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X and Y axis


Has anyone seen a case where X is the long axis and Y is the short axis?

8/20/14       #2: X and Y axis ...
John Meachen Member

I have encountered such a machine,it was made by the now defunct British company Emach.I don't think the orientation of the axes was the reason for their demise by the way.

8/20/14       #3: X and Y axis ...

Huh, aren't they all that way? I have a 5' x 16' MultiCam and the 16' is my x axis. Can't imagine it the other way around.

8/21/14       #4: X and Y axis ...
james mcgrew Member


There are Rules of Math, Then there is Everyone Else.

I believe Shopbot uses this system, I don't Go Figure

8/21/14       #5: X and Y axis ...
jerry Member

Most of the ones I have seen are that way. X is always right to left

8/21/14       #7: X and Y axis ...
jerry Member

I meant left to right

8/21/14       #8: X and Y axis ...
james mcgrew Member


Age old Argument.

I see "Y" as "To and Fro" and "X as My Line in the sand !

8/21/14       #9: X and Y axis ...

There is no standard. I know some European machines that have the cartesian system completely up-side down. The 4th quadrant is positive in both x,y It's just a matter of getting use to it.

8/21/14       #10: X and Y axis ...

I would think lower left with panels laying horizontal would be much more intuitive, especially if you are utilizing materials with grain. But guess it's just what your use to and how the machine indexes sheet stock.

8/21/14       #11: X and Y axis ...

We run a Thermwood & X is the long axis on it.


8/22/14       #12: X and Y axis ...
Gary B.

agreed. All the SCM machines and Weeke's I've run have had the X axis as the long (Left to right) Axis.

8/22/14       #13: X and Y axis ...
james mcgrew Member

Being a Navy man,,,, what is right and left and from where !! LOL

I think of it as "forward and Aft, Port and starboard, Amidships "

8/22/14       #14: X and Y axis ...
jerry Member

When I do any cad drawings left to right is the X and to and fro is up and down on our Biesse the control is at the lower left hand corner and our x goes the long way so if you stand at the control and turn 90 degrees to the right you are looking at the gantry and to the right is the table.

8/24/14       #15: X and Y axis ...
Johann Huck  Member


The X-axis on most machines is usually setup up at your longest axis. This comes from the Fanuc CNC and is usually a default standard. Some manufacturers vary from this. But it is usually a good guide to use.

Johann Huck
The Machine Warehouse, LLC.

8/26/14       #16: X and Y axis ...
jerry Member

Jim says
"There are Rules of Math, Then there is Everyone Else.

I believe Shopbot uses this system, I don't Go Figure"

So most every one is wrong.

8/26/14       #17: X and Y axis ...

Komo, long axis is X

9/3/14       #18: X and Y axis ...
Frank D. Jimenez  Member


There are quite a few routers out there that use the X-Axis as their long axis. I'm not sure why it matters though.

9/3/14       #19: X and Y axis ...

It matters because I had my machine overhauled , new controller, software etc. and when all was said and done the 2 axis were switched. All of my 4,000 plus drawings are done the opposite. When the tech came back I had him switch it back to the way I am used to . It was an interesting question because I always thought it was same as in math. I guess X can still go left to right and be the long axis. Thanks for all the contributions.

9/3/14       #20: X and Y axis ...
james mcgrew Member


really sorta goes with the software and machine you learn on. I started with Vectric and a CAMaster they matched I do my work. nothing more nor less from any other method

Fun argument though !

9/3/14       #21: X and Y axis ...
Frank D. Jimenez  Member


Yes, I am used to Cartesian algebra or analytic geometry where the x-axis is always the horizontal axis. But I guess all you have to do is change where you are standing and either the short axis becomes the "horizontal axis" or the long axis becomes the "horizontal axis". (smile)

I would think that the software you are using would allow you to change which axis is long and which is short, and then perform the transformations for you. But apparently that is not the case in your application. If it is not, then I can easily see how having to change 4,000 drawings could be a total pain in the neck! I'm glad you were able to get your machine switched back to what you had.

9/3/14       #22: X and Y axis ...
Frank D. Jimenez  Member


Hey Mr. James McGrew, I looked at your website.....VERY NICE WORK!! Especially your Commercial Work section!

9/3/14       #23: X and Y axis ...

It is very much a case of teaching an old dog new tricks. Being an old dog , I resist change where ever I can . I still work in Imperial measurement and have a mental block when it comes to metric . I have been using version 17 of bobcad until now and have switched to Vectric which is also a hugh difference.

9/3/14       #24: X and Y axis ...
Johann Huck  Member


In regards to woodworking machines, it is up to the manufacturer and their standards. Everyone has their own way of doing things. The X and Y axis are of course based upon the Cartesian system. As to why the X axis is the longest axis goes back to the National Machine Tool Builders' Association now known as the AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology. They wanted a standard on CNC machines that machine builders should follow. Of course a lot don't. They stated that the X-Axis is always the longest axis for a machine. Z Axis is always up and down and the Y Axis is perpendicular to the X and Z axis. This is where the standard came from.

Of course we know woodworking machines aren't metal machines and some manufacturers use their way of referencing the X and Y axis. So always check a machine prior to purchasing it. Never assume because the X axis is left and right on your machine that it will be that way on all the machines. It varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Almost 80% of them have the X axis as the longest axis. This could be the bridge on twin table machines, or it can be the table on some machines.

AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology is also developed the standards for tool holders used on machines.

Johann Huck
The Machine Warehouse, LLC.

The Association For Manufacturing Techno

9/3/14       #25: X and Y axis ...
jerry Member

I use Vectric software and the X is the longer of the two same with Autocad maybe the Chinese machines came here the wrong way and that is where the problem lies

9/3/14       #26: X and Y axis ...
james mcgrew


Thanks Frank we work hard to do a good Job !!

Jerry I see why I think the way I do, I all of my late teens and 20s at sea all over the world. still to this day the world is round north, south east and west. on a ship location is always Relative to where I am standing in relation to the ship. amidships, forward aft, port and starboard. I can tell you where north is from anywhere I am standing, I would have to get seriously lost in a maze building to not be able to do that. on the yachts we navigated by sextant so it is just engrained in me..

there fore when I see a program like vectric or the cartisian rule. I see it as if I am the bottom of the screen looking up into "Y" long, personally I had never much cared but when you say "x" is longer I get your vision of it,,

Now whether it is longer or not ..........that is another equasion to solve !!

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