17 Sep 2019
Most articles in this blog are about CNC tool trays, CNC tooling and CNC techniques. But we’ve never covered the topic of CNC machining in general. Until now.
CNC is an acronym. It stands for Computer Numeric Control. CNC refers to a machine that cuts, carves, routes, or mills under the control of a computer running sophisticated software. It is not robotics. Saw blades, router bits, drill bits and face mills are tools that are attached to a CNC controlled machine.
Machining in Three Dimensions
Regular mills and other machines operate on an X axis and a Y axis. Remember math class? The X axis is horizontal line and the Y axis is vertical, perpendicular to the X. On the bed of a machine, the X axis is horizontal and the Y axis is the vertical. But CNC machining operates in 3 dimensions. A CNC machine uses the Z axis. The Z axis defines the movement of the cutter up and down.
Digital technology changed machining in a big way. Before computers controlled machines, if you needed to drill multiple holes in a work piece, you had to manually operate the drill press up and down and feed the material at the same time. And you didn’t start that process until you inserted the tool in the spindle.
Digital technology created computers and software capable of moving the drill press and feeding the material. Now, CNC instructions tell the machine how and when to move.
Computer assisted drawing (CAD) represented a quantum leap forward in machining. With CAD, you design an object using computer software, then use software to convert the design into digital instructions the machine uses to produce work. With CNC, humans use software to control the machinery, not their hands.
CNC tool trays hold tools for manual machinists, fly cutters work on CNC and manual machines, and saw arbors get you up close and personal, no matter your machine.
Turn to The Tool Company for all your CNC needs.