What Is Meant By Canned Cycle?

A canned cycle is a term used in CNC programming to refer to a method of conveniently performing repetitive machine operations. It involves automating specific machining functions such as drilling, boring, threading, and pocketing to simplify the programming process and make it more efficient. Canned cycles, also known as fixed cycles, are pre-programmed sequences that are stored in the machine’s controller.

  • A canned cycle is a way of automating repetitive CNC machine operations.
  • Canned cycles are commonly used in CNC programming to simplify the program and increase efficiency.
  • They are pre-programmed sequences stored in the machine’s controller.
  • Canned cycles can include drilling, boring, threading, pocketing, and other machining functions.
  • Using canned cycles reduces the number of blocks in a program and saves time in programming.

The Programming Format of Canned Cycles

Canned cycles in CNC programming follow a specific programming format that utilizes G-code, addresses, and values to control the CNC machine’s movement and operations. The programming format of a canned cycle consists of a series of parameters specified by letters and numerical values, known as addresses. These addresses provide instructions to the machine on where and how to move during the machining process.

For example, the G81 canned cycle, which is used for standard drilling, includes parameters such as the initial position, drill depth, feed rate, and retract height. These parameters are specified using addresses like X, Y, Z, F, and R followed by their respective numerical values. By programming these parameters correctly, the machine can perform the drilling operation with precision.

It is important to note that the syntax and format of canned cycles may vary depending on the brand of the CNC machine’s control. Different controls may have specific codes or variations in the way addresses and values are specified. Therefore, it is essential for programmers to understand the programming format and syntax specific to the CNC machine being used.

Example: G81 Canned Cycle Programming Format for Drilling

Address Description Example
G Preparatory function G81
X Position along the X-axis X10.0
Y Position along the Y-axis Y5.0
Z Position along the Z-axis (depth) Z-20.0
F Feed rate F100.0
R Retract height R5.0

In the example table above, each address represents a specific parameter in the G81 canned cycle for drilling. The programmer specifies the values for each address to program the desired drilling operation. These addresses and values guide the machine on how to perform the drilling operation accurately and efficiently.

Commonly Used Canned Cycles

Canned cycles are a crucial component of CNC machining processes, offering a streamlined approach to repetitive operations. They simplify programming and enhance efficiency by automating specific machining tasks. Let’s explore some commonly used canned cycles and their applications.

G81 – Standard Drilling Cycle

The G81 canned cycle is widely used for drilling operations in CNC programming. It offers a standardized approach to drilling holes at specific depths, feed rates, and spindle speeds. With the G81 cycle, the machine can efficiently perform drilling tasks without the need for manual programming of each hole.

G82 – Counter-sink Cycle

The G82 canned cycle is utilized for creating counter-sink holes. It allows for precise control over counter-sink dimensions, such as angle and depth. By employing the G82 cycle, machinists can easily and accurately create counter-sinks without the complexity of manual programming.

G83 – Peck Drilling Cycle

The G83 canned cycle is commonly used for peck drilling operations. It enables the machine to drill holes in multiple passes, withdrawing the drill bit periodically to clear away chips. This cycle is particularly useful when drilling deep holes or working with materials that tend to generate excessive heat or chips.

G84 – Tapping Cycle

The G84 canned cycle is designed for tapping operations. It facilitates the precise threading of holes by controlling factors such as pitch, depth, and feed rate. Utilizing the G84 cycle eliminates the need for manual programming of tapping instructions, streamlining the machining process.

G85 – Boring Cycle

The G85 canned cycle is ideal for boring operations, allowing for the efficient creation of cylindrical holes with precise dimensions. By specifying parameters such as position, depth, and feed rate, the G85 cycle automates the process of boring, simplifying programming and enhancing accuracy.

Canned Cycle Application
G81 Standard drilling
G82 Counter-sink
G83 Peck drilling
G84 Tapping
G85 Boring

Advantages of Using Canned Cycles

Canned cycles offer several advantages in CNC programming that contribute to improved efficiency and productivity. Understanding the benefits of using canned cycles can help programmers make better use of this automation feature to streamline their machining operations.

  • Programming Efficiency: One of the key advantages of canned cycles is the increased programming efficiency they provide. By using pre-defined cycles for common machining operations, programmers can save time and effort by eliminating the need to manually write repetitive instructions for each operation. This allows them to focus on other critical aspects of the programming process, leading to faster turnaround times and improved overall efficiency.
  • Reduced Programming Errors: Another significant advantage is the reduction of programming errors. With canned cycles, programmers can rely on pre-built programs that have been thoroughly tested and verified. This minimizes the chances of human error in coding and ensures that the machining operations are executed accurately. By reducing errors, canned cycles contribute to higher productivity and cost savings by minimizing material and tool waste.
  • Code Conciseness and Readability: Canned cycles help improve the conciseness and readability of CNC program code. By using pre-defined cycles, programmers can reduce the number of code blocks necessary to accomplish specific operations. This results in shorter and more concise programs that are easier to read and understand. Additionally, the standardized format of canned cycles ensures consistency in coding practices, making it easier for programmers to locate and fix any errors that may occur during the machining process.
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Overall, the advantages of using canned cycles in CNC programming include increased programming efficiency, reduced errors, and improved code readability. These benefits contribute to a more streamlined and productive machining process, allowing manufacturers to achieve higher levels of accuracy, productivity, and cost-effectiveness in their operations.

Table: Comparison of Canned Cycles vs. Manual Programming

Canned Cycles Manual Programming
Automated and streamlined process Manual entry of repetitive instructions
Reduced programming time Time-consuming coding for each operation
Minimized programming errors Higher potential for human error
Concise and readable code Longer and complex code blocks

The table above provides a comparison between canned cycles and manual programming, highlighting the advantages of using canned cycles in CNC programming. It showcases the automation, efficiency, and error reduction offered by canned cycles compared to the manual entry of repetitive instructions. Additionally, it emphasizes the concise and readable nature of canned cycle code in contrast to the longer and complex code blocks required in manual programming.

Customization of Canned Cycles

If the machine control supports it, users can create their own custom canned cycles. This allows for a more personalized approach to CNC programming and can greatly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of machining operations. One popular method for creating custom canned cycles is through Fanuc macro programming.

Fanuc macro programming allows programmers to create personalized programming codes that perform specific machining operations. By utilizing this feature, programmers can tailor the canned cycles to meet the specific requirements of their machining tasks. This level of customization can lead to improved productivity, reduced programming time, and enhanced precision in machining.

Creating custom canned cycles involves storing new canned cycle programs in vacant locations in the machine’s controller. These custom programs can be easily accessed and used when needed, providing a streamlined and efficient solution for repetitive machining operations. It is important to follow the syntax and formatting guidelines of the specific machine control system to ensure compatibility and proper execution of the custom canned cycles.

Benefits of Custom Canned Cycles

The benefits of creating custom canned cycles through Fanuc macro programming are numerous. Firstly, it allows programmers to automate complex machining operations and reduce the risk of human error. By defining the specific parameters and values in the custom canned cycles, programmers can ensure consistent and accurate execution of the machining tasks.

Additionally, custom canned cycles can improve programming efficiency by reducing the amount of manual coding required. Instead of writing repetitive instructions for each machining operation, programmers can simply call the custom canned cycle program, saving time and effort.

Furthermore, custom canned cycles can be tailored to specific machine capabilities and machining requirements. This level of customization allows for optimal utilization of the machine’s capabilities and ensures the best possible machining results.

Benefits of Custom Canned Cycles
Automates complex machining operations
Reduces the risk of human error
Improves programming efficiency
Tailored to specific machine capabilities
Optimizes machining results

Canned Cycles in Different Machine Types

Canned Cycles in Mills and Lathes

Canned cycles are versatile and widely used in various types of machines, including mills and lathes. These cycles simplify and streamline specific machining operations, enhancing efficiency and accuracy. Let’s explore the applications of canned cycles in mills and lathes.


In mills, canned cycles are commonly employed for drilling, tapping, and pocketing operations. These cycles automate the repetitive tasks involved in these operations, saving time and effort. By utilizing canned cycles, machinists can ensure consistent and precise machining results while reducing the complexity of the program.


In lathes, canned cycles find extensive use in threading and facing operations. These cycles simplify the programming process for these operations and optimize the control of machining parameters such as cutting depth, feed rate, and tool path. With canned cycles, machinists can achieve accurate and repeatable results, enhancing the overall productivity of the lathe.

The applications of canned cycles extend beyond mills and lathes. Industries such as aerospace, electronics, and mold making rely on canned cycles to perform complex machining operations with precision and efficiency.

Machine Type Common Applications
Mills Drilling, tapping, pocketing
Lathes Threading, facing
Other Industries Aerospace, electronics, mold making

Canned Cycles vs. Multiple Repetitive Cycles

In CNC programming, canned cycles and multiple repetitive cycles are two different approaches used to automate machining operations. Understanding the differences between these two methods is crucial for programmers to choose the most suitable approach for their machining needs.

Canned cycles are pre-programmed sequences of instructions that streamline repetitive machining operations. They simplify the programming process by allowing the programmer to define a set of parameters once and reuse them throughout the program. Canned cycles are typically used for specific machining operations such as drilling, tapping, or pocketing. They are activated by a specific G-code command, such as G81 for drilling or G84 for tapping.

On the other hand, multiple repetitive cycles involve repeating a series of individual commands to achieve the desired machining outcome. Unlike canned cycles, these cycles do not require a specific G-code command to activate or cancel them. Instead, the programmer manually repeats the necessary commands multiple times to perform the operation. This approach is often used for removing a large amount of material in a controlled manner.

Key Differences between Canned Cycles and Multiple Repetitive Cycles

To summarize the differences between canned cycles and multiple repetitive cycles:

  • Canned cycles are activated and canceled with specific G-code commands (e.g., G81, G84), while multiple repetitive cycles do not require explicit activation or cancellation.
  • Canned cycles simplify programming by allowing the reuse of predefined parameters, whereas multiple repetitive cycles involve manually repeating individual commands.
  • Canned cycles are commonly used for specific machining operations, while multiple repetitive cycles are often employed for material removal tasks.
Canned Cycles Multiple Repetitive Cycles
Activated and canceled with specific G-code commands Do not require explicit activation or cancellation
Simplify programming process Involve manual repetition of individual commands
Used for specific machining operations Often employed for material removal tasks
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When deciding between canned cycles and multiple repetitive cycles, programmers should consider the nature of the machining operation and the complexity of the program. Canned cycles offer a more streamlined and efficient approach for repetitive operations, while multiple repetitive cycles provide greater flexibility for customizing the machining process. By understanding the differences and benefits of each method, programmers can make informed decisions and optimize their CNC programming workflow.

G70 – Finishing Cycle

The G70 command represents the finishing cycle in CNC programming. It is a valuable tool used to perform various finishing operations, such as turning, facing, and contouring, which are crucial for achieving the final desired shape and surface finish of a part. The G70 command simplifies the programming process and improves the efficiency of finishing operations.

During the finishing cycle, the CNC machine precisely removes any remaining material, smoothens the surface, and creates the final details of the part. This is achieved by carefully defining the parameters and values in the program, such as feed rates, depths of cut, and tool paths. The G70 command ensures that the finishing operations are executed accurately and consistently, resulting in high-quality finished parts.

By utilizing the G70 command, CNC programmers can achieve precise and efficient finishing operations. It eliminates the need for manual intervention and reduces the chances of errors or inconsistencies in the machining process. The G70 command is a crucial component in CNC programming that contributes to the overall success of the manufacturing process.

Benefits of G70 Finishing Cycle
Simplifies programming process
Improves efficiency and accuracy
Enables precise shaping and contouring
Produces high-quality surface finish

Programming Canned Cycles in CNC

Programming canned cycles in CNC involves specifying the necessary parameters and values in the programming code. To program a canned cycle, the programmer needs to understand the syntax and format of the specific canned cycle being used. It is important to carefully define the positions, depths, feed rates, and other parameters required for the specific machining operation.

One tip for programming canned cycles is to use comments to make the code easier to understand and modify. Comments can provide explanations for specific lines of code or indicate the purpose of certain parameters. This can be especially useful when working on complex machining operations that involve multiple canned cycles.

Another tip is to follow programming best practices to ensure efficient and error-free code. This includes using consistent naming conventions and organizing the code in a logical and structured manner. By maintaining clean and readable code, it becomes easier to troubleshoot and debug any issues that may arise during the machining process.

It is also important to reference the machine’s documentation or programming manual to understand the specific syntax and capabilities of the machine’s controller. Different CNC machines may have variations in how canned cycles are programmed or supported. By referring to the documentation, programmers can ensure that their code is compatible and optimized for the specific machine being used.

Overall, programming canned cycles requires a good understanding of the specific canned cycle being used, attention to detail in defining the necessary parameters, and adherence to programming best practices. By following these tips, programmers can leverage the benefits of canned cycles to simplify and streamline CNC machining operations.

Limitations and Considerations of Canned Cycles

While canned cycles offer numerous advantages in CNC programming, they also come with certain limitations and considerations that need to be taken into account. It is important to understand these limitations to ensure efficient and effective use of canned cycles in machining operations.

One significant limitation of canned cycles is their machine specificity. Not all CNC machines are compatible with canned cycles, as different machine controls may have variations in the syntax and format of canned cycles. Before utilizing canned cycles, it is crucial to ensure that the machine being used supports the specific canned cycle commands required.

Another consideration when using canned cycles is the nature of the machining operation. While canned cycles are useful for repetitive operations such as drilling, tapping, and pocketing, they may not be suitable for complex machining operations that require customized programming. In such cases, manual programming or the use of specialized techniques may be necessary to achieve the desired machining results.

Machine Compatibility

When implementing canned cycles, it is essential to consider the compatibility of the CNC machine. Different machine manufacturers may have their own variations of canned cycles or specific requirements for their implementation. It is important to consult the machine’s documentation or seek guidance from the manufacturer to ensure that the machine is compatible with the desired canned cycles.

Overall, while canned cycles offer significant advantages in CNC programming, it is crucial to understand their limitations and consider machine compatibility before implementing them. By carefully assessing these factors, machinists and programmers can make informed decisions regarding the use of canned cycles, optimizing the efficiency and effectiveness of their machining operations.


Canned cycles are a valuable tool in CNC programming that offer numerous advantages to machinists. They streamline the programming process by automating repetitive machining operations, such as drilling, tapping, and pocketing, resulting in increased programming efficiency. The use of canned cycles also reduces the potential for errors and makes program code more concise and easier to read.

By understanding the programming format and syntax of canned cycles, programmers can effectively utilize them to achieve precise and efficient machining results. They can customize canned cycles to their specific needs, creating personalized programming codes using methods like Fanuc macro programming. This allows users to perform complex machining operations more easily and efficiently.

However, it is important to consider the limitations and machine compatibility when using canned cycles. Not all CNC machines may support canned cycles, so machinists should ensure that their machine is compatible before utilizing them. Additionally, certain complex machining operations may still require custom programming instead of relying solely on canned cycles to achieve the desired results.

Canned cycles are a powerful tool that can greatly enhance CNC machining processes. With proper understanding and utilization, they can simplify programming, improve efficiency, and help machinists achieve precise and accurate machining results.