CNC machine programming
What is CNC programming and programming language?
CNC programming (Computer Numerical Control Programming) is the art of programming CNC machines for the production of parts and various elements. The basic language that allows programming of CNC machines is the so-called G-code. It is the colloquial name of the most commonly used computer numerical control (CNC) programming language, which is used to program any machine tool, plotter, machining center, as well as a 3D printer.
Other languages are also used to program CNC machines, such as Heidenhain, Osai, Fanuc, Sinumerik. CAM programs will generate g-code from the CAD drawing, but the end result is still G-code.
Methods of programming CNC machines
CNC machines are programmed in one of three methods:
1. Conversational programming
Learning conversational programming is the beginning. The program is created on the CNC machine using graphical functions and menus. For a programmer, his mastery is comparable to the productivity of an operator-mechanic on a manual machine.
2. CAM software
Good handling of CAM software enables you to create parts that simply cannot be made by hand or would take too long to produce.
3. G-Code programming
G-codes are also referred to as preparation codes. In general, this is code that tells the machine what type of action to perform, such as:
- Fast movement (transport the tool between cuts as quickly as possible)
- Controlled feed in a straight line or arc
- A series of controlled feed motions that would result in drilling a hole, cutting a workpiece to a specified dimension, or adding a profile (contour) shape to the edge of the workpiece
- Setting tool information such as offset
- Switching of coordinate systems
FANUM CNC software
Programming of Numerically Controlled Machines
FANUM CNC machines work with any CAM system on the market, eg SolidCAM, NX, AlphaCam, EdgeCAM, V-Carve, Cobus, Hypermill, Catia, Delcam, TopSolid, PowerMill.
G-code can be created in several ways:
- handwritten in text editors on a computer, then dumped into the machine's memory
- written directly on the machine's desktop
- generated with a CAM type program.
G-code is universal for all machines, which is associated with greater security of keeping the production date. If one of the machines with control, eg Fanuc or Sinumerik, fails and the program is written in G-code, we can transfer it to a machine of another manufacturer (Heidenhain or Osai). The second machine will make the exact same detail. That is why it is worth writing machining programs in G-code if we have machines from different manufacturers in our plant. It is also worth mentioning that all CNC machines, with Heidenhain or Osai control, support programs written in G-codes.
G-code programming - advantages:
- simple parts can be easier with a G code than with a CAM, e.g. making a rectangular cover with 4 holes.
- get a second opinion on CAM code.
Even expensive CAM software can have bugs. Or, if they're not exactly bugs in CAM, they could be postprocessor issues. With a little knowledge of G-Code and the help of the simulator, you can get a second opinion on the CAM-generated G-code and fix minor bugs before having to discover them on the machine.
- Specialized or subsequent tasks that complement CAM.
CAM programs, while great, don't do everything. There are many specialized tasks that are difficult or impossible to accomplish with CAM.
It is often beneficial to use several methods simultaneously. Even when a CAM system is used, there are times when the CNC program (at the G code level) needs to be changed in order to correct errors during program verification. For example, you can create an initial CNC program using CAM software and then edit the g-code from CAM software using G-Code programming so that the program can produce the part faster. A skilled g-code programmer can deal with macros, and this is the last rung of the ladder. This may come as a surprise to most CAM users, but a g-code programmer can do many things that are simply not possible from a CAM system.
Polish CNC machine tools