CAD – Computer Aided Design – Software that will allow you to create that awesome 3d widget in your head.

CAM – Computer Aided Manufacturing – Software the uses the CAD data to create tool paths used by a CNC machine to cut out your widget.

CNC – Computer Numeric Control

Draw Bar – Part of a mill used to pull the collet up into the spindle taper to secure the cutter in the machine.

G-Code – The language used by CNC machines to understand where and how to move. This is generated by your CAM software.

NC – Numeric Control – The precursor to CNC. A Computer + NC = CNC

SWaP – Size, Weight and Power

Swarf – fine chips or fillings produced by a machining process

TTS – Tormach Tooling System – A method for holding cutting tools that allows for quick tooling changes yet retains tool offsets. (It saves lots of time)

VMC – Vertical Machining Center – An industrial CNC Mill that is fully enclosed that makes a mini mill look like the toy that it is.



  1. S.K. Cheng

    How to generate nc file from Inventor file ?
    Thank you.

    1. Tim (Post author)

      S.K. – Good question. I do not use Inventor however, it’s my understanding you need to use Inventor HSM or HSMWorks. I use Fusion360 which use a similar CAM package. The basic process is once the CAD file is generated, you generate tool paths in your CAM package. Next you post processes the tool paths which generates the gcode (.nc) file.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *