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What is a CNC Machine?

written by: Haresh Khemani • edited by: Swagatam • updated: 9/15/2008

This is the age of CNC machines, you will hardly see any machine in the big companies operated by the operator. CNC machines are operated by the computer and all they need to run is the program which is fed by CNC Programmer.

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    About CNC Machines

    CNC is the short name for the Computer Numerical Control. Basically it refers to the computer controller that drives and operates the machine tools. The machine tools are the machines used for the fabrication of metals by selective removal of the metals. Usually these machines are operated by the operator, but in case of the CNC machine, they are operated by the computer. What the Operator, also called the CNC Programmer, does is feed the instructions on cutting in the computer, and rest of the process of CNC machines is automatic.

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    Traditional Machine Tools

    Some of the common machine tools that can run on the CNC are: Lathe, Milling machines, Drilling Machine etc. The main purpose of these machines is to remove some of the metal so as to give it proper shape such as round, rectangular, etc to the raw material. You can also drill the holes in the metal and make a threading on the metal. The machine tools are used to make almost any shape from the raw metal. They are extensively used in the automobile industries, tool industries and a number of others.

    In the traditional methods these machines are operated by the operators who are experts in the operation of these machines. Most of the jobs need to be machined accurately, and the operator should be expert enough to make the precision jobs. In the CNC machines the role of the operators is minimized.

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    CNC Machine Tools

    The CNC machine comprises of the computer in which the program is fed for cutting of the metal. All the cutting processes that are to be carried out and all the final dimensions are fed into the computer via the program. The computer thus knows what exactly is to be done and carries out all the cutting processes. It is a sort of the Robot, which has to be fed with the program and it follows all your instructions.

    You don’t have to worry about the accuracy of the job; all the CNC machines are designed to meet very close accuracies. In fact, these days for most of the precision jobs CNC machine is compulsory. When your job is finished, you don’t even have to remove it, the machine does that job for you and it picks up the next job on its own. This way your machine can keep on doing the fabrication works all the 24 hours of the day without the need of much monitoring, of course you will have to feed it with the program initially.

    The CNCs were earlier known as NCs (Numerical Controller) that could produce one specific part. However, with the introduction of the computers the applications of CNC machines have greatly increased and you can now manufacture unlimited number of parts with these machines. Most of the manufacturing companies are now equipped with these machines as the markets have got very competitive; however, getting the expert labors for operating these machines is becoming quite difficult. Even the machine operators of these days prefer to operate the machine by programming instead of operating it manually. These days, in most of the machine tools training institutes the new operators are tight manual machining as well as CNC machining and programming.

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    Sample contents.

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    CNC Machines

    CNC Milling MachineCNC Turning Center

CNC Machines

This article series describes the basics of CNC machines like what is CNC machines, working of CNC machines, advanced CNC machines, applications of CNC machines etc
  1. What is a CNC Machine?
  2. Advanced CNC Machines