If you are looking for a career change and are wondering “What is CNC manufacturing?” you’re in the right place. We have put together this guide to help you learn more about what CNC is along with its benefits to the manufacturing industry as a whole.
Keep reading our quick guide to help you understand CNC in more detail.
What Is CNC Manufacturing?
CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control. CNC machining is a manufacturing process where computer software is programmed ahead of time to make factory machines and tools move a certain way.
There are a few machines that the process can be used for, from lathes to mills to grinders and routers. This process is much faster than manual control, where people have to act as operators and are in charge of prompting and guiding the commands of machining tools using wheels, buttons, and levers.
Almost every type of material can be CNC machined. Metals such as steel alloys, aluminum, and brass are the most common materials used. Nylon and ABS plastics are also common materials that are CNC machined.
The basic process has three steps. First, the engineer designs the computer-aided design (CAD) model of the part. Second, the machinist turns the CAD file into a CNC program and sets the machine up. Third, the CNC system executes all the operations of removing material and creating the part it’s programmed to make.
It’s good to remember that it does all of this with very little supervision, cutting back on hours needed.
Types of CNC Machines
The most common types of CNC machines are the ones that remove material using cutting tools. There are also other machines that are not as common, including plasma cutters, laser cutters, and EDM machines.
These are a popular option because they can produce parts at a high rate and lower cost. This comes in handy when there are large volumes of something that has to be produced.
The way it works is that a workpiece is held on the spindle, which rotates at a high speed. Then, a center drill or a cutting tool traces the outer or inner perimeter of the part, depending on what is being made.
The restriction that CNC lathes have is that they can only produce parts with simple geometry, limiting the complexity of parts it can make.
This machine sits on a machine bed without moving. The material it is working with is removed from the workpiece with cutting tools or with drills that are rotating at super high speeds.
While the drills are rotating, the tools are attached to a spindle. This spindle moves along a trilinear axis. Because these machines can produce most geometries, they are very popular options.
3-axis CNC milling machines are fairly easy to program and operate, making them a good choice for newbies in the CNC world. Start-up machining costs are pretty low because they are easier to use, and you won’t need to hire an expert if your budget does not allow for it. You can learn how to operate it on your own and do it yourself in the beginning.
Water Jet Cutters
These CNC machines are capable of cutting hard materials like metal and granite through the high-pressure application of water. Sometimes the water is mixed with an abrasive substance such as sand to help cut through the material easier.
Water jets are perfect for materials that are not able to handle the heat that other CNC machines produce. They are popular to use when making intricate cuts because the lack of heat makes it easier to not damage the materials the water jet is working on.
With this type of CNC machine, the material being shaped is cut with a plasma torch. Compressed air gas and electrical arcs are used to generate plasma, producing the speed and heat that are needed to cut metal.
A CNC pipe cutting machine has the capability of processing pipes of many different materials, sizes, and thicknesses. Its versatility makes it helpful for almost any type of application.
The versatility and accuracy of pipe cutting machines make them a popular option when choosing between the different types of CNC machines in an industrial setting.
Benefits of CNC Machining
One of the benefits of CNC machining is that it is highly customizable. This means that you have plenty of options when it comes to creating what you need. Another benefit is that the precision is so high that there is not much room for error and you end up with end products that you are happy with.
Another benefit of CNC machining is the quick order lead times it is capable of. This is a big time-saver for companies. Saving time equates to a company saving money as well.
Are You Feeling Like a CNC Manufacturing Pro?
Now that we have answered the question “What is CNC manufacturing?” and shared more about the process of CNC machining and the different types of CNC machines, we hope you have the knowledge you need to make any decisions involved with CNC.
Whether you are planning on buying the equipment yourself or having someone take care of your CNC needs, you can use your understanding and new knowledge to make any decisions in regards to CNC manufacturing.
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