What is CNC Machining?

What is CNC Machining?

Jun 1, 2018, 9:56:50 PM News

CNC stands for “computer numerical control,” and is known to be more advanced than other types of machinery and computation.

CNC machining is a manufacturing method where pre-programmed computer software directs the action of the tools and machinery inside the factory. CNC machining has the ability to control a range of complex machinery, such as grinders and lathes to mills and routers. With the use of CNC machining, three-dimensional cutting jobs can be completed in an individual set of prompts.

CNC is essentially a way to make a block piece of material such as a big piece of wood and complete it to become a finished product (this would typically be a prototype part) by a controlled process of removing material. Just like the other prototype development technology, like FDM (3D printing), CNC relies on directions provided digitally from a Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) or Computer Aided Design (CAD) file - an example of this is Solidworks 3D.  The CNC machine will take these instructions from the CAM and cut the material as directed. This massively increases productivity and allows for precision that no human or machine could complete as quickly. The piece is cut accurately where prototype parts can be created.

Where can it be used?

CNC machines have been able to change many industries, for the better. Especially woodworking, as wood products can be produced quicker and sturdier with precision engineering.

Almost all materials are able to be used in a CNC machine, at all depends on the application. Bust the most common materials used are;

-    Wood

-    Aluminium

-    Copper

-    Brass

-    Steel

-    Titanium

-    Fibreglass

-    Foam

-    Plastics like polypropylene


What problems did CNC Machines solve?

CNC machines were one of the first significant developments in the area of quicker prototyping. Before numerical control (such as punched tape technology) and computer numerical control (with analogue and digital computing), most parts of a prototype has no option but to be made by hand. This meant products were regularly made to the wrong size and specification, materials and time were wasted and this happened, even more, when machines were used to mass produce and large-scale manufacturing.

Most CNC machines as built specifically for each different manufacturing process and the job that it has to do. Just like electromagnetic machining is for cutting highly durable metal products that are otherwise not feasible.

Most CNC machines are more skilled at and typically utilised for prototype development rather than manufacturing.

CNC machines can be…...?

Milling Machines:

Milling machines one of the most common CNC machines that you will find being used. They require the aid of rotary cutting tools that remove material from the block of material


Drills work by rotating a drill bit and moving the bit about and into contact with a stationary piece or block of material.


Lathes are almost the opposite of a drill as the material is spun against the drill bit rather than the other way around like a conventional drill. Lathes with usually make contact with the material by moving a cutting tool into the right place as it makes contact with the block of material.

Other Technologies

Electrical and/or Chemical Machining: There are a number of other technologies that use specialised techniques to cut material. Examples include:

Electron Beam Machining

Photochemical machining

Electrochemical Machining

Ultrasonic machining

Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM)

Most of these technologies are highly specialised and are used in specific situations for mass-production involving a special kind of material.

Other Cutting Tools

There are a number of other novel technologies that use different tools to cut material. Examples include:

-      laser cutting machines

-      oxy-fuel cutting machines

-      plasma cutting machines

-      water-jet cutting technolog

Published by Ruby Daub

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