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Technical Terms

Q - What is CAD?

A - CAD stands for computer aided design. Autocad is an example of a cad program. A cad program lets you draw a picture (lines, arcs and circles) of the item that you want to machine (cut out) on your cnc router.

Q - What is CAM?

A - CAM stands for computer aided manufacturing. Once you design an object in a cad program, then you can bring that object into the cam program.  In the cam program, you specify the type of tool (router bit) that you are going to use.  You then identify the lines, arcs and circles that you want to machine and which side of the line that you want the tool to be on.  The cam program can then output a file of instructions (tool path file) for your machine controller. Rams-Software is a good example of a cam program.

Q - What is a machine Controller?

A - On small machines like the ones that Campbell Automation & Control has developed, the machine controller is a PC software program that resides in  a PC that is connected to your cnc router through a parallel port. CNCPRO by Yeager Automation (www.yeagerautomation.com) is an example of a cnc controller.  The purpose of the cnc controller is to take the output (tool path) from your CAM program and coordinated the movement of your machine (cnc router).

Q - What is a Post?

A - Post is a term used with your CAM program. Different machine controller can have different characteristics and requirements.  For your controller, every Cam program that you plan to use should have a post for your cnc router controller. 

Q - What is step and direction?

A - Step and direction is a term used with your machine controller. The controller will output discrete steps to your stepper or servo drivers. The direction signal is used to determine the direction that the motors will turn.

Q - What is a Stepper motor or Servo motor driver?

A - A driver is a special interface box (Amplifier) that receives the step and direction signals and outputs the proper signals to the stepper motors or servo motors.  A good example is the new Gecko drivers made by Gecko Drives. www.geckodrives.com



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© 2005 Bob Campbell Designs
Last updated on 5/5/05