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Types of CNC Machines, Everything You Need to Know (2022)

What Are The Types Of CNC Machines?

Many different types of CNC machines are available on the market, each designed for a specific purpose. For example, some common CNC machine types include:

  • Lathes
  • Mills
  • Routers
  • Drilling
  • Grinding
  • Plasma Cutting
  • Electric Discharge

Different Types Of CNC Machines: Functions

Lathes: Used to create cylindrical parts by cutting and shaping materials like wood, metal, and plastic
Mills: Used to create three-dimensional shapes by cutting material away from a larger block
Routers: Used to create three-dimensional shapes or carve intricate designs into material surfaces
Drilling: Used to create holes of various sizes in material
Grinding: Used to smooth or shape the surface of a material
Plasma Cutting: Used to cut materials with a high-powered plasma torch
Electric Discharge: Used to shape materials by using an electrical charge

CNC Machines

Types of CNC Machines: Consist Parts

The CNC machine consists of many parts, which are:

  • Input Devices
  • Machine Control Unit (MCU)
  • Driving System
  • Machine Tool
  • Feedback System
  • Display Unit
  • Chassis/Bed
  • Spindle
  • Motors
  • Control Panel
  • Work Table
  • Sensors

Input Devices are used to input the data or instructions into the CNC machine. Some of the commonly used input devices are:

  • Programming Terminal
  • Direct Numerical Control (DNC) System
  • Electronic Tape Reader (ETR)
  • Manual Data Input (MDI) Panel

The Machine Control Unit (MCU) is the heart of the CNC machine, which stores and processes the data or instructions.

The Driving System consists of various mechanical and electrical components that drive or move the different parts of the CNC machine.

The Machine Tool is the part of the CNC machine that actually cuts or shapes the material.

The Feedback System provides information about the position and speed of the different parts of the CNC machine. This information is used to make corrections and adjustments to the machine’s movements.

The Display Unit shows the data or instructions that have been inputted into the CNC machine, as well as the current status of the machine.

The Chassis/Bed is the frame of the CNC machine on which all of the other components are mounted.

The Spindle is the part of the machine that holds and rotates the cutting tool.

Motors are used to power the different parts of the CNC machine.

The Control Panel is used by the operator to input data or instructions and start, stop, and pause the machine.

The Work Table is where the material to be cut or shaped is placed.

Sensors are used to detect problems with the CNC machine, such as overheating or excessive vibration.

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Types of CNC Machines: Brands

CNC machine brands include:

  • Fadal
  • Haas Automation
  • Mazak Corporation
  • Okuma Corporation
  • Fanuc Corporation
  • Siemens AG
  • Hurco Companies, Inc.
  • Dooson

Types Of CNC Machines: Applications

Different types of CNC machines are used in a variety of applications, including:

1. Machining: CNC machines are often used for machining operations such as milling, drilling, and tapping.

2. Welding: CNC welding machines are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer greater control and accuracy than traditional welding methods.

3. Routing and engraving: CNC routers and engravers are commonly used for woodworking, sign making, and PCB manufacturing.

4. 3D printing: CNC technology is also used in some 3D printers to create complex shapes and geometries.

5. Drilling: Drilling is a process where a hole is created in a piece of material.

6. Boring: A hole is made larger through the process of boring.

7. Tapping: In order to insert a screw, a hole must be “tapped” to create threads.

8. Milling: The material is removed from a workpiece during the milling process in order to give it the correct form.

9. Grinding: A workpiece’s material is removed during the process of grinding to produce a smooth surface.

10. Routing: By removing material from a workpiece’s edge during the process of routing, the required form can be created.

11. Turning: The process of turning involves removing material from the outside of a workpiece in order to mold it into the desired shape.

Types of CNC Machines: Operation

CNC machines are operated using a computer interface, which allows the operator to input instructions and controls the machine. The machine will then carry out the instructions, creating the desired product.

The CNC machine operation includes:

  • Drilling
  • Milling
  • Turning

Making a hole in a workpiece using a drill bit is the process of Drilling. The size of the drill bit determines the size of the hole.

With a rotating cutter, the material is removed from the workpiece during Milling. The amount of material removed is determined by the speed and direction of the cutter, as well as the feed rate.

Cutting the workpiece with a spinning cutter is known as Turning. The speed and direction of the cutter, as well as the feed rate, will determine the amount of material removed.

Types of CNC Machines: CNC Technology

There are many benefits to using CNC technology, including:

1. Increased accuracy: CNC machines can produce parts and products with greater accuracy than manual methods.

2. Greater repeatability: CNC machines can produce identical parts or products more consistently than manual methods.

3. Increased productivity: CNC machines can work faster than manual methods, which leads to increased productivity.

4. Reduced waste: Due to its ability to only remove the material required to produce the intended part or output, CNC machines can help eliminate material waste.

5. Enhanced safety: CNC machines can help improve safety in the workplace, as they eliminate the need for workers to be close to moving parts during operation.

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Types of CNC Machines: Programming

Manufacturers use CNC programming (Computer Numerical Drive Programming) to develop computer program instructions that control machine tools. CNC machines are programmed using a computer language called G-code. This code tells the machine what movements to make in order to create the desired product. CNC plays a significant role in the production process and enhances flexibility and automation.

Types of CNC Machines: Cost

The price of a CNC machine will differ based on the machine’s kind, capabilities, and brand. Generally speaking, entry-level CNC machines can be purchased for around $5,000, while high-end models can cost upwards of $100,000.

Types of CNC Machines: Training

Operators of CNC machines generally require specialized training in order to be able to operate the equipment safely and effectively. Training programs can be found at many community colleges and trade schools and typically last for around six weeks.

Types Of CNC Machines: Materials for Process

A vast range of materials, including metals (stainless steel, aluminum, brass), polymers (acrylic, polycarbonate), wood, composites, and even glass, can be worked with by CNC machines.

Types Of CNC Machines: Advantages

For parts machining, compared with traditional machines, CNC machines have more advantages, including:

  • Greater Precision: CNC machines can create products with extremely tight tolerances (i.e. plus or minus 0.001 inches). This is due to the fact that they are controlled by computers, which can execute very precise movements.
  • Faster Production Times: CNC machines can work much faster than human operators, meaning that products can be produced in a fraction of the time it would take using traditional methods.
  • Increased Productivity: CNC machines can run for long periods of time without needing to be stopped for breaks, meaning that more products can be produced in a shorter time frame.
  • Greater Versatility: A wide range of items, including those with extremely complicated shapes or detailed designs, can be produced using CNC machines.

Types Of CNC Machines: Disadvantages

There are also some disadvantages associated with CNC machines for parts machining, including:

  • High Initial Cost: CNC machines are generally more expensive than traditional machining methods. This is due to the fact that they are complex pieces of equipment that require specialized training and skills to operate.
  • Inflexibility: Once a product has been designed for CNC machining, it can be difficult to make changes to the design. This is because the computer file that controls the machine must be modified, which can be a time-consuming and complicated process.
  • Potential For Human Error: Although computers control CNC machines, they still require human operators. As with any system, there is always the potential for human error, which can lead to mistakes in the final product.

What Are the Benefits of Using CNC Machines to Produce Parts?

1. Flexible Processing Capability

CNC machining has extremely high flexible production capacity. It is to cut the raw material through digital programming and control the tool path to obtain the final part shape.

CNC machining is suitable for large and small batches. If the parts are temporarily modified during the machining process, it is only necessary to make serial changes on the original program or to reprogram the machining program through programming software, which takes very little time, even a few minutes. Modifications are completed, allowing for rapid prototyping.

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If the same situation occurs in other production processes (casting, stamping), it is completely different, and the mold needs to be modified at that time.

If the part is modified greatly, it may even face the re-making of the mold, which takes several days to complete. In contrast, CNC machining is more flexible.

The flexibility of CNC machining is not only reflected in the ability to quickly modify the program, CNC machining is also compatible with a variety of metal materials and plastics (brass, aluminum, iron, stainless steel, titanium, PEEK, POM, ABS, PA66, etc.)

2. High Production Efficiency

CNC machining can run at 3.5 times the speed as needed, except that the machine needs maintenance or failure to stop the equipment.

As long as you perform routine maintenance and inspections, these CNC machines are basically perfect for continuously machining.

CNC machine work speed is much faster than manual, through the program control replaces much of the need for humans to complete the steps, all because of the numerical control automatic orderly, such as loading, unloading, tool change, and chip removal, because they are faster and not need to have a rest, so the numerical control processing has excellent high productivity.

large batches CNC turning machining parts

3. High Machining Accuracy

Numerical control of digital templates and automatic machining virtually eliminates human error and guarantees an accuracy of 0.001.

The CNC machining tool is controlled by a precisely programmed computer system, which is automatically carried out according to the instructions of the digital code without manual intervention so that each step of the machining can be cycled with high precision, which directly and effectively eliminates the errors caused by the operator.

CNC ALUMINUM PARTS WITH High Machining Accuracy

In addition, in the design and manufacture of CNC machine tools, many measures have been taken to make the mechanical parts of CNC machine tools achieve higher accuracy.

Therefore, when some parts with high precision machining requirements are encountered, CNC machine tools can be given priority to production.

4. CNC Machining Can Produce Complex Machined Parts

CNC machining can easily produce complex surfaces that are difficult to produce by conventional methods.

Computer-aided design (CAD) software is used to create the 3D design of the final assembly.

Once entered into the CNC machine’s computer, the machine can cut the product out of the material to exact specifications. As well as easily create complex shaped components with less time.

5. Reduce Operator Labor

CNC machines can operate unattended for hours, and one operator can supervise many CNC machines when machining parts.

It allows the operator to focus on other tasks. This also allows the CNC machining company to retain fewer operators, which in turn lowers the cost of CNC machining.


Which CNC Machine Type is Best for Wood Cutting?

The type of CNC machine that is best for wood cutting depends on the specific project. For example, a lathe would be better for creating cylindrical parts, while a router would be better for creating three-dimensional shapes. Ultimately, it is up to the operator to decide which machine best suits the task at hand.

Which CNC Machine Type is Best for Metal Cutting?

The type of CNC machine that is best for metal cutting is a lathe would be better for creating cylindrical parts, while a mill would be better for creating three-dimensional shapes.



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