How to use MDI?


MDI stands for ‘Manual Data Input’. MDI window is located in the bottom right corner of CNCUSB controller software main window:


By entering MDI shortcuts or g-code commands in this window, user can quickly access desired feature, executes g-code command or performs machine specific task.

MDI shortcuts:

You probably already noticed that almost every feature in almost any menu has a number written on the right side of its name starting with symbol “/”. This is its unique MDI shortcut.


If you don’t have any idea about MDI and of its use, it would the best to start with typing “/101” in MDI window and see what happens. Now enter “/151” into MDI window.

First MDI shortcut executed ‘Open’ dialog and second one opened ‘Settings’ menu.

You can browse trough files or change settings configuration with less mouse clicks than if you would click your way trough the menus.

From operators point of view this reflects as more fluent and prompt way of working with machine.

Using arrow keys “Up” and “Down”, user can navigate trough history of previously used MDI shortcuts or MDI g-codes.

One of the best advantages of MDI is gained accessibility of many features provided by CNC USB controller software.

Pretty common step when preparing your workpiece for cutting is setting offsets or capturing points. All these features can be accessed or set using MDI.

Setting XY offset:

If you would want to set XY offset at current machines position, you could click: Machine/Offset/Current XY.

You could do the same thing just by entering “/45251” in MDI window:

Capturing Camera Point:

MDI is especially useful for certain repetitive procedures, like capturing points with camera.
If you want to capture point using camera, you could click Machine/Capture & Measure Points /Capture/Capture Camera Point. You would have to do that for every point you would want to capture.

You could do the same just by entering “ /48102” in MDI window:

If you run a feature directly from menu or a toolbar, then from that point on, this feature will be available in MDI history, and you can find and select it with arrow keys.

MDI g-codes:

You can set and perform machine moves, control outputs or change tools directly from MDI window.


Machine traverse and feed moves:

Typing [G00 X10] moves machine to X=10 position at traverse rate.

Typing [G00 Y-20] moves machine to Y= -20 position at traverse rate.

Typing [F100 G01 Y10] moves machine to Y=10 position at feed rate = 100.

Output control:

Using M3, M5, M7, M8 and M9 g-codes you can control outputs:

Typing [M3] will turn Spindle ON and [M5] will turn Spindle OFF.
Typing [M7] will turn Mist ON and [M9] will turn Mist OFF.

Tool change:

You can change or select tool directly from MDI window:

Typing [Tn M6] changes tool.
Typing [M61 Qn] selects desired tool.

Configuring machine settings:

Some machine settings are very easy to be configured with the use of MDI. One of them is whether machine operates in ‘Absolute Distance Mode’ or in ‘Incremental Distance Mode’.

G90 – absolute distance mode:

To move machine in ‘Absolute Distance Mode’ on location of [X10, Y10, Z10] you can enter this command:

G91- Incremental distance mode:

To move machine in ‘Incremental Distance Mode’ for distance of [X10 Y10 Z10], you enter this command:

G53 – absolute machine coordinate system:

You can set your machine moves in absolute machine coordinate system.

To move your machine in absolute machine coordinate system on location of [X10, Y10, Z10] you can enter this command:


Wireless keypad or Shuttle PRO are very practical to work with MDI and for operating with CNC USB controller in general.

MDI offers many possibilities for operator and it is best that each user explores the possibilities of the MDI for itself.