Author Archives: David

Copy Paste Fanuc CNC Control

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Category : Useful Stuff

On or Offsite CNC Training
Tel: David 07834 858 407

Copy Paste Fanuc CNC Control, here is a video that shows you how to copy and paste on a Fanuc control.

Call 07834 858 407

Copy Paste Fanuc CNC Control, in the video I am using the Fanuc 18i on a big vertical lathe but most Fanuc controls are the same or very similar.

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Fanuc Display – Relative Position

Category : Fanuc Mill Fanuc Turn


Fanuc Display (Relative Position) is used only by the operator.

Fanuc Display

You can reset Fanuc Display (Relative Position) just like you would on a manual machine with a DRO. So use it for setting or even measurements. One thing to remember is it will not retain it’s position when you turn the machine off. The control in the video is a Fanuc 18i on a big vertical lathe but all other Fanuc controls are similar.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel (I beg you)

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Onsite Training Retro CNC Boko In Scotland

Category : Heidenhain News

Onsite Training In Scotland

I was recently allowed into Scotland. My visit was to Abacus Valves in Glasgow, onsite training on a Boko with a retro fitted Heidenhain control.

It is rare for me to get repeat business but this just proves there is one customer out there who actually likes me. No law suites, no fights on the car park and no refund issued.

For those who don’t get the irony in my articles and might be getting a bit nervous right now, here are my ratings on google

I got the pleasure of working on this machine.

Onsite training with no manuals at all except for a generic Heidenhain 426 manual. The company that built this thing, well retro fitted the CNC bit, went out of business when to be sick meant to evacuate the contents of ones stomach and “Jim’ll Fix It” was a popular children’s TV show.

Onsite Training

Programming it with Heidenhain is no problem. Minor details like switching it on or moving it around would be a bit like driving a Sherman tank blindfold with your scrotum sack cable tied to the steering wheel. (Do tanks have steering wheels??)

It’s a Boko vertical machine that has a retro Heidenhain 426 CB control.

It’s used to make large valve bodies like this. To be honest I can’t remember when I had so much fun and kept my clothes on. Please don’t dwell too much on that thought, this is a septuagenarian speaking.

Onsite Training

These guys were an absolute pleasure to work with constantly making me cups of coffee and offering tasty snacks like this.

Children be warned “do not take pies from strange men especially this one”

I’ve got to watch what I say here cos these guys constantly take the piss out of not just one another, but include me. The first day of training everyone is always on their best behaviour. By the third day one of us, often me manages to lower the tone and the banta begins.

I think the above treat is some kind of Glaswegian delicacy (and there a many)

It’s actually a pie between two haves of a bread batch, mmmm.

I didn’t eat one to be honest but only because at the moment I’m on a strict diet, I’ll spare you the details. I recon one bite of this beast would constitute the average male calorie intake for a year.

Anyway it’s lovely to be offered, last time it was tattie scones

and these really are nice.

The Machine The Machine

To switch it on is a bit like when they open an ancient tomb in Indiana Jones.

Unless you know the exact combination and are wearing the signet ring of “The Ancient Goddess of Heidenhain Programming” it refuses to fuckin start up.

Onsite Training, Turn on the machine

Clear all emergency stop buttons and press this.

By the way the CE button on Heidenhain seems to clear everything so just press away at that one.

I know it’s dirty but I just want to make it real. Oh and it’s not my job to clean the fuckin machine.

Anyway wait a while till the control comes on and press this


ERST I would imagine stands for emergency reset. Anyway I think not being able to switch on the machine is definitely an emergency. Especially when someone is looking over your shoulder, obviously thinking “does this twat know what he’s doing?”

Everything now springs to life.

Now the familiar Heidenhain screen with all the axis will manifest. Press cycle start and each axis will politely travel to zero return. Oh and don’t forget to turn this baby up (pump up the volume).


Be gentle, this is a big machine and it can hurt you if you upset it.

Once all the axis stuff goes off the screen you are good to go.

This machine has a fully programmable rotary table (C Axis) so you get to spin stuff around too.

It also has a quill which means you can easily acces areas you wouldn’t normally reach or you’d need to make up tool extensions.

It’s a W axis, not fully programmable but very useful. If you have one of these don’t be tempted to have it sticking out too far when not needed as it will adversely effect your rigidity and give you some unimaginably shit surface finishes.

It’s a bit like getting your junk out, dead funny when you are pissed and out with your mates. In more tranquil surroundings like parents evenings and church services it won’t go down well and could put you on the sex offenders register.

Real Skill

The guys in this company have a very high skill level and they certainly understand the engineering basics and way beyond. Sadly this is not always the case in my experience.

Everyone has worked here for a thousand years and that says a lot. It means great people from top to bottom. It’s hard to keep staff these days but this company seems to be doing a grand job.

The quality of the products going out of the door is top notch and is directly connected to all of the above.

Davy, who already works on this machine just needed a few extra pointers and when we came to setting this job he said, minus expletives “I can get that central in three hits”.

Well he didn’t, but he did get this baby running within .1mm in minutes which is very impressive.

These guys actually swear more than me, one of them told me a poem that contained such foul language I couldn’t repeat it on here.

I’ll have to kind of sing it to you to avoid offence it went something like this I’ve missed out the worst bits.

Na ni na ni na ni naa
Na ni na ni na ni naa
Na ni na ni na ni naa
Na ni na ni na ni naa
Na ni na ni na ni naa
Na ni na ni na ni naa Fuckin Cunt

onsite training

Tool Change

The tool change procedure is a bit convoluted to say the least. The problem is that when you retro fit CNC to a manual machine there are bound to be compromises.

Anyway it’s not a quick process and not for the faint-hearted.

Use MDI to make sure the machine is in a low gear. Now run an M6 and the machine guides you through.

onsite training

Now press the button on the draw bar which releases the tool.

onsite training

Now you need to support the tool and beat the living shit out of it until it drops. You can then load the new tool.

All this button does it to undo the threaded drawbar.

You then press the tool-change button to end the tool-change and it’s all over.

onsite training

Retro Fit CNC

Big machines are expensive, you are probably cheaper to buy a private island in the Caribbean than purchasing a machine this big brand new.

So that’s where the idea of reconditioning and retro fitting makes a lot of sense. These old beasts were built to last and like brick shit-houses they are bomb proof.

Never going to be fast but will it do the job? The answer is a resounding yes.

One second tool change? Fuckin dream on, but who cares when you are probably only ever making one-offs and when you do a tool change it’s years before you need another.

Making money will be about set up time and programming time. Things like the cycle time and tool change time sink into oblivion.

Your profitability can easily sink down that black hole that we call “set-up time”.

On-site Training In Glasgow

I love Scotland all the nicest people are from Scotland especially my own mother. Oh and I love old machines.

There is still a place for these machines and unless the government decide they actually want to make things and invest in industry they’ll be here for a while yet.

Retro fitting is a gateway for a small company to make big parts.

CNC Machines are just tools and they only do what we tell them. Asked to produce a large pile of Elephant Shite they will happily oblige.

In the right hands and with the appropriate skill set the magic happens. At Abacus Valves there is loads of it.

It is a long drive to Scotland but once I’m there I always love it.

These old Heidenhain controls still do some clever shit always been easy to set program and operate and now hopefully these guys know where all the bells and whistles are. Think I’ll be back there in 2024 so I’ll look forward to that.





Ten Things You Might Not Know About The Fanuc Sub Program

Sub Program Fanuc

Here are ten things you might not know about Fanuc sub programs,

Fanuc CNC controls are the most common controls in the world so it might be useful to have a good understanding of how sub programs are called and used.

(1) You Can Call a Sub Program By Name.

Yes you heard it here the program can be called by it’s name or it’s number. When calling by name don’t use the P.

Just put the name of the program in these things <> with an M98 and your away.


The only problem with this is that the syntax needs to be spot on so if you have got complicated names for your your sub routines then you might be in the shit.

I always call mine names like ALBERT that are easy to remember.

(2) You can use internal sub routines on a Fanuc Control.

Some people call these local sub programs. It just means it’s tagged on the end of your program which makes them nice n easy to look after. A bit like a pet Goldfish or a pet fly.

I bought mine from the local pet store. I asked the assistant if he sold pet flies and he said no. I said “well there are loads in the window”.

Anyway he sold me one (£15) his name is Paul


This is not him this is Steve.

Internal Sub-Routines

By typing M98 Q500 your control will look for N500 within your current program. This is great because you can add the sub programs to the end of your main program. Don’t forget to leave big gaps so you can clearly see where and what they are. Oh and mind your P’s and Q’s.

M98 P500 (Call O500 externally)

M98Q500 (Call N500 in main program.

Oh and read this too.

Sub Program

Just one other thing. Watch your n numbers it’s easy to get them mixed up. Try and use a convention.

This Is What I Do

N1-N99 (Tool change lines)
N26 M6 T26

N100 to N900 (Local Sub routines)

N1000 to N9999 (Anything else)

(3) You Can Jump Back To a Specific N Number

If you put a P at the end of your sub program next to the M99 after completing the sub program it will return to the main program at the corresponding N number.

M99 P800 will make it return to N800 in the main program it came from.

Sub Program

The above example calls sub program O500 when it gets to M99 it returns to the main program. The P800 means it will return at the line N800

Oh by the way I think this is useless but if you can think of a use please let me know.

(4) There Are Two Ways to Call a Sub Program

M98 P500 L4 (Call program O500 four times.

M98 P40500 (Call program O500 four times) watch out as the digits need to be the correct number.

The last four digits are the program number. The digits before them are the number of repetitions.

There must be four digits for the program number so you need the leading zeros (0500).

Sub Program

This method is a bit convoluted but at least I’ve included it and you never know when you might come across it.

I suggest always use the same method.

(5) M99 Has More Than One Use

M99 normally ends a sub-program but it can also be used in a main program to make it continuous. If you replace M30 (Stop and rewind) with M99 the program will constantly loop around. This is useful for multi pallet machines and barfed lathes.

Oh and don’t forget the EOB or you’ll get an alarm.

M99 ;

(6) You can use M99 to Jump over a Section of Code

M99 P100 will jump to N100

Impress your mates with this one it saves an awful lot of block skips


Sub Program

(7) You Can Call Sub-Programs From The MDI Screen

M98 P500 L6 (Call program O500 six Times)

This will work fine in MDI

(8) You Can Use a G or M Code to Call a Sub-Program

You can use a G Code alias to call a sub program. By setting certain parameters you can create your own G code which will then call a program specified by certain parameters.

Read this article

(9) You Can Have an Movement on the Line That Calls a Sub-Program

Although I have often shit my pants proving out programs, I mean an XY or Z movement not a a bowel movement.

X50. M98 P500 machine will move to X50. then call out the sub program.

(10) On your check screen it will show you how many times you have entered your sub program.

Each time you enter a sub program your control will show you a count down.

(11) You Can Call Sub Programs that are Not in Your Current Folder

When you call sub programs the control will look in your current folder. If it is in a different folder you can still call it.

<//from cnc memory/folder/folder/program>

Sub Program

The format for this is really important.

Also you will get a format error when you try and type it in. Easy fix….. go to CHANGE EDITOR

I have nearly 27,000 followers on LinkedIn and it has some real perks. One is that when I couldn’t get this to work. A quick post on LinkedIn got me some clues many thanks to Volker Hänig.

Shit, that’s 11 things.

Try to ignore one of them so there are only 10, maybe the one you already knew



G71 and G70 Use to Rough and Finish Turn

New video about the G71 roughing cycle on a Haas or a Fanuc control, also covers the G70 finishing cycle.

Call David: 07834 858 407


G71 is sometimes known as a canned cycle when in fact it is a multi repetitive cycle. The G70 cycle goes with it and can pick up the same lines to finish.

The N numbers are important as the cycle uses these as the points of reference to jump to.

G71 cycle interprets the shape between these two N numbers and then breaks up the shape for roughing.

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