What YOU need to know about CNC Machining!
19th January 2015
CNC means Computer Numerical Control. This means a computer converts the design produced by Computer Aided Design software (CAD), into numbers. The numbers can be considered to be the coordinates of a graph and they control the movement of the cutter. In this way the computer controls the cutting and shaping of the material.
The way coordinates are used can be seen opposite. The X, Y and Z axis control the movement of the cutter on a 3D CNC machine. This allows materials to be machined in three directions (3D manufacture).
- CNC machines work much faster and stronger than human input and can produce the exact result every single time.
- It is so flexible and programmable such that it can be reprogrammed easily to produce a different product. With the help of CNC machines, process like molding and shaping of metals and woods have become so easy
- You can either refer back the old programmes or can install new programmes when different work pieces required.
- It has been used for wide applications and used in various industries for different uses. It is implemented for jewellery making, dying, metal molding, cutting and shaping of equipment, blades and also for drilling and cutting of various objects.
- It is so user friendly and easy to use and can be operated with its little guidance and operations.
- Process where CNC concept is used include: EDM machining, Injection Molding, CNC Vertical Milling, CNC Lathe and more
Amazing CNC Machine in Action:
Common Components of a CNC milling machine
# Control panel: Control panel is the heart of a CNC machine. It features a computer keyboard that is used by the technician to enter G-codes on the machine. G-codes are the commands that let the machine perform cuts according to your requirements.
# Coolant supply tube: While milling a metal, the machine and the metal both become hot. The coolant supply tubes are used for pumping the coolant material to keep the metal cool. It also lubricates the cutting tool to ensure its smooth movement.
# Table: The metal, wood or plastic is kept on this surface for milling. The work piece is kept attached with the table using a clamp.
# Axis: There can be one to six axis in a CNC machine.
# Column: It is the part that runs along the axis and holds the milling part.
# Cutting tool: It's what does the actual job. The cutting tool is attached to the column.
Types of CNC Machine
There are different types of milling machines available in the market and here are some of them. Take a look at them to decide which variety suits your professional requirements.
- Vertical CNC mill:It comes with a vertical spindle axis. It's great for drilling work as the cutting tool is held vertically in the spindle. Turret and Bed mills are perfect examples of vertical CNC mills.
- Horizontal CNC mill:In this machine, the cutter runs horizontally across the table.
- Box mill:If milling is just your hobby and you don't need professional level output, this type of machine is simply ideal for you.
- Knee mill:It features an X-Y table and the cutter moves up and down along the column.
- C-Frame mill:This is the most commonly used milling machines across heavy industries. It can mill different materials very fast and helps you handle large amount of work effortlessly.
The anatomy of a CNC mill
In this video CNC expert, Chris, walks you through the basics of a CNC mill's anatomy, including all the major hardware and software components. He also gives some advice on building your own CNC, and even some eBay shopping tips. Watch the video to learn more about:
- Linear Bearings and Ball Screws
- Stepper Motors
- Cutter heads and Spindles
- Cooling and Dust Removal
Advantages of CNC Machining
- Cost-Saving - CNC machining permit the operators to take complete advantages of raw materials. With the accuracy delivered through CNC machining, waste is decreased which on the other hand easily minimizes loss and increases profit over costs.
- Speed - CNC machines speedily can manufacture parts that would normally take multiple steps to manufacture otherwise.
- Safety - As the entire fabrication process is automated, the operator is kept out of harm's way, allowing you for a much safer work environment.
- Enhanced Efficiency - Undoubtedly, CNC machines are the most efficient means of creating a component due to the fact that most feature internal quality assurance detectors. With the efficiency of CNC machining in addition to its speed of production and optimum raw material usage, it's easy to see why CNC machining is the great standard of metalworking and part fabrication.
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