Glossary of Terms
  • 2-axis: A 2 axis CNC machining system has the ability to modify objects on a plane. This plane has only two coordinate systems, the x and the y axis. Objects can be moved on a plane. If the plane is upright then an object can be modified top to bottom and left and right or forward and backward.
  • 3-axis: On a 3 axis CNC machine, an object can be modified in space. It can be modified, left and right, top to bottom, and forward and back.
  • A-axis: A rotational axis describing motion around the X-axis.
  • AC servo: A type of servomechanism that is more reliable and less energy consuming than the DC servo.
  • ASCII: American Standard Code for Information Interchange. It is a standard for information exchange.
  • Axes: An imaginary line that passes through the center of an object. Axes are used to measure the distances of objects in the Cartesian coordinate system.
  • Ballscrew: A long, threaded device that rotates to move the worktable of a CNC machine. The ballscrew is powered by a motor.
  • B-axis: A rotational axis describing motion around the Y-axis.
  • Canned Cycle: A predetermined machining sequence used to simplify programming.
  • Cartesian Coordinate System: The numerical system that describes the location of an object by numerically expressing its distance from a fixed position along three linear axes.
  • C-axis: A rotational axis describing motion around the Z-axis.
  • Closed-loop System: A control system that provides feedback to the controller.
  • CNC lathe: A lathe that is controlled by a computer running programs driven by numerical data.
  • CNC milling machine: A milling machine that is controlled by a computer running programs driven by numerical data.
  • Computer Numerical Control: The use of a computer with numerical instructions and program codes to carry out various machining operations.
  • Continuous Path:A type of control system where cutting can take place as the tool moves from one position to the next.
  • Contouring: tool movement along two or more axes at the same time.
  • Control System: A method of tool and part movement in CNC machining. Point-to-point and continuous path are the two main control systems.
  • Cutting Tool: A device made of hard, tough material that is used to remove metal by creating chips.
  • DC servo: A common type of servomechanism.
  • Drill: A machining tool used to penetrate the surface of a workpiece and make a round hole.
  • Dry Run: A trial run of the part program without any parts or cutting fluids.
  • EIA: Electronics Industry Association. It publishes Recommended Standards (RS) for transmitting data between devices.
  • Feed Rate: The rate at which the cutting tool and the workpiece move in relation to one another.
  • Feedback: A return signal that confirms the position of the tool or worktable.
  • Feedback Device: A device that sends information back to the controller in the closed-loop system.
  • Floppy Drive: A device that reads magnetic data from a floppy disc.
  • Hardware: The physical components of a CNC machine.
  • Horizontally: Parallel to the horizon, like a table top.
  • Hydraulic Servo: A type of servomechanism that is driven by fluids.
  • Linear Axes: The axes that describe movement along a straight line.
  • Linear Scale: A device that relies on the size of an electrical current to convey the position or distance on a CNC machine. A linear scale is one of the most accurate feedback devices.
  • Lot: A group of similar parts created during the use of a particular tooling setup.
  • Machine Control Unit: A small, powerful computer that controls and operates a CNC machine.
  • Machining Center: A sophisticated CNC machine that can perform multiple machining operations at the same location with a variety of tools.
  • Mylar Tape: A thin, yet strong polyester film that was used to transmit programs to numerically controlled machines.
  • Open-loop System: A control system that does not provide feedback to the controller.
  • Optical Encoder: A type of feedback sensor that records light reflections and converts the reflections into feedback signals.
  • Origin: The fixed, central point in the Cartesian coordinate system. The origin has a numerical value of zero.
  • Paper Tape: A way of transmitting programs to numerically controlled machines. This is a somewhat older method.
  • Part Program: The instructions for the CNC machine about how to create a part.
  • Point-To-Point Positioning: A type of control system where no cutting takes place during the movement of the tool from one position to the next.
  • Punch Presses: A machine that uses force to either cut or form a workpiece.
  • Rectangular Coordinate System: Another name for the Cartesian coordinate system.
  • Right-hand Rule: A quick reference that shows the X-, Y-, and Z-axes. A person displays his or her right hand, and the first three fingers from the right each represent the X-, Y-, and Z-axis in order.
  • Rotary Resolver: A device that sends signals back to the CNC controller to indicate position or speed.
  • Rotational Axes: The axes that describe turning or spinning movement.
  • RS232: A standard that defines a computer's serial port and interaction with other devices.
  • Second Operation: A lathe with No leadscrew. Often setup with a cutoff slide and a turret, but could just be a 'plain' lathe with a cross slide and tailstock.
  • Servomechanism: A special motor used in CNC machines that moves with precision.
  • Signal: A message sent electronically.
  • Slide: The part that moves and holds a tool.
  • Software: The coded instructions, formulas, and operations that structure the actions of a computer.
  • Spindle Speed: The rate that the cutting tool or workpiece moves at the point of contact.
  • Stepper Motor Servo: A servomechanism that generates steps to move the tool and the worktable.
  • Turning Center: A sophisticated CNC machine that specializes in turning, boring, drilling, and threading operations, all at the same location.
  • Vertical Line: A line that travels up and down.
  • Workpiece: A part that is being worked on. It may be subject to cutting, welding, forming, or other operations.
  • Worktable: The table that supports a workpiece during a manufacturing operation.
  • X-axis: The linear axis that represents motions and positions to the left or right of the operator.
  • Y-axis: The linear axis that represents motions and positions both toward and away from the operator.
  • Z-axis: The linear axis that represents motions and positions both up and down. The Z-axis is always parallel to the main cutting device.


  • 3-Axis Lathe
    Accuslide
    Glossary Of Terms
    Replacement Lathes
    Used Lathes
    GT-ISL-25 Lathe
    Turning Machines
    CNC Equipment
    CNC controllers
    CNC New, Inc. 1414-B S. Ritchey St. Santa Ana, CA 92705
    Phone: 1-800-662-3351 or 1-949-218-4393 Fax: 1-949-388-5615
    Email:
    copyright CNCNEW Inc. All rights reserved