CNC machining involves the cutting technology where materials are removed from an object. It is a subtractive process commonly used for low volume and rapid prototype manufacturing. Computer Numerical Control or CNC means that computers control the different machining parts and cutting tools during manufacturing. In this extract, we look at types of CNC machines.
Types of Machines Used in CNC Machining
Machining is important in many applications. The manufacturing industries use a variety of machines, each serving a different purpose for product production. Some common CNC machines are;
1. CNC Milling Machines
These types of machines are the most popular in the manufacturing setup. CNC milling is, therefore, a common operation that relies on cutting tools that rotate around a workpiece to create a specific shape. The milling machines use computers to facilitate this process. This works because the computers are fed with numerical codes that pass instructions to the simple mills on how to proceed with the machining.
2. CNC Router Machine
This CNC machine is so called the router machine due to the routers found on it. The router machine is prevalent in the market due to its ease of use. Operating it is a straightforward thing hence anyone can run it efficiently, be it a first-time operator or a regular user. This element sets apart these machines from the rest since it is specifically designed to carry out CNC operations, and human involvement is limited.
The CNC router machine has several characteristics that make it possible to use in various applications. It has an in-built design that produces larger dimensions of objects than other machines. These features enable it to cut materials like wood and sheet metal into the desired shapes. In addition, the CNC machine has a rotary located on the workpiece and routers positioned in three axes, i.e., the X, Y, and Z axes. This means it is designed for machining flat parts, but some manufacturers use it on 3D objects.
3. CNC Plasma Cutter Machines
These types of CNC machines are mostly used in heavy-duty applications to cut heavy materials. Several materials are used in the manufacturing process, like metals, and the most common is steel. The machines work by cutting the material on a workpiece or object using a plasma torch.
4. CNC Lathes Machines
Generally, manufacturers use lathes to create conical and precise parts. The lathe machine is primarily used to turn centers or cut off excess material during the cutting process. Like the CNC router machine, it is easy to operate, fast and accurate. It comes in different forms based on varying qualities and is used in many industrial applications.
5. CNC Electric Discharge Machines
EDMs are used to produce shapes from a workpiece. The machine employs electrical release in parts production where the material is cut from the object. During the process, two existing anodes are separated by a dielectric liquid. One disadvantage of this machine is using it isn’t easy compared to others hence they are not very popular.
The examples above are the main CNC machines available in the market. They are all essential in the manufacturing industry but have different characteristics that make them different, like the materials they use, the parts they manufacture, and how they work.