CNC Machining Overview - CNC Applications - SD3D Printing
was successfully added to your cart.


CNC Machining Overview


SD3D Now Offers CNC Machining Services

Computer numerical control machining, commonly referred to as CNC machining, is a process which typically employs computerized machine tools. These tools are controlled via computer and/or microcontroller to remove layers of material from a raw block or piece. CNC machines are now found in almost all manufacturing industries, from small scale to large companies. These have replaced the manual lathe and drilling machines which would require operators and take days to complete a simple task.

There is a major difference between CNC machining and  additive manufacturing processes such as 3d printing. In fact, you could reasonably say that the two processes are inverted. A CNC machine produces a final product by removing layers of materials from the workpiece while the additive process assembles layers of materials to give shape to the desired prototype or model.

Advantages of CNC Machining

Let us look at some of the advantages of using CNC machines over traditional or manual machines.

  • Increases Productivity
    • Manufacturers use CNC machines to increase their productivity by working at a much faster pace while delivering the same standard of products, and without using any additional resources.
  • Saves Time and Money
    • CNC machining has automated traditional machining operations hence eliminating the need of manual operators. Therefore, less time is required to complete a particular job.  drastically and allowed manufacturers to save time and money.
  • Eliminate Human Errors
    • By automating the core machining processes like drilling and grinding, CNCs have reduced the human errors in manufacturing. Hence producing more precise parts with accurate dimensions.
  • Decrease Material Waste
    • CNCs are more precise and accurate than traditional machines and hence waste the least amount of material. Time consumed for machining is, thus, also reduced which increases profitability.
  • Rapid Prototyping
    • CNC machines came as a first major break-through in the field of rapid prototyping. Before CNCs, parts, and workpieces had to be machined by hand on traditional machines. This led to the wastage of more materials and errors in end prototype products. The time required to create precise prototypes was also greatly reduced with the introduction of CNC machines.
  • Safe and Easy to Use
    • Lastly, CNC machines have certainly improved safety since operators do not have to get too close to the machines to look after the operations. As a result, this reduces the general health and safety accidents which is a win-win for any business.

CNC Machining Terminology

CNC Machining
Cutting Tool
Coolant Lines

CNC Applications

CNC machines are being used in all major industries today especially for the cutting of metal parts and producing simple prototypes. CNCs can work on a wide variety of materials including metal, wood, plastic and more but its ability to produce simpler metallic geometries by doing precise cutting of metallic workpiece with minimal waste of material is unprecedented. For this reason, CNC machining is most commonly used as a method to produce metal parts that cannot be easily stamped or bent into shape. 

Many industries use the CNC machining method to remove metal from the raw metal piece in order to produce prototypes and products of desired geometries. These industries range from automotive (making shafts, gears, and other parts) to spare parts (making rounded, square and rectangular cuts) industries. Below is a list of common CNC machining applications:

  • Molds and production tools
    • Tools used for mass reproduction of parts
  • Mechanical parts
    • Dies, gears, shafts, knobs, etc.
  • Aviation and aerospace parts
    • Complex smooth body surfaces
    • Propellers and various engine parts
  • Wood based applications
    • Structural parts
    • Musical instruments
    • Furniture & decoration

This metal removal process is done by applying different machining tools such as those used for drilling, boring, milling, shaping, grinding, etc. Traditionally, these machines had to be operated manually with the help of a human operator which was a daunting and time-consuming task with chances of multiple errors. But with CNCs, all these machining tools are applied automatically in accordance with the end-product CAD drawing. There are nearly endless operation opportunities to be performed on metal pieces when it comes to CNC machining. Contact us to discuss your next CNC project.

CNC Services

Metal Fabrication & Secondary Processes

Fabricating metals from thin metal plates is another common CNC application. The machine performs precise manufacturing processes on the plate to form various geometries quickly. CNC machines are used in this regard to performing operations like shearing, plasma cutting, punching, laser cutting, and even welding to achieve desired results. CNC plasma cutters and laser cutters are commonly used to bring the plates to their final shape. Turret punchers, on the other hand, are used on CNC machines to punch holes of different sizes in these metal plates. Plates can even be bent to the desired shape by using CNC press brakes.

Mass personalization is another common CNC application. In this case, the CAD utilized throughout the process may include small customizations to personalize the final product. An example of this would be engraving a separate brand name on a common geometry used throughout a particular industry. 

In short, CNC machining gives you the opportunity to perform dozens of automated machining operations on metallic parts to manufacture products of simple geometries with greater accuracy and lowest times possible.