In this guide you will learn the basics of CNC (computer numerical control) machining. Here, the technical terms are explained for beginners and the most important things are summarized. Through this guide, the interest for CNC machining should be aroused and at the end of the guide the readers should be able to understand the world of CNC machining and realize the advantages of this type of machining.
- The story of CNC machining
- Introduction to CNC machining
- Advantages of CNC milling machine
- Setting up a CNC milling machine
- Milling with CNC programs
The Story of CNC machining
Milling is one of the oldest machining techniques and has been used for centuries. The first milling machines were invented in England in 1775. However, these early milling machines were not computer controlled and had to be operated by hand. The first CNC milling machine was invented in 1952. However, these early CNC milling machines were still very primitive and could only perform simple milling operations.
Nowadays, thanks to the advancement of technology, CNC milling machines can perform very complex CNC machining operations and are capable of producing parts with high precision.
Introduction to CNC machining
CNC machining means computer-controlled milling. In this process, the movement of the milling cutter is controlled by a computer that exactly replicates the movements. This computer-controlled type of milling guarantees the highest accuracy and precision.
Milling is a machining process that uses a rotating cutting tool to remove material from a workpiece. This process can be performed on a variety of materials, including metals, plastics and woods. Milling can be used to produce parts with complex shapes and features and is often used in the production of parts for automobiles, aircraft and other machinery.
There are a variety of different CNC manufacturers that offer different CNC milling machines. Most CNC milling machines have a similar design. A basic distinction must be made between the vertical and horizontal design. What this difference is, you can read in this blog post. A CNC milling machine consists of three main components: a table, a CNC machining head and a control unit. The table component holds the workpiece in place during milling. The milling head is equipped with a variety of different cutting tools that can be used to mill different materials.
Our CNC machines were invented and patented 20 years ago. Thus, they are unique and especially in terms of construction. With our machining centers of the P-Series and the mobile CNC machines of the PM-Series we offer the user completely new and innovative manufacturing approaches!
Advantages of CNC milling machine
CNC milling machines are computer-controlled machines that can produce parts with high precision. CNC milling machines are used in a variety of industries, including automotive, aircraft, and mechanical engineering.
CNC milling machines offer a number of advantages over traditional machines. Here are some basic advantages and disadvantages of CNC milling machine:
- Higher precision: CNC milling machines are capable of producing parts with very high precision. This is due to the computerized nature of milling, which allows the machine’s movements to be controlled very precisely.
- Less scrap: The repeatability in production leads to the reduction of scrap parts.
- Higher productivity: CNC milling machines are able to produce parts in less time. This is due to the computerized way of milling, which makes the machine able to work faster.
Setting up a CNC milling machine
Before you start milling, you must make sure that your CNC milling machine is set up correctly. This includes setting up the correct cutting tools, router spindle, and workholding fixture. Logically, you also need to connect the machine to the proper power source.
Here are some basic steps to follow to properly set up your CNC milling machine:
- check the connections to the power source and make sure all cables are properly connected.
- Make sure the correct cutting tools are in the spindle.
- check the milling parameters, e.g. speed, milling depth and cutting geometry.
- clamp the workpiece correctly so that the area to be milled is fully accessible to the cutting tool.
Check the settings of the machine before you start milling.
Once the machine is properly set, you can begin milling. Likewise, watch for certain error messages that may occur to make sure your milling machine is working properly.
Machining with CNC programs
Milling with a CNC milling machine is a complex process in which many factors must be taken into account in order to achieve an optimal result. Nowadays, professional training is required to operate a CNC machine. This shows how complex milling with a CNC milling machine has become.
But not only operating a CNC milling machine is complex, programming a CNC milling machine also requires a high level of expertise. In the old days, CNC milling programs were written by hand, which was very time consuming and prone to errors.
However, most CNC milling programs are created using computer-aided-manufacturing (CAM) software. This software allows the user to create a 3D model of the part to be milled. Then, the CAM software is used to convert the 3D model into a CNC milling program. Completed CNC milling programs are then transferred to the CNC milling machine where they are executed.
In the end, what this means for your company is that investing in the right CAM software for your CNC milling machine can have a great ROI (return on investment). Investing in good CAM software can save time and money, as the software can automate the creation of CNC milling programs. Well known CAM software for CNC milling are Mastercam, hyperMILL and Autodesk Fusion 360.
Machining is a complex task that requires a lot of expertise and experience. However, investing in a CNC milling machine and using CAM software can greatly simplify the milling task. With the right equipment and knowledge, milling can make your manufacturing processes more efficient and cost-effective.
This brief guide is designed to give you a first glimpse into the world of CNC machining. If you are looking for a suitable CNC Machine or a contract manufacturing, feel free to contact us. We will be happy to help you!