A post processor is a software component or script included in computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) programs to edit gcode into machine-specific instructions. It is an integral part of the CAM workflow, responsible for generating the output that a particular CNC machine can understand and execute.


When creating toolpaths in a CAM software, the user defines various parameters such as cutting speeds and feeds, tool compensation, and other machining specifics. These toolpaths are usually represented in a neutral format, such as G-code, which is a standardized language used to control CNC machines.


However, different CNC machines and controllers have their own unique requirements and syntax for interpreting the toolpath data. This is where the post processor comes into play. It takes the neutral toolpath data and customizes it to match the specific needs of the target CNC machine. Look for the BobsCNC Processor when creating and saving toolpath with any Vectic software.


The post processor performs several important tasks, including:

Translating toolpath operations: The post processor converts the operations defined in the CAM software (e.g., cutting, drilling, pocketing) into the appropriate commands supported by the CNC machine.

Formatting output code: The post processor generates the machine-specific G-code or other control commands that the CNC machine can understand. It organizes the instructions in a specific sequence and structure required by the machine's controller.

Applying machine-specific logic: The post processor takes into account the unique characteristics of the target CNC machine, such as its kinematics, available tooling, tool change mechanisms, and other features. It adjusts the output code accordingly to optimize performance and ensure compatibility.

Handling machine-specific settings: The post processor incorporates machine-specific configuration parameters, such as maximum feed rates, spindle speed ranges, tool offsets, and any other relevant settings specific to the CNC machine being used.

Post processors can be highly customized to cater to different CNC machines, controllers, and specific user preferences. CAM software often provides a range of built-in post processors for popular CNC machines, and users can also create or modify post processors to suit their specific needs.

By utilizing a post processor, users can streamline the CAM-to-CNC workflow, ensuring that the generated toolpaths are properly translated and optimized for their target CNC machine, resulting in accurate and efficient machining operations.

August 07, 2023 — Keith Havens