Plunge rate or something else?

Good Morning- simple question here but I want to be sure before I make changes…

When I’m running jobs it takes forever for the spindle/bit to reach the surface of my material and start milling. Someone mentioned this was an adjustment I needed to make to ‘plunge rate’ but I thought plunge rate was how fast the bit plunged as it cut so I don’t want to make any changes to that since I’m cutting metal with small bits.

I’m generating g-code via carbide create.

Thanks for any help you can give!

You are correct, the plunge rate is how fast the cutter is going to enter the material. You can make it faster (higher number) if the material is soft OR you are using a large cutter.

IF your setup allows it, you can change how high the cutter retracts by changing the retract height in the setup. Preset at 12mm.

OR you can switch to another CAM software where they have a feed plain just above the work. (Meaning the cutter will raise high enough to clear clamps, etc, and rapid down (fast) to just above the material THEN feed (slowly) into the material.

I hope this has helped.

I’m hoping a newer version of Carbide Create and MeshCAM include the ability to rapid move to the clearance height (where a retract lands) before a plunge particularly at the beginning of the job. In the case of MeshCAM it’s pretty easy to add it myself to the gcode, but it’s a bit of a hassle in the case of CC. And also after a tool change.

@markwal, in MeshCAM you can rapid down to the clearance (safe) plane. See my Tormach post example at When the toolchange position is above the safe plane, my post will rapid down to the safe plane and then proceed at plunge rate into the material. You can adopt that for other MeshCAM postprocessors.