A CNC machine is a Computer Numerical Controlled machine. That’s the technical term for a machine controlled by a computer that is pre-programmed for a particular task. The computer software uses digital data to dictate the movements of a machine to produce precise and consistently reproducible products.
CAD Model Design & Conversion
The CNC machining process begins with using CAD software to create a Computer-Aided Design. This design is digital model that includes all of the necessary technical specifications, such as dimensions and geometries.
The CAD model is then fed through Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software. This software essentially translates the digital plans into digital instructions for the CNC machine to follow.
The CNC machine language that translates the digital data into actions is called G-Code. The G-code directs when, where, and how the various tools move, including:
- Feed Rate
Miscellaneous function code, or M-code, controls auxiliary machine functions or “non-geometry” functions, such as spindle rotation start and stop or pallet change.
The CAD and Cam steps are sometimes done in-house by CNC machining companies, or by a CAD/CAM design service company. At Avanti Engineering, we offer consulting and engineering services on top of our CNC machining services.
CNC Machine Setup
Before the CNC program starts, the CNC operator must prepare the machine. Preparations may include, but aren’t limited to:
- Loading the CNC program
- Checking fluid levels
- Ensuring all surfaces and tools are clean
- Loading tools
- Mounting the part
- Adjusting settings
- Running a dry run
CNC Machine Operation
After proper preparation, the CNC machine basically automates the rest. Once activated, the computer guides the machine through the pre-programmed process.
Some CNC programs also monitor the progress for quality and safety. Although a human operator usually monitors as well, at least at specific intervals. A human operator may need to switch out tools and materials at times, depending on the machine and project.
But, overall, once the CNC machine and program are turned on, it’s a seamless and efficient automated process.
Most Common Types of CNC Machining Operations
CNC machining is used to create an enormous range of parts and products, from tiny electronic parts to airplane engines. However, you can categorize most operations into three groups:
- Drilling (producing cylindrical holes)
- Milling (removing material)
- Turning (removing material from a rotating workpiece)
CNC Machining Services
Avanti Engineering is the #1 screw machine products manufacturer in the US. We offer high volume CNC machining services starting at 1,000 pieces and surpassing 1 million parts. Our machining capabilities include:
- CNC Machining
- CNC Turning & Milling
- CNC Multi-Spindle Machining
- Automatic Bar Machining
- Custom Machining
- High Volume Machining
- Multi Spindle Screw Machining
- Screw Machine Products
- Swiss Screw Machining
Read Next: 5 Main Industries that Use CNC Machines