What does CNC Mean?

What does CNC Mean?

Computer numerical control (CNC) machining is a material reduction manufacturing process. It creates items by removing material from a block of raw material. The process starts with a CAD model or blueprint, which is then translated into a set of G-code instructions. With these codes, the cutting tool can be moved and the speed and depth of the cut can be changed.

A CNC machine is a type of industrial equipment that is controlled by a computer. It can be used to make items out of metal, plastic, or other materials, as well as to alter them. There are many different types of CNC tools on the market today, each capable of doing different things.

The CNC machine clamps the raw material (workpiece) and then starts cutting. Once the workpiece is made, it can be heat-treated or externally coated to make it perfect.CNC machining is a versatile form of manufacturing. It can be used to make parts of different shapes and sizes from many different materials.

CNC machining consists of four main groups of steps:

  1. Programming: Converting a CAD model or blueprint intoG-code, a set of instructions that tell the CNC machine how to move and cut the material.
  2. Setup and Installation: The raw material is placed on the CNC machine, and then the cutting tool is installed according to the G-code instructions.
  3. Machining: Also known as cutting or machining, this is the process of removing material from the raw material to create the desired part.
  4. Finishing: To make the part better, it may be heated or surface-coated after it is made.

Types of CNC Programming

A computer program is an important part of CNC tools as it controls these tools. There are many types of CNC codes and this code tells the machine tool what to do and how to do it.

Manual Programming

The easiest way to program a CNC machine is by hand. The person who programs the machine manually has to tell the machine what to do step by step. On the other hand, this is the easiest to understand and fastest way to program a CNC machine.

CAM Programming

CAM programming is an advanced form of CNC programming. The programmer uses a CAD tool such as AutoCAD or SolidWorks to create a computer model of the part to be machined. The program then automatically generates the code needed to machine the part. This is the best and fastest way to program a CNC machine.

Conversational Programming

Conversational programming is the last and most advanced way to program a CNC machine. With conversational programming, the operator can quickly and easily program a CNC machine.

Prompts about part geometry, workpiece material, and tooling guide the user through the process, and anyone can create a program in just a few minutes. Most people can use this type of CNC code, so it’s a great option for people who aren’t good at CNC code.

The downside to conversational programming is that it can only do so much. It can only be used to create simple CNC machine codes. For more complex parts, you’ll need to program by hand or use CAM programming.

CNC machining - CNC meaning

Types of CNC Machining Operations

CNC machining can be divided into three main categories: turning, milling, and drilling.


When a CNC machine is used for turning, the cutting tool moves along the line of the workpiece, machining a part that is shaped like a cylinder. A lathe is a machine that can be used to turn things. Screws, shafts, and pipes are all items that can be made by turning.


Milling is a type of CNC machining in which a cutting tool passes through the surface of a workpiece to produce a flat or complex shape. Milling machines and cutting centers are two types of machines that can mill. Parts that are machined by milling include frames, gears, and brackets.


When a CNC machine is used for drilling, the cutting tool moves up and down the workpiece to make the hole. Drills and machining centers are two types of machine tools that can perform excavation work. For example, screw holes can be machined by drilling.

CNC machining can also be used for specific tasks such as grinding, sawing, and boring. These steps are used to create specific types of parts or to smooth the surface of a part.

Types of CNC Machines

Many different types of CNC machines are commonly found on the market, which we will cover below.

CNC Machine Tools

A CNC lathe is a machine that rotates a workpiece around an axis while using tools to create cylindrical parts in different ways on raw materials.

CNC Milling Machine

A CNC Milling Machine uses a rotating cutting tool to remove material from a block of material until the desired shape is achieved. Each type of CNC cutting machine is different.

  • Vertical CNC: The spindle of this type of CNC machine is oriented vertically.
  • Horizontal CNC: The spindle of this machine moves horizontally.
  • Multi-axis CNC: As the name suggests, this type of machine has three spindles: X, Y, and Z planes. In addition to this, there are rotary axes for cutting at different angles.
  • Bed-type CNC machines: In this type of machine, the table remains stationary, but the spindle moves to do the work.
  • Knee CNC machine: This machine has the spindle placed vertically and the table moves to cut.

CNC Router Machine

CNC router machines are not as accurate as CNC milling machines, but are inexpensive and can process soft materials such as foam, wood, composites, plastics and metals.

CNC Drilling Machine

Using a CNC drilling machine you can make precise holes of different sizes and thicknesses in materials such as metal, plastic, composites, and wood.

It can perform many different tasks such as drilling, reaming, tapping, and countersinking.

CNC drilling machines utilize CNC technology, making them more accurate and practical than other types of drilling tools.

CNC Plasma Cutting Machines

CNC plasma cutters use a plasma torch to cut metal. Adding energy to a gas converts it into plasma, which is an electrically charged hot gas.

The plasma torch uses this hot gas to cut metal. A plasma cutter is a very versatile machine that can cut a variety of charged metals such as copper, aluminum, and stainless steel.

CNC Laser Cutting Machine

A CNC laser cutter is a machine that cuts items with a laser beam. A laser is a device that produces a laser beam by stimulating the release of electromagnetic radiation to enhance light. A laser cutter can cut many things. It can be used to cut metal, plastic, glass, and wood.

CNC Water Jet Cutting Machine

A water jet cutter is a CNC machine that uses water to cut items. A high-pressure pump sprays a jet of water at speeds up to Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound) to cut through objects. The water jet can also easily cut objects up to 12 inches (30 cm) thick.

Wire EDM Machine

An electrode is a component of an electrical discharge machining (EDM) machine that helps break down conductive materials such as hardened steel or carbide. This new technology is exciting because it makes it possible to make things differently than the way they are normally made.

In traditional machining, the cutting tool is rotated against the object. Instead, it is set up so that there is a small space between it and the workpiece being machined.

An electrode sends a high-frequency electric spark to the workpiece to cut or fabricate parts.  However, many things must be in place for EDM forming to work smoothly, such as the type of metal being machined and the size and shape of the part.

CNC Grinding Machines

CNC grinding machines can perform very complex precision grinding jobs. They come in different shapes and sizes, such as cylindrical grinders, centerless grinders, and surface grinders.

Mechanic working with lathe machine

CNC Machine Axis Types

Each type of CNC machine has different types of axes, some of the common ones are these.

2-Axis CNC Machine

The most basic type of CNC machine is the 2-axis CNC machine, which is usually used for simple tasks such as cutting or drilling. The X and Y axes of a CNC machine allow the cutting tool to move in both directions. This is known as a 2-axis machine tool.

3-Axis CNC Machine Tools

3-axis CNC machine tools are more flexible and can perform more tasks such as cutting, drilling, and tapping. When the cutting tool can move in three directions, X, Y, and Z, the CNC machine is called a 3-axis machine.

4-Axis CNC Machine Tools

In addition to this, 4-axis CNC machine tools are capable of performing more tasks such as cutting, drilling, tapping, and boring. If the cutting tool can be moved in three directions (X, Y, and Z axes) and can be rotated around the X-axis, it is called a 4-axis CNC machine tool.

5-Axis CNC Machine Tools

A 5-axis CNC machine can do most things, such as milling, drilling, tapping, boring, and turning. On a 5-axis CNC machine, the cutting tool can move in three directions: the X, Y, and Z axes. The cutting tool can also rotate around the X and Y axes, which are called the A and B axes, respectively.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using CNC Machines



· Accuracy

· Repeatability

· Speed

· Complex designs

· Easy duplication

· Initial cost and setup

· Specialized training

·Quality control


The biggest benefit of using a CNC machine is that it is very precise and can be used over and over again. In addition, CNC turning is much faster than older methods such as milling or hand cutting, making it ideal for making large quantities of items at once.

Another benefit of CNC machining is that it can make very complex shapes, which is not possible with traditional methods. In addition, because CNC machines are controlled by computers, it is easy to set them up to replicate many of the same designs. Therefore, CNC cutting is the best method for making a large number of identical parts.


One of the big problems with CNC cutting is the high cost of buying and setting up the machine in the first place. In addition, CNC machines are very complex tools that require specialized training to use, which can add to the total cost.

Another problem that can arise is that parts made with CNC machines may not be as strong as parts made by older methods. This is because the CNC machine removes material from the part to give it the right shape, which may make the structure less strong overall. However, this problem can be mitigated by choosing the right materials and the right design methods.

Who Needs to Use CNC Machines?

Generally speaking, CNC tools are for people who need to make very accurate and reusable parts. This includes both companies that make large quantities of parts and those that need to make samples or small batches. You should carefully consider the pros and cons of adding a CNC machine to your manufacturing operation before deciding if a CNC machine is right for you.

How to Choose the Best CNC Machine for Your Business

There are many things to consider when picking the right CNC machine for your business. Depending on the type of business, the goods, and the amount of work that needs to be done, there are different CNC machines that can be used.

Type of Business

The options you have depend on the type of business you have. Let’s say you have a small woodworking store. A bench-top CNC milling machine may be all you need. But if you have a large factory, you may need a much larger CNC machine.

Products Produced

The type of products you produce will also help you choose the best CNC machine for your business. For example, if you produce small parts or products with complex patterns, a smaller machine may be more suitable for you.

Alternatively, if you make large parts or simple products, a larger machine may be a better fit.

Number of Products to be Manufactured

The size and capacity of the CNC machine you need depends on the quantity you plan to manufacture. For example, if you manufacture a large number of items, you will need a machine that can handle the demand. Alternatively, if you only manufacture a small number of products, a smaller machine may be sufficient.

To Summarize

CNC machines are very important to the production process. CNC machines can make parts and products quickly and accurately. CNC machines can do a lot of things, so they are bound to play an important role in the future of industry.

Overall, CNC machining is a flexible and accurate manufacturing method that has many advantages over older methods. When used properly, it can create parts that are stronger and more accurate than other methods.

If you are considering choosing the right CNC machining service provider, then we have detailed advice for you in this article. You can also contact Yonglihao Machinery directly for professional CNC machining services.

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