Overview of CNC Machining
Before you consider getting a CNC machining service online, it is important that you know the ins and outs of it. After all, once you have the right information about this service, you will be able to asses whether you have received value for your money.
Spare at least 15 minutes of your time as to learn everything that you need to know about CNC machining.
What is CNC Machining? Definition
Simply defined, CNC stands for ‘Computer Numerical Machine’. This simply means that a computer is used to convert the designs which are produced by computer aided design (CAD) software into numbers.
A controller is loaded with an array of coordinates which are known as G-code. This means that any machine that is controlled by G-codes qualifies to be named as CNC machine. It can be a milling machine or a plasma cutter.
The computer aided design produces numbers which are considered to be the coordinates of the graph ie X, Y and Z coordinates of a cartesian plane. The coordinates of advanced CNC machining are defined by A, B, C axes. These numbers are used for controlling the movement of the machine such as cutter.
Image coordinates of a CNC machining http://www.technologystudent.com/cam/cnccut1.html
How the CNC Coordinates work?
From the image above, you can see that a CNC machining works using different coordinates. But, how do these coordinates operate?
Usually, the cutter is instructed to move from one coordinate to another. It can be from coordinates A to coordinates or A to C. Keep in mind that a single that there are thousands of coordinates to be covered by the cutter as it moves through the block.
CNC Machining Production Parts and Components
A typical CNC machine comprises of the following parts or components:
–The bed: This is the hard part of the CNC machine on which the tool turret navigates over the CNC lathe bed.
–Headstock: This is usually considered the main component of the CNC machine. Since it has the motor, it is responsible for driving the main spindle.
–Tailstock: This component of the CNC machining is used for enhancing the grip on the workpiece. It is usually needed when you are performing operations such as knurling and threading.
–Tailstock quill: Sets the workpiece in a perfect position between the centres.
–Control panel: This is the part that controls the operation and behaviour of the CNC machining. It is where you set and feed the required program into the machine.
–Tool turret: The turret provides a stable platform on which you will mount the tool. The turret can be used for supporting several machine components.
Elements of CNC Machining
-In addition to the above components, there are other elements that ensure that CNC machining is efficient and accurate. These elements include:
–The program: The program will be fed into the controller and is used to control the operation of the CNC machining.
The program exists in the form of N code, G code, and XYZ codes.
–Tape Reader: Is used for storing a program that will be used by the CNC machine
–Minicomputer: Acts as an interface between the controller and the human being. It reads the program and interprets it accordingly.
–Servo system: This is a system that receives the control signals and translates them to the output devices.
The block diagram below represents the parts and components of a CNC machine system.
Image source Learn Mechanical https://learnmechanical.com/cnc-machine/#Parts_of_CNC_Machine
How a CNC Machining Works: Step-by-Step
Each of the above parts of the CNC machine performs a specific role to ensure that the desired work is done.
CNC machining depends on the CAD and CAM and program control.
The CAD, in this context, plays the role of a drawing tool. It ensures that the designer gets accurate designs of the prototype. This drawing software also improves communication between a team of designers and even the client.
The CAM( Computer Aided Manufacturing) in a CNC machining acts as a storage for the programs that control the CNC machining. It has the G-codes and the M-codes which are designed to perform various operations.
Here is a step-by-step procedure of the CNC machining process:
- We write and insert a program into the CNC machine control unit. Keep in mind that the program has the G and M codes.
- Data processing in the CNC machine is executed depending on the instructions that we have written on the program. Once the data processing is completed, the machine prepares the commands that will be channeled to the driving system.
- The drive system of the CNC machine controls the motion pattern and the velocity of the machine. At the same time, the feedback system keeps records of the velocity and the position of the machine tool. The feedback is sent to the MCU.
- Once the MCU reads the feedback, it compares it with the reference signals. If there are any errors, they are corrected by the MCU. The new signals are sent back to the machine tool so that the right operation can be executed.
- The display unit of the CNC machine provides an interface where you can see all the operations.
Here is a summary of how the CNC machine works
Types of CNC Machines
Here are the main types of CNC machines that are used for providing this service:
- CNC Lathe: This CNC machine works by spinning the material in a lathe. The machine tool is shifted in two axes so that it can cut out the cylindrical parts.
CNC lathe is capable of cutting our curved parts. Manual lathes re not designed to deal with curved parts.
- CNC Mill: A CNC mill is usually used for manufacturing flat parts. However, some of these mills can still be used for creating complex shapes.
In a CNC mill, the material to be worked on is held at a stationary position as the spindle rotates with the tool. This tool moves along the three axes to cut the material into the desired design.
- CNC Drill: Although they are similar to the CNC mils, they only differ in terms of the axes. CNC drill cuts the material along one axis(Z-axis). It is not designed to work along the X and Y axes.
- CNC Grinders: Just as the name suggests, these machines work by moving a grinding wheel into the material. By doing so, they create polished finishes on the surface of the material.
This type of CNC machine is usually used for fine-tuning the finishes.
Of the above CNC machine types, which one do you need? The best CNC machining service will ensure that you get any service for your prototyping and parts.
Materials for CNC Machining
What types of materials can be worked on by the CNC machining service?
CNC machines are versatile since they are designed to handle a wide range of materials. Here are some of the materials that can be worked on by the process.
–Aluminium: Despite being a relatively soft metal, aluminium can still be cut and processed by the machine. To counter the low melting of aluminium, we modify the tooling and operations of the machines in order to achieve the desired results.
–Carbon Steel: CNC machines are designed to work on different grades of steel. Among these grades is carbon steel.
–Titanium: Just like steel, titanium has a wide range of alloys. This means that the operation of the machine will be altered to suit each alloy of titanium.
–Copper: Despite being a highly malleable metal, we can still work on his material to achieve the desired goal.
–Plastics: Rigid plastics or those ones that are structurally hard can also be processed by the CNC machine. With plastics, the machinists must be extra vigilant to prevent melting and deformation of the plastic material.
Still not sure whether your material can be processed? Contact a reputable NC machine service provider for further consultation.
Pros and Cons of CNC Machining
Should I get the CNC machining service? You may wonder. To get a concrete answer to this question, let’s have a look at both at the advantages and disadvantage of CNC machining.
Advantages of CNC Machining
- Faster than the manual machining
Are you targeting to have a prototype within a tight deadline? You should consider using the CNC machining service. It is faster than manual machining.
The time-saving feature of CNC machining will have a direct impact on your production process. You will get more tasks done within a short time.
- Reduces the cost o production
When viewed from a technical angle, you will realize that CNC machining will reduce your production cost. The fact that the machine can run continuously without any close supervision means that you won’t need to hire many supervisors.
- Increases safety levels
CNC machines are safer than manual machines. The designs of the CNC machines eliminate risks of workplace injuries. Probably you must have heard of many cases of major injuries that have been caused by manual machines.
- High efficiency
In terms of performance, CNC machining is accurate and highly efficient. There is a very low chance of the machine making an error. This is possible since the operation of the CNC machine is controlled by the computer.
On the other hand, manual machines are prone to errors.
- Flexible and Adaptable
Through the CNC machining service, you can easily implement the necessary changes. This is possible because the machine has an editing program which can be easily edited online.
In case you would like to change some aspects of your product, simply communicate to the CNC machining service company and the task will be done.
Disadvantages of CNC Machining
The main disadvantage of a CNC machine is it can only be handled by experts. The complexity of the operation cannot be handled by anyone.
The good news is some companies are providing the CNC machining service online at an affordable cost.
Such companies help you offload the problem of budget.
Industrial Applications of CNC Machining
Am I the right person to get the CNC machining service? As long as your industry deals with the manufacturing of components, then you are a perfect candidate for CNC machining.
Here are some of the popular industrial applications of CNC machining service:
–Automotive: Parts of a vehicle such as engine blocks and pistons rely on CNC machining because of its high levels of accuracy.
–Aerospace: The service is used in moulding parts of an aeroplane. These parts include blade, turbine, engines, and even the combustion chamber.
–Military: Military weapons such as guns, missiles, and even artillery are molded to precision thanks to the CNC machining process.
–Energy: CNC machining service is applicable in different sectors of energy. The CNC machines mould components used for wind, hydro, and steam turbine.
Even the components used in the oil industry undergo CNC machining.
–Medical: In the field of medicine, CNC machining service is mainly used for moulding organic components that will be needed for performing transplants.
Do you have any other industry in mind that you think should be added to this list? Feel free to talk to us.
Rocheindustry: Affordable Online CNC Machining Service
At Rocheindustry, we provide affordable CNC machining services for rapid prototyping and production parts. Our services are ideally suited for prototyping, heavy industrial applications, light industries, among other applications.
Through this subtractive manufacturing process, we ensure that you get the flawless 3D designs for your prototypes. Our CNC machining tools are backed with advanced 3D software that ensures everything is executed to the utmost precision.
We also have a team of engineers, designers and machinists who have the required experience when it comes to using then best CNC machining tools.
Would you like to get an affordable CNC machining service? Just contact us, and we will deliver accurate results.
Graphical view of CNC machine