Software is the intelligence behind the operation of a CNC plasma cutter. It enables the machine to perform complex cuts with great accuracy and precision time and time again. There are three different types of software used with a CNC plasma cutting machine – CAD (or ART), CAM, and CNC machine control. At Boss Tables, our affordable CNC plasma cutting table units incorporate state-of-the-art software to perform consistently accurate, precision cuts.
CAD(Computer-Aided Design) or ART Software
The CAD software enables you to draw the part or some type of artwork that the CNC plasma machine is to cut. This may include an image of a particular product or the manufacture of a structural part.
CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) Software
The CAD software allows you to translate the CAD drawing into something ready for cutting. CAD files are often in .dxf format. The operator imports the CAD .dxf file into the CAM software program where the tool path requirements are established, enabling the CNC plasma cutter to know exactly what to do. With the CAM software, the plasma cutting machine is instructed about the material to be cut, its thickness and length, where the cuts are to start and stop. All of the different cutting and material parameters are involved with this software, such as cut height, cut speed, pierce height, and more.
CNC(Computer Numerical Control) Machine Software
Once the part has been exported to the CAM software and the tool path has been created, then it is exported as G-code, which is machine language that converts the information about the job at hand and translates it into data the machine can use to perform the cutting work.
The servos or steppers drive the cutting machine and receive instruction from the G-code about where to go and how fast. The plasma torch receives instruction about when to fire, when to cut and pierce, how many amps to use, and how long to remain on.
The G-code makes the entire process happen, and virtually at the same time. Also, the G-code must be compatible with your CNC machine and not simply taken from another machine if it is to operate the machine properly.
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