How to control PlanetCNC TNG from your own software

Command line arguments

PlanetCNC TNG accepts commands from command line. Only one software instance can run at same time. When you run second instance it will simply pass its arguments to running instance. Running instance will process these arguments and execute command.

Here are some examples (Windows, 64bit):

1. Open command prompt.
2. Go to PlanetCNC TNG installation folder. Usually “C:Program Files (x86)PlanetCNC”.
3. Type PlanetCNC64.exe. Software will start.
4. Type PlanetCNC64.exe gcode “G01 X10G01 Y10”. You will notice that two g-code lines are now loaded.
5. Type PlanetCNC64.exe start. Machine will start and g-code will be executed.

Named pipes

More advanced option is to use named pipes. Named pipes is simple cross-platform interprocess communication mechanism. It is possible to use named pipes in almost all programming languages.

PlanetCNC TNG must be running otherwise it will not receive command. If you do not want to show main window you can start software with “hide” command.

Here is source code of an example (Windows, C++):


List of supported commands

Both options described above use same commands. Here is a list and brief explanation.

show Shows main window
hide Hides main window
exit Exits program
estop Toggles EStop
start Performs Start
stop Performs Stop
pause Performs Pause
isestop Returns 1 if EStop is active, 0 otherwise
ispause Returns 1 if Pause is active, 0 otherwise
open "filename" Opens GCode from file
gcode "program" Opens GCode from string
close Closes opened GCode
mdi "command" Executes MDI command
param name=value Sets parameter value
param name Returns parameter value
posabs Returns absolute position for all axes
posabsx Returns absolute position for X axis
posabsy Returns absolute position for Y axis
posabsz Returns absolute position for Z axis
posabsa Returns absolute position for A axis
posabsb Returns absolute position for B axis
posabsc Returns absolute position for C axis
posabsu Returns absolute position for U axis
posabsv Returns absolute position for V axis
posabsw Returns absolute position for W axis
pos Returns position for all axes
posx Returns position for X axis
posy Returns position for Y axis
posz Returns position for Z axis
posa Returns position for A axis
posb Returns position for B axis
posc Returns position for C axis
posu Returns position for U axis
posv Returns position for V axis
posw Returns position for W axis
speed Returns current speed
accel Returns current acceleration
spindle Returns current spindle RPM
input Returns value of INPUT 
input1 Returns value of INPUT 1 pin
input2 Returns value of INPUT 2 pin
input3 Returns value of INPUT 3 pin
input4 Returns value of INPUT 4 pin
input5 Returns value of INPUT 5 pin
input6 Returns value of INPUT 6 pin
input7 Returns value of INPUT 7 pin
input8 Returns value of INPUT 8 pin
jog Returns value of JOG
jog1 Returns value of JOG 1 pin
jog2 Returns value of JOG 2 pin
jog3 Returns value of JOG 3 pin
jog4 Returns value of JOG 4 pin
jog5 Returns value of JOG 5 pin
jog6 Returns value of JOG 6 pin
jog7 Returns value of JOG 7 pin
jog8 Returns value of JOG 8 pin
joga1 Returns value of JOG A1 pin
joga2 Returns value of JOG A2 pin
jogs Returns value of JOG S pin
jogpot Returns value of JOG POT
limit Returns value of LIMIT
limit1 Returns value of LIMIT 1 pin
limit2 Returns value of LIMIT 2 pin
limit3 Returns value of LIMIT 3 pin
limit4 Returns value of LIMIT 4 pin
limit5 Returns value of LIMIT 5 pin
limit6 Returns value of LIMIT 6 pin
limit7 Returns value of LIMIT 7 pin
limit8 Returns value of LIMIT 8 pin
limit9 Returns value of LIMIT 9 pin
output Returns value of OUTPUT
output1 Returns value of OUTPUT 1 pin
output2 Returns value of OUTPUT 2 pin
output3 Returns value of OUTPUT 3 pin
output4 Returns value of OUTPUT 4 pin
output5 Returns value of OUTPUT 5 pin
output6 Returns value of OUTPUT 6 pin
output7 Returns value of OUTPUT 7 pin
output8 Returns value of OUTPUT 8 pin
aux1 Returns value of AUX 1 pin
aux2 Returns value of AUX 2 pin
aux3 Returns value of AUX 3 pin
aux4 Returns value of AUX 4 pin
buffer Returns amount of free buffer 
bufferpercent Returns percent of buffer utilization
linecount Returns number of lines in GCode program
line Returns line number currently executing


Starting program from g-code

You can also start your own program from gcode. Optionally you can wait for program to finish before g-code continues or you can pass parameters.

Start myprogram.exe:

Start myprogram.exe and send current X and Y coordinates:
(exec,myprogram.exe #<_x> #<_y>) 

Start myprogram.exe, send current X and Y coordinates and wait for program to finish:
(execwait,myprogram.exe #<_x> #<_y>) 

Make sure that myprogram.exe is added to whitelist in settings otherwise TNG will refuse to execute it.

Hint: This external program can use named pipes to set some g-code parameters. TNG will use these parameters when g-code execution will continue.