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January 29

How do you Polar Mill on a CNC Mill Turn Lathe?

Polar milling hexagons and squares with driven tools is very simple if you break it down into basic steps. If you don’t have all the expensive CAM options for your Fanuc controlled CNC lathe but have the functionality of a C axis, then you can get a lot of cutting done through the G12.1 cycle.

We started easy and looked at what commands are required to mill a hexagon on a three axis vertical machining centre then adapted this for a three axis lathe. If you look at the mathematics used on the CNC Mill and then the CNC Lathe – it’s simple. The lathe requires X axis diameter program not radius, Y coordinate can be substituted with C and Z axis is just your depth of cut.


We went one step further and assigned custom macro variables so that the CNC lathe can produce AF flats, Squares or Hexagons from a single line, by changing a few macro variables,

AF size

Cutter size

Number of flats 2, 4, 6


This is only good if you have custom macro enabled, so if you don’t – you will need to calculate the full CNC code each time.

Remember to test run all your programs without a work piece!




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