CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control. CNC machines are used to create 3-dimensional objects from a 2-dimensional drawing or CAD model. The machine is controlled by G code, which is a set of instructions that tell the machine how to move and what speed it should go at. There are many different types of CNC machines available on the market today, each suited towards a specific job like CNC milling, so let’s take a look at the most common ones!
What is a CAD Model?
It is a computer model that is used to represent a design or object in three dimensions and tells the CNC machines what to do. CAD models use solid modeling techniques and typically focus on geometry definition, while ignoring other attributes like material properties. The operator uses a CAD program to generate the code which tells the CNC machine how it should move as well as where and when various operations will be carried out, like speed, feed rate, stepover etc…
What is CNC Used For?
These machines are used in many different industries ranging from manufacturing to architecture and design, but what they’re typically used for is cutting metal. There are three main types of CNC Machines: milling, lathing and turning. Each machine has a different purpose and uses depending on the desired outcome of the project. For example, a milling machine will cut into metal with a spinning drill bit while a lathing machine will use an abrasive surface to remove material from metal by shaving it off gradually until it’s down to the desired thickness or depth.
Lathes are used to create cylindrical parts and shapes. They typically work by rotating the material around a fixed axis while an operator moves a cutting tool into it at varying speeds and depths depending on what is being made. Lathes can be run manually or with computers that control them in order to make specific cuts more precisely without requiring any user input.
Some examples of how lathes are used include turning metals like aluminum into car engine components, making door hinges for buildings from two pieces of steel or pipe by putting each half through lathe machines separately before welding them together.
CNC Milling Machine
The different type of CNC machine is the milling machine, which is used to remove pieces from a material. This can be done with either flat or rotating tools that are fed into the spinning spindle head. The tool path is usually programmed by CAD software and then executed on demand.
Tools are positioned at various angles on the table to allow them to work at various heights. A rigid tool is attached to the workpiece, and this table moves or rotates on different planes, allowing the implement to operate at many angles. To make more complicated forms or avoid having to move the workpiece to a separate machine, high-quality CNC milling machines may have 5 or more axes of independent motion.
A CNC router, a high-precision cutting tool, is a machine that is similar to the common handheld router used for cutting various materials. This kind of CNC machine can create steel, wood, aluminum, composites, plastic, and foam cut to size. Routers can work in three dimensions are great for little tasks and the creation of prototype models and complex designs.
This method allows complex parts like moldings, curved surfaces & contours to be created quickly & easily while retaining excellent tolerances without having to reprogram any axes or change tools between different prototypes.
CNC Plasma or Laser Cutter
Plasma cutters use electricity to ionize gas into a plasma state which then conducts an electrical current capable of slicing through certain materials like metal sheeting or plates. The torch can also be used for welding, heating or etching metal.
Cutting with a plasma torch is more of an art (plasma temperatures range from 10,000-50,000 degrees), than the precise cutting provided by laser cutter technology and it tends to take longer overall. This method works best when working on thicker metals like steel up to 12 inches in thickness while aluminum work much better when cut with a laser CNC machine due to its thinness.
CNC Electric Discharge Maschine
EDM is the process of creating a specific form inside a certain material using electrical discharges, or sparks. An electrical current is sent between two electrodes, which removes the material from one workpiece. The dielectric fluid that separates the two electrodes is frequently subjected to an electric voltage.
CNC machining is an essential tool in today’s industrial world. Becoming a CNC expert gives you a lot of career options. CNC machining is great because it uses computerized technology to create parts. This allows for precision machines that are made faster than with traditional methods of manufacturing.