately sprung so they flip out of the way at the slightest touch of the part.

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