What is the Significance of CNC in CNC Machining?

Cnc Machining

The average person today assumes everything is done with a software app on a phone. Some do a few clicks and instantly a product or part is made available, or so the expectation goes. That might be the case in sci-fi TV show that invented the idea of a hologram fabricator, but in the real world the technology is a little more down to earth. In fact, even with the most modern computers today, CNC machining uses a concept first created in the 1940s.

Computer Numerical Control (CNC)

CNC, or computer numerical control, is a process that provides specific instructions to tooling machining and then the tools apply the instructions accordingly. The beauty of CNC machining today is that it can be applied to more than just metal, and the intimate accuracy that can applied produces amazingly high tolerances and measurements down to the microscopic level. That is the power of applied computer automation.

The CNC Machining Process

The CNC machining process works with the concept of elimination. A block of material is placed on a worktable and positioned. The tooling then works as the material is turned or the tools move around the material. As the excess material is removed by the tooling, the machine follows the directions of software language fed into a pre-created computer-aided design file converted to work with a CNC machine. Those instructions control and direct the tools to do their work. As the instructions are executed, the shape of the product is defined and brought into existence. The most basic CNC machine executes directions on three levels: X, Y and Z. These provide for positions in terms of horizontal, vertical and depth. The exact movement is defined by a string of coordinates made up as combinations of the aforementioned X, Y and Z values. More advanced machines add additional axes for more control and features.

Prior to CNC systems becoming generally available, it was the work of artisans and molding that made most machine parts. Molding was the more common approach, essentially melting metal into a pre-made form and then finishing the casting once it was cooled. This approach was only as strong as the mold and the level of the metal alloy. On the other hand, artisan work manually applied what is today done with a CNC machine, removing excess from a solid form that has not been broken down yet. This is a clear advantage over a mold, whether automated or not. Far strong material can be used with forming by shaping and crafting rather than molding, holding up stronger under pressure and performing better. No surprise, creating from highly integrated solid material is the value of machined parts, especially in high demand environments like combustion engines, versus molds.

Higher tolerance demands make it impossible to expect molded parts to hold up. Artisans were under heavy demand to chisel and shape needed parts. With softer materials like wood and plastic, that was doable, but with hard metal the work was extremely challenging and long. As a result, the demand for better options increased to the point that CNC machining was created.

At first, CNC machining utilized very mechanical, analog systems that used manual guidance. Then, the instructions were provided with punch cards and punch card tape. It wasn’t until the first storable medium was provided with working computers that the golden age of CNC machining came into being, basically starting in the early 1970s.

CNC Programming

Today’s CNC machining has evolved to far more capable levels. In fact, the technology applied is regularly used for highly critical medical equipment fabrication, aerospace material and part forming, light metal detailed work, sensitive fabrication and more. In fact, much of what’s being used to build one-off prototypes for the next evolution of robotics and the 21st century uses mostly CNC machining because it’s so practical to design from a computer and build by machine in one system. More than likely, when humanity decides to fully venture into the stars, some kind of compact CNC machining system will go along; it’s just common sense to be able to bring a combined toolbox that can make any part needed when you can’t come back to Earth.

CNC Operations

Evden Enterprises continues to be one of the most experienced and lasting providers in CNC machining work, particularly in multiple advanced axes systems. Clients from all over depend on Evden because the depth of their understanding in applying CNC tooling is far ahead of the game, and it shows in the high quality of the work produced. Find out more talking with Evden’s specialists today.