What Is CNC Machining?

What Is CNC Machining?

What Is CNC Machining?

CNC, or Computer Numerical Control, machining is an advanced process that utilises computer software to guide the cutting and grinding equipment used to make component parts. In its most basic form, the process is carried out through pre-programmed software that determines the complete process, needing no human intervention once the process has begun.

 The basis of such machining has advanced from the early numerically-controlled machines of the 1940s. Back then, mechanisms were employed to control the movement of various tools. This advanced as analogue computers came into being, with today’s processes being digitally controlled.

CNC Machining: an overview

The process of CNC machining is underpinned by unique software programmes and consoles that are driven by a code built upon a numerical system. This code is written by programmers to determine accurate three-dimensional cutting tasks. The information is transmitted via small keyboards to computers, where it’s retained within the machine’s memory. Tweaks and alterations can be made at any time with a revised code being entered – just one of the reasons CNC machining is considered superior to numerical control machinery.

 The upshot of this means that complex cutting tasks can be achieved through a single set of prompts. Multiple machine parts can be controlled at the same time, such as cutters, drills, lathes, mills, CNC routers and grinders.

CNC Machining: the programming

CNC machining relies on a numerically-controlled language, often referred to as a G-code. When designed, it transmits various information to the cutting machinery, including the feed rate, coordination and speed.

 The first step in the process is to create a 2D or 3D CAD drawing. This is then translated into the G-code and delivered via the keyboards for execution via the CNC system. Once trial runs are completed to ensure there are no errors, the manufacturing process can take place with a minimum of human intervention.

 There are two types of CNC machining systems: open-loop and closed-loop. The first runs from CNC controller to the motor in a single direction. The second can receive information back to the controller, so allowing it to rectify any errors. Open-loop is generally used for processes that have minimal forces and speed. In situations that demand more force and velocity, a closed-loop application is necessary.

Automated Mechanisms: the different types of CNC machines

Precision machine parts can be produced in multiple materials, including various metals and plastics. Processes include hole-punching, laser cutting and ultrasonic welding.

 The different types of machines used included:

 ·         Lathes: Indexable tools are used to cut in a circular direction. These are highly precise and work at great speeds, generally working across both X and Y axes. They’re used to create complex designs that wouldn’t be possible with a manual-driven machine.

·         CNC Mills: These utilise a 3-axis system, X, Y and Z, although some can accommodate further axes. The control functions are similar to that of lathes.

·         Water Jet Cutters: Used for ultra-hard materials, such as granite and some metals, that can’t cope with the heat-intensive processes of some of the other types of CNC machining. They’re more commonplace in industries such as aerospace and mining, or in areas where it’s vital that the heat created during the cutting process doesn’t change the intrinsic properties of the materials.

·         Plasma cutters: As the name suggests, a plasma torch is used to cut through the material. Commonly used to create metal components but can also be used on other substances.

·         Electric Discharge Machines: Sometimes called spark machining or die sinking, the cutting and shaping process is carried out using electrical sparks.

 The many advantages of CNC machining include:

 ·         High level of accuracy – the element of human error is removed

·         Can be programmed to produce a virtually limited variety of components and goods

·         Fast process, with complicated patterns being produced in minutes

·         Can be used on a wide variety of materials

·         Cost-effective – for both short runs and larger requirements.

Contact Sixde for CNC Machining Expertise in Perth, WA & Across Australia

As manufacturing within Australia continues to be targeted by government incentives, so companies are realising the benefits of having an expert CNC machining service within easy reach. Sixde is a world-leading provider of customised precision machined components, offering an in-house ability to turn around company needs to the finished product accurately and in the shortest timescales.

Find out more at https://www.sixde.com.au and get in contact today to discuss your needs.