Category Archives: Heidenhain

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.





Heidenhain Circular Interpolation

Category : Heidenhain

Heidenhain Circular Interpolation
On or Offsite CNC Training
Tel: David 07834 858 407

Heidenhain circular interpolation, mm what bullshit, this just means cutting in a circular move.

Very often wrongly called interpolation here is Wikipedia meaning.
Well that’s definitely confused me. But to me interpolation means movement.

Circular interpolation moving in a circular motion, full or part circle.
Linear interpolation moving in a straight line.

Heidenhain circular interpolation, there are four ways to produce a circular move on a Heidenhain control. You will love the flexibility of this control once you take the time to get to know it.

CNC Airfryer

Heidenhain is the Airfryer of CNC controls, it does the lot and in many different ways. Now the healthy option is the one that suits your drawing and require the least amount of Maths.

Here are some Airfryer recipes to try at home.

Come on David Where are The Fuckin Circles????

  1. You can use the same way as a Fanuc using heidenhain circular interpolation which is end point and radius.
  2. Using heidenhain circular interpolationtangent and end point.
  3. Using heidenhain circular interpolationcircle centre and end point.
  4. Intersecting corners then program the heidenhain circular interpolationfunction.

This video explains it all. You’ll have four useful tools in your programming toolbox.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel please

The Heidenhain control offers multiple choices when it comes to circular moves try to use the information straight from your drawing.

“Read More”

Heidenhain Sections in a Program

Category : Heidenhain

On or Offsite CNC Training
Tel: David 07834 858 407

Heidenhain Sections, I don’t get to work on Heidenhain controls anywhere near as much as I would like to.

A recent training program we undertook with a packaging company meant I got loads of time to have fun with this control whilst working with some fantastic people oh, and I got paid too.

Heidenhain Sections

Ever since I first worked on Heidenhain controls in the early 80s I have found them very intuitive. As with all the CNC controls (and I am gonna have a moan) they tend to get over complicated.

“Read More”

Heidenhain Training

Heidenhain Training

Category : Heidenhain Training

Heidenhain Training

Tel: David 07834 858 407

CNC Training Centre offers Heidenhain training both on-site and off-site. The Heidenhain TNC control has been around since the 1970’s and similar to Mazak it was well ahead of its time.

Contact Now For Heidenhain Training

Heidenhain is a lot more friendly to the user than some controls. A lot of controls will allow you to basically input any old shit and then try and run the code. With these types of control nothing is really monitoring what you are inputting. Not until you actually run the program do you start to get alarms flying around everywhere.

Whenever I train people, I would guess under 35, they have this real instinct to just type and press buttons at lightening speed. Now this is great when you are playing space invader or whatever. Sorry I am not well up on computer games.


Heidenhain Training



You see the thing is now most software is very intuitive and programmers and interface designers have done an amazing job. We download an app or some free software and we fiddle around with it and soon its all working. The idea is you just experiment until you get it working. It’s designed with this in mind.

Heidenhain Training

Take Microsoft word as an example. How many of you have actually been on a training course? Exactly none of you.

But everyday we all use it with great success.

Anyway start doing this on a CNC machine and bang crash wallop, you end up with a lost limb and a pile of scrap metal. And I didn’t even mention the busted tool and the machine that needs a £2000 re alignment. Anyway you get my drift.

Heidenhain Training

CNC machines are just not that way at all. I mean yea there are a few exceptions but still you really need professional instruction. Sorry rambling again sign up today for a Heidenhain Training Course.

When people buy Edgecam (hopefully from me) I often say to the boss “compare this to buying your son a piano” don’t go to him after two weeks and expect Chopin’s Piano Concerto No1 Op 10 in E minor. (I’m listening to it now as I work, mm I could fall asleep)

Our machines and software are tools (the clues in the title) machine tools. You need skill and expertise to get the best out of them.

Heidenhain Training

Heidenhain Training

Anyway rant over the Heidenhain controls are a lot more intuitive than most of the others. The other good thing is that although the graphics are crap on the old controls they do a really good job in testing your code before you cut metal. Also in a crude way you can see the metal-cutting.

Heidenhain Training

The controls basic format hasn’t changed much over the years. The buttons still look very familiar. All the old stuff works but there is a whole bunch of new stuff added on to each new version.

Read these articles for a bit of free Heidenhain Training.

Check out this article on sections in programs.

This one is about the various ways to cut arcs.

It’s all fantastic stuff.

Heidenhain Training                   Heidenhain Training


You can even do shit like changing a Heidenhain program over to ISO so you can run it on another machine.

Let me know if you find any of these courses cheaper at major supermarkets. I won’t price match it but I will be amazed.

Contact me today if you want to learn  Haas Programming.

Don’t forget to watch my Tutorial Videos

Services offered at CNC Training Centre

Classroom programmer training.

Onsite CNC Machine Training.

CNC Programming and Training on all controls and machines.

Mazak Training Fanuc Training Siemens Training

Don’t forget we offer training on all types of Mazak Machines and all Fanuc Controls 6m to 31i Oi old to young.

840D click here


Heidenhain Program Restart iTNC 530

Category : Heidenhain

Heidenhain Program Restart. Now you must have heard me banging on about program restart on certain machine controls.

On some it’s just non existent the best you can do is move to a tool change and start there. Oh and pray to any god you may believe in.

On a Fanuc control program restart it’s a rare option, and no fucker knows how to use it anyway, except me so click on this link.

Work Around

Without it, if you really know what you are doing you can restart programs.

This said you must have a real good knowledge of programming and modal G Codes.

What you can do is read the tool change line (M6 T06) then let the machine read the G43 line to take in the tool offset. Now you can then go on to read the canned cycle. From this point you can move on to any position and it will carry on (allegedly).

This is Fuckin dodgy. It’s a bit like having cataract surgery whilst driving a Sherman tank. You definitely need to be over 21 and not of a nervous disposition.

Chimpanzee baby

Anyway it does work, honestly, just be sure there is a full moon and you turn the control panel to face Mecca.

Joking aside make sure you understand the modal information on your control panel which you should do anyway.

What’s Modal Information?

Well it’s that screen you’ve been ignoring for years.

Please take your time and have rapid at minus 1000,000%. Be in single block and read this.

Remember if you crash this beast I will say I never met you and I definitely didn’t write this article, which will suddenly disappear into the ether at the slightest sniff of a lawsuit.

You know that screen you cant even be arsed to look at?

Well actually it contains some very useful shit so pay attention you naughty boy.

So this means you know and understand the following.

  • Is the machine in absolute or incremental?
  • What work offset is active?
  • Is the tool offset active and if so which one?
  • Is the machine still in compensation G41 G42?
  • Is the plane selection correct, usually XY G17?
  • Is the machine in feed per rev or feed per minute?
  • What speeds and feeds are active?
  • Is the machine in rapid or feed G0 or G1?
  • By the way if you come to me for some training I can impart all this knowledge on you.

Good Luck With That One

Anyway the other day I was let lose on this beast. So I’m going to show you the Heidenhain Program Restart on a Heidenhain iTNC 530 control.

Heidenhain Program Restart

Yes it’s a big bastard but a handsome beast at that. It’s a Hartford gantry type machine. The tool changer is no longer used but in it’s present home it’s not needed. It’s main use is drilling hole patterns and a few slots.

BT50 taper with through spindle coolant. Oh yea and it has a touch probe which I haven’t quite got working yet.

There were no manuals with this machine so  it does make some of the training difficult mainly knowing what the M codes are. Not wishing to brag but my 40 years of training knowledge is not without it’s advantages. Well 10 years if you discount the 30 years when I was permanently pissed.

M codes really are a bastard because they are different on all machines that’s why my M code list is only short. You really need the machine tool manual because only a handful of them are generic.

The Machine The Machine

This machine has huge capacity and has enough power to machine flats and drill holes in rocking horse shit.

The control is a Heidenhain iTNC 530, fantastic control. Easy to program, easy to set, editing is a dream. Oh and the Heidenhain Program Restart feature is brilliant.

Graphics… Oh No

Oh but one thing, as usual graphics are dogship poor. Don’t get me wrong always use them because it will save time. It will also spot any daft mistakes but…. they are as jerky as a Charley Chaplin movie and about as clear

They wont spot collisions and only the largest of position errors will be noticeable. So unless the tool is actually poking you in the knackers you wont spot a positional error.

Anyway they are crap but most of the others are crappier (is that a word?). So you can take some solace from that.

This Is True

I couldn’t possibly name names on this one. This guy who was a machine tool sales representative once said to me.

Well, I said to him first of all “my customer is not happy with your service department says theyre shit” to which he answered “I know I don’t blame him it’s true, but everyone else is even worse”.

What a fuckin sales pitch that is!

“Oh hi errrm.. all our products are shit but be careful because everyone elses are even worse”

Sorry I Went Off On One Again

Forget Graphics. Lets talk about what is awesome, fuckin awesome.

Yes you guessed, the program restart is good well actually it’s very very good. I only used the word awesome to try and fool the reader into thinking I’m much younger than I am by using the dialect of the younger generation.

Let’s talk about Heidenhain Program Restart.

Heidenhain Program Restart, Piss Easy

I mean I know you are thinking that at my age taking a piss is not always easy but I don’t want to bore my readers with details of that.

In any case the comment was not meant to be taken literally so just back off.

Here is how you do Heidenhain Program Restart

  • Go into full run mode or single.
  • Press GOTO and input 0 then press enter.
  • Press softkey BLOCK SCAN

Heidenhain Program Restart

  • On the next screen that appears you can press the soft key LAST or you can input the line where you want to start. This is about to restore at block 35 but you can input anything.
  • Press cycle start

Heidenhain Program Restart

  • On the next screen press the softkey Restore Position.

Heidenhain Program Restart

  • Press CYCLE START and the machine will turn on the spindle etc at the correct speed and restore M codes.

Heidenhain Program Restart

  • Each time you press cycle start the machine will return one axis to the correct position. You can also select the order if you want from the soft keys.

Heidenhain Program Restart

Now when you press CYCLE START the program will resume.

Told you it was easy, you’ll love it.

Here is a live training video that demonstrates it.

I love it and I hope you do too. If you need training on a Heidenhain control then contact me.

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