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A Brief Look At CNC Machining

29 Jul

Manufacturing has come along way since the dirty old machine shops of the past. With today’s high tech CNC macing capabilities parts that used to be impossible to make can now be made very quickly with accuracy down to ten thousands of an inch. There are quite a few different types of CNC machines and each one has its own specialized capabilities. Lets take a look at some of the commonly seen methods of CNC machining in the article below.

One of the moist common types of CNC machining is the CNC mill. The CNC mill operates in 3 axis’s with the more complex machines using 4 and 5 axis capabilities. A CNC mill has a spindle that holds cutting tools that spin and move across the work piece to produce the desired shape. A CNC mill can perform many different types of machining that include milling, drilling, tapping, boring and many more specialized operations.

The next type of machine that is very common is the CNC lathe. In the CNC lathe the work piece turns and the stationary tool moves past it to machine the shape. Parts made on a CNC lathe are round parts but special machining operations can be done on higher end lathes.

Some of today’s top machines can actually do small milling operations to mill things such as key ways and other operations that used to be secondary operations that were done in a mill like bolt hole circles.

Wire EDM is another type of CNC machine that does not use any type of cutter to do the cutting but instead uses brass wire and electricity. The wire EDM machines are capable of tolerances down to millionths of an inch and micro finishes. Wire EDM machines are widely used in the tool and die trade to produce die and mold components. Some of these components used to take days or even weeks to make but can now be wire EDM cut in a matter of hours. The technology is very amazing and has helped bring down the cost of manufactured goods worldwide.

Aside from these commonly seen CNC machines there are also CNC saws, press brakes, grinders, turret punches and other types of specialized machines.

Each machine has to be programmed so it knows what to do. This is often done with specialized CAM (Computer Aided Machining) software. This software allows very complex parts to be programmed very fast and eliminates many of the complex mathematical calculations that die makers and machinists used to have calculate by hand then tediously machine on manual mills and lathes.

Many people think that CNC macing has reduced the need for skilled workers but nothing could be farther from the truth. All CNC machines need not only skilled operators to run and operate them but also people who know how to program the machines so they make parts in the most efficient manner possible.

CNC machining jobs pay above average for entry level positions to well over six figures a year for a skilled programmer. There is a shortage of skilled people that know how to run and program these machines so if you are looking for an exciting career that has unlimited growth potential you should look into a career in CNC machining!

Read more at http://precisionproductionengineering.com/index.pl?page=materials_and_methods&m=243

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