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CNC Machining history, advantages and disadvantages

CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control, and CNC machining is defined as a method in modern machining for a variety of tasks in metalworking. In this article, you will learn all about CNC machining, including its history, its use in metalworking, and its advantages and disadvantages.


Before the invention of CNC machines, all metalworking processes were performed on CNC (numerically controlled) machines. The concept was introduced in 1967, but the first CNC machines did not appear until 1976. Since then, the popularity of CNC machines has grown considerably, and in 1989 they were recognized as the industry standard. Today, almost all metalworking production processes can be performed on CNC machines. In fact, there are many CNC options for any metalworking equipment such as grinders, turret punches, milling machines, drills, lathes, EDM machines, and heavy milling machines.

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Types of CNC machining

While there are many large companies that specialize in building these machines for other companies, small workshops or garages are also capable of building small CNC machines. A result is an endless number of types. There are even many hobbyists who are constantly building small machines and selling them to small companies. In fact, development depends on the creator’s creativity, and since there are no limits to creativity, there are no limits to the types of machines that can be built.

CNC machining refers to any process that uses a CNC machine. It can be milling, drilling, or other types of work on metal, wood, and other materials. It is a manufacturing process that uses the automatic capabilities of a computer to create shapes that must be accurate.

Raw materials are use that are insert into a CNC machine that uses cutting tools to create these shapes. CNC machining requires computers with at least one microprocessor and several memory blocks. With CAD or CAM software systems added to the CNC machine, the computer can programmed to make the precise movements necessary to produce the part.

With CNC machining, the process is automate, saving the operator time and company money. The operator can load material, program the machine, and then the machine can run unattended if it is properly set up; the amount of unattended time is also programmed.

An important aspect of any CNC operation is that the operator knows the machine well. The CNC is in addition to the general aspects of machine operation. For example, if you are performing a milling operation, the CNC simply automates that process. But for the operator, it means understanding the machine tool, how to enter codes or use CAD or CAM, and how to operate the machine; he or she must also understand how basic milling works.

Another area that is important to understanding CNC machining is basic machine components. It is important to know how these machines work so that they can repaired if something goes wrong. It also allows the operator to understand the limitations and capabilities of the machine to get the most out of it.

When CNC machining becomes a project, the operator is responsible for identifying five areas. First, he thinks about the project he wants to develop and plans it. This is where it is a good idea to sit down and make plans.

The next area is understanding CAD to transfer the drawing to the computer, and then understanding CAM to translate CAD information into machine language. In the last area, one must understand the control functions to get the machine to do what is require. When all of these areas done properly, the person can create the design as he or she imagined it on his or her drawing.

CNC machining has traditionally only been done in commercial facilities with very large CNC machines. Today there are mini CNC machines that allow this process to do on a smaller scale in the home workshop. This has allowed small companies to produce a variety of parts and products that were previously only available on a large scale.

CNC machining can used to produce both simple and complex designs and can apply to a wide range of materials such as aluminum, foam, wood, and other metals.

The main advantage is increase safety, productivity, efficiency, and accuracy of metalworking. With CNC machines, operators do not have to directly intervene in the metalworking process, which greatly reduces the risks in the workplace. They can work continuously 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The machines only need to shut down for regular maintenance. The reliability of these machines makes most companies run them unattended even on weekends. Machines usually equipped with an additional system that can contact an outside operator in the event of a malfunction. If an error occurs, the process automatically stops.

Advantages of CNC machines

The functionality of CNC models can vary from one type of CNC to another. CNC devices can purchased in a variety of forms. From lathes to CNC waterjet models, the mechanics of each machine are different, but the basic principles are basically the same for different types of CNC machines. The concepts of CNC systems should recognized as positive aspects. The basic benefits of having a good CNC system are the same for each individual system as well as for each individual company owning such a system. Computer technology is a wonderful thing. A CNC system offers this advantage to its owners. No personnel intervention is require, the machine does all the work once the programs have been programme to the require specifications. The system runs until the job done and does so completely unmanned. Thus, employees can take over many other tasks as needed.

CNC systems have all these advantages:

  1. reduced errors due to human error.
  2. constant processing every time
  3. precise machining every time
  4. less fatigue, if any, for the manager
  5. freeing the user to perform other tasks
  6. speeds up processing
  7. reduces abuse
  8. reduced skill requirements for the machine operator.

These are just some of the benefits that CNC machines offer. They also offer some other benefits, which may depend on the type of CNC machine you are using.

Switching production from one program to another is very easy and can save a company a lot of time. In the past, it could take anywhere from 24 hours to several days to get a machine up and running and make the cuts needed for your job. Nowadays, thanks to CNC machines, the lead time has been greatly reduce. It really is as easy as running any other application.

CNC machines (such as the CNC Shark) don’t just run a program, they manipulate and control many different axes depending on the type of machine. A CNC turning system works on the X and Y axes, not like the 5-axis devices you can find on the market now. The more axes your machine has, the finer and more accurate the cut. The more original your orders, the more production services you can offer. CNC systems can do almost anything without human input, except using a computer program.

The CNC Shark will make your own work easy and impressive. At that time, the computer, through the computer software, instructs the machine exactly what to do, and the machine continuously performs until technical specifications or recommendations reached, after which it stops the process in the direction of the material plate. The human involvement that is require with a CNC device is programming. The programming for all devices usually written in words, similar to the structures found in code. The code tells the various axes in which direction to move and also has complete control over every aspect of the system.

Disadvantages of CNC machining

Although CNC machines are widely use throughout the world, there are some disadvantages that all companies should aware of. The first major disadvantage of introducing CNC machines into production is the initial investment. They are very expensive compare to manually operated machines. In the long run, however, these machines are beneficial because they help minimize production costs. Another disadvantage is that investing in these machines can lead to unemployment. As the company needs fewer workers to perform all metalworking processes.

In conclusion, given the speed and efficiency with which CNC machines can perform various metalworking tasks. Investing in CNC machining equipment highly recommended for companies to remain competitive and profitable.

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