CNC machining is an important process in the manufacturing industry that involves the use of computers to control automated cutting and milling machines, which cut parts from large blocks of raw materials like metal, wood and plastic.
In this article, we will discuss CNC precision machining, how it works, and its advantages over other machining methods, such as hand tools or machine tools. We will also cover some advanced uses of CNC machines that are not always obvious to new users.
What is CNC Machining?
CNC, which stands for Computer Numerical Control, is a machining process in which computerized machines are used for precision cutting. Most machined parts these days are made using CNC machines.
The simplest way is to say that CNC (or Computer Numerically Controlled) machining is a type of manufacturing that involves computers guiding machine tools – like lathes or milling machines – to produce parts according to specifications provided by CAD/CAM files.
To put it simply, you design your part on your computer – whether you’re working with SolidWorks, AutoCAD, or another program – then send instructions through an interpreter so your CNC machine can understand them.
CNC machine programming
Mastering CNC machining is no small feat, but it can be fun and rewarding. Although there are tons of useful CAD and CAM software out there, you can find free versions.
It is free and easy to use such programs for amateurs and professionals. One feature that stands out in these programs is their wide range of available tools – users will find everything they need to immediately start creating high quality machined parts.
However, users must first learn to code their designs to create a finished CNC part (especially complex 3D components).
Here we have discussed the types of machining systems below.
- Open/Closed Loop Machining Systems
There are two main types of machining systems. The first is called a closed-loop system, and it works by using hardware that can receive commands through a computer, which then tells these components how and where they should move to create specific parts or shapes.
The closed-loop system controller can receive feedback, making error correction possible. In other words, a closed-loop system will correct position and velocity irregularities.
The other type is an open-loop system, and it doesn’t require hardware to be installed for every part/shape you want to create – that means more flexibility for someone interested in creating custom shapes to order.
Open-loop systems work by sending signals from your computer directly through any necessary devices and tools (eg CNC machines) that you may use.
- CNC machining is fully automated
The computer-controlled milling and machining process requires very little human intervention. A CNC machine has instructions that tell it precisely how to work – down to the millimeter. This level of precision allows you to produce identical parts down to the smallest detail.
It also means you can be sure that your CNC machine will complete every job quickly and accurately, no matter how large or complex. Additionally, all moving parts in a CNC machining process are automatically lubricated, so no manual labor is required on your part – just send your manufacturing instructions through software and let the CNC do its job. .
Types of CNC machines
Before you can learn how CNC machining works, you need to know what types of CNC machines exist. So, let’s take a look at some varieties of common CNC machines.
In a nutshell, a CNC milling machine is a computerized tool capable of performing a variety of tasks, depending on your specific machine. The grinder works by controlling a set of motors that ensure your cuts are as precise as possible.
Additionally, CNC milling machines can run on programs consisting of letter and number based prompts to guide different distances. However, the program used may be based on a single G-code or language. And basic milling machines will have three axis systems – the X, Y and Z, while later models have additional axes.
Lathes are often used to carve complex shapes out of a block. Although you can use a lathe for precision machining, you generally cannot machine very small parts on a lathe.
These machines cut in a circular direction using indexable tools. However, CNC technology allows such cuts with high speed and precision. Most lathes only have two axes (X and Z) and the G code directs them. You can also use a unique owner code.
With water jet cutting, a high pressure jet of water is used to cut metal and granite. It is an extremely efficient way to work metal and can be used on almost any hard material.
Many industrial products are made using CNC waterjet cutting machines because they have less impact than traditional cutting methods and produce an accurate result. However, they tend to be very expensive and not cost effective for small scale projects or businesses.
- Electric shock machines
An EDM is another type of CNC machining. It is also known as spark erosion or die sinking. The process will mold parts into specific shapes using electrical sparks.
If the space between two electrodes becomes small, the electric field will be stronger, which is stronger than the dielectric. Electrical discharge machine subtypes include die-sinking EDM and wire EDM.
To get your production process up and running as quickly as possible, CNC machinists will use plasma cutters for a variety of tasks. Plasma cutters are cutting tools that when used with a CNC machine can cut almost any material, but are typically used on metals.
The workhorse of most production facilities is a plasma cutter – it’s versatile and highly efficient. Because it can be used on soft materials without too much difficulty (and without worrying about burning out), it’s a great choice for large-scale fabricators that crank out parts all day.
CNC machining can be one of the many tools used by engineers in their day-to-day work. For anyone who wants to learn more about CNC machining and the benefits it can bring to their business, we have provided relevant information in this article.