Categories > Machining Basics

What is CNC Machining?

CNC Machines, or Computer Numerically Controlled Machines, are electro-mechanical devices that can manufacture parts and products from a computer design.

Engineers and machinists can create these drawings using AutoCAD software, and the CNC machines will accurately bring the product to life.

How Does CNC Machining Work?

CNC Machines rely on drawings from software, either Computer Aided Design (CAD) or Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) to produce a G-code that allows the CNC Machine to create the machined products accurately.

CNC Machining uses what is called controlled removal processes to shape the products.

Much like how one would imagine Michaelangelo’s David being shaped through the controlled removal of marble to create the statues final form, a CNC delicately removes layers of raw material to shape a final product.

The main difference is that CNC Machines can do in hours what would have once taken great artists years!

When the design is given to the machine, the CNC machine interprets the design as a series of cuts and is able to create the product exactly as the designs show by maneuvering the cutting tool around a series of axes (usually 3, x, y, z)  — making it particularly important that you have a professional do the designs.

CNC Machines measure in thousandths of an inch, something that would be impossible for humans to even try to match.

Professionals in machine shops can create digital libraries of different tools and how they work, and upload these libraries to the CNC Machine.

Once the digital libraries are complete, the CNC Machine is able to automatically switch tools depending on the task at hand.

The ability to switch between a blade, a drill, a saw, then back to a blade allows the CNC Machine to accomplish a wide variety of machining processes on a single product almost simultaneously, which is a major development in precision and speed.

What Can a CNC Machine Make?

CNC Machines can be used to make just about anything. Manufacturers use CNC machines to create car parts, tools, building materials, surgical equipment, garden tools, kitchenware, and much more.

Anytime someone needs a precisely manufactured product, whether that’s because they need a single, exact piece, or multiple products that are identical, they will have likely ordered it from a machine shop to use a CNC machine.

CNC Machines make manufacturing faster and more precise, making them a must-have for those who want accurate and exact production.

Who uses CNC Machines?

Most professional machine shops will have a CNC Machine, or at least machine shops that cater to custom machining will.

Although using a CNC Machine itself is not particularly complicated, a person using the machine should be properly trained to ensure that designs are entered correctly.

Designing the product for the CNC Machine is the more complicated task, unlike traditional kinds of machining, because the computer takes control of the blades and does the majority of the work.

However, only trained machinists and engineers should be tasked with using the CNC Machine in order to ensure the designs being used are viable — if the designs are not properly drawn, that can cause fatal flaws with your products.

Sometimes the flaws wouldn’t be obvious, but if there are accidental cracks or cuts that can compromise the integrity of the product, an engineer or trained machinist would be most likely to know if that is a risk from the drawing, before the CNC Machine is used.

A cut in the wrong place of a car part could put lives at risk, which is why it’s important to have all drawings approved by engineers and trained machinists before using the CNC Machine. 

Final Thoughts on CNC Machining

Machine Shops that have advanced CNC Machines are able to produce amazing products accurately and efficiently.

It is important to ensure that a professional signs off on your drawings (or, you can get machine shop specialists to produce the drawings for you) before getting something manufactured by a CNC Machine.

This saves you time and money as you ensure you get things right the first time, and it increases the product’s safety.

Condor Machinery has been proudly offering professional CNC Machining services in Edmonton, Alberta for 30+ years. Looking to have custom CNC Machining work done? Get a quote or give us a call today!

What Is AutoCAD? How It Works & What It’s Used For

What Is AutoCAD?

AutoCAD stands for computer aided design, but what does that mean, exactly?

It means that the software helps professionals build both 2D and 3D prints of their designs.

AutoCAD is a software program that helps designers build anything that can be drawn by hand — but it does so with cleaner lines and is able to build-in the required geometry and math to make the drafts functional as well as easier to read.

How Does AutoCAD Work?

AutoCAD software is incredibly versatile, and it allows users to choose the type of project so as to get the best results. AutoCAD helps to make designers more productive and more precise, allowing them to design multiple blueprints and designs quite quickly with more accuracy. 

AutoCAD, being a powerful software, also creates manufacturing databases, so you can easily go back to your previous designs and take bits and pieces of drawings and use them in future designs, allowing you to design multiple variants of the same product quickly and meticulously.

Further, if you have a specific part you need, but you need the same part just with an addition, you can design your part on AutoCAD and use that design and simply add on whatever you need.

What Is AutoCAD Used For?

Using AutoCAD also allows engineers and designers to provide designs to clients quickly, and make changes to those same designs quickly as well.

Before drafting software existed, engineers and designers would need to meticulously draw their designs on drafting paper, and if anything needed to be changed or errors were found, they often had to start again from scratch.

Related: What, Exactly, Is Machining? Popular Tools, Processes and Techniques

AutoCAD allows designs to be tweaked without losing the bulk of the work.

AutoCAD can be used to efficiently create things like pipes, tools, nuts and bolts, car parts, electrical systems, and much more. 

Which Industries Use AutoCAD?

Architecture & Engineering

Architects and engineers are often the most commonly associated profession with using AutoCAD. Architects use AutoCAD because of the speed and precision it allows them, and especially the database of past designs. Architects can benefit from taking bits and pieces of previous drawings and using them in new ways in future buildings.

Engineers of all kinds of industries use AutoCAD — mechanical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and many other engineering disciplines can all benefit from using AutoCAD.

Other professionals who may use AutoCAD are graphic designers, fashion designers, and different kinds of manufacturers.


Manufacturers also use AutoCAD for anything from custom manufacturing to mass production. Car parts can be designed with AutoCAD just as must as a specialty T.V. mount.

You can create just about anything with AutoCAD. The versatility of the program allows for just about any industry to benefit from its use.


Graphic designers can use AutoCAD with many of their designs. It allows them to draw and design things in 3D, and gives a lot of accuracy and speed.

Fashion designers can also use the software for the 3D designing options. AutoCAD gives the clothing designs more accuracy and realistic shape than simply drawing the clothing out, and the cache of designs lets similar styles be reused for assisted speed.


AutoCAD is a tool that can be used to design 3D printing templates, which has a variety of professional uses, from anthropologists printing fossils to surgeons printing human hearts.

Final Thoughts on AutoCAD

AutoCAD is a powerful design tool, and being trained to use it can open up a world of possibilities in the creation and manufacturing of custom designs. The software allows the user to benefit from past work, creating drawings and designs more efficiently. The accuracy AutoCAD provides removes the element of human error, which increases the trustworthiness of the designs. 

Overall, AutoCAD is a necessary tool for all designers and manufacturers. Using the software properly gives the best product, and it does so with speed and meticulousness. 

Condor Machinery has been proudly offering AutoCAD services to businesses in Edmonton, AB and throughout Alberta for 25+ years. Learn more about our AutoCAD services or request a quote via e-mail from today!

What, Exactly, Is Machining? Popular Types, Tools & Techniques

Our experts explain exactly what machining is, the types of machining most commonly used, important tools and popular techniques used in machine shops.

What is Machining?

Machining is the production of materials into a desired shape and size. Usually machining refers to metal working; however, it can also be used in referring to the production of wood, plastic, ceramic, stone, and other materials. 

If you have raw materials that you want to be formed into a specific shape for a specific purpose, you would use machining processes to form that raw material into a finished product. Examples of machined products include nuts and bolts, automobile parts, flanges, drill bits, plaques, and many more tools and items related to a wide variety of industries.

Types of Machining

There are three main kinds of machining: turning, milling, and drilling. There are other processes that also fall into the category of machining, but when it comes to modern machining processes, turning, milling, and drilling cover the majority.


Turning refers to machining where the tool is spun against a tool that either shaves down or cuts the raw material. Turning may look a lot like using a lathe (which would be considered a kind of machining for woodworking), but unlike a lathe, turning does not require the tool to be controlled by a person. Computers can run the tool that then shapes the turned material, allowing for more precision and safety.


Drilling is a machining process where holes are drilled into the raw material. A standard drill press is one of the most classic kinds of machining, but modern practices and technology allow drilling to be far more advanced than a worker-controlled drill press. Computers can control a selection of drill bits and cutting tools to create intricate holes in material — the modern sieve can be created with great ease thanks to the precision and advancement of modern drilling practices.


Milling is the process that cuts holes into materials using a rotating tool. Rather than spinning the material against a stationary cutting tool like turning, milling uses a computer to control the rotating cutting tool against a clamped-down piece of material. Unlike drilling, the tools for milling allows for different shapes to be cut, such as cutting the raw material in half or adding unique cuts.

Machining Tools

There are plenty of machining tools to choose from that do a wide variety of machining tasks. The major categories of tools for machining are: turning tools, milling tools, grinding tools, cutting tools, drilling tools, and boring tools. While there are more machining tools, these are the most common tools from classic machining.

Turning Tools

All turning tools work towards the turning machining process, spinning the raw material against a stationary blade or other cutting tool.

Milling Tools

Milling tools are used for cutting unique shapes and designs out of raw materials.

Grinding Tools

Grinding is a type of machining that is related to turning, but involves more of the cleaning rather than the shaping — deburring and the fine finishing of materials all require grinding.

Cutting Tools

When precise cuts are required, cutting tools such as shears and saws (manual or electric) allow for straight lines through tough material.

Drilling Tools

Drilling tools complete all the drilling processes, drill presses and many other drilling machines allow clear-cut holes to be drilled through any material.

Boring Tools

Boring is a way to enlarge previously drilled holes, expanding a hole to the proper size.

A new development in machining practices, however, is the introduction of CNC machining. Computer Numerical Control, CNC, is the addition of computers to machining practices, so rather than relying on human ability, CNC Machining allows for the different cutting, grinding, drilling, etc. tools to be controlled by a computer that is fed precise designs.

Machining Techniques

The different types of machining and the different tools combine to create specific machining techniques. Cutting, milling, drilling, grinding, boring, and turning are all classic types of precision machining.


Using cutting tools either controlled manually or through CNC machining processes, cutting the raw material to its specifications is the precision machining technique, cutting.


Using milling tools, such as a fly cutter or hollow mill cutter, milling allows the worker to create unique shapes and designs in the raw material, so it’s a very important technique for precision machining.


Drilling is one of the most classic machining techniques, as drilling holes in materials without compromising the material is a necessary application of machining.


The technique of grinding material to smooth the surface or create very small cuts is an important finishing technique, and a major part of precision machining.


Boring is an important precision machining technique that allows hole sizes to be increased rather than re-drilled, which saves time and energy.


Another classic technique, turning allows raw material to be shaped and engraved quickly and precisely, much likely sculpting out of hard material, turning removes raw material to create the proper shapes.

Machining Applications

There are many applications for machining processes. Machined products are used in many industries, such as construction, engineering, and manufacturing, Automobile manufacturers require every part to be machined precisely in order to run properly. In the oil industry, engineers give very specific design and machining instructions for parts for pumps, pipes, and structural aids. In the construction industry, machining is used to produce drill bits, hammer heads, other tool pieces, and larger elements like structural steel beams and rebar for piles.

Machining is a necessary process for many industries, especially those related to construction and manufacturing. Because machining is so versatile and precise, it allows businesses and industries to design products and tools that suit their needs exactly.

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