Air Nozzle Control Work-Arounds for CNC Routers

Some CNC control systems have code to switch blower-nozzle air on and off, and some don't. If yours doesn't, a simple hardware tweak might help. July 16, 2008

Does anyone know if there is an M-Code to turn air on and off? I am running an Andi Stratos Pro. It would be for the nozzle at the spindle that blows of the work piece. There is a manual valve right above the spindle but we were just curious to see if we could add that to our program so it's only on when we are cutting.

Forum Responses
(CNC Forum)
From contributor A:
I have a similar air nozzle on our Shoda. It was configured to use M08 turn air on and M09 for off. Usually M08 on Fanuc controls is used for coolant on/off on metal working machines. I'm not sure which M code activates the air nozzle on an Anderson but a call to Anderson or a look through the code list for your machine should give you the answer.

From contributor B:
Many M-codes are chosen by the manufacturer and not standard across the board from my observations. Call Anderson. I'd be surprised if it was not controllable by the end user.

From contributor C:
First you have to find out if the option is on your Machine. Since you say you have a manual valve then that is probably all you have. Our valves are not manual and can only be turned on within the program code. M14 starts the air blast and it will stay on until it reads the code M15 which cancels it. Like Mike said the M codes are configurable to different machines and only a few of the M codes are really standard.

From the original questioner:
I contacted Andi and they said there is no M code for that in our PLC. They would have to change the entire system to equip it. I think we will stick to the manual valve.

From contributor D:
Use a stand alone system for the air line. Put a micro switch next to the home switch, so when the router starts moving it moves off the micro switch and turns on the electronic valve to turn on the air.

From contributor E:
On your machine, the router doesn't start cutting until the code M11 (spindle down) is activated. The M11 code activates an air cylinder which lowers the router into its working position. Just get a "T" connector for the input side of that cylinder and from the "T" run an airline to your air blast nozzle. This way the air blast nozzle will only come on when the router is down and it will turn off as soon as M12 (router up) is activated. This will cost you less than $10 and will not be dependent on the gantry returning to a home position to hit a micro switch.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor F:
"M"-codes will vary from machine to machine, because the manufacturers codes varies. The M-codes stand for "Machine", and are proprietary to that make. I have used m-22 to turn on air on CNC mills as well as m-35 (which in some cases are speed variables) for changing speeds in the transmissions of older machines. If you have that option in the software code, the manufacturer with be able to help. If not, you are left to your own creative devices.