Six Popular Types of CNC Machines

Six Popular Types of CNC Machines

Laura Davis, Manufacturing Technology Insights | Tuesday, May 11, 2021

CNC machines are computer-controlled and provide levels of performance, precision, and quality that would be difficult to achieve with a manual operation.

Fremont, CA: Computer numerical control (CNC) machining is a method for controlling the movement of factory machinery and tools using pre-programmed computer software. As a result, producers can produce parts faster, waste is reduced, and human error is eliminated.

This manufacturing method is used to power a wide range of sophisticated machinery. CNC machining allows three-dimensional cutting to be done using just one set of instructions.

CNC machines can make a wide range of products. As such, there are many types of CNC machines, such as:

CNC Router       

A CNC router is a device that functions similarly to a handheld router for cutting a variety of materials. Steel, wood, aluminum, composites, plastic, and foam can all be cut with this form of CNC machine.

A CNC router is a machine that works similarly to a CNC mill. It can route tool paths using computer numerical control, allowing the system to run. CNC routers minimize waste and boost efficiency by delivering a wide range of products in a fraction of the time it takes other devices.

Most routers can work in all three dimensions on a single material, making them ideal for small projects, prototype models, and intricate designs. Three-axis, four-axis, five-axis, and six-axis routers are also available.

CNC Milling Machine

A CNC mill is one of the most common CNC devices, and it uses computer controls to cut different materials. Mills can translate numerical and alphabetic programs to drive the spindle in a variety of ways.

Many mills use G-code, which is a structured programming language understood by most CNC machines. Face milling, shoulder milling, tapping, drilling, and turning are a few of the functions that a CNC mill can perform. The majority of CNC mills have three to six axes. In comparison to other tools, a CNC mill is very large and expensive.

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CNC Electric Discharge Machine

Electric discharge machining, or EDM for short, entails using electrical discharges, or sparks, to create a specific form within a material.

A series of recurring electrical discharges between two electrodes removes material from a particular workpiece in this phase. A dielectric fluid separates these electrodes, which is often exposed to an electric voltage. The material is positioned between two electrodes in this machine, and the machine determines how much electrical discharge each electrode needs to generate.

CNC Lathe

A lathe is a CNC machine that cuts work parts when they are rotating. Using a variety of tools, CNC lathes can create precise cuts easily.

In comparison to manual lathes, these CNC machines are very successful in terms of precision. They are also smaller and more portable than CNC milling machines because they have fewer axes.

CNC lathes have controls that are similar to those used on CNC mills, and they can read both G-code and proprietary programming languages. CNC lathes have a similar framework to manual lathes.

CNC Laser Cutter                                                                                  

These machines are similar to CNC plasma machines, with the exception that lasers are used mostly for cutting and are excellent for cutting metals, plastic, and hardwood. The laser's intensity can be modified based on the density and strength of the material.

CNC Plasma Cutter

Plasma cutting is a technique that involves cutting a substance with a plasma torch. Heavy materials, such as steel and other types of metal, are typically cut using this process.

Gas is blown at a high rate from a nozzle in a CNC plasma cutter. While this is being done, an electrical arc forms through the gas from the nozzle to the surface that is being cut.

This transforms some of the gas into plasma, and these plasma temperatures range from 10,000-50,000 degrees. The plasma is hot enough to melt any material being cut, and it blows away molten metal from the cut site.CNC plasma cutters are very similar to CNC routers in terms of form and scale. Only two-dimensional forms are used by these devices.

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