What Is CNC Machining? A Comprehensive Guide.

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining is an advanced manufacturing process in which machinery and tools are controlled by pre-programmed computer software, eliminating the need for manual operations. A range of complex machinery can be controlled by the CNC machining process, including grinders, mills, and lathes. The code, which is inputted prior to the process commencing, can control all aspects of machining, from the movement of the cutting head to the RPM rate.

CNC machining is a subtractive machining method: material is removed during process, for example when precise shapes are cut from raw material. With advanced CNC machining, even three-dimensional cutting can be achieved with a single set of coded prompts.


How Does CNC Machining Work?

Quality CNC machining is a fully automated process. The pre-programmed files contain all the necessary instructions relating to cutting directions, trajectories, and tools to achieve outstanding results. Digital libraries that interface with the machinery support the variety of tools and processes required in complex components; tools can even be switched automatically if the software is programmed correctly.

In CNC machining, the following steps take place:

1. Parts are designed using computer-aided design (CAD) software, with the dimensions and properties of the completed part determined. Files may need to be imported to computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software, unless the design is created in CAD-CAM software.

2. The CAM software prepares the model for machining, checking for errors before creating a CNC program. The CNC program is a complex and highly precise set of coordinates that the machinery uses to control the cutting head.

3. Necessary parameters are established, including the cutting speed, RPMs, and voltage.

4. The software calculates the ‘nesting’ (the position and orientation of parts in relation to the raw material). Material usage is maximised to reduce waste and decrease costs.


What Is CNC Machining Used For?

CNC machining is used in a variety of industries, to create aerospace and automotive parts, metal components, wood decorations, and plastic consumer pieces. In fact, the process can produce an almost infinite range of products swiftly and efficiently.

CNC machining isn’t simply used to complete precise cuts but can also harness other tools, including:

  • Wood routers
  • Wire-benders
  • Foam cutters
  • Laser cutters
  • Embroidery machines
  • Glass cutters
  • 3D printers

What Are The Main Types of CNC Machines?

If you’re looking for a precision CNC machining company, make sure you choose one that can automate a variety of machining methods to provide a one-stop service without the need for off-site subcontracting.

The different types of CNC machines, which all share common goals such as improved accuracy, less mistakes, and enhanced repeatability, include:

  • CNC mills consisting of a three-axis system, though most modern mills can accommodate up to three additional axes.
  • Lathes, in which pieces are cut with indexable tools in a circular direction for complex designs that can only be produced with CNC.
  • Plasma cutters, in which material is cut with a plasm torch.
  • Electric discharge machining (EDM) which uses a process that moulds materials into desired shapes using electric sparks.
  • Water jets which cut hard materials (for instance, metal or granite) with high-pressure water.


Contact Redline CNC For All Your Precision Machining Needs

At Redline CNC, we offer a comprehensive range of CNC machining, including 5-axis CNC machining, backed up by experienced staff and a BSI ISO 9001-2015 quality system. To find out more, simply get in touch.

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