What is CNC machining, and how it works?

What is CNC machining, and how it works?

Machines have become a necessity these days, from heating things up in a microwave to cooling them down in a refrigerator, from homes to offices and workplaces, machines are everywhere. Machinists are the ones who operate precision tools to create all kinds of machines, through a process called CNC machining.

What is CNC machining?

CNC is short for “Computer Numerical Control”, and it is a type of manufacturing process which operates equipment and tools through a programmed computer. Through this process, machinists control different complicated machinery, to carry out the three-dimensional cutting task. The machinery includes a CNC laser machine, CNC milling machine, CNC lathe, electric discharge machine (EMD), and water jet machine.

How does it work?

The first step is to activate the CNC system. It then programs the product file into the software. The next step is to assign the file to the corresponding machines and tools. The specified cutting task is actually done by these tools and machinery. These are the 4 basic stages of the CNC machining process:

  • Designing CAD model
  • Converting the CAD file to the CNC program
  • Preparing the CNC tools and machine
  • Performing CNC machine operations

Main processes involved in CNC Machine services

Here are the two main processes that are part of the CNC manufacturing process:

  1. CNC Turning: This uses a single-point cutting tool and machinery to free the material from the rotating workpiece. Two CNC machines are usually part of CNC turning, a turning machine or a lathe uses linear motion to feed the cutting tool. The workpiece is rotating and this is done along with it. Then the material is freed up around the circumference till it becomes the diameter required. There are two axes, X and Z in most CNC lathes.
  2. CNC Milling: This process uses a multi-point rotating tool to perform the same function as CNC turning, i.e., to remove the material from the workpiece. This is still considered one of the most common machining processes in which the mills consist of 3 axes, X, Y, and Z. In this process, the tools are rotating and they cut the stationary workpiece along X, Y, and Z axes. The latest mills go beyond the 3-axes and there are 4-axes and 5-axes CNC machining these days. These provide a way to produce high-precision parts and are of higher versatility as compared to the older techniques.

Applications of CNC machine processes

CNC machine services are part of every industry these days, including aerospace, automotive, and medical industries. It enables a faster manufacturing process of precise parts, including:

  • Brackets
  • Enclosures and housings
  • Internal mechanical components
  • Fixtures for manufacturing
  • Medical instrumentation
  • Bearings and gears

Which CNC service to choose?

Here are some tips to consider while choosing a CNC machining service:

  • The service should offer a material selection from different available materials
  • It should have an infinite machining capacity
  • The service should be fast and offer reliable delivery
  • You should be able to get a manufacturing analysis and online quotes

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