CNC is the abbreviation of Computer Numerical Control system which is used to manufacture parts from the solid substances by eliminating excessive material from the hard block which is also known as the workpiece.

This particular removal of excess material is done with the help of various cutting tools to give the solid block its desired shape.

This machining is primarily controlled by the computer and is used to manufacture high-quality parts with extreme accuracy and enhanced physical characteristics.

Types of CNC Machines

A variety of CNC machines are available to manufacture a specific part from a solid block. These CNC machines include EDM machines, laser cutters, and plasma cutters. However, the two most common CNC machines used to form high-accuracy parts are the 3-axis CNC machining and the Multi-axis CNC machining.

3-axis CNC Machining

As the name indicates, 3-axis CNC machining removes the excess material in three axes. This machining includes two fundamental machines namely CNC milling and CNC turning. Both of these machines are collectively called as the 3-axis CNC machining as they cut certain parts of the workpiece in three axes.

CNC Milling

The first step in removing excess material from the workpiece includes the perfect settlement of the workpiece under this machine. The drills or spindles which are fixed in this machine are then used to trim off the excess part. This machine is rotated at a very high speed to get the optimum results. This 3-axis machine then cuts the edges and disproportionate material in one run.

Pros of CNC Milling

  • CNC milling can be used to manufacture parts that consist of simple conformations
  • Manufacture goods of high quality
  • The enhanced endurance of the manufactured materials
  • Enhanced Accuracy

Cons of CNC Milling

  • The limitation to designing the tool occurs
  • As it is only 3-axis machine, certain areas may not be feasible to reach
  • Labor-intensive relocation of the solid block reduces the precision of the manufactured part
  • Machining expenses considerably rise
  • CNC Turning

In this type of machine, the solid block is clasped on the spindle. This spindle rotates at a very high speed cutting off the edges flawlessly. Unlike CNC Milling, CNC Turning does not move in three directions rather it works only in one direction. This machine is specifically designed to trim off the outward and inward outskirts of the workpiece.

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Pros of CNC Turning

  • Can produce a large number of parts
  • The most affordable machine as compared to all the other machines
  • High quality

Cons of CNC Turning

  • Cannot move in a radial and the lengthwise direction
  • Manufacture parts with basic conformity
  • Can form only cylindrical-shaped parts

Multi-axis CNC Machining

Multi-axis CNC Machining includes three types of machines which are highly qualified to make certain parts in several directions rather than one. All of these machines should be handled vigilantly and usually require an expert maintenance in order to get high-quality parts.

5-axis Indexed CNC Milling

This machine is used to work in three directions. However, during the formation of different silhouetted parts, the bed of the 5-axis indexed CNC milling along with the tool head can interchange. This will enable the fixation of the required material into a variety of shapes.

Pros of 5-axis Indexed CNC Milling

  • Labor-intensive relocation is not required
  • Produce parts of high precision
  • Can be used to manufacture parts with complicated silhouettes

Cons of 5-axis Indexed CNC Milling

  • Do not produce impeccably toned planes
  • Great expenses
  • Continuous 5-axis CNC Milling

This CNC machining is so named as this machine can move in all the directions at the same time and pace. Whether it’s a three-axis direction or two rotating movements this machine cuts off the workpiece continuously and efficiently.

Pros of Continuous 5-axis CNC Milling

  • Can be used to manufacture parts of complicated silhouette
  • Highest precision as compared to other machines
  • The manufactured product can be referred to as a ‘natural’ product as it contains no machining smudges

Cons of Continuous 5-axis CNC Milling

  • Limitations to designing may occur
  • Greatest expenses per part as compared to all the other CNC machining
  • Mill Turning CNC Centers

This specific CNC machine is designed to operate at high speed, as well as at a low speed to incarnate specific parts. At high speed, this machine interchanges to remove the excess material. Moreover, this machine can also be inclined at a specific angle to form a specific part.

Pros of Mill Turning CNC Centers

  • High precision
  • Liberty to choose any design
  • Production of a large number of parts
  • Lowest price as compared to all the other 5-axis machinery

Cons of Mill Turning CNC Centers

  • Best to use for the manufacture of cylindrical-shaped parts
  • High cost as compared to all the other 3-axis CNC Machining

Materials Used For CNC Machining

The materials which are being used in the CNC Machining hold immense importance in determining the design of the manufactured parts. Certain parts which are very hard can be machined through CNC. Therefore, certain engineers use metals and plastics for CNC Machining.

Metals

Metals have a variety of advantages because of which they are being used in the CNC Machining. Not only metals but metal alloys are also in high demand for this process.

Aluminum

 Aluminum is considered the most light-weight element. Aluminum alloys have great strength/weight fraction, as well as great corrosion resilient properties.

Stainless Steel

 Stainless steel has a number of properties because which it is being used in this process. Stainless steel is malleable and ductile. Moreover, it can be drawn into various shapes.

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Alloy Steel

 These alloys are designed in such a way that they contain enhanced hardness and strengthening properties.

Mild Steel

 This steel has comparably lesser cost with enhanced perfunctory characteristics.

Tool Steel

 This steel has extraordinary characteristics. This steel has great endurance towards thermal and corrosive properties. Moreover, it can be drawn into various shapes and sizes, thus, it is an important ally in the CNC Machining.

Brass

 This metal is usually used to give an artistic appeal to the product. This metal has a specific golden color which escalates the visual appeal of the product.

Plastics

Plastics are used in the CNC Machining because of their light-weight properties. As plastics are a poor conductor of heat and electricity, they are mainly used for insulation.

Standard ABS

 This thermoplastic has a number of benefits. It has great physical properties with great strength.

Nylon

 This thermoplastic is so used in the CNC Machining because of its property of being chemical resilient. Moreover, this plastic has exceptional impact strength.

Polycarbonate

 This plastic has a wide range of application because of its certain features. This plastic can be used as a transparent substance or it can be colored using different colors. This plastic is usually used to enhance the outer appearance.

POM

 This plastic is the most feasible plastic to be used in machines. Moreover, it also has great thermal stability.  

Peek

This plastic is primarily used to manufacture high-quality products.

Usage of CNC Machining

CNC Machining has a wide range of application because of which it is in such a high demand. It is being used to manufacture a variety of products which are very important in several applications.

Space

Due to a variety of applications such as enhanced performance and mechanical properties, CNC Machining has always been the first choice of certain engineers for the manufacturing of related products.

Aerospace

Lightweight, exceptional mechanical properties, taut endurance and what not? All of these features of the products are the reasons as to why they are being used in the aerospace.

Automotive

The products which are being manufactured from the CNC Machining are filled with extraordinary properties which include great performance, great precision and accuracy, and high-quality. Therefore, they are being used in the automotive industry.

Electrical

Some materials which are used in the CNC Machining are the insulators of heat and electricity. These are the main reasons as to why CNC Machining parts are being used for electrical enclosures.

Other than the above-mentioned applications, products manufactured from CNC Machining are also being used in the designing industry, sports, and tooling industry.

Advantages of CNC Machining

There are certain advantages of the CNC machining. We are going to mention a few, very prominent ones to assist you to select whether you want this machining for your application or not.

Variety of Production

CNC machining is designed to produce a variety of parts, ranging from small 10’s to medium 100’s sizes and shapes. Unlike other machining services such as 3D printing and Injection Mold, the cost of manufactured parts from CNC Machining can effectively tone down. According to a survey, it is estimated that if several parts are manufactured from this machining in one-unit, 70% of the cost effectively diminishes.

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Fast Production

CNC Machining has enabled the fast production of the specific and desired parts. With the availability of advanced software, CNC Machining systems create certain parts in almost 5 days. Moreover, with the expert knowledge, different machines can be used optimally to produce certain parts with great precision and accuracy in no time. Furthermore, the pace of manufacturing different parts through CNC Machining can be matched with 3D printing services.

Less Manual Force is Required

This process is controlled by the computer. Therefore, there is less labor force required to operate the machines. These labors can be used elsewhere where they are more required. Hence, CNC Machining significantly tones down the expenses of the labor force. High-quality parts can be manufactured from the CNC Machining and only a few numbers of workers are required to get the job done.

Does Not Need Expert Skills

As mentioned earlier, CNC Machining is automatically controlled and only a few workers are required to do the job. Hence, CNC Machining requires minimum experience as it only requires the handling of the machines. Therefore, you can choose the right worker for a specific machine to remove the excess material from the workpiece skillfully to manufacture certain essential parts.

Exceptional Physical Characteristics

All the metals used in the CNC Machining are hard and have great endurance strength. This strength is ultimately transferred to the materials being manufactured through this process. Therefore, the materials formed from this process have exceptional physical characteristics. The materials are formed in such a way to withstand those applications where great performance and efficiency is required.

Disadvantages of CNC Machining

Disadvantages come along with the advantages. Therefore, CNC Machining may have lots of advantages but it certainly has some limitations as well.

Expensive

CNC Machining can prove to be much more expensive as compared to other machines. There is a high initial cost for operating these CNC machines. Moreover, these expenses are highly dependent upon the planning and the design of your part. However, the prices gradually tone down.

Unemployment Issues

As already described earlier, this machining is controlled automatically, therefore, the fewer workers are required to get the job done. Hence, the installment of this machinery enhances the chances of unemployment. Moreover, in the past, people used to do all the removal of excess material from the workpiece manually. Hence, this machining is wasting the skills of many workers.

Complicated Geometry Enhances the Cost

Several materials that are being manufactured through this process consist of complex and intricate configurations. Therefore, in order to access these complex dimensions, an enhanced start-up cost is required. This is because for this purpose 5-axis Indexed CNC Milling or Continuous 5-axis CNC Milling machines are required which are the most costly machines as compared to the other CNC machines. Thus, complicated geometry escalates the production cost.

Cost Reduction Tips

There are three tips as to how you reduce the cost of the CNC Machining.

  1. You can use a filler of an enhanced size.
  2. Keep the orientations of the material to the minimum.
  3. Choose the material wisely

 

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