Tool Length Offsets on the Mill - 2: Some History
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WARNING: Machine tools present a safety hazard. Improper operation can result in severe injury. These topics are for non-laboratory study only and are not to be used in conjunction with the operation of any tool or machine described herein. Never use a machine tool without the supervision of a qualified instructor.

This page is not necessary to read unless you have a curiosity as to how we used to handle tool length offsets in the "olden" days. Otherwise skip to page 3.

It is more than probable that the CNC machines you will come in contact with in today's shops have a method of handling tool length offsets that is much different than the methods we will discuss next. However to better understand what offsets are and how they work you perhaps should take the time to review how you would have to handle this problem without an automatic tool length offset.

With the earliest NC milling machines the length offset problem was solved by first measuring the length of each tool and adding or subtracting the Z value in the program. This method was simply "manual" tool length compensation. Needless to say, this made programming a complex task. Not only would the programmer have to perform a good deal of addition and subtraction in their program to compensate for the various lengths of tools, but every time a new tool replaced a worn tool, the programmer would have to compensate (reprogram) yet again.

Another solution to the problem was to adjust each tool to the same length in each of the tool holders. This was also a difficult solution because of the almost impossible arrangement of tools and holders required to make it work.

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label: CNC mill,. Offsets, G43 H43,