Sunday 14 July 2024
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What is a CNC Machine?

What is a CNC Machine?

CNC is an abbreviation for Computer Numerical Control. CNC machining is the process of manufacturing complex tasks and is used in many industries. CNC machining is utilized in plastic and metal production. It is a manufacturing process where software like Easel software is used to program and command the machine on how to craft products. This machine requires little manual input. Once the software is installed and programming complete, the machine operates without requiring any human intervention. The software controls the position and speed of the tools in the machinery. In this article, we will help you understand more about CNC machining and the different types of CNC machines.

The Difference Between CNC and NCM Machines

NCM stands for Numerical Control Machine, and programming is done through the use of punch cards. NCM was utilized before the innovation of CNC. On the other hand, CNC machine programming works through the use of small keyboards. With an NCM, you can only perform the current task that has been set in the punch card. The good thing about CNC is that programming is inside the machine and that means you don’t have to input the card. CNC has a greater capacity since it retains memory. It is expansive, and you can add a new program to the existing ones by simply reviewing the code.

A CNC machine has three components; a motion system, a command function, and a feedback system. It depends on commands installed digitally through CAM or CAD software. The process of cutting is accurate and faster compared to manual movements of the parts of the machine.

Types of CNC Machines

There are several types of CNC machines event though all of them share basic functioning properties. However, how the machine works depends on what it is set to do. Here are the common types of CNC machines.

  • Lathes

This machine cuts the piece in a circular motion using indexed tools. They have a high velocity, and the cuts are done accurately. The work of lathe machines is to create designs that are way too complex to be done manually. Even though they are best for complex designs, the machines are not complex, and most use a two-axis system.

  • CNC Mills

While manual milling machines use screws and handwheels, CNC mills use ball screws that are more accurate and use programmed coordinates to cut the workpiece. They come in varieties of types and sizes and can use multiple axes.

  • Wire Electric Discharge

Wire EDMs are CNC machines that use electric sparks to create pieces into programmed shapes.

  • Plasma Cutters

This CNC machine uses lasers for cutting the workpiece. Mostly, these machines are used to cut metals. Their high speed and heat make them suitable for making cuts on metals. This is done by combining electrical arches with compressed air.

  • Water Jet Cutters

The machines used high-pressured water to cut materials like metal and granite. Adding another rough material or sand makes it easy to cut and shape without requiring heat.


Manufacturers today have embraced advanced technology and used this automated manufacturing process to create products. CNC machining has made processes easier, giving us access to inexpensive and well-crafted products.