# Cartesian vs. Polar Coordinate Systems | G-code Tutorial

June 2, 2021 2:44 pm

@G-Code Tutor talks about the differences between cartesian and polar coordinates systems and explains when to use each when programming CNC machines.

When programming CNC machine tools, there are two coordinate systems that can be used to identify the position of the tool or of the features of your part: the Cartesian system and the polar system.
Both systems consist of a plane featuring two crossing axes. The difference lies in the axes. In the Cartesian system, the most popular one, the two crossing axes typically match the machine axes and the position of the tool (or feature) is defined by its distance from the center of the plane (the point where the axes cross) along each axis.
In the polar system, the axes are substituted by degrees and the center of the graph is the position of the tool. When identifying a position in a polar system, the coordinates indicate the distance from the original position and the angle from the 0 point.

### Recommended CNC programming books:

CNC Programming Techniques