The History of CNC Machines
John T. Parsons (1913-2007), founder of the Traverse City, Michigan-based Parsons Corporation, is widely regarded as the father of modern computerized numerical control (CNC) systems, which gave birth to the advanced computerized machine tools used in nearly every industry today. His early CNC machines were used to fabricate complex helicopter blades and allowed him to predict that computers would ultimately be used to control manufacturing equipment. CNC machining is now an essential component of all manufacturing processes.
Machine Meets Computers
In 1946, the word “ computer” meant a punch card operated computation machine. Indeed though Parsons Corporation had only made one propeller before, John Parsons induced Sikorsky Helicopter that they could produce extremely precise templates for propeller assembly and manufacturing. He ended up contriving a punch- card computer system to calculate points on a copter rotor blade. Also he’d drivers turn the bus to those points on a Cincinnati milling machine. He held a contest for the name of this new process and gave$ 50 to the person who chased “ Numerical Control” or NC.
In 1958, he filed a patent to connect the computer to the machine. His patent operation arrived three months before MIT, who was working on the conception which he’d started. MIT used his generalities to make the original outfit andMr. Parsons’ designee (Bendix)sub-licensed to IBM, Fujitusu, and GE, among others. The NC conception was slow to catch on. According toMr. Parsons, the people dealing the idea were computer people rather of manufacturing people. By the early 1970s, still, the US army itself vulgarized the use of NC computers by erecting and leasing them to multitudinous manufacturers. The CNC regulator evolved in resemblant with the computer, driving further and further productivity and robotization into manufacturing processes, especially machining.
What is CNC Machining?
A CNC is a computer controlled machine that moves and spins things like your spindle, table, or even small tools to make cuts on the material in front of it.
A CNC can be used to make a part, but it mostly depends on what kind of machine it is. A 3-axis machine can only move in three different axes, with not much else to do. For example: say you are making a square cut on a piece of material, if you were to use a 3-axis machine it would only be able to make a square cut. So no taper or angles. It would be just straight cuts. Now if you were to use a 5-axis machine it can cut angles and tapers into the material so that when it’s done cutting, you have an angled piece of material instead of just a straight square piece of material.
It’s important to know that there are different types of machines for different types of jobs. If you want to make something that requires more than just basic shapes, then you will need to use something other than the basic CNC machine. The most common type is called Laser Cutting which uses lasers instead of blades or drill bits for cutting through your materials such as metal or wood.
How To Use A CNC Machine
CNC machinists must gain skills in both programming and metal-working to make full use of the power of a CNC machine. Technical trade schools and apprenticeship programs often start students on manual lathes to get a feel for how to cut metal. The machinist should be able to envision all three dimensions. Today software makes it easier than ever to make complex parts, because the part shape can be drawn virtually and then tool paths can be suggested by software to make those parts.
Some CNC machines are small enough to fit on a workbench, but larger ones require dedicated space in an industrial facility. They can weigh hundreds or thousands of pounds, so special concrete pads may be needed to support them.
The machines that are available today are incredibly versatile and capable of making extremely precise cuts. It’s not uncommon for machined parts to have features that are within 0.001 inch or better of their designed specifications. However, unless they’re maintained properly and kept clean and lubricated, they won’t perform as expected.
A CNC machine is really just a versatile computer with special software that takes commands from a specialized language called G-code, which dictates where the cutting tools should move and how fast they should turn and what kind of cuts they should.
Type of Software Commonly Used in the CNC Machining Process
Computer Aided Drawing (CAD)
CAD software is the starting point for utmost CNC systems. There are numerous different CAD software packages, but all are used to produce designs. Popular CAD programs include AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and Rhino3D. There are also pall- grounded CAD results, and some offer CAM capacities or integrate with CAM software better than others.
Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM)
CNC machines frequently use programs created by CAM software. CAM allows druggies to set up a “ job tree” to organize workflow, set tool paths and run cutting simulations before the machine does any real slice. Frequently CAM programs work as add-ons to CAD software and induce g- law that tells the CNC tools and workpiece moving corridor where to go. Wizards in CAM software make it easier than ever to program a CNC machine. Popular CAM software includes Mastercam, Edgecam, OneCNC, HSMWorks, and Solidcam. Mastercam and Edgecam regard for nearly 50 of the high- end CAM request share according to a 2015 report.
What are the Different Types of CNC Machines?
Lathes: This type of CNC turns the workpiece and moves the cutting tool to the workpiece. A basic lathe is 2-axis, but many more axes can be added to increase the complexity of cut possible. The material rotates on a spindle and is pressed against a grinding or carving tool that makes the desired shape. Lathes are used to make symmetrical objects like spheres, cones, or cylinders. Many CNC machines are multi-function and combine all types of cutting.
Milling: This type of CNC is called a milling machine because it works in a similar way to a drill press, except that it moves along multiple axes at once. Milling machines can cut in any direction with the right program and tooling configuration.
Routers: This type of CNC cuts using an endmill bit that spins at high speed while moving in different directions to make shapes. It can also be used as an engraver, making it popular for sign making as well as woodworking or metalworking. Routers are generally single-purpose machines, rather than multi-function like some other types of cutting machines.
Plasma cutters: Similar to routers, plasma cutters use a high intensity jet of plasma gas to melt
How CNC Machine Shops Make Parts?
A CNC machine shop is a manufacturing facility where computer-controlled tools can fabricate parts of almost any shape. The types of machines and tools available in the machine shop determine the exact capabilities of the CNC machining services it offers.
The type of equipment and its range of capabilities determine the services that a CNC machine shop can offer. Some shops specialize in certain types of parts, materials, or processes, while others use high-end machines to produce complex parts with multiple holes, cutouts, threads, and other features. Some are set up for small volume production runs, while others are geared toward high volume production runs.
A typical process for having parts made follows the sequence below:
A design engineer creates the design in the CAD program and sends it to a CNC programmer. The programmer opens the file in the CAM program to decide on the tools needed and to create the NC program for the CNC. He or she sends the NC program to the CNC machine and provides a list of the correct tooling setup to an operator. A setup operator loads the tools as directed and loads the raw material (or workpiece). He or she then runs sample pieces and measures them with quality assurance tools to verify that the CNC machine is making parts according