# Orientation programming

Tool orientation can be programmed in a number of different ways. Basically, the representation of orientation depends on the basic kinematic (5-axis or robot kinematics) and on the settings of the CAD/CAM systems used.

In a conventional case, Cartesian coordinates are programmed in point/Euler angle representation for 5-axis machining, i.e. for a 5-axis machine with a CA tool head, i.e. the positions via X, Y and Z and machine angles for orientation via the configured axis identifiers C1 and A1.

Example:

*X50 Y50 Z100 C1=45 A1=45*

Since the contours of a workpiece are normally represented in vectors in CAD/CAM systems, it is also normal to generate NC programs in vector representation. This means that the contour description is independent of the machine or kinematic structure.

Tool orientation is defined by a vector which is aligned by the tool tip (TCP) in the direction of the tool clamp. Direction vector components are always programmed by A, B, C (or I, J, K). So, when vector programming is active, tracking axes configured with the same name cannot be programmed due to unambiguity reasons.

With 5-axis kinematics, vector components are defined by the “virtual” axis identifiers A, B and C.

Example:

*X50 Y50 Z100 A-0.5 B0.5 C0.7071*

With 6-axis kinematics (e.g. robots), vector components are also defined by the “virtual” axis identifiers A, B and C or by the axis identifiers I, J and K which are also used in robotics.

Example:

*X-17.083 Y29.630 Z10 A-0.17083 B0.29630 C0.93969 or*

*X-17.083 Y29.630 Z10 I-0.17083 J0.29630 K0.93969*

In order to correctly evaluate tool orientation, the appropriate orientation mode must be used and the corresponding transformation must be activated.