The plotter graphically draws the 3-axis machine movements in an NC g-code file, AKA a "tape" file.  The command line syntax is:

plot[.exe] tape_file_path

where [.exe] is optional.

The plotter window displays the tape file content and the plot of all tools.  The current block being plotted is highlighted at the vertical center of the window.  In addition a "digital readout" shows the current absolute coordinates of the X, Y, and Z axes, the current tool number, and the estimated tool cycle time (see note 1).  A, B and C rotational axes are also displayed in degrees if the tape contains them.

Note 1:  Tool cycle time is calculated via the commanded tool feed rates and distances traveled.  For lathes running in constant spindle speed mode inaccuracies in cycle time will occur for all facing operations (i.e. X-axis movements) where the spindle speeds up and down and when feed rates in units per revolution are used.  In those cases the RPM of the spindle at the start of the cut is used which will result in longer or shorter actual cycle times for that movement.

Note 2:  Effort has been taken to ensure that the plotter is as controller generic as possible.  That being said there is no doubt that the plotter is closely matched to the tape files generated by my postprocessor.

Note 3:  The plotter can plot tape files that contain subprograms.  Tape files must contain an "O" block to designate the beginning of the main program whether or not they contain any subprograms.  Refer to the SEQNO postprocessor command to determine how to automatically generate an "O" block.

Note 4:  All tape files must terminate the main program with either an M02 or M30.  Refer to the postprocessor commands "REWIND" and "END" for more information on how to generate these m-codes.

Keyboard Commands

G:  Show/hide the tape source lines, i.e. the g-code file.
Home/End:  Go to the beginning/end of the tape file.
Spacebar:  Single step forward through the tape.  Use Shift-Spacebar to single step backward.  Hold down the spacebar to rapidly single step forward or back.
Enter:  Plot forward up to the next M00/M01 or the end of the file.
PageUP/PageDown:  Plot forward/backward one full screen of the tape file.
Keypad +/-:  Zoom in/out.  The center of the plot's extents is centered in the window.
Up/Down Arrow:  Rotate the plot about the X-axis.  Use Ctrl-Up/Down to rotate about the Y-axis.
Left/Right Arrow:  Rotate the plot about the Z-axis.
Numeric Keys 1-9:  Plot only the tool corresponding to the given number, limited to tool numbers 1 through 9.  In addition only the blocks for that tool number are shown.  Zero (0) restores the plot of all tools.  For tool numbers greater than 9 use the right-hand mouse button (see below).


Left Button:  Click and release to place the point under the mouse cursor in the center of the window.  Click and hold to drag the plot.
Right Button:  Click and release to display a 2-part pop-up menu.  The top portion lets you select commonly used angles of view.  The lower portion displays the list of tool numbers from which you can choose to plot.
Scroll Wheel:  Zoom in/out about the point under the mouse cursor.