What Are The 5 Common Types Of CNC Machines?

The term ‘CNC machining’ refers to the process of machining materials using a computer numerical controlled (CNC) machine. Typically, this involves a subtractive method whereby material is removed from the workpiece or metal bar, to deliver a completed component.

CNC Machine Types and Uses

In CNC machining, there are five types of CNC machines, with different purposes and applications:

1) CNC Lathes and Turning Machines

CNC lathes and turning machines rotate materials during the machining process. Cutting tools deliver linear cuts to remove material from the bar as it is turned, stripping it away from the circumference until the required diameter is obtained.

These CNC machines can create a range of features on the component, both internal and external, including slots, tapers, threads, drilled holes, bores, and reamed holes. This is especially useful for producing components such as screws, poppets, shafts, and bolts.

2) CNC Milling Machines

CNC milling machines have rotating cutting tools which work on the workpiece which is held firmly in place so it cannot move. A variety of shapes can be produced in this way, including those with face-milled features such as flat, shallow surfaces or cavities. Also, peripheral milled features – threads and slots, for example – can be produced using CNC milling machines.

Typically, components produced in this way are square or rectangular, with many different features.

3) CNC Laser Machines

Precision cuts in sheet metals are achieved with CNC laser machines, which use a highly focused laser beam, guided by a pointed router, to cut through the material. The material is heated by the laser, causing it to melt or vaporise, so that a precise cut is achieved. These machines can also be used to engrave materials, for example, to add a logo or brand name – a task that other CNC machines would struggle with.

High-end CNC machines, such as laser machines, can produce many more designs than a conventional lathe or mill. Often, the cuts that are produced do not require additional finishing.

4) CNC Electrical Discharge Machines (EDM)

A CNC EDM machine uses precisely controlled electrical sparks to shape materials in the desired way. The component is positioned underneath the electrode wire and the machine is programmed to deliver an electrical discharge of up to 21,000°F. The material melts and remnants are removed with a liquid flush.

Commonly, CNC EDM is used to create precise holes, slots, or angles in a workpiece, often on hard metals that would be difficult to fabricate with other CNC methods.

5) CNC Plasma Cutting Machines

CNC plasma cutting machines utilise a computer-controlled plasma torch to cut materials. Not unlike a handheld welding torch, CNC plasma cutting machines can deliver temperatures of up to 50,000°F which melts the workpiece in the desired way.

Only electrically conductive metals, such as steel, aluminium, copper, and brass, can be fabricated using this method.

Contact Redline CNC For More Information

At Redline CNC, we offer high-quality CNC machining backed by our BSI ISO 9001-2015 system, and can advise which method is most suited to your needs and intended application. To find out more, simply get in touch.


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