The concept of the CNC machine that can provide controlled 3 or 5 axes of movement of machine tools for cutting metal has changed much since the industrial revolution in CNC machining because of the application of computer technology.
There is lot to know about when it comes to CNC machines, so through this post, we provide you with all the important details you would like to know about CNC.
What is CNC?
CNC (Computer Numeric Control) is the machining equipment that can read a numeric code or program that contains data about cutting space, coordinates, tool information etc.
CNC machining is capable of meeting the tightest tolerances and producing the most accurate, precise engineering products over and over again. It is suitable for both prototyping and low-to-medium volume production, thanks to its high repeatability. The recent advent of 3d printing technology looking to diminish the global CNC machining requirement in near future.
The Rise of CNC
John Parsons, founder of Parsons Corp invented a system to control machining equipment by feeding it punched cards with holes corresponding to coordinates. In early 1949, Parsons then joined the U.S. Air Force at an MIT laboratory to further developed the system which we call as an NC (numerical control system), forefather for CNC.
Punched card swiftly replaced by analog and then by powerful processors renamed NC to CNC as we call now. CNC machines as today equipped with advanced robotic technologies enables them to have the widest range of machining application.
Types of CNC Machines:
CNC milling devices are the most commonly used type of CNC machine. Typically, they are operate by the number of axes which are labeled with various letters.
X and Y designate for horizontal movement of the work-piece (forward-and-back and side-to-side on a flat plane). Z represents vertical, or up-and-down, movement, while W represents diagonal movement across a vertical plane. Most machines offer from 3 to 5 axes, providing performance along at least the X, Y and Z axes.
A machine is a CNC machine that capacities to cut workpieces as they are turned. These machines rapidly rotate the material on a spindle. During the rotation, the material is pressed against a grinding or carving tool which cuts it into the desired shape. Lathes are mostly used to cut symmetrical objects such as spheres, cones, or cylinders.
The CNC router is a very common type of machinery which is built exclusively to be operated using CNC technology. Typically, this machine has no human interface other than the computer. Routers are used in the production of large dimension parts of wood, metal sheets and plastics. They are mostly designed in a three-axis Cartesian coordinate which allows cutting in three dimensions.
CNC Plasma Cutters
Plasma cutters are very similar to the routers both in size and setup. However, CNC plasma cutters don’t require a powerful setup since they fly above the table with a plasma torch rather than dragging a spinning tool in the material. Mostly, the plasma cutters are designed to cut two-dimensional profile shapes into sheet metal.
CNC Electric Discharge Machines
Electric discharge machining, or EDM for short, includes making a particular shape inside a specific material by utilizing electrical releases, or starts. The material is expelled from a particular workpiece by a progression of repeating electrical releases between two anodes. These anodes are isolated by a dielectric liquid, which regularly gets an electric voltage.
CNC Laser Cutter
The laser cutters use the same principle as the plasma cutters with the only difference being the fact that a powerful laser is used to do the cutting rather than plasma torch. These cutters are good for cutting metal, plastic, and wood. Depending on the material being cut, a different strength of laser is used since every material has a unique thickness and hardness.
When do we need to go for CNC machining
Though CNC machining generally the preferred method of production, other method of manufacturing should be consider as volume needed.
In this we article covered the key points to know about CNC. There are several resources out there to know about CNC machining.
Happy Learning Guys!