What Is CNC Machining?

The use of CNC machining in the contemporary manufacturing environment is becoming more prevalent. But what exactly is CNC, and how does it work in the manufacturing industry? What is cnc and how does it work in the production sector? 

In this article, we’ll discuss what CNC is, how CNC technology has evolved, and some of the many tasks CNC machinists work on.

What is CNC?

The term “CNC” stands for Computerized Numerical Control. This is a type of automated manufacturing process in which software code tells production equipment what movements to make.

CNC machining is a process that uses computer numerical controls to operate machines which cut, shape, and create different parts and prototypes. These machines include grinders, lathes, and turning mills.

CNC machinists combine elements of mechanical design, technical drawings, mathematics, and computer programming skills to produce a wide range of metal and plastic parts. CNC operators can take a sheet of metal and turn it into critical parts for airplanes, automobiles, and others.

What is a CNC Machine?

CNC machines are automated machining systems that are controlled by a computer and utilize pre-programmed sequences of directed commands to accomplish specific tasks.

CNC machines are essentially the opposite of “old-school” devices that are manually controlled by hand wheels or levers, or mechanically automated by cams alone. Today’s modern CNC machines understand and function using CNC machining language, this language is referred to as G-code. The code tells them precise measurements for production, like feed rate, speed, location, and coordination.

Today’s design and mechanical parts for CNC systems are highly automated unlike old, dangerous, factory machines that were primarily used in the past. The parts’ mechanical dimensions are defined using computer-aided design (CAD) software, and then translated into manufacturing directives by computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software. Therefore, it is important to have knowledgeable CNC machinists and programmers in the industry to operate this high-tech machinery.

CNC machining plays an important role in manufacturing. CNC is used to make extremely important products in the industry, this includes but is not limited to jet engines, helicopters, and submarines. 

CNC, or computer numerical control machining, is a widely used manufacturing process that uses automated, high-speed cutting tools to form designs from metal or plastic stock. Standard CNC machines include 3-axis, 4-axis, and 5-axis milling machines, lathes, and routers. Machines do vary in how CNC parts are cut, the workpiece may remain in place while the tool moves, the tool may remain in place while the workpiece is rotated and moved, or both the cutting tool and workpiece may move together. 

CNC machines can cut almost any metal alloy and rigid plastic with high precision and repeatability, making custom machined parts suitable for nearly every industry, including aerospace, medical, robotics, electronics, and industrial.

Experienced CNC Machinists see a product through each phase of its creation, from the beginning of an initial concept to design, to code and then to the finished product. 

What do CNC Machine Techs do?

Typical daily duties for CNC operators may include:

  • Reading blueprints, sketches, or computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) files
  • Setting up, operating, and disassembling manual, automatic, and computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools
  • Aligning, securing, and adjusting cutting tools and workpieces
  • Monitoring the feed and speed of machines
  • Turning, milling, drilling, shaping, and grinding machine parts to specifications
  • Measuring, examining, and testing completed products for defects
  • Smoothing the surfaces of parts or products
  • Presenting finished workpieces to customers and making modifications if needed.

CNC Repair Services

Machine Techs is a versatile team of CNC machine repair service techs and project engineers that provides CNC repair services in Houston, Austin, Dallas, and other areas of Texas. We also work on CNC mills, lathes, bandsaws, routers, plasma, and more.