Sixty Degrees Of Separation

Ray Speth

SOLUTION

The Text files with the puzzle are code for a Computer Numeric Control (CNC) milling machine, also known as "G-code". Basically, it is just coordinate geometry. There are many online references for how to interpret it. For example, www.linuxcnc.org/handbook/gcode/g-code.html. A computer program may be used to interpret the code, or doing it by hand shouldn't take too long. At least one of the downloadable interpreters (www.fpsols.com/nc_editor.html) doesn't handle the curves correctly; it draws straight lines instead. Testsolvers found and used www.ebair.com/anonymous/download/editnc/editnc8.exe

Working by hand, The only codes that really matter are:

• G0: rapid positioning. used when not cutting.
• G1: straight line from current position to new position
• G2: clockwise arc from current position to new position at given radius
• G3: counterclockwise arc

Moves to negative Z begin cuts, positive Z ends cuts. There are a few other control codes which are irrelevant, but included to make the code more standard. (Start and stop program, etc.)

The six programs here cut out different regions of a circular disk. The combination of all the programs will cut out all of disk except for parts which form the letters of the answer word. The correct orientations for each file are:

• 0 degrees (as written): #3 (image)
• 60 degrees counterclockwise: #4 (image)
• 120 degrees ccw: #2 (image)
• 180 degrees ccw: #5 (image)
• 240 degrees ccw: #6 (image)
• 300 degrees ccw: #1 (image)

Combining all six of the programs in the proper orientations gives the following set of tool paths:

Using a tool of diameter 0.5, as noted by the comment line in the programs, gives a clean picture of the answer word in the negative space. (The + symbols are centers of arcs, not cutouts)