What is CNC Programming?

CNC Machining is a key part of our work at Condor Machinery, but have you ever wondered how the machines work? Each machine takes a special kind of code or CNC program that instructs it on how to work with the material and what cuts to make. Let’s take a closer look into what CNC programming is and how we use it in our machine shop.

How does it work?

CNC programming stands for Computer Numerical Control Programming, and it is used within the manufacturing processes for automation and increased flexibility. Manufacturers create program instructions for the computers that control the tools. There are two types of coding languages that CNC machines use, and that is G-code and M-code. G-codes tell the machine what to do, while M-codes encompass all miscellaneous functions like spindle rotations and starting or finishing a cycle. These codes can be customized depending on the machine.

CNC programming codes can be written manually, conversationally, or as a CAM system (computer-aided manufacturing software). Some of the reasons that we love CNC machines are that they are fast, versatile, and allow repetitive processes to be done efficiently. When a machine has poor programming, the materials have decreased tolerance levels, leaving them with a poor surface finish and early tool breakage. When it comes to CNC programming, our machinists are highly trained in the software and spend time ensuring that it is functioning properly to avoid errors.

Types of CNC Programming

Our CNC machines work with various materials, meaning there are CNC programs for almost any process. Some of the CNC programs we work with include:

  • CNC routers
  • Plasma cutters
  • Laser cutters
  • CNC lathes
  • Milling machines
  • Multi-axis milling
  • 3D printers

CNC programming process

Many CNC programs are designed through software products, but our machinists work to determine the right program for a given project. To know where to start, our machinists look at the basic code and choose if they will proceed with manual, conversational, or CAM systems. 

For manual codes, the machinist writes out the code in the machine, which can be a long process, but it also allows for quick modifications to pre-existing codes. Conversational codes are the most popular choice as they involve menu functions and graphics that are inputted into the machine. CAM Systems are created through a software program with commands for the tool path that helps machinists to create the program and transfer it directly into the CNC machine.

Creating a CNC program will take time, but once the coding document is ready, the rest is up to the machine and the Condor Machinery team! Did you know that Condor Machinery is the top CNC Machine shop in Edmonton? From mass production of parts to complex and unique manual orders, we are here to help with all your machinery needs!

For more information on CNC machines, check out our previous posts:

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