CNC Coordinates

CNC Coordinates
The Cartesian coordinate system is the fundamental system used to describe the motion of the tool and workpiece within a three-dimensional space. CNC machines use numbers to locate a particular point along the X-, Y-, and Z-axes. They perform a series of instructions, one after another, to machine the workpiece and create incredibly accurate dimensions.
                             CNC machines use either incremental or absolute coordinates to move from one location to the next. With incremental coordinates, the current position acts as the origin for the next position. With absolute coordinates, the origin stays in a fixed location, and each new location is calculated from that fixed position. Most CNC machines can move along multiple axes at once to perform contour operations.
                             The axes on any CNC machine are determined by set standards. The Z-axis is always parallel to the machine spindle. On a machining center, the spindle holds the cutting tool. On a turning center, the spindle holds the rotating workpiece. Nowadays, CNC machines can create complex shapes such as circles, curves, and cones.

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CNC Coordinates
The Axes and Origin
Positive and Negative Directions
Coordinates in Blueprints
Incremental Coordinates
Rotational Axes
Absolute Coordinates
Coordinate Standards for Machines
Standard Axes Locations
Coordinates for the Vertical Milling Machine
Coordinates for the Horizontal Milling Machine
Coordinates for the Turning Center
Machine Zero and Program Zero


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