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  • Writer's pictureAndrii Opal

What Is CNC Machining? An Overview Of The CNC Machining Process

You have probably heard about CNC Machining, or perhaps you have an idea or two about how it works. But believe it or not, it is more than just a manufacturing process. And if you are hoping to learn more about it, then you have come to the right place. Here is everything about it in a nutshell.

CNC Machining In a Nutshell

As mentioned, CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining refers to a manufacturing process used in the manufacturing sector. It basically involves the use of computers in order to control different machine tools. The latter, in particular, are those that can be controlled, such as grinders, lathes, and routers, among many others.

Sure, it may look like an ordinary PC controlling the machine. However, the hardware’s unique software and control console are what exactly set the system completely apart from any other form of computation.

Things You Probably Didn’t Know About CNC Machining

When you activate a CNC system, the desired cuts are automatically programmed right into the software and, at the same time, dictated to corresponding machinery and/or tools. From there, it would carry out the much-needed dimensional tasks. You can liken the process of the latter to a robot, so to speak.

When talking about CNC Programming, the code generator found in the numerical system will usually deem mechanisms flawless – and this happens even in the event of errors. In a sense, it tends to be much greater especially when a CNC machine is tasked to cut in more than a single direction simultaneously. As for the specific place of a tool in the said system, it is often outlined by a set of inputs that are called as the part of the program.

Thanks to a numerical control machine, it is possible for programs to be inputted through punch cards. On the contrary, the programs meant for CNC machines are fed directly to a computer via small keyboards. This is when CNC programming can be retained in the memory of a computer. Of course, the programmers are still the one responsible for writing and/or editing the code.

To put it simply, CNC systems gives you flexibility in terms of computational capacity. And since newer prompts can easily be included in all pre-existing programs – which can be done using revised code – all CNC systems can be deemed static.

Introducing CNC Machine Programming

Machines are being operated through numerical control in CNC. It is where a software program is tasked to completely control a certain object. The language behind this is, in one way or another, alternately termed as G-code. The latter, in particular, is written in a way that it controls the many varying behaviors of a corresponding machine, which could refer to coordination, feed rate, and speed.

In other words, CNC machining makes it easier and possible for you to pre-program either the speed or position – or both – of machine tool functions. Plus, you can run them with ease via software in predictable, repetitive cycles. And mind you, these cycles are done with little to zero involvement from human operators. Due to how sophisticated and beneficial the process is, it has become a widely used method across all corners of the manufacturing industry. In fact, it has become a vital addition in areas of plastic and metal production.

Open or Closed-Loop Machining Systems

In case you did not know, position control can only be distinguished through the use of an open-loop or closed-loop system. If the former is responsible for signaling runs in one direction (which is between the motor and controller), the latter is more about receiving feedback in order to make error correction a possibility. By look at the comparison, it is safe to assume that a closed-loop system is more than capable in rectifying irregularities that are often common in position and velocity.

Movement, in CNC machining, is always directed across X and Y axes. The tool is then positioned and guided through a stepper (also, it could via servo motors) that replicate the exact movements according to the G-code. If both the force and speed return a “minimal” result, then you can easily run the process through an open-loop control. As for everything else, you may want to use closed-loop control, especially since it is essential in ensuring qualities (e.g. accuracy, consistency, speed, etc.) needed for industrial applications (i.e. metalwork).

Why CNC Machining is Fully Automated

If you look at today’s CNC protocols, you will notice that the production of parts through pre-programmed software is often fully automated. Take for example the dimensions for a certain part. All of them are immediately inputted to computer-aided design software or CAD. From there, they will be converted to an actual, finish product using computer-aided manufacturing software or CAM. These needs are accommodated by most of today’s machines by putting all different functions into a single cell.

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