In a world of robotics, machines and vision there are multiple words describing the same thing. This page describes the definitions used by Machines and Robotics as well as some common synonyms.


A model represents a 3D file. A robot consists of several models each describing part of the arm, but also a machine part like the gantry of a CNC machine is a model. The products that are produced within a robotic installation are models as well.

Common used files for models are STL, STEP, IGS, OBJ, WRL, 3DS, XGL and others. None of these file types support all information that is supported by Machines and Robotics, so it has it’s own internal file format. There obviously are export and import options to interface with other packages.

Other terms to indicate this type of file would be Assembly, Part file or 3D file.

Machines and Robotics allows to nest models so a main model can contain multiple sub-models (childs) sometimes referring to the same file. This allows to re-use models throughout a machine which reduces maintenance on the models and saves on memory and disk space.

Machines and Robotics supports several model types like three dimensional lines, meshes and point clouds.


A machine consists of

  • Axes, either linear or circular. An axis is a part that moves in relation to the world, another axis or a robot.
  • Models optionally attached to axes
  • Robots optionally attached to axes

Common synonyms, though less accurate, are ‘cell’ or ‘installation’.


// Describe trajectory (and Path)


A ‘frame’ is a (mostly) three dimensional coordinate system. Every position and orientation in your installation is described in relation to a frame. In Machines and Robotics we always use a right hand coordinate system with X/Y/Z (see Wikipedia) . You may run into documentation of other tooling referring to this as ‘origin’ or ‘space’.

// TODO: Descriptive image here.


// Describe different types of robots and synonym ‘Manipulator’. Include scara and delta robots.