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What Is Computer Numerical Control?

Whether you are directly involved in manufacturing or in a roundabout way, you have likely heard the term “CNC machining” used in various settings. Once an obscure label for a few high-tech machine tools, CNC systems have hit the mainstream, and CNC technology has been attached to nearly every machining operation.

Suppose you have ever wondered what CNC stands for. In that case, this article satisfies your curiosity. It gives you a better understanding of how advancements in machining technology are changing the landscape of manufacturing and other sectors of our economy.

Read on!

What is CNC Machining?

CNC (computer numerical control) machining is a manufacturing process utilizing a computer to guide the movements of various industrial machines. Although milling machines and lathes are the most recognizable CNC machines, that is only the tip of the iceberg today since practically any machine tool you can think of is now a candidate for a CNC control system.

Being an adaptable and cost-effective manufacturing process, CNC machining is compatible with a considerable array of materials and across various industries for numerous applications. Manufacturers use CNC machining for direct and indirect manufacturing processes or in combination with other techniques, making it an ideal method for rapid prototyping.

Although the advantages of using CNC machining appear in many industries, the healthcare sector stands out as an exceptional example of one that has seen the benefits of CNC up close as medically safe materials and advanced processes have come together to produce applications in the medical industry.

The close tolerances and complex shapes afforded by CNC machining mean that medical parts, including orthotics, implants, surgical instruments, and electronic enclosures, are more available for surgeons and other health care providers.

Remember that CNC machining operations work at removing material, known as a subtractive process. On the other hand, 3D printing is an additive or formative process that produces a physical part from a three-dimensional digital model by laying down thin layers of a material in succession.

How the CNC Machining Process Works

Unlike manual machines requiring a machinist or operator to manipulate controls for the machine’s movements, CNC machines in 2023 are fully automated, needing only digital files to provide the machine tool with instructions about cutting directions, feed rates, spindle speeds, and cutting tool selection.

The machining processes might require several tools to produce a specific part, so machinists create a digital cutting-tool library, allowing the machine to change tooling based on the instructions in the program automatically.

The CNC machining process begins with designing the parts in computer-aided design (CAD) software. The 3D model contains the necessary dimensions and properties of the final part, and the formatted CAD design file runs through a program, typically computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software, to extract the part geometry and generate the digital programming code, typically in G-code and M-code.

The CNC program, a set of coordinates that guides the cutting head, is now ready to machine the part. Some programs come in CAD/CAM packages, so when CAD models are fed into CAM software from the same product family, no translation of files is required. Otherwise, the CAD files must be imported.

What Are The Advantages of CNC Machining?

Although CNC machining is most often a metal machining operation, it can provide many of the same advantages in woodworking. Using the best CNC machine for your applications will result in a host of benefits for your business. Here are a few of them:

  • Less dependence on human labor and fewer mistakes: A skilled programmer and CNC machinist for setting up the machine might be required to get started. After that, software programs and G-codes control the machining process without human intervention or errors. This advantage looms large with today’s issues of worker shortages.
  • A high degree of precision: A significant benefit of CNC machining is precision, especially when compared with manual machines. Creating parts that meet precise specifications and close tolerances is possible without constant attention from a skilled machinist.
  • Repeatability: Nothing changes throughout the production process, regardless of the number of cycles, resulting in a consistent product.
  • High-speed machining: CNC machines operate at the fastest speeds and feed rates, resulting in lower cycle times, less wasted material, and increased efficiency.
  • Producing complex parts: The CNC machining process can create practically any designed part without adjusting the workpiece or depending on secondary operations.
  • Scalability: CNC machines are ideal for production runs, but they are also scalable. You can program them to produce a single item or thousands, enabling manufacturers to use their resources and finances more efficiently.
  • Improved safety: Operators interact with a CNC machine when entering a code or performing maintenance work. Other than that, the process is entirely automated, meaning machinists are not involved in a hands-on technique that requires them to be close to the cutting tool as with a manual machine.
  • Lower costs: It might sound strange to see lower costs associated with CNC machines. After all, the initial price of a CNC machine is higher than that of a traditional manual machine. However, the lower operational costs more than compensate for the difference in price with fewer costly mistakes, higher output rates, and lower day-to-day production costs.
  • Less operator training: Manual milling machines and lathes require highly-skilled machinists with years of schooling and hands-on training. Although some operator training for CNC machine tools will be needed, it won’t be nearly as detailed or time-consuming as a manual machinist’s education.

What is a CNC Machine? (8 Different Types)

1. CNC Milling Machines

CNC mills are popular CNC machines, mainly for their versatility. They can cut slots, mill flat faces, machine complex shapes, bore precise holes, drill, tap, and perform numerous other operations. In its most basic form, the CNC milling machine can move along three axes: X-axis (left to right), Y-axis (front to back), and Z-axis (up and down), while other models have up to six axes, allowing for machining the most complicated parts.

Most CNC milling machines are large and expensive, but there are exceptions. Smaller vertical Bridgeport-type milling machines, reasonably-priced and easier to learn and operate, bring the benefits of CNC machining to small businesses and even hobbyists. Also, a relatively new breed of CNC mills, aptly called “desktop milling machines” and selling for under $9,000, can fit on a workbench or in the corner of the garage, performing many of the same functions as the bigger, more expensive machines.

2. CNC Lathes

CNC lathes spin the workpiece as a cutting tool moves across its surface, creating cylindrical and conical shapes. Typically, CNC lathes have two axes: The X-axis moves perpendicular to the lathe chuck, determining the depth of cut and the diameter of the workpiece, while the Z-axis moves along the length of the workpiece, removing material. Systems with more axes are available, including:

  • Y-axis—Perpendicular to X and Z (Up and down movement)
  • A-axis—Rotation around the X-axis
  • B-axis—Rotation around the Y-axis
  • C-axis—Rotation around the Z-axis

CNC lathes can be programmed for several operations, including machining inside and outside diameters, threading, and boring. And similar to CNC mills, lathes can read G code and proprietary programming languages.

3. CNC Routers

CNC routers have much in common with milling machines but are primarily for woodworking and cutting softer materials like wood, foam, and plastic. Because of these material restrictions, routers run much faster than mills but without the accuracy of milling machines. The primary functions of CNC routers are to cut, engrave, and carve objects out of wood as a more accurate and high-speed substitute for hand-held routers, using router bits instead of end mills and milling cutters to do the job.

4. CNC Plasma Cutters

A plasma cutter work by sending an electric arc through a gas as it passes through a tiny opening. Plasma cutters raise the temperature of the gas with extreme heat, converting it to a fourth state of matter called plasma.

Using a portable plasma torch, it’s possible to cut through steel, aluminum, brass, and copper with little resistance, allowing for clean lines and sturdy construction. However, CNC plasma cutters for large-scale jobs have more features, although they are not portable, requiring a larger power supply. CNC plasma cutters are better when bigger workpieces, complex shapes, or thicker materials are involved.

5. CNC Waterjet Cutting Machine

A CNC water jet uses a high-pressure water stream to slice through various materials. For softer materials, like wood or rubber, the water alone is enough to cut it. Still, mixed with an abrasive substance like garnet or aluminum oxide, it can cut through more challenging materials.

The cutting process typically takes place underwater, with water pressures of 20,000 to 60,000 pounds per square inch (PSI). In other words, a waterjet has up to thirty times more pressure than a power washer, forced through a 0.010” to 0.015” diameter nozzle.

CNC waterjet machines complex shapes in hard metals like stainless and hardened steel resulting in high-precision components, and is an excellent industrial tool for gear cutting, slitting, drilling, profile milling, broaching, and sawing in industries such as mining, automotive, and aerospace.

6. CNC Grinders

A CNC grinder can come in a few different types, with cylindrical, roll, and surface grinders being the most common. All grinders use abrasive wheels to provide a smooth and high-precision finish operation to machined parts from a lathe or milling machine. Hardening of other heat treatments is often performed immediately before grinding.

Various abrasives are available for grinding, including diamond wheels, aluminum oxide, plated or vitrified CBN, and ceramic blend grinding wheels.

7. CNC Electrical Discharge Machines (EDM)

Sometimes referred to as “spark machining,” EDM is a form of precision machining that removes material using thermal energy instead of mechanical force. Electrical sparks of up to 12,000º C. remove material from a workpiece without subjecting it to excessive stresses. Shops turn to EDM when machining processes like CNC milling and turning cannot perform cuts such as sharp internal corners or extremely deep cavities.

There are two distinct types of EDM, die sink and wire, used in specific situations:

Die-sinking involves lowering a reverse-shaped graphite or copper electrode into a workpiece submerged in a dielectric fluid like oil. While submerged, a voltage is induced between the die and the electrically conductive workpiece.

Wire EDM cuts a shape in the workpiece using the exact mechanism of die-sinking, but a very thin wire replaces the electrode. Both methods work well with the most rigid materials.

8. CNC Laser Cutting Machines

CNC laser cutters focus a high-powered laser beam to engrave parts or cut them into custom shapes. The CNC machine has a laser head with a focusing lens and nozzle. The assembly focuses a column of high-intensity light on the workpiece to melt and cut it into various intricate shapes.

CNC laser cutting is a non-contact, thermal-based process to form the desired shape. CNC lasers use compressed gas to cool the focusing lens and expel the vaporized metal from the workpiece.

Common CNC Operations

CNC machine tools make it possible to perform numerous manufacturing operations, but here are the most common ones you will see in the manufacturing world today:

CNC milling will lead any list of machining operations since mills are the most versatile of the CNC machines and are capable of the following:

  • Chamfer milling
  • Profile milling
  • Pocket milling
  • Face milling
  • Grooves and slots
  • Drilling, tapping, and reaming

CNC lathe operations include:

  • Turning
  • Facing
  • Boring
  • Drilling, tapping, and reaming
  • Knurling
  • Chamfering
  • Parting off
  • Grooving
  • Threading 

Other CNC operations include:

  • Precision grinding on flat parts
  • Precision grinding on cylindrical workpieces
  • EDM operations creating mold cavities
  • Engraving
  • Prototyping
  • Non-contact cutting to intricate shapes

This list is incomplete since too many operations are possible with CNC machine tools, and the list grows yearly.

CNC Materials

Practically any machinable material—metal, wood, or plastic—is a candidate for CNC manufacturing, but choosing the best-suited material for the project counts more than anything else. Here are the top five materials typically selected for CNC machining and why they have become popular:

  1. Stainless steel alloys resist wear, distortion, and corrosion but are machinable in all grades, making them popular in many CNC machining projects.
  2. Aluminum alloys have an excellent strength-to-weight ratio, high thermal and electrical conductivity, quick machining, and natural corrosion resistance. Aluminum 7075, the most robust commercially-available aluminum alloy, is used in aerospace frames and high-performance recreational equipment.
  3. Carbon steel 1045 is a mild and less-expensive grade of carbon steel that is easy to machine, weldable, and hardened or heat-treated for hardness or rust and corrosion prevention.
  4. Although titanium is more expensive and not as machinable as other metals, it’s often chosen for CNC projects because of its high strength, toughness, and corrosion resistance. These attributes are essential in aerospace, military, and industrial applications.
  5. Nylon is an all-purpose thermoplastic used as an alternative to metal in CNC-machined parts. It is strong, impact-resistant, and chemical-resistant, making it ideal for electrical molding, fuel system components, food packaging, and gears.

How Companies Use CNC Machining Today

The Medical Field

Medical businesses count on CNC machining to produce high volumes of precision parts to meet their patients’ needs and keep essential components in their inventory. They also need various types of CNC machines with the ability to create customized pieces quickly. Because of the many medical devices available, CNC machining fits well with the medical industry, where CNC parts must be made in FDA-approved environments.

Here are a handful of the medical parts manufactured on CNC equipment:

  • Orthotic devices
  • Implants
  • Medical instruments
  • MRI machine components
  • Research equipment
  • Customized sterile packaging

During the designing stage, the CNC software lets engineers see the part as a three-dimensional object before machining begins. This pre-machining process ensures that the component has the correct dimensions so all the parts fit together as intended.

Oil and Gas Industry

The petrochemical industry cannot work with poorly machined parts and the issues that stem from them. They require precise components produced from CNC machines to prevent piston failures, cylinder breakdowns, or leaking valves.

Because they operate in remote areas, drilling rigs must also have close-tolerance, reliable parts since getting replacements could shut down production for days. All rig parts must work every time and for a long time, and only CNC machining can produce parts consistently without the occasional unpleasant surprise.

Some of the essential parts manufactured on CNC machines and used in the oil and gas industry include:

  • Pistons
  • Cylinders
  • Rods
  • Pins
  • Valves

Aerospace Industry

One of the trademarks of the aerospace industry is its requirement for complex, customized, and accurate components. Aerospace CNC machining must meet incredibly tight tolerances, and CNC machinists must meet these standards while working with some of the most challenging materials, such as titanium and nickel.

The aerospace industry needs various parts for the aircraft and aircraft service equipment, including:

  • Landing gear components
  • Airfoils
  • Manifolds
  • Various bushings
  • Electrical connectors

By employing CNC machining to produce components, the aerospace industry receives the customized parts and the close tolerances required.

Becoming a CNC Machinist

A CNC machinist is a programmer, set-up person, and skilled operator of CNC machinery. It’s a critical position within the modern machine shop, requiring blueprint reading, computer, math, and analytical skills. This person might need to be proficient in working with 5-axis CNC machine tools or managing a group of CNC machines, also known as a “cell,” in a two-person job shop or large corporation.

Although there are multiple paths to becoming a CNC machinist, they all start with a high school diploma or GED. Becoming a certified CNC machinist doesn’t always require a degree, but having accredited skills and training hours typically does. Corporations often prefer an associate degree, and having one usually pays better.

Here are a few paths to consider:

Technical and Community Colleges

These schools often work with a local high school to offer courses on basic manufacturing and then set up an internship with a local manufacturer. Companies prefer to recruit from these local vocational and technical schools since the skills they teach are in demand, and they have established a long and trusting relationship.

High School Programs

In many states, high school students can earn a machining certificate while still in school. This course could earn them credits toward completing an associate degree from a local technical and vocational school or community college. An associate degree program takes two years, and some states even allow you to earn a two-year associate degree during your last two high school years.

CNC Machinist Apprenticeship Programs

Sometimes called “earn and learn” programs, registered apprenticeships pair local businesses with paid students working toward journeyman machinist status. The typical requirements for a two-to-four-year machinist apprenticeship program registered with the U.S. Department of Labor include the following:

  • 2,000 hours of on-the-job learning per year with apprenticeship standards established by the employer
  • 144 hours of education or related training instruction (RTI) per year

Apprenticeships are an excellent avenue for learning through occupational-specific curricula and on-the-job performance standards that teach job skills in your workplace.

No matter which route you take toward a career as a CNC machinist, you will likely find it rewarding, challenging, and lucrative!

About Peter Jacobs

Peter Jacobs is the Senior Director of Marketing at CNC Masters, a leading supplier of CNC mills, milling machines, and CNC lathes. He is actively involved in manufacturing processes and regularly contributes his insights for various blogs in CNC machining, 3D printing, rapid tooling, injection molding, metal casting, and manufacturing in general. You can connect with him on his LinkedIn.

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29. Create a Peck Drilling Program in Circular or Rectangular Patterns
Using the Circular or Rectangular Drilling Wizards, you can program the machine to drill an un-limited series of holes along the X and Y planes. Program it to drill straight through to your total depth, use a high-speed pecking cycle, or deep hole pecking cycle. You can program the cut-in depth and return point for a controlled peck drill application to maximize chip clearance.

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20. Change up to 30 tools with compensation, and store your tool offsets for other programs
The MX supports…

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21. Use the optional ATC rack up to 8 tools for milling, drilling, and rigid tapping applications
The CNC Masters Automatic Tool Changer Rack and Tools (US Patent 9,827,640B2) can be added to any CNC Masters Milling Machine built with the rigid tapping encoder option. The tutorial will guide you through the set-up procedure using the ATC tools.

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22. Use the optional Rigid Tapping Wizard without the need for tapping head attachments
When you order your CNC Masters machine, have it built with the optional rigid tapping encoder. You can take any drill cycle program and replace the top line with a tapping code created by the wizard to tap your series of holes up to 1/2” in diameter.

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23. Use the optional Digital Probe to scan the profile and/or pockets of your fun/hobby type designs to write your tool path program and machine out a duplicate of your original design To “surface” scan an object, you can program the probe along the X or Y plane. The stylus will travel over the part starting on the left side front corner of the object and work its way to the end of the part on the right side. Depending on how the stylus moves, it will record linear and interpolated movements along the X, Y, and Z planes directly on the MX Editor.
To “pocket” scan an object containing a closed pocket such as circles or squares, the scan will start from the top front, work its way inside of the pocket, and scan the entire perimeter of the pocket.
Under the Setup of the MX software you will find the Probe Tab which will allow you to calibrate and program your probe. Your “Probe Step”, “Feed”, and “Data Filter” can also be changed on the fly while the probe is in the middle of scanning your object.

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24. Use work offsets G54-G59 for nesting applications
The work offsets offer you a way to program up to six different machining locations. It’s like having multiple 0.0 locations for different parts. This is very useful especially when using sub-routines/nesting applications.

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25. Create a Rectangular Pocket / Slot with our selection of Wizards to help you build a tool path program
The Cycle Wizards for the mill or lathe makes it easy to create a simple tool path without needing to use a CAD and CAM software.
On this Wizard, the Rectangular Pocket / Slots, can be used to form a deep rectangular pocket into your material or machine a slot duplicating as many passes needed to its total depth.

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26. Create a Circular Pocket Wizard
Input the total diameter, the step down, and total depth and the code will be generated.

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27. Do Thread Milling using a single point cutter Wizard

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28. Cut a gear out using the Cut Gear Wizard with the optional Fourth Axis

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19. Disable the axis motors to manually hand crank each axis into place
Easily de-energize the axis motors by clicking [Disable Motors] to crank each axis by hand, and then press [Reset Control] to re-energize the axis motors.

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30. The MX interface can easily be interchanged from Mill Mode to Lathe Mode
Use this interface for your CNC Masters Lathe. It contains all the same user-friendly features and functions that comes in Mill Mode. Simply go to the Setup page and change the interface.

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31. Use Tool Change Compensation or the optional Auto Tool Changer Turret if your application requires more than one tool in a single program
You can offset the length and angle of each tool and record it under Tools in your Setup. The program will automatically pause the lathe’s movement and spindle allowing you to change out your tool, or allowing the optional ATC Turret to quickly turn to its next tool and continue machining.
On the MX interface, you also have four Tool Position buttons. Select your desired T position, and the auto tool post will quickly turn and lock itself to that position.

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32. Use the Lathe Wizard Threading Cycle to help you program your lathe’s internal or external threads in inches or metric

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33. Use the Lathe Wizard Turning / Boring Cycle to help you program simple turning and boring cycles without having to go through a CAM or writing a long program with multiple passes

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34. Use the Lathe Wizard Peck Drilling Cycle to help you program your drill applications or for face grooving

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35. Facing / Grooving / Part Off Cycle Wizards – with Constant Surface Speed
These cycles can be used with Constant Surface Speed allowing the spindle speed to increase automatically as the diameter of the part decreases giving your application a consistent workpiece finish. With CSS built into the wizard, there is no need to break down the cycle into multiple paths and multiple spindle speed changes.

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36. This is our list of supported G and M codes which can be found under Tools > G Code/ M Code List in the MX
If you plan to use a third-party CAM software to generate your tool path program, use a generic FANUC post processor and edit it to match our list of codes. As an option, we also sell Visual mill/turn CAM software which comes with a guaranteed post processor for our machines to easily generate your tool path programs based on your CAD drawings.

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37. Our pledge to you…

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10. Run each tool path independently to study its movement
1. Run the machine on Trace mode. You can run each tool path independently, one line at a time to study the tool path movement on the machine to verify the position of the application and if any fixture/vise is in the way of the cutter’s path.

2. You can also verify your program by clicking on the Trace and Draw buttons together. This will allow you to view each tool path independently one line at a time in the Draw Window.

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2. Clutter Free Interface
The MX is engineered for the CNC MASTERS machine so you do not have to fiddle with a detailed complicated configuration that can be overwhelming. Just load in the MX and start machining!2. Clutter Free Interface
The MX is engineered for the CNC MASTERS machine so you do not have to fiddle with a detailed complicated configuration that can be overwhelming. Just load in the MX and start machining!

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3. Features Tour and Tutorials Included
The Features Tour will give you a quick run-down on all the features the MX can do for you. The Tutorials are easy to follow even for the first time CNC machinist.
Feel free to download the MX on any of your computers. We recommend downloading the MX along with your CAD and CAM software there at the comfort of your office computer to generate your tool path programs. You don’t need to be hooked up to the machine either to test your program in simulation mode.

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4. Navigate and Edit Your Program through the MX interface with Ease
With a few clicks of the mouse or using touch screen technology, you can easily navigate through the MX interface importing saved programs into the Editor from the File drop down menu. Using standard windows features to edit your program you can then lock the Editor Screen to avoid accidental editing, and if you need to insert a line in the middle of a program, just click on [ReNum] to re-number your tool path list.
You can create a program or import CAM generated G-code tool paths into the Editor
The X Y and Z W arrow jog buttons are displayed from the point of view of the cutter to avoid confusion when the table and saddle are moving. You can also adjust your spindle speed and coolant control while jogging each axis.

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5. Feed Hold – Pause in the Middle of your Program
Feed Hold lets you pause in the middle of a program. From there you can step through your program one line at time while opting to shut the spindle off and then resume your program.
You can also write PAUSE in the middle of your program and jog each axis independently while your program is in pause mode.

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6. Hot Keys
Hot Keys is an alternative method to easily control your machine using your hard or touch screen keyboard. One can press P to pause a program, press S to turn Spindle On, G to run a program, Space Bar to Stop, J to record your individual movements one line at a time to create a program in teach mode.

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7. Pick Menu – for conversational mode programming
Write FANUC style G-codes directly into the Editor or select commands off the [Pick] menu and write your tool path program in conversational mode such as what is written in the Editor box. You can even mix between conversation commands and G-codes in the same program.

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8. Pick Menu List of Options
Use commands such as MOVE, SPINDLE ON/OFF, COOLANT ON/OFF, PAUSE, DELAY, GO HOME…. to write your tool path programs in conversational mode.

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9. Draw the Tool Path to verify it before pressing Go
Hit Draw to view your tool path program drawing, check out its run time, or even simulate the tool path in 3D mode. This can be helpful to quickly verify your program before running it. You can also slow down or speed up the drawing or simulation process.
You can also hit Go within the Draw Window itself to verify the cutter’s position on the machine. The current tool path will be highlighted and simultaneously draw out the next path so you can verify what the cutter will be doing next on the program.

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MX Software – Easy to Use, Easy to Learn – Included with your machine purchase
The MX software is designed to work seamlessly with your CNC Masters machine. It is made to work with Windows PC – desktop, laptop, or an all in one – on standard USB. Use it on Windows 8 or 10 64-bit operating systems.
No internal conversion printer/serial port to USB software or additional conversion hardware is used with the MX.

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11. Counters display in Inches or Millimeters – Continuous Feed
1. When running a program, the counters will display a “real-time” readout while the machine is in CNC operation without counting ahead of the movement.
2. The current tool path is highlighted while the machine is in operation without causing slight interruptions/pauses as the software feeds the tool path to the machine. The MX internally interprets a program ten lines ahead to allow for “continuous machining” avoiding slight interruptions as the machine waits for its next tool path command.
3. “Run Time” tells you how long it takes to run your tool path program.

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12. Use the “Go From Line” command to start in the middle of your program
If you ever need to begin your program from somewhere in the middle of it, use [Go From Line] which you can find under Tools. The Help guide will walk you through how to position the cutter without losing its position on the machine.

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13. Exact Motion Distance without over-stepping on an axis while jogging
Use “Relative ON” to enter a specific coordinate to jog any of your axes to an exact location without having to write a program. It’s like using “power feed” but easier. You can jog an exact distance on any of the axes without needing to keep the key pressed down and mistakenly over-step the movement releasing your finger too slowly off the jog button.
Let’s say you need to drill a hole exactly 0.525” using the Z. So you enter 0.525 in the Z box. Next, adjust the JOG FEED RATE slider for the desired feed rate. Then “click once” on the +Z or -Z button to activate the travel. In this case you click once the -Z button first to drill the hole exactly 0.525”. Then click once on the +Z button to drive the axis back up 0.525”.

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14. Teach Mode – Jog Input
You can create a tool path program by storing each point-to-point movement by simply jogging an axis one at a time. Click on either of the Jog Input buttons to store each movement on the Editor Screen. You can then add Spindle ON, feed commands, and press GO to run the new program as needed. This is a great feature to help you learn to create a program by the movements you make on the machine without necessarily writing out an entire program first.

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15. Override on the fly to adjust the Jog Feed to Rapid or the Spindle Speed during the middle of a program
1. Jog Feed and Rapid with Override: You can adjust feeds using the slider from slow minimum 0.1″ per minute to a rapid of 100″ per minute of travel. You can even micro-step your jog as low as 0.01”/min. The [-][+] buttons allow you to fine tune feeds in 5% increments while the program is in motion.
2. Spindle Speed with Override: You can adjust speeds using the slider from a slow minimum RPM to the max RPM according to the machine setup. The [-][+] buttons allow you to fine tune feeds in 5% increments while the program is in motion.

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16. Adjust Counters using Pre-Set if you cannot begin the program from 0.00
In a situation where you cannot begin your cutter at it’s 0.00 location, you can “Pre-Set” directly into the counters by typing in your beginning coordinate. You can press Go from here to run your program. You can also “zero all” or “zero” your counters independently. With one click of the [Return to 0.0] button, all axes will travel back to its respective 0.0 on the machine.

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17. Set and Save your 0.00 position for future runs
Set and save your 0.00 position on the machine. These coordinates will be recorded as the first line of the program in the Editor Screen. Should you desire to return to this program at a later date, you only have to click on the Set Zero Return button. This will command the machine to automatically jog each axis to its saved “set” 0.00 position according to the recorded coordinates at the first line of the program.

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18. Create a “Home” position to clear your application and run multiple times
Let’s say you need to machine one application times 100 pieces. This usually requires a jig to retain that physical 0.00 position. But in this case, you want the program to end with a clearance of the axes to easily switch out the next piece of stock and start again. With Save Home, you have the ability to save this offset (home) position while still retaining your Set Zero position where the machine will mill your part out. Pressing [Save Home] will record this new position under the Set Zero line in your program.
Pressing [Go Home] will jog your axes back to your “saved home” position where you originally pressed the Save Home command. You can also input GO_HOME from the Pick Menu as its own tool path in your program. At the completion of your program the axes will end at your Home position. Replace your part, then press [Return to 0.0] button to allow the axes to return to its zero position, and press Go to start your next run.

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