CNC or Computer Numerical Control machine is a term most people have come across. What they don’t know is that it actually stands for a collection of a type of machine rather than just one singular machine.
Most of the machines share very similar parts and attributes, with key elements that change. They have their pros and cons and should be utilized in specific job settings.
Take time to figure out which would be the best fit for your needs and job setting.
The Different Types of CNC Machines
While they each may be called a CNC machine there are many aspects that can differ between them.
CNC Milling Machine
These are a hybrid design. They consist of old milling tools that are retrofitted with CNC controls that allow for computer control of the machine. To increase accuracy, old parts are replaced and refurbished.
CNC Router Machine
A router is another very commonplace machine. With these, there is no operator action other than to input values at the computer console.
CNC Router Machines are generally used to cut and engrave; plastic, metal, wood, and commonly the creation of large production items such as cut signs.
The primary configuration for a Router is a 3-axis cartesian coordinate. This design allows them to cut in a three-dimension manner.
CNC Plasma Cutting Machine
A plasma cutting machine is close to identical to a milling machine. They operate in the same manner with the computer control of the machine. However, the plasma cutting machine is fitted with a beam cutter.
The primary use of these machines is for cutting two-dimensional figures in sheet metal.
CNC Laser Cutting Machine
The plasma and laser cutting machines are very similar in design but there is a tradeoff between the two types of CNC machines.
A plasma cutting machine has a much more powerful cutting force. While with a laser cutting machine there is a much higher level of accuracy.
CNC Lathe Machine
A lathe machine takes material mounted on a spindle and spins it while pressing the material against the grinding surface.
Lathe machines are known for producing specialized shapes like; spheres, cylinders, and cones. This is because they can produce symmetrical shapes very easily.
3D Printer Machine
While these have a very similar configuration to a CNC Router they use an inverse method. Most of the other machines use subtractive whereas a 3D printer uses additive.
It starts with a plan, just like the rest, however rather than removing material it adds material.
Pick and Place Machine
The design of a Pick and Place is very similar to a laser cutter or a router. But rather than cutting the material, it has a collection of nozzles that work to vacuum electrical parts.
Then the machine places small pieces down according to a pre-set plan. The Pick and Place are primarily utilized for the construction of computer motherboards, and tablets
CNC Electric Discharge Machine
This type of machine is better known as the, spark CNC machine. The design is quite unique when compared to the rest of the CNC machines.
This machine uses electrical charges to shape the material. The operator inputs values in the computer console, controlling the amount of charge applied to the material.
There Is Always a CNC Machine to Fit Your Project
With the numerous types of CNC machines available there is no doubt that there is a machine to fit the needs of your company or your project(s).
The CNC machine offers a failsafe where a human error might be and a level of accuracy you will not find with a human operator.
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