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__Cartesian
Coordinate System__

CNC motion is based on a 3D Cartesian coordinate system.

### Number Line:

The basis of this system is the number line marked at equal intervals. The axis is labeled (X, Y or Z). One point on the line is designated as the Origin. Numbers on one side of the line are marked as positive and those to the other side marked negative.

CNC Programs can be written in either Inch or Metric units. The machine can be switched with a single code to accept either.

X-AXIS Number Line |

### 3D Cartesian Coordinate System:

The Cartesian coordinate system
consists of three number lines, labeled X, Y and Z, set at 90 degree angles to
each other as shown in Figure below. The origin, or Datum, is where the
three axes cross each other.

The labels, orientations, and directions of the
Cartesian coordinate system in Figure below are typical of most Vertical
Machining Center (VMC).

Quadrants |

### Units:

In India mostly we use metric units. In the United States, most programming is using inch units because most tooling is in inches and machinists are more familiar with the inch measurement system. Even if the part is designed in metric, it is usually converted to inch units for machining and metric tools are used only when no inch equivalent is available (for example when creating metric tapped holes).

Table below shows the units and maximum precision for inch and metric data used by CNC machines.

Table below shows the units and maximum precision for inch and metric data used by CNC machines.

Units And Precision |

So this was basic introduction to co-ordinate systems used by the CNC Machines. In the next post we will discuss CNC co-ordinate systems and work co-ordinate systems..

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