Why is a Post Processor Needed?


When creating a toolpath CAD/CAM systems actually generate 5-axis vector lines along 3D paths. The 3D paths represent the tool motion as it follows the cut pattern. The vectors represent the tool axis direction (IJK vectors) as the tool follows the 3D (XYZ) pattern. Every vector represents a line of code. All of this information is compiled into a generic language and this generic language is useless for a CNC machine without a post processor. The reason a CNC machine can’t use this generic language on its own is because each machine has different configurations and unique languages. The generic code produced by the CAD/CAM system must be translated into machine-readable language. The process is called post processing. A post processor will calculate motions needed on a specific machine to reproduce the CAM vector model, which will govern the machines motions in order to cut the part. There is a different post processor for every type of multiaxis machine available. These videos demonstrate the different motions needed to cut the same part on two different machines.

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