A CNC (or Computer Numerical Control) machine is an electro-mechanical device that uses computer programming inputs to operate machine shop tools. CNC machining is one common way to create prototypes (the other method being 3D printing).
While there are advantages to both, CNC is faster and stronger as it involves creating something new out of an already solid material. CNC machine programming offers many production advantages over previous methods of machining and is an indispensable tool across many industries.
How CNC Machines Work
Running on a set of prescribed digital instructions, CNC machines use computer files to execute a project. These digital instructions are created in either Computer Aided Design (CAD) or Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) files.
Once the program is uploaded, an operator runs a test program, often referred to as “cutting air.” This trial run is an important first step to verifying both speed and tool position because any discrepancies can result in damage to the machine or the part being created.
To maximize efficiency, CNC machines combine multiple tools into common cells or units. They produce the desired end product by removing material from the original stock source. This results in a stronger, more durable finished product.
The Two Types of CNC Machines
- Drills – These operate by spinning a drill bit and cutting it into a block of stock material.
- Lathes – These are the opposite of drills. They spin the stock material against the drill bit instead of spinning the bit and cutting into the block.
- Milling Machines – These use revolving cutting tools to remove material from the block. They are the most common type of CNC machine used today.
- Electrical Machining – This highly specialized technology is common in special cases for mass production that use a certain type of material.
- Other Mediums – Examples of this CNC machining technology include water-jet cutting, plasma cutting machines, and laser cutting machines.
Advantages of CNC Machines
- They can run for 24 hours a day.
- They can product jobs with higher accuracy and precision than other manual machines.
- Operators can make changes easily, which reduces the delay time.
- Fewer workers are needed to operate these machines, which saves labor costs.
- CNC machines have the capability to create complex designs with high accuracy in a short amount of time.
- The modern design software for CNC machines removes the need of producing a prototype or model before executing a project, which saves money and time in the long run.
CNC machining is vital part of many industries, such as aerospace, medical, automotive, and mining. Davenport Machine brings 100 years of innovation to each project, so every client has a product that meets their specifications and industry standards. To learn more about our CNC machines and other products, contact us today.