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Standard Axes Locations

The following are general guidelines that determine the location of coordinate axes on any given CNC machine:
The Z-axis is always parallel to the spindle of the machine.
The X- and Y-axes are always perpendicular to the spindle of the machine.
The X-axis normally describes the longer direction of travel on the machine, and the Y-axis describes the shorter direction of travel.
Keep in mind that the spindle is different for the machining and turning center. On the machining center, the spindle is the device that holds the rotating cutting tool, as shown in Figure 1. On the turning center, the spindle holds the rotating workpiece, as shown in Figure 2. The important thing to remember is that the spindle involves rotational movement. In the next few lessons, you will learn how these guidelines apply to each particular machine.
The spindle holds a cutting tool on a machining center.


The spindle holds a workpiece on the turning center

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