CNC machining is electro-mechanical devices that can control tools in different axis, usually 3 or 5, with high accuracy based on the instruction from a computer program. It is one of the two ways that machinists, makers, or engineers used to develop a physical part taken from a computer design file. Others use 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing.
The difference between these two processes is stark. The 3D printing is referred to as an additive process, working in reverse. On the other hand, CNC machines is a subtractive process.
History of CNC Machining
It was in the 1940s and 50s when the first CNC machine was developed. This process depends primarily on the data storage method referred to as punched tape. The code will control the machine punched manually and entered into a system that reads the data. The machines these days were rudimentary and with limited functionality.
In the late 20th century, CNC technologies become popular, and it continues to grow up to this very moment.
Machining is the process of transforming a stock material like steel, titanium, or aluminum into a finished part or product. The CNC machines work using digital instructions, known as G-code.
Before the emergence of CAD or computer-aided design and CAM or computer-aided manufacturing, the G-code was manually written to control the machines. Today CAM programs let you take a 3D model and generate G-code automatically to control the machine with minimal input required.
Benefits of CNC Machining?
If you compare what the automated CNC machines can do with its manual alternative, such as lathes, you will surely see the benefits. The computerized CNC machines run faster at high precision and are very accurate. At the same time, it allows you to transform the digital design into a physical product.
CNC machines are precise and are measured in thou or thousands of an inch. In standard machining, the tolerance on parts is around ±0.005. The fine machining has tolerances of ±0.00, while the specialized techniques such as polishing can have repeatable tolerances at ±0.00005.
In mass production, the benefits of using CNC machine includes significant saving because of the low waste of raw materials. Also, this process is much safer as compared to a manually operated machine.
CNC machines can work on several axes at the same time, like on sloped or curved objects, and can work on different corners.