Machining Terms You Need to Know

August 16, 2021 9:15 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

If you’re working with a machinist or metal fabricator, you’re probably going to hear some strange lingo get thrown around. We don’t want our customers to feel like they’re in over their heads, so we put together this helpful post of machining terminology you may hear when you work with NW Metal Fabricators Inc.:

  • Machinist: One of the most obvious machining terms you’ll hear is “machinist,” which is what we are at NW Metal Fabricators Inc. We’re trained in using tons of machinery and programs to meet our customers’ needs.
  • CNC: Computer numerical control (CNC) is the future of machining. It utilizes a machine tool controlled by a computer to remove material from a workpiece.
  • G code: We’ll talk about G codes a lot in this post. This is a programming language that tells CNC machines how to create the workpiece. As you’ll see, each code has a different function.
  • Tool path: G code programming creates a tool path. The tool path is the route the cutting tool takes to cut the material.
  • Absolute programming: In CNC, “absolute mode” means that all of the coordinates come from the origin point. The absolute program code is G90.
  • Incremental programming: This is the opposite of absolute programming, and is programmed with G91. In incremental programming, the machine moves a distance that’s dependent on its current position.
  • Boring: This machining process uses a cutting tool called a bore to enlarge a hole.
  • Clockwise interpolation: Machinists use this technique to move a cutting tool in a clockwise direction on an arc. The CNC program code for clockwise interpolation is G2.
  • Counterclockwise interpolation: Another one of the machining terms you may hear is counterclockwise interpolation. This is the opposite of our term above and is programmed using G3 on a CNC.
  • Cutting tool: As the name suggests, this is a tool that’s used to cut material from a workpiece. Common examples include endmills or drills.
  • Cutter compensation: This is a programmed shift that lets the CNC use different diameter cutting tools for different jobs.
  • Cycle start: Typically green, this button on a CNC controller starts the program.
  • Drill: You’ve probably heard this term a million times. Machinists use drill tools to make holes in a piece.
  • Dwell: A slight pause in the CNC program that allows a machinist to size a part is known as a dwell. It’s programmed using G4.
  • Lathe: A lathe rotates the piece to perform all of the necessary drilling or cutting.
  • Rapid traverse: To move the cutting tool around the piece as fast as possible, machinists use rapid traverse. It’s programmed as G0.

We can meet your machining needs

Now that you know some common machining terminology, it’s time to find a machinist to meet your needs. Whether your project is large or small, you can turn to NW Metal Fabricators Inc. We have years of experience working with industry-leading technology, so you can trust that we’ll get the job done right the first time. Reach out to us today to get an estimate for your next project.

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