CNC system software is what any CNC machine uses to create the operations within the machine. Generally it is considered to be the “intelligence” that governs the type of operation performance or the overall capacities of the machine. The software will be how the machine designs, cuts and operates the work that the operator programs into the computer.
CNC software also uses electronic memory modules where information is automatically stored inside the CNC machine. In some case this information cannot be changed and in others, through the use of temporary memory, it can be changed.
Generally speaking the computer is very important to the process of the CNC software because the computer numerical controls are usually outside the machine on a small or large keyboard. The computer is offline when it is performing the programming of parts and the computer controls the other parts that are necessary to create the product, depending on the type of CNC in use.
There are four basic software types that CNC uses:
Manual G Code Programming
Many of the larger commercial machines use and it is used for simple machine processes. The drawbacks of this type is that it takes a long time for someone to learn how to program G Codes and if you want to use more complicated machines, it is time consuming to learn how to use it. Because if these issues, many operators would rather not learn how to do this and
Offline CAM Programming
This type of programming can be done using a local PC and generally is available for larger machines as well as some of the smaller desktop CNC machines. This software can’t be used without a PC at the front end aspects of the machine. This software is also difficult to learn and takes a long time to completely understand for many people.
This type of programming is a better type of software program for the use of CNC because it is intuitive, which means it is simple to learn by the average computer person and it is similar to the programming in regular PCs. The reason this type was developed was so that it could do both simple and complex parts without having to take so long to learn.
Windows Based Programming
Many CNC software programs are now Windows based which means it works through Windows XP or Windows VISTA. The operator can import CAM and CAD programs and it can import other types of software like dxf files depending on the type of machine being used.
Today all CNC programs go by a variety of names including MSHAK-CNC, ProtoTRAK or TRAK, and OpenCNC all with their unique way of approaching a CNC system.
Also the purpose of each software program is to make life easier for the operator and make the machine do what is required. The easier the software is for the operator to program, the more the machine will be used. The particular software has also been used with CAD and CAM systems which makes this easier for many operators.