The Anatomy of CNC Cutting Machines

The Anatomy of CNC Cutting Machines

The first ever batch of CNC cutting machines came about in the 1940s up until the later part of the 1950s. These pieces of equipment relied heavily on the technology known as telecommunication data storage, otherwise known as the “perforated paper tape” or “punched tape”.  Truly, the punched tape technology is already out-of-date since medium for data swiftly transitioned to analog. Then, after which came the digital computer processing of the 1950s to 1960s.  

How Does CNC Cutting Machines Work? 

In essence, machining is one way you can transform a stock piece of an object, like for instance a block of plastic and eventually come up with a finished product by virtue of the so-called control object removal process. Much like any other prototype production technology, CNC technology relies heavily on digital instructions coming from a computer aided design file. A typical example of which is Solidworks 3D. Or you may try computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software. 

Your CNC machine would interpret your design file as a set of instructions and will carry it out to cut the prototype parts you are intending to print out. Designing a computer program to control machine tools in a snap will help a lot in advancing a shop’s level of productivity by automating what can be best described as a labor-intensive and highly technical processes. 

Automated cuts will enhance the level of accuracy and speed with which prototype parts are designed and created for, most especially when this material is critically scarce or not being produced by the original manufacturers anymore. 

Most of the time, machining processes necessitate the utilization of a manifold of tools that will help in making the desired cuts, like for instance different sized screws. It is normal for CNC machines to combine tools and render them as common cells or units from which the piece of equipment can draw.  

Basic machines may move in say 1 or 2 axes, whereas the advanced machines can move in a longitudinal direction in the Z-axis and laterally in the x and y-axis. They can also rotate in just one or more axes. As for the multi-axis machines, they can automatically flip over parts, allowing for the removal of the part which was previously “underneath”.  By this virtue, you are going to eliminate the need for workers who will be tasked on flipping the stock of prototype material, giving you a way to cut on all sides sans the need for a human hand intervention. 

Generally speaking, cuts that are fully automated tend to be more accurate as opposed to the possibility of manual inputs. With this, we can say that there would be moments when finishing work such as etching would have better results when carried out manually  

CNC Cutting Machine and 3D Printing: Which is the Better Option?

Honestly, we can’t answer this with just one, singular, straight-away answer because it all depends – on the complexity of the part, on the material, or on the economic aspects that are at play. 3D printing machines create your parts, from the bottom going up. 

They can also help you come up and produce complex shapes as well as internal components with greater ease as opposed to what a  CNC machine can produce. By contrast, we can safely say that tradition CNC cutter machines are somewhat limited by the axes of rotation which the machine can utilize and the available tools. 

On the flipside, materials can be much more limiting in prototyping as opposed to a machined block of material. Like for instance, if you require a prototype of a standard hinge, you may want to consider the use of CNC and polypropylene.