CNC Milling and Machining: What is it Used For?

November 9, 2018

As any competent engineering student can guess, this is an incredibly dense subject. CNC Milling and Machining, which recruits computer control systems, has entire libraries dedicated to its study. To better understand the discipline and all of its machine-associated, software dominated elements, let’s start at the beginning. Then, after defining the machining doctrines, albeit in basic terms, it’ll be time to discuss CNC milling applications.

What is CNC Technology? 

The acronym has been covered in past articles, so we won’t linger. CNC (Computer Numerical Control) is a software managed manufacturing mode, one that uses three-dimensional space and intricate technical drawings to produce a universally recognized set of machine-addressed instructions. Translated through the computer, through the 5 or 6-axis gimbals and tool components, incredibly detailed operations are carried out by automated machining stations. The resulting cuts and punches, drill holes and milled surfaces are applied with great accuracy so that a final product exhibits a high-tolerance dimensional profile. In a nutshell, CNC milling equipment is ruled by computer intelligence. There, having concisely reviewed the technology, let’s take this opportunity to talk about what the tech is used for in the punching and fabricating sector.

CNC Milling And Machining: What’s It Used For? 

This is subtractive engineering work. For every punched aperture and milled edge, material is subtracted from a raw piece of metal. Like the sculptor seeing his final figure in a block of marble, the CNC actuated tools obey coded instructions, as issued by the engineering software. The tool body flips around the X and Y axis, then the punch and die are pressed along the Y axis again and again until a required quantity of profiled openings is incorporated into the workpiece. Unlike simple drill bits, however, CNC milling operations can grow in complexity. Directed by the software codes, a spinning climb miller shears a thin layer of material away, then it climbs automatically to create an incline or arcing edge on the workpiece. For these and other operations, the milling tool requires shear zone strength and angular loading capabilities.

Back to the sculptor metaphor, fluted carbide milling bits and their carbon strengthened peers operate like a master creator’s chisel. Their entire lengths subtract fine layers of metal or plastic. It takes the non-fallible abilities of a machine mind to regulate such a complex sequence of actions. And it takes a group of super-hardened, ultra-strengthened and sharply detailed milling and machining tools to properly translate those software dictated instructions into comparably detailed real-world edges. Straight-edged regular milled features or climb-milled curving surfaces, the fluted milling tools emulate the CNC software’s materially flawless vision.


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