How Does a CNC Machine Work? (An Updated, Easy to Understand Brief)

| Last Updated: March 13, 2021

How Does a CNC Machine WorkThere are so many of us who used to love shop classes in high school. ‘How it’s made’ was my favorite TV program because I love creating things. One common topic in both examples is metalworking machinery and lathes.

Technology has come a long way. It has gone through a lot of progressions for the past few years. One precision new tool is CNC, also known as computer-regulated-manufacturing method. Every pro metal and woodworker have an idea about how does a CNC machine work.

If you have no idea, we are here to help out. Today we’ll talk about what is CNC machine and how does it work?

What Is A CNC Machine?

CNC machines come with the full form, computer-numerically-controlled machines. These are basically an electromechanical tool. People use it to manipulate different tools.

It comes with a different number of axis. Most of the time axis number is around 3 or 5. It includes some really high accuracy instruction that comes from a computer program.

This basically generates a physical part on the basis of a computer design file. Most of the time engineers or mechanist try two general methods to do so. One is CNC machining and the other is 3D printing. The last on is also popular as additive manufacturing.

Stark is the divergence between these two procedures. In CNC the subtractive process is a highlight. This technique will include removal of material from stock.

On other side, 3D printing will actually do the very opposite. It depends on additive processes where functioning is reverse to CNC.

Somewhere between 1940 to 1950 the concept of CNC came into light. It went through sever development and changes in the time frame. The primary concept was known as “punched tape” which is on data storage.

There was a data card in this process that needs some “code”. The code usually controls the machines. Later an interrupt data gets formed. The early mechanism was very basic and includes only rudimentary parts.

Functionality was quite limited for that reason. In the late 20th century, CNC was rapidly growing. Today’s modern technology over CNC machining is accelerated from that phase.

CNC Mechanism!

CNC mechanism has this main operation. It transforms stock pieces of different materials. Such as steel, titanium or aluminum. These metals are transformed into a new part or product.

There is a certain code that is known as G-code. CNC routers read those digital instruction given by G-code. The mechanism completely relies on it to function.

Previously mechanist used to write down manually the G-code section to generate mechanism. But then, CAM & CAD programs were invented.

CAM is computer-aided-manufacturing while CAD means computer-aided-design. These programs are now common for generating G-codes. A very popular example is Autodesk’s Fusion 360.

Today’s CAM will help you with transformation of preferred 3d models and provide G-code generation in no time. This G-codes are more precious and user-friendly to drive your machine with a little input.

CNC machines automatic capabilities are far more beneficial than manual alternatives such as lathes. There are also other machining techniques similar to lathes.

You would be able to get better accuracy and precision with CNC machines. These run very fast and lets you to continuously transform designs into actual parts. The transformation is better and similar to designs that manual works would take hours of effort.

There is a particular measurement for CNC machines knows as thou. It refers to thousands of inches. Most of the standard machine will be capable to provide ±0.005″ parts tolerance.

If you go with fine machining then the number reaches ±0.001″. Tight tolerances up to ±0.00005″ is noticeable for processes that requires specialized accuracy such as polishing. As an example, you can take human hair into account. It comes with .0007 inches of thickness.

How Does the Mechanism Work?

Hopefully, the readers now have a basic idea about this mechanism. It’s time to contemplate the work process. Let’s dig into internal intricacies.

There are several CNC machines that include multiple tools to make better cuts. There is no one tool for universal functioning. So there comes the need of building digital tool libraries. Mechanists will create this and interface them with physical CNC.

Most of the time these machines will price around thousands of dollars. Once you get digital instruction for them these machines will automatically start with manufacturing.

There are three axes on which CNC will make moves. Most of the time these moves are on only one or two axes. However, sometimes the third axis also comes in play.

You may have heard about terms such as 5,3 or 2.5 axes. By a 2.5 axis machine, it refers that the tool’s two axes can move together in place of three.

The axis will always describe what freedom of degrees it has to make moves. A 3-axis machine will give you the option to move with all three. While by 5 axis CNC it means that the three axes can move along with two additional rotation axes.

So basically. With a 5-axis CNC, you can’t limit the possibility of production and it’s practically endless.

For most high accuracy tasks, a 5-axis machine is a popular choice. They are also quite affordable these days. So, for many shops and workhouse, this type has become the most standard one.

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Bidding Bye!

Today’s manufacturing world has become very smart. They need quick solutions for hours of tasks. So, needing machinery that accelerates their chore is a must.

CNC is one of the most essential tools for manufacturing. To survive in this competitive market industry, there is no way you can deal without a quality CNC machine. If you have the expertise in programming and regulating machinery, a CNC machine can do wonders. Even the typical machine operators these days depend on programming rather than manual operating. So, don’t think further and make a right choice for a CNC machine. There are different types of CNC machine available these days. Best of Luck with Choosing the Most Suitable Ones!