The ProtoTRAK CNC …it doesn’t get any easier

When Southwestern Industries created their ProtoTRAK CNC they realized real power lies in simplicity. On a prototrak there is no need to fuss around with complicated programming procedures. When you bypass this all-to-common technical hurdle, you get your chips cutting sooner and that first part in your hand quickly. A prototrak will always make that first part faster, which is exactly why it is so ideally suited to low volume machining applications. A CNC ideal for but not limited to Prototype Machinists, Fabricators, Tool-makers, Model-makers, Engineers, Inventors, Mold-makers, Maintenance and Support shops… people who need ease and flexibility but don’t make 1000’s of a single part.

So how do they do it so well?  Their control is intuitive, conversational, and most importantly simple.  As you scroll through on-screen menus, options are presented in a logical and straightforward fashion.  The most widely used features are listed first, and as you drill down through menus more features become available.  This removes confusion and clutter, and makes programming both fast and easy.  With a prototrak you will be making beautiful CNC parts the same day you got it powered up, lets see HAAS try to do that!

To program you select from a listing of common tool path types then simply answer a few questions to define the event.  Most parts can easily be defined using a combination of these ‘canned’ tool paths to make numerous events.  After setting up tools and your material the prototrak CNC then does everything else automatically behind the scenes to create actual machine code and tool paths.  At any time you can also simply use the prototrak as a DRO with a powerfeed capability.  It’s powerful yet flexible.

The competition may devalue the prototrak by saying it doesn’t have as many options or programming bells-and-whistles as their own more complicated g-code based machines.  This is sometimes the case, but 99% of the time having less is actually more.  Less time spent programming events that are too complicated to program by hand, and more time simply cutting parts.  When it comes to CNC, simple always is a good thing!  But, if you do need to create complicated cutting paths or 3D contours, the prototrak will run CAM toolpaths created by all the major software companies.  Win-win.

For more info on just how easy SWI’s ProtoTRAK is to program, please check out our other articles and the manufacturer’s website.

Pratt Machine Tools
San Diego, CA

Written by

B.S Mechanical Engineering (Cal Poly SLO) - Operations manager, Pratt Machine Tools

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