By combining a powerful router with modern software, CNC carving machines allow you to work with a wide range of materials and designs for all your projects. Using clamps to hold materials to the work bed, CNC carvers tackle your projects with speed and accuracy. Calibration is easy and quick, so you can get right to work. With a huge variety of materials to choose from for your tasks, like aluminum, cork, wood, wax, acrylic, MDF, foam and plastic, the possibilities are endless. Use a softer material to create a prototype, and move to more rigid materials once your design is perfected. If you can dream it, you can make it.
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What is CNC Machining/Milling?
CNC machining, or CNC manufacturing, is a process using computer numerical control (CNC) in which pre-programmed computer software dictates the movement of factory tools and machinery. The process can be used to control a range of complex machinery, from grinders and lathes to mills and CNC routers. These machines can accomplish complicated, three-dimensional cutting tasks with a single set of commands. It is a subtractive manufacturing process that employs code and machine tools to remove layers of material from a stock piece to produce a custom-designed part.
All basic CNC machining processes include the following stages
Designing the CAD Model
The initial step involves the creation of a 2D vector or 3D solid part CAD/CAM/CAE design either in-house or by a CAD/CAM/CAE design service company. Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), or Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE), software allows designers and manufacturers to produce a model or rendering of their parts and products along with the necessary technical specifications, such as dimensions and geometries, for producing the part or product.
Converting the CAD File to a CNC Program
The formatted CAD/CAM/CAE design file runs through a program to extract the part geometry and generates the digital programming code - typically G-Code, General or Geometric Code, which controls when, where, and how the machine tools move - which will control the CNC machine and manipulate the tooling to produce the custom-designed part.
Preparing the CNC Machine
Preparations for manufacturing can include affixing the workpiece directly into the machine, onto machinery spindles, or into machine vises or similar work holding devices, and attaching the required tooling, such as drill bits and end mills, to the proper machine components.
Executing the Machining Operation
Initiating the program prompts the CNC machine to begin the CNC machining process, and the program guides the machine throughout the process as it executes the necessary machine operations to produce a custom-designed part or product.
Different Kinds of CNC machines include:
- CNC mills: This includes both 3-axis and 5-axis machines
- Plasma Cutters
- Electric Discharge Machines
- Water Jet Cutters