The Plotting Viewport window is at the heart of NCPlot. Solid lines
represent cutting motions - dotted lines represent rapid motions. Color coding
- selectable by tool or by entity type - clarifies plotted motions.
With NCPlot, you can visually check every motion
command in your program. And you don't even need a completed program to begin
plotting. You can type a few commands and then immediately see what the
commands will do! (This is a great learning aid.) When you spot a problem,
simply click the problem entity in the viewport. The CNC command that caused
the motion will be highlighted in the program - and you'll be shown an
information box that contains all data about the entity.
To clarify your program's motions further, look at the tool path in a
variety of planes, as well as in isometric view (3d).
Viewport plane selection buttons:
NCPlot makes it quick and easy to find and zoom-in on the viewport area you
want to see. Click the Zoom All button and you'll immediately see the
entire range of your program's motions. Click the Zoom Window button and
you'll be able to specify exactly what you want the viewport to show - down to
the smallest detail!
Buttons from left to right: Zoom window, zoom
extents, zoom all, zoom selected, zoom in, zoom out, pan
You can execute a tool path plot in several ways. Click one button -
Refresh Plot - and the entire program is plotted immediately.
Too fast for you? Then click the Animate button to see the
program executed more slowly.
Not enough control for you? Then click the Rewind button to
start from the program's beginning and repeatedly click the Step Forward
button to see your program executed command by command - just like you do in
single block mode on the actual CNC machine. As you step through your program,
the cursor in the CNC program will automatically advance, a new entity will
appear in the viewport, and you'll see the motion's end point coordinates
displayed near the new entity.
Go too far? Click the Step Backward button to back up and see
commands executed again.
Want to see just one tool? Click the command in your CNC program from
which you want to see the plot done - the first command of a tool, for example.
Then click the Plot to Cursor button. You'll immediately see everything
that happens to this point in the program. Then repeatedly click the Step
Forward button to go through the rest of the motions step-by-step. (This
can be a valuable teaching tool, ensuring that students know how to find the
restart block for each tool in the program.)
Tool path plot control buttons:
Buttons from left to right: Refresh plot (needed after changes are
made to the CNC program), Rewind plot to the beginning, Step backward, Animate
(which lets you automatically see the step-by-step movements of the program),
Step forward, Fast forward plot to end, Plot to cursor, Start plot at cursor,
Plot from cursor to end, and Plot selected program blocks only.
Other tool path plotting features
Entity information: Whenever you click an entity in the viewport
(we've clicked the top horizontal line), you'll see information about the
entity. While it is not shown here, the corresponding command in the CNC
program will be highlighted.
Click two entities (while
holding the shift key) to highlight them both (we've clicked the two vertical
lines) and then select Measure from the Calc menu. You'll be
shown the distances between the entities. This is helpful if you question
whether the workpiece will be machined to the correct size.
Supported machines and controls
If you have a CNC machining center or turning center, rest assured that
you'll be able to configure NCPlot to show your programs! NCPlot uses Fanuc and
Fanuc-compatible controls for default settings. So there won't be much
customizing to do if you have Fanuc controls. But if you have a control that is
not compatible with Fanuc, don't worry. Use the Machine Configuration menu to
fine tune NCPlot for your machine and control - and you can easily save your
settings for future use. Click this link to see
machine settings that can be configured in NCPlot.