DXF file – short for drawing exchange format file; created as a standard to freely exchange 2 and 3-dimensional drawings between different CAD programs. It basically represents a shape as a wire frame mesh of X/Y/Z coordinates or vectors.

G-code – The standard machine tool language around the world; generally consists of specifying the X/Y/Z (and A/B/C) coordinates that the machine is to move to. Movements can be linear, circular, or even special drilling operations.  G-code is the universal language of all modern machine tools including CNC.

M-code – The standard machine tool codes that are normally used to switch on the spindle, coolant, or auxiliary devices.  They can also be used for G-code program control such as repeating the program or ending it.

Repeatability – The smallest distance that can be repeated by a machine movement.  For example if the repeatability is specified as 0.001 inches and a movement from X coordinate 0.000 to 1.000 and back to 0.000 then the position would be within +/-0.001 inches of 0.000.

Tool Path – A series of vector coordinate positions that define a cutting path.  This cutting path can be a simple 2-D or sophisticated 3-D path used to machine out the shape of a desired part.

Vector – A line that has both length and direction; usually specified by a starting X/Y/Z coordinate position and ending X/Y/Z coordinate position.

Rack-and-Pinion –  A device for converting rotary into linear motion and vice versa, in which a gearwheel (the pinion) engages with a flat toothed bar (the rack).


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