CNC Programming Style
In the most basic sense, the functionality of a CNC is to enable a machine tool to achieve automatic, precise and consistent motion control. To do this properly, the CNC requires a set of programming instructions that tells the machine how to run a part.
When it comes to developing these instructions, you have three programming styles to choose from: manual, conversational and CAM. Each has its own special niche and unique set of pros and cons so that no particular style is right for everyone
CAM is indispensible, but for some simple jobs it’s overkill. Here’s what’s wrong with using CAM for every CNC programming task:
CAM needs a drawing to start from. With CAM, there’s no working from the back of the envelope.
CAM needs a lot of detail to support all the fancy things it can do. But if you’re not doing anything fancy, why provide all the detail?
CAM is expensive and not everyone has a seat. How can knowledgeable machinists be productive without CAM?
CAM has a steep learning curve. How do manual machinists leverage their considerable knowledge to be productive right away?
CADCAM is powerful but slow. You can’t do complex jobs without it. But why be slow on simple jobs?