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A Brief Guide of CNC Machines

We are moving in a digital era that cannot do without computers and technology, including manufacturing companies and factories.

Factories have immensely benefited from CNC machines, such as MRO Electric, and use them for different procedures, such as cutting, measuring, assembling, etc.

What is a CNC (Computer Numerical Control)?

Since this is a brief guide about CNC machines, let us start with what comprises CNC machines. CNC stands for “Computer Numerical Control,” which indicates the use of a computer and a CAM program for the control, monitoring, automating, and analyzing the movements of the machines.

Now, CNC machines can be of different kinds since they are used for different purposes, such as a CNC milling machine, a CNC grinder, a CNC welder, a CNC router, a CNC lathe machine, a CNC laser cutting machine, a CNC metal sheet stamping machine, etc.

Depending on the manufacturing company’s setup, the CNC machines’ controlling computer is usually an onboard controlling unit; however, if the machines aren’t used in an industrial setup and are part of some hobby, they can also be monitored by an external computer system.

Typically, the CNC controller works in combination with a variety of drive and motor components responsible for the movement and control of the machine’s axes and ensuring that everything is executed according to the programmed movements.

If the CNC machines are part of more extensive manufacturing industry, there is usually a more advanced feedback system that constantly adjusts and monitors the position and speed of the CNC cutting machines

What Is CAM (Computer Aided Machining/ Manufacturing)?

Usually, CAM indicates the use of different software packages that create an NC code and certain tool-paths used to run and operate a CNC machine. Usually, the software packages are based on CAD (3D Computer Model) data.

It is essential to note that CAM isn’t responsible for running a CNC machine – it only creates an NC code for the CNC machine to follow. CAM also doesn’t fall into the category of an automated operation that is used to import the required CAD to produce the right NC code or G-code.

That said, computer-aided machining or manufacturing requires professional experience and knowledge in certain areas, such as in the field of machine strategies development, running the CAM program, and a thorough understanding of what types of tools and operational strategies one should use in different situations to garner the best results.

What are the specific limitations of CNC machines?

CNC machines can have a certain number of axes movements, which can be rotary or linear. Many CNC machines have both axes of motion. For instance, CNC water jets have the liners axes of X and Y; whereas, most CNC milling machines have Z, X, and Y.

Depending on the advancement of the CNC machines, there can be specific limitations regarding the machine’s drive systems and control. Most CNC machines are limited to circular arcs and straight-line movements. The older versions of CNC machines are less capable and slower than the latest versions of CNC machines.