What is CNC Machining?
By M.hagaman | Updated March 2022 | 8 minute read
What is CNC Machining? An in-depth look at CNC Machining, Casting vs Machining, and different CNC Machines.
What is CNC?
CNC stands for “Computer Numerical Control.” This means numbers are coded into a machine that mechanically operates and removes layers from stock pieces of material to the desired geometry. Because of the computer numerical control and precision cutting tools, CNC machining is the most accurate type of manufacturing technology.
What Does CNC Machining mean?
CNC machining is used when computer numerical controls systems are used to operate different tips and axes to remove layers of material. This is a subtractive process that removes layers to the desired dimensions and geometrical shapes.
What Industries use CNC Machining?
Inventors, Aerospace, Defense, Automotive, and manufacturing companies are just a few of the industries that rely on CNC machining services.
Casting vs Machining
There are a few factors to consider when selecting casting vs machining. Most times, qualified and skilled engineers will help product developers select the best manufacturing method, Cost, time, and materials are taken into consideration, as also the use of the part such as a CNC prototype.
Differences between casting and machining can be discussed prior to the project start and it is helpful to work with companies who offer both manufacturing processes.
Precise Cast offers metal castings and CNC machining. At times, we have found that we are able o save our customers money by starting a project as casting and finishing with any added machining.
How Much Does CNC Machining Cost?
Because most steps are computer-generated, CNC machining can be the most cost-effective type of manufacturing. Pricing will range based on the type of machine needed for your project, the geometric shape, and the machining procedure chosen.
Here at Precise Cast, we offer FREE consultations before your project begins to explain all your options for machining and pricing. We produce precision and complex CNC machining parts.
We offer automotive CNC machining services, defense CNC machining, production CNC machining, and low-volume parts.
What is the Difference Between 3 and 5 axis Machining?
CNC machining types.
Machines range from 3 to 5 axis which offers more flexibility in cutting angles and less resetting of the material.
CNC machines use a “subtractive” type of manufacturing where a solid piece of material is milled away by computer-generated geometries to create the desired form.
With 3 axis machining, you simply get 3 different angles to where the machine can contour the material.
3 axis machining can produce the most standard geometry and has the lowest machining costs.
But what if you have a project that has a more complex shape? This is where 5 axis machining is going to benefit your project.
There are two types of 5 axis machining options. Indexed 5 axis machining and continuous 5 axis machining.
With Indexed 5 Axis machining you get a rotation on 3 linear axes and an additional 2 rotations on the Y-axis. 5 Axis machining offers more flexibility with design and less resetting of your machined parts.
Video from Concerning Reality on “What is CNC Machining?”
How Accurate are CNC Machines?
Accuracy is based on a couple of different things. In the excerpt from Modern Machine Shop Magazine, Founder and President of CNC Concepts Inc., Mike Lynch explains his definition of machining accuracy:
“I define a CNC machine tool’s accuracy as how precisely its axes can follow intended paths to commanded end points while under load. I define its repeatability as how precisely it can duplicate commanded motions (again, under load) during multiple cycles throughout the day.“
He goes on to talk about variations in machines and builders’ specifications. To sum it up, the machine is only as accurate as of its builder. This is why working with a quality CNC machine shop can make a difference in the endpoint of your project.
But let’s say you select a manufacturer with quality CNC machining. Your engineer should discuss the precision and tolerances allowed for your part.
An example of Precision Machining is when the machine can return to a set measure again and again. This determines the reliability of the machine.
Tolerance is equally as important. It determines exactly how much room for error (wiggle room) you have when manufacturing a part.
The tolerance definition means the allowable or predictable variance in the dimension of a part and is usually expressed as “±”. The best tolerance for machining is ±0.01″.
Fast Turn CNC Machining Manufacturer
Precise Cast has all the equipment needed to handle your basic to most complex machined parts.
Our in-house CNC machining houses 3 and 4 axis machines plus indexed 5 axis machining and continuous 5 axis machines
We have worked with many top companies like Ball Aerospace, UTC Aerospace, and Lockheed Martin. Producing some of their most complex parts.
What Sets Precise Cast Apart From Other Machine Shops?
What makes Precise Cast a unique machine shop is we are also a Non-ferrous Foundry. This means many of our clients who need casting and machining services can have everything produced under one roof.
We were able to help companies like Remington Defense with the challenges they faced with the weight reduction of their defense equipment.
Learn more about the “Weight Reduction Challenge” competition we won for our casted and machined parts.
If you have a project you want us to help with, our engineers and machinist are ready to assist. Learn more about our CNC Prototyping Services.