A CNC machine is normally controlled by a computer and software. However, most CNC machines have a range of controls for manual use. It is rare for a CNC machine to be used manually as simple operations are best carried out on cheap/basic/manual machines. When a CNC machine is used manually it is been used well below its capability and specification.

RESET BUTTON: The must important control button is usually the reset button. When the CNC machine is turned on, the reset button is pressed by the machine operator. This ‘zeros’ the cutter, moving the cutter to coordinates 0,0,0 on the X,Yand Z axis. In simple terms, the reset button moves the cutter to the corner of the machine, above the work table. If the reset button is not pressed, it is possible that the CNC machine will start cutting the material in the wrong place or even miss cutting the material and plunge into the work table.

MANUAL CONTROL: The cutter can be controlled manually although this is rarely needed. The ‘X’ and ‘Y’ buttons control the movement of the cutter along the horizontal surfaces. The ‘Z’ buttons control depth and up / down movement.

STOP BUTTON: Most control panels have stop buttons. When pressed these stop the machine very quickly.

SPEED AND FEED: On some CNC machines it is possible to manually vary the speed and feed of the cutter.