What is CNC Machining?

a cnc machine in a machine shop
Posted on
June 9, 2020 by

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!