Don’t Be Afraid of 5 Axis CNC Programming [Conversational 5 Axis Programming with KipwareM]

5 axis CNC machining is quickly becoming all the rage as it’s benefits become more and more apparent. The real problem though is everyone thinks that 5 axis programming is only meant for complex, multi-axis workpieces. But that is very far from the actual truth.

Well let’s back up and start with some facts. There are basically (2) school’s of thought when talking about 5 axis milling. Yes, if you want to make a fan blade … true 5 axis is probably needed and yes it’s complicated. But the 2nd school of thought involves what is called 3+2 positional 5 axis milling. As the name implies … it involves 3 axis ( X / Y/ Z ) and 2 additional axis … A which usually revolves around the X axis and B which usually revolves around the Y axis. This type of programming usually includes A nd B axis as indexing axis’s only. Perfect for multi-sided machining where “true” 5 axis (all the axis moving at the same time) is not required … you basically want to just reduce set-up and fixturing and you want to machine on multiple faces of the part using a single set-up. Like that sample parts illustrated below.

If you have ever worked with a 4 axis indexing table on your VMC … you can relate pretty easily. The 4th axis gives you the ability to fixture the part once and by indexing the 4th axis machine on up to 4 faces of the workpiece. Well adding the 5th axis is similar … but gives you the ability to machine on 5 faces … or use a combination of A and B axis achieve more angles and thus more faces to machine on.

See … not so complicated when you consider 3+2 positional 5 axis.

KipwareM® is FULL 4 and 5 axis positional COMPATIBLE … STANDARD !!

When we built KipwareM® … our conversational CNC programming software for milling … we built a robust, user friendly, powerful CNC programming tool … not some under developed “wizard”. We know from our experiences on the shop floor that CAD/CAM can oftentimes be overkill and even slow down the programming process and remove good chipmakers from that process. So if you want an alternative to CAD/CAM … it better be robust and capable of handling a little complexity and import DXF files for the non-standard type stuff. We built that in KipwareM®.

We also built a very flexbile and powerful feature with our EIA MENU. This menu allows users to create ANY snippit of G code they might need … create it once and then recall and use it any time when programming any part.

This feature gives you the ability to create an indexing program for the A and / or B axis and use that snippit any time in any program.

Below is a video showing this feature in a 4 axis programming example … 5 axis is pretty similar.

Watch KipwareM® in ACTION — 5 Axis Example

Below is a video illustrating how to create a 5 axis program on a Haas 5 axis CNC.

So Don’t Be AFRAID of 5 Axis … KipwareM® is HERE !!!

So … if you’re in the market  for a new CNC for your shop … maybe consider 5 axis. Now knowing there is a REAL WORLD tool out there … that isn’t a complex and expensive CAD/CAM system … that can help you get easily program 5 axis you can take a deeper look at how a 5 axis CNC can benefit your shop. As mentioned … not all 5 axis work is complex fan blades but more often than not just multi-surface programming. And KipwareM® conversational has you covered !!

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

The Story of Kipware® [Why we created our REAL WORLD CNC Software]

Our story ( really my story ) is most likely very close to your story.

Started out as a machinist … working on the shop floor running manual machinery … lathes, millers, grinders, planers … basically any machine tool you can imagine.

Worked up to Class “A” Machinist … Tool & Die maker … working with close tolerances learning CAD and fixture design.

Moved to CNC … service tech (Mori Seiki), programmer, applications engineer, then learning CAD/CAM and 3D programming.

Moved to management … quoting, estimating and production scheduling and management.

In 1986 I started Kentech Inc. starting off doing CNC machine repair, CNC programming training and contract CNC programming. But all the while I had the thought …

“There’s got to be an easier way.”

Being in the shop every day with all that experience with me … I never stopped looking at the status-quo and saying “There’s got to be an easier / better way.” I was determined to create quality solutions to handle issues I tackled every day and found lacking in my work experiences. That was the type of software I wanted to create … REAL WORLD software.

For simple every day CNC part programming … either having to program by hand (error prone) or having to use the CAD/CAM system (overly complex) … there was a tool needed to make the every day programming faster and easier. Born … Kipware® conversational.

For accurate cycletime estimating … working as an application engineer required tons of cycletime estimates to show potential clients how long it would take to make their part on our machines … and it better be right !! Born … KipwareCYC® cycletime estimating software.

For quoting and estimating … using spreadsheets (very clunky and not user friendly) or looking at spending thousands of dollars for software with “features” I didn’t want or need (who designed this stuff anyway ??). Born … KipwareQTE® quoting and estimating software.

For making the shop floor run seamless … even though it contained a variety of CNC’s with a variety of  CNC controls. Having to re-post (dumping proven toolpaths) or make manual edits  (dealing with typos or mistakes) … Born … KipwareXC® and CNC XChange.

Kipware® was BORN from actual Chipmaking Experiences

Over the last 30+ years … intermingled with still working with shops and on shop floors … we created the variety of Kipware® software we offer today. I’m proud that I created software not driven by profit or gouging my customers … but software that deals with the Real World issues machinist’s, programmers and shop management deal with every day. You know what I mean … I’m sure you have thought or uttered the statements …

  • Jeez this CAD/CAM is overkill for this part
  • I can’t keep up with these RFQ’s … our quoting system is really outdated.
  • Are we even making money on these jobs?
  • I wish some of the guys on the floor could create some of these simpler programs.
  • I wish these machines all talked the same language.
  • I wish I could get some help with all this quoting.

If you look deep at the CNC and machine shop software companies out there and their background … Kentech Inc. is one of the ONLY software developers out there that can boast this type of background on which their software is based. The gamut runs from software only developers with no machining background to individuals who think they know everything about everything CNC because they read it on the internet. Some of these guys even steal other people’s ideas from the company name to the products in their line-up.

At Kentech Inc. we ARE different … and we are proud that thousands of machinist’s and machine shops profit with our applications around the world every day.

AND … we USE Kipware® EVERY DAY !!

We still assist local users with their shops … from providing programming assistance to assisting in tool selection to just generally answering questions about CNC and manufacturing. And we use a variety of our Kipware® software in those shops.

In addition … I started a woodworking business in 2016 that blends my knowledge of CNC with hand craftsmanship as I design and build custom wood creations  … take a look here : KÄRV Woodworking.

Look … woodworking or metalworking … they both are very similar as far as business / shops go. They both need material planning … machine time planning … costing, estimating, quoting and as far as machining goes … wood or metal … it’s machining … very similar.

With our X-Carve … I use KipwareM® every day. Yes I use VCarve for the carving but I use KipwareM® for the “everyday” programming … circles and squares for joinery and for milling contours and sooo many other features. It’s faster than CAD/CAM or carving software and just plain simpler and allows me control of the machining process so I can machine how I want.

I use KipwareCYC® (cycletime estimating) and KipwareQTE® for costing and quoting custom projects … sooo nice, accurate, easy-to-use … and I can rest assured my quotes will lead to profitable projects.

And I use KipwareXC® to automatically make modifications to G code created by VCarve to correctly run my X-Carve router.

Kipware software proves it’s worth every day in the REAL WORLD. And the use of Kipware® in real world situations insures constant updates and enhancements that solve real world issues that present themselves in real world situations.

If this rings true to you …

If the points made here ring true for you … we invite you not to waste any more time and profits. Become a member of the Kipware® family today and start realizing increased productivity … increased profits … and a healthier business and bottom line.


Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

Customer Supplied CAD Drawings [The Truth No One Talks About]

All the rage today is “my customer supplies the CAD drawing” or “my customer supplies the model”. Great … just use your CAD/CAM software to make a G code program from that. RIGHT ????

WRONG !!!!


The “TRUTH” that no one ever talks about is that more and more … due to either CAD operator inexperience or … whatever … drawings, solid models, and similar … suppose to be able to be used directly to create G code programs are not to scale … oftentimes require re-drawing … or at least a thorough double-check. Very time consuming … and very costly … and could even be catastrophic if no one checks and parts are produced.

But Don’t Take My WORD For It …

The “TRUTH” that no one ever talks about was recently stated most eloquently by “SIM” on the Practical Machinist forum at Here is a quote of what he had to say about his NEW PET PEEVE … along with some replies.

“New Pet Peeve- CAD drawing not in Proportion.

Its like going back to the old hand drawn sketches on a napkin. The width may be a little longer then the length, a large circle could be a small hole, a 1″ boss 1/2″ high could just barely fit in a 4″ square and look as tall as the 2″ plate is sits on…but it was a hand drawn sketch and it usually came with a person who went over each detail with you. I understood, made my own drawing to a semi proportionate scale and we made part.

CAD came into play and life became easier in that no longer could you draw a 1″ circle inside a 3/4″dia boss, a 1/4″ keyway just looked wrong inside a 4″ shaft, tapers machined matched tapers drawn…you could look at a CAD drawing and knew what the part was going to look like. You knew you could pre-drill a feature and had room to clean up later as the hole just looked bigger…so it was. I saw all through features where far from the edge, so didn’t worry about parallel placement.

So the peeve is this…I am now getting drawings in CAD that are not proportionally correct. I didn’t even know this was possible. Simple rectangular part dimensioned 2″ wide x 3″ tall has proportions were it is drawn wider then tall. Do you know how many times you need to verify the part is correct when that happens. Each time you go to another op…the part just looks wrong. Yes, I can and did redraw…but is was supposed to be a simple do at the machine job. Plus redrawing opens a new place to make errors.
Simple plug in a bunch of drilled hole locations from datum, parts a 1/2″ thick…all holes situated way more then that thickness from edge…1/4″ parallels will be fine…nope holes hit the parallels. Yes, we need to watch a bit more carefully…but again simple job that can, should have been done at machine.

Part with tapered feature turns out making part wider then drawn…My fault…I didn’t layout the dimensions to verify stock size..just went off the dimensioned width,everything fell within. But now plug in the angles and material needs to be a quarter inch wider to fit that feature.

I have encountered this before from college students making prints in Power Point??? But those drawings just looked wrong in every conceivable way…so the Red flags had already gone up. But lately I am getting drawings from customers “engineering departments” Drawings look good, no flags go up till its a bit on the late side.

Rant over…lesson learned, assume nothing and verify everything. So much for the added edge of getting a CAD file…the big drawback used to be the happy zeros…the more the merrier. 1.0000 Clearance hole for 7/8 bolt…ahh those were the days.”

Response from “adamm” :

“It’s funny you say that. Many of the CAD drawing templates that I see have a note that says something to the effect of “Not to scale”, and “Do not scale drawing”. It has been a while since I’ve seen some truly out of proportion drawing, but I have had some lately where there are two close elements, and the dimension extension lines don’t point at either of them. … ”

Response from “Joe Miranda” :

“We have begun to add to our quotes that if we have to re-draw the 2D or 3D drawings that we add $100 per hour and our typical charge is 2-4 hours. Re-drawing is not free and besides that we become liable for the outcome which is a situation that we prefer to avoid. ”

So if you are a 100% CAD/CAM programming model shop … you have been warned.

If you are thinking that CAD/CAM and customer supplied CAD files  and models will help you get a leg-up … you have been warned.

Our Kipware® conversational can help you put a STOP to the CAD/CAM OVERKILL … gives you an alternative to having to alwasy use a CAD drawing to create G code … and allows you to use “print dimensions” to create G code. Which … after what you’ve read above … ain’t such a bad idea !!

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

Kipware® Companion Programs – The Hidden Gems

A purchase of our Kipware® CONVERSATIONAL programming software is a purchase of SO MUCH more than just a G code generating system … although that in itself is a hell-of-a-buy !!

After living and working on the shop floor for 30+ years … we know that programming is more than just generating the cutting program. Having REAL WORLD tools available to assist in all the related jobs is essential as well. That’s why we include a ton of REAL WORLD companion applications with EVERY Kipware® conversational purchase.

Integration and Stand-Alone — That’s REAL WORLD Development

AND … one of the most underrated aspects of these applications is the way we both integrate them and separate them from the main programming application. Why do we do that? Well … as an example … let’s say you want to start a G code editor to either create some G code or modify some G code. You can launch KipwareTP® (one of our included companion app’s) and go. To boot … because it is a toolpath plotter … you can BOTH create the G code and watch the toolpath plot. On the other hand … you are creating a program with Kipware® conversational and you want to watch the plot … just click the plot button and KipwareTP® will launch automatically and show you the plot. Integrated … AND … stand alone. That’s REAL WORLD development for ya !!

Let’s Get UP CLOSE and PERSONNEL with our Companion Apps’s

Let’s take a closer look at the WHAT and WHY of our Kipware® conversational companion applications.

The Kipware® SketchPad

A simple drawing application with DXF IMPORT for non-standard shape programming.

While the conversational, fill-in-the-blank module is employed by Kipware® conversational for the G code programming of standard shapes … the included Kipware® SketchPad can be utilized for non-standard shapes.

SketchPad allows the user to either draw the toopath / shape directly or to import a DXF file created in any CAD program. Once the toolpath / shape is created or imported … the SketchPad uses conversational, fill-in-the-blank forms to gather inputs and then create the desired G code program.

SketchPad’s patent-pending and unique MACHINIST MODE allows users to create ANY toolpath desired by simple moving the mouse … represented by a user defined cutting tool configuration. SketchPad CYCLES can be employed to make toolpath generation even easier.

The Kipware® SketchPad can be used to create cycles for non-standard shapes in conjunction with KipwareM® (milling) or KipwareT® (turning) … or as a stand-alone programming application to create G code independent of Kipware® conversational. SketchPad® also contain a powerful EDITOR making it a complete, stand-alone G code generator.

We invite you to fully explore the Kipware® SketchPad through our YouTube videos series … just CLICK HERE.


Speed & Feed Wizard for Kipware® Conversational

Consistency in the cutting parameters utilized in a G code program is a key factor to reaching full production quickly. Kipware® conversatinal makes creating G code fast … and the included KipwareCSF® Speed and Feed Wizard makes including consistent speeds and feeds in those programs fast and easy.

Rather than basing speeds and feeds on pie-in-the-sky, never-attainable “recommendations” , KipwareCSF®allows users to build a database of cutting parameters based on your shop equipment’s capabilities and your shop floor’s inventory. Then KIpwareCSF® uses that database to auto-calculate realistic speeds and feeds and auto-inserts them into your G code creations.

CLICK HERE to view the KipwareCSF® video.


G Code Editor and Toolpath Plotting Software

For 90 to 95% of CNC programming done everyday in the real world, programmers and operators are looking for a simple tool that will produce a simple plot to confirm their G code program. Developed by machinists for machinists KipwareTP® cuts to the chase to allow for simple plots and includes powerful, easy-to-use features if you want to go complex.

KipwareTP® is included standard and is an integral part of ALL Kipware® conversational titles, but can also be used as a stand-alone application. Plot any Kipware® conversational program or create your G code from scratch in KipwareTP® and view the plot to confirm.

Full G Code Specific Editor … create your code form scratch or import a program and use re-sequencing, inch / metric conversion, X and Z axis reversal, color highlight and more.

On Screen Measurement …. use your mouse to measure right on the screen.

Import DXF files as stock models … plot directly over a DXF file to see how the toolpath compares to the part.

Cutting Tool Library … users can build a cutting tool library of user defined tools and use them to plot.

Uses handy machine like functions for plotting like : Single Block, Optional Stop, Block Delete, Selectable Plotting Speed, Selectable Tool Display.

We invite you to fully explore KipwareTP® and all its features through our YouTube series … just CLICK HERE.


Machinist Toolbox Software

Wasting time on the shop floor searching for the “answer guy” or looking through charts and formulas reduces productivity. Smart shops now employ PC’s on the shop floor with applications that make finding the necessary information quick and easy. KipwareTB® is the PREMIER Shop Floor Assistant … and is included standard with ALL Kipware® conversational titles.

Developed by machinists for machinists KipwareTB® not only includes all the formulas and conversions you need every day … it also includes these unique and powerful “real world” features:

Conversational intersecting point and tangency point calculator … no need for CAD, give KipwareTB® a couple of inputs and it will auto-calculate intersecting points for line-to-line or tangency points for line-arc-line configurations

Circle mill helper …. quickly generate G code for circle milling with tangent ramping entry and exit.

Cutting TROUBLESHOOTERS for turning, milling and drilling … quickly get recommendations for common material cutting issues.

Cutter Comp Calculator … calculate shift amounts for chamfers and radius without having to use the machines cutter comp. functions.

We invite you to fully explore KipwareTB® and all it’s features through our YouTube series … just CLICK HERE.

ALL of the above and are INCLUDED STANDARD with every Kipware® conversational CNC programming title. AND THERE ARE MORE !! You can check them all out by CLICKING HERE.

Real World Software comes from Real World Developers … Kentech Inc. !!

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.