CNC Machining: A Brief Beginners Guide

getting started with cnc machining

As a leader in spindle design and maintenance, Superior Spindle knows a thing or two about cnc productions. However, not everyone is as comfortable around these technologically advanced systems, even some people who own them. Here’s our guide to getting started with CNC machining.

The Basics: Getting Started with CNC Machining

The most common question among CNC enthusiasts or businesses interested in getting started with CNC and purchasing a system is, “how do CNC machines work?” The most straightforward answer is through computer programming. These machines operate by numerical coding, allowing the user to preprogram machine functions. These functions are determined by the design of your system: open loop or closed loop. A closed loop system allows for more variability and correction.

Types of CNC Machines

While the technology end of CNCs can be intimidating, the versatility of these systems makes the necessary learning worth it. There are several types of CNC machines, but there are at least six used in manufacturing and industry.

  • Mills

    Based on a three-axis system, CNC mills utilize G-code or other unique languages. These systems are used heavily in manufacturing. 
  • Lathes

    Lathes are used for complex and intricate cutting, requiring high-velocity. While the controls of lathes are similar to CNC mills, the system is more precise and delicate while depending on indexable tools. 
  • Plasma Cutters

    Using a combination of compressed-air gas and electrical arcs to produce adequate heat, plasma cutters are used heavily in metal fabrication shops. The plasma torch is controlled along an axis and is capable of performing accurate and clean cuts repetitively. 
  • EDM

    EDM, or electric discharge machines, are used in the process of molding pieces with the use of electrical sparks. This process is also referred to as spark machining or die sinking. 
  • Water Jets

    While often found in metal shops, water jets are also useful in the cutting and shaping of granite. These tools force water through a series of narrowing tubes, increasing its pressure and velocity as it is sprayed against and through a hard substance.

These are only a few of several machines that utilize CNC technology. CNC technology is continually being modified and redesigned to adjust for new uses and tools, allowing for customization for varying industries.

CNC Uses

While there are significant uses for cnc production machining, this technology also provides opportunities for small enterprises. The possibilities are potentially endless. When you need repetitive work that requires consistent attention to detail with limited permitted variation, then CNC can be beneficial. There are several uses for CNC technology, including:

  • Embroidery
  • Foam cutting
  • 3d Printing
  • Glass cutting
  • Wood routing and cutting

The applications for this technology are only limited by the imagination. Whether operating a small fabrication business or embroidery shop or looking to print prototypes on a 3d printer, CNC machines and the technology behind them offer a way to do it. However, while these machines are versatile, they do require upkeep and a watchful eye. Unfortunately, with these types of workhorse machines, things, like spindles, do break and may need replacing.

Getting the Most Out of Your CNC

To get the most out of your CNC machine, you need to be vigilant about maintenance, and you should understand the basis of the computer programming responsible for executing your objectives. Unfortunately, most issues with these tools arise out of human error. Therefore, before committing to purchase one of these tools, make sure that either you or someone on staff is trained in CNC operation before getting started with CNC. If you don’t have anyone on the team, then look into employing a specialist.

Also, contact Superior Spindle Service at 1-734-946-4646 with any questions or concerns you may have before purchasing and getting started with CNC, we will be able to help you understand what equipment you need as well as assist you with any of your spindle design questions.

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