Setting the Workshift (Fanuc CNC Lathe)

Setting the Workshift (Fanuc CNC Lathe)

Category : Beginners Fanuc Turn

Setting the Workshift

This article is about the Workshift on a CNC Lathe with a Fanuc control.

As a beginner one of the first things you will need to learn is how to set the workshift.


So we have a programme for our part on a our CNC Lathe. Let’s assume this programme is perfect with no errors.

But at the moment it’s just a part floating around in space.


You have measured the tools using cut and measure or a tool presetting arm. You also need to tell the machine the radius of the cutting tool tip.

So now all the machine needs to know is where the workpiece stock is and that’s where the workshift comes in.

WorkshiftTool Presetting Arm

The setting of the workshift will vary from one machine to the next but just think about this logically.

1 You have a program.

2 Your machine knows where your tools are in the X and the Z axis.

So now your machine needs to know where the workpiece is in order to complete the jigsaw puzzle.

To do this we need to set the workshift.

The way we do this is to effectively tell the machine where the tool is in relation to the workpiece.

First you need to call out the tool and its offset.

T0101 (Call tool one and offset one)

You would do this in MDI

Bring the tool to the front face of the component. If you want to machine metal from the front face then you would position the tool slightly behind the front face.

(You can use any tool for this provided it has been measured)

Cursor to the Z underneath (MEASUREMENT) on your workshift screen.


Type in 0 then press Workshift

The Z SHIFT VALUE will change.

You can input zero into shift value on the left before you start. I like to do this when I am setting the workshift because you can clearly see the new figure.

This screenshot is from a new Fanuc even if yours is an old banger it will be much the same.

New CNC Machines

Be very careful not to set anything in the X figures because this will completely mess up your X axis position.


This X figure can be used to set the centre-line for your drills and centre cutting tools. That way you would input X0 in the offsets for these tools and this shift figure would contain your centreline value.

Be careful before changing this if you have a tool measurement arm as it will alter all your X figues.

If it does have a figure in it you must keep a note in case it’s accidentally changed.

Once your workshift is set you are ready to prove out your part.

You can test this in MDI if you wish.

G0 Z0;

Make sure to override the rapid moves (not 100%) and look at


If the front face of your part does not clean up or you feel you are taking too much off then the workshift will need to be moved,

We do this by changing the shift value.


Always use + INPUT as this will add the value to the present value.

If you use input it will replace the figure and now your in deep trouble.

Thanks for watching and reading

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this post or need CNC Counselling then contact me.

Or call us

If you want to learn to program CNC Milling Machines

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November 21, 2019 at 1:21 pm

Having a problem set up tool it faced it rough od finish od went to center drill the z is of 1.5 inches x maybe .200?

Tim Moss

December 10, 2019 at 1:19 pm

Great post, really useful information for people starting out in CNC Turning and Machining.

Brand Nailers

December 24, 2020 at 8:14 am

Wonderful information ,thanks a lot for sharing kind of content with us.Your blog gives the best and the most intersting information on settinf the workshift fanuc cnc lathe.I wonder if we can gather such practical information about it ,a great post definitely to come across.


    January 2, 2021 at 9:35 am

    Thanks for that Brand

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