2012-08-06 15:31:27 (CET)


The cutter radius compensation capabilities of the Interpreter enable the programmer to specify that a cutter should travel to the right or left of an open or closed contour in the XY-plane composed of arcs of circles and straight line segments.


Cutter radius compensation is performed only with the XY-plane active. All the figures in this appendix, therefore, show projections on the XY-plane.


Where the adjacent sides of remaining material meet at a corner, there are two common ways to handle the tool path. The tool may pass in an arc around the corner, or the tool path may continue straight in the direction it was going along the first side until it reaches a point where it changes direction to go straight along the second side. Figure A-1 shows these two types of path. On Figure A-1:

  • Uncut material is shaded in the figures. Note that the inner triangles have the same shape with both tool paths.

  • The white areas are the areas cleared by the tool.

  • The lines in the center of the white areas represent the path of the tip of a cutting tool.

  • The tool is the cross-hatched circles.


Both paths will clear away material near the shaded triangle and leave the shaded triangle uncut. When the Interpreter performs cutter radius compensation, the tool path is rounded at the corners, as shown on the left in Figure A-1. In the method on the right (the one not used), the tool does not stay in contact with the shaded triangle at sharp corners, and more material than necessary is removed.


There are also two alternatives for the path that is programmed in NC code during cutter radius compensation. The programmed path may be either (1) the edge of the material to remain uncut (for example, the edge of the inner triangle on the left of Figure A-1), or (2) the nominal tool path (for example, the tool path on the left side of Figure A-1). The nominal tool path is the path that would be used if the tool were exactly the intended size. The Interpreter will handle both cases without being told which one it is. The two cases are very similar, but different enough that they are described in separate sections of this manual. To use the material edge method, read Section A.3. To use the nominal path method, read Section A.4.


Z-axis motion may take place while the contour is being followed in the XY-plane. Portions of the contour may be skipped by retracting the Z-axis above the part, following the contour to the next point at which machining should be done, and re-extending the Z-axis. These skip motions may be performed at feed rate (G1) or at traverse rate (G0). The Z motion will not interfere with the XY path following. The sample NC code in this appendix does not include moving the Z-axis. In actual programs, include Z-axis motion wherever you want it.


Rotational axis motions (A, B, and C axes) are allowed with cutter radius compensation, but using them would be very unusual.


Inverse time feed rate (G93) or units per minute feed rate (G94) may be used with cutter radius compensation. Under G94, the feed rate will apply to the actual path of the cutter tip, not to the programmed contour.


Data for Cutter Radius Compensation

The Interpreter world model keeps three data items for cutter radius compensation: the setting itself (right, left, or off), program_x, and program_y. The last two represent the X and Y positions which are given in the NC code while compensation is on. When compensation is off, these both are set to a very small number (10-20) whose symbolic value is "unknown". The Interpreter world model uses the data items current_x and

current_y to represent the position of the center of the tool tip (in the currently active coordinate system) at all times.