Overview of CNC Setup and Operation

CNC machine setup and operation follows the process shown in Figure 6.1:

Figure 6.1: CNC Process

1 Pre-Start

Before starting the machine, check to ensure oil and coolant levels are full. Check the machine maintenance manual if you are unsure about how to service it. Ensure the work area is clear of any loose tools or equipment. If the machine requires an air supply, ensure the compressor is on and pressure meets the machine requirements.

2 Start/Home

Turn power on the machine and control. The main breaker is located at the back of the machine. The machine power button is located in the upper-left corner on the control face.

3 Load Tools

Load tools into the tool carousel in the order listed in the CNC program tool list.

4 Set Tool Length Offsets

For each tool used, jog the machine to find and then set the TLO.

5 Set Fixture Offset XY

Once the vise or other fixture is properly installed and aligned on the machine, set the fixture offset to locate the part XY datum.

6 Set Fixture Offset Z

Use a dial indicator and 1-2-3 block to find and set the fixture offset Z.

7 Load CNC Program

Download the CNC program from your computer to the machine control using RS-232 communications, USB flash memory, or floppy disk.

8 Run Program

Run the program, using extra caution until the program is proven to be error-free.

9 Adjust Offsets as Required

Check the part features and adjust the CDC or TLO registers as needed to ensure the part is within design specifications.

10 Shut Down

Remove tools from the spindle, clean the work area, and properly shut down the machine. Be sure to clean the work area and leave the machine and tools in the location and condition you found them.


Never operate a CNC machine or any shop equipment unless you have been properly trained on its use.

Observe extreme caution at all times.

Follow all safety rules.