What is the purpose of Offsets

After watching a video by Corbin on “Offsets” I am a bit confused. Are they used for a repeatable starting position for more than one vector? He says once you set up an “Offset” you can start in any position on the spoilboard. I know if I have a file with two or more vectors they will not start in the same position.


I’m going to assume that “Corbin” is speaking of XY Datum Position in the Job Setup panel. This creates a shift of XY-zero for your piece. Its like driving your car from the back seat, or building a ship in a bottle. :smiley:

This offset is for your whole project; not any single vector. You might have a reason where you don’t want to use the bottom left corner of your piece for XY-zero.

For example, I use the XY Datum Position when I build a fixture for a small part. The piece will be pocketed into the fixture to hold it while I cut some custom lettering onto it. My fixture will be much larger than the piece, but of known dimensions related to where the piece is located on the fixture. The fixture is bolted/clamped down to the machine. The piece is clamped into the fixture where I can’t get to the corner for XY-zero.

So, by setting the XY Datum Position to the lower left corner of my fixture all my toolpaths for the piece will be calculated referenced from that point. This offset is developed while creating the design. The box is checked in Job Setup and XY-zero is set there.

NOTE: XY-zero can be positioned just about anywhere so be careful that you don’t send your bit to the moon!

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Thanks for the reply!
I think I understand what you are saying about offsets. I need to think about it some more and set it in my mind.

I have to figure out how to ask the question I really want to know how to do since this isn’t it. I will get back to you.

I figured out what I needed. But I can use the info for the Offset.


What was it that you needed? I couldn’t tell from your post.

@Dean You have marked your issue as resolved. I would appreciate if you would explain what the resolution was. Thanks.

I had two files or vectors, I assume they are called, of a project. If I ran the first file and it worked I wanted the second file to start in the same place instead of trying to manually place it where I wanted it to carve so it was centered. That was to hard. So I started at X ,00 and Y,00. Then when i ran the second file I did the same thing and it seemed to work. Maybe I just got lucky! If I am doing it wrong I will see when I attempt another project.

@Dean I think you just wanted to keep your WORK zero the same for both jobs? The reason for the term “offsets” is because every position in your work envelope is defined by an XYZ location in space. Well, that XYZ location has to have an absolute reference, or origin (remember all those graphs in math class?). That absolute origin is your MACHINE zero. If you have homing switches, your MACHINE zero it’s defined by that position. Every other XYZ position is “offset” from that. That’s why something seemingly simple, like “WORK zero”, can be referred to as an offset.
In your case, the work zero will not change unless you explicitly change it, so you can run as many jobs as you want with the same work zero.

If I’m way off, let me know.

And if you want to go down the offset rabbit hole, I’ve been down here for a while and the rabbits moved out a long time ago.

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Thanks for the reply!
I am constantly going down some kind of hole not knowing exactly what it is. I don’t have homing switches. Like I say, I just want to know how to start two or more files or vectors in the same position. I have only broke one bit so far so I guess I am doing okay.

@Dean Are these files part of one project? That is, you created more than one toolpath and more than one gcode file, but for one project.

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Then you’ll have to leave the machine powered on to maintain those offsets they’re absolute reference is defined by the location of the machine even powered on.
Alternatively, and preferred, is to create a consistent reference to which you can manually move the machine before turning on. This is more difficult on leadscrew driven machines however.

Yes. Three files, one project.

Thank you for your response. I will do that.

@Dean If the files are one project, offsets do not come into play. You set your XY0 wherever you want it - front left corner, centre, etc. You set Z0 for the bit you are using for your first toolpath. You run that toolpath. You remove that bit and insert the next one. You set Z0 for that bit and run that toolpath. You do not reset XY0. This continues until you have run all your toolpaths. Again, XY0 does not change. So, there is not need for an offset or any other complication.

In addition to what @gwilki has said, are you thinking that each toolpath has to be a separate design file (or project?)