Most Common Types of CNC Machines

Most Common Types of CNC Machines

The world of computer numerical control (CNC) machining is diverse, and various types of CNC machines are customized for specific applications. From aerospace to medicine, many different types of businesses use CNC machines to manufacture their products. Often controlled by computers, these complex machines can achieve efficiency, accuracy, and consistency that is not possible with manual processes.

Operations that were impossible many years ago are made possible by CNC machining. These CNC machines can create many different parts, and they can cut and shape materials with precision. Different types of CNC machines are available for specific machining needs, demonstrating the versatility and precision of CNC technology in modern manufacturing.

Table of Contents

What do CNC Machines do?

CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control. The computer software that runs the machine uses a mathematical coordinate system to tell the different tools on the machine what to do in different directions. This method is more precise and efficient than manual machining.

To make a certain product, the tools can cut, mill, drill, tap, and shape metal. Many people confuse CNC tools with 3D printers. However, while CNC tools create products by cutting material from a larger piece of material, 3D printers create products by adding material. For more information, check out: Additive Manufacturing vs. Reduced Material Manufacturing in Detail

CNC tools can work with metals such as steel and aluminum, as well as wood, plastics, foam, composites, and more.

What Can CNC Machines do?

CNC machines can do many things. Large companies in many fields use CNC machines because they can quickly and correctly make many different things from jewelry to electronic parts. There are many types of CNC machines, such as industrial machines and hobby machines.

Here are some of the most popular industrial CNC machines:

  • Router machine: Router machines are known for getting the job done fast and well. They are great for making complex things because they have three to six axes for machining parts quickly.
  • Routers: this is one of the biggest CNC machines you can buy. It has three to six axes and removes material by milling, tapping, drilling, and turning.
  • Lathe: This is a small, portable machine that shapes objects by cutting material as it rotates.
  • Plasma cutter: A plasma torch melts the material that the plasma cutter needs to cut. It works best on solid materials such as steel.
  • Electrical Discharge: The worker places the workpiece between two electrodes and the machine calculates how much power is needed to cut the material away.
  • Laser cutting machine: As the name suggests, this machine uses a laser to cut and shape the material. The laser is set up to work best with the medium.

Many hobbyists purchase small CNC milling tools. Most hobbyist tools can only process soft materials such as plastic and wood. If you need to cut and process metal materials, then you should seek the help of a professional CNC mill.

Types and roles of CNC machines

There are many types of CNC machines. The machines used by machinists will change depending on the project and the materials used.

To help you understand what a CNC machine is, we will list the different types of machines here. These impressive tools can make many different things. As a result, there are many different types of CNC machines in use every day.

CNC Milling Machines

The CNC milling machine is one of the most popular types of CNC machine tools. It cuts different types of materials through computer control. Milling machines can move grinding wheels in different ways by translating specific alphabetic and numeric programs.

As mentioned earlier, G-code is a standard computer language that most CNC machines understand and use. Many milling machines use it. Face milling, shoulder milling, cutting, drilling, and turning are just a few of the many things a CNC milling machine can do. Many CNC mills can be set up with three to six axes.

CNC mills are larger than most tools and come with a hefty price tag. A few companies that commonly manufacture CNC cutters are Okuma, HAAS, and DMG Mori.

CNC Milling Machines

CNC Lathe

A lathe is a CNC machine that cuts pieces of metal in a rotating process. Using different tools, CNC lathes can make precise cuts quickly.

As far as accuracy is concerned, these CNC tools are much better than manual lathes. In most cases, CNC lathes have fewer gears than CNC mills, making them smaller and easier to store.

The controllers for CNC lathes are very similar to those for CNC mills in that they can read G-code and other specialized computer languages. The frame of a CNC lathe is the same as that of a manual lathe.

CNC Lathe-CNC Machines Types

CNC Routers

CNC routers are much like the handheld cutters that most people use to cut various materials. This CNC machine can help cut steel, wood, metal, composites, foam, plastic, and steel.

A CNC router is similar to a CNC milling machine. It comes with a computerized numerical control (CNC) that sets up the tool paths to make the machine work properly. CNC routers can produce more products in less time than other machines, which reduces waste and increases production.

Most routers are capable of machining a certain type of material in all three dimensions. They are great for small projects, making prototypes, and creating more complex patterns. There are also three-, four-, five- and six-axis routers.

CNC Routers-Most Common Types of CNC Machines

CNC Plasma Cutting Machines

When performing plasma cutting, a plasma torch is used to cut the object. This type of cutting is mainly used to cut heavy objects such as steel and other metals.

On a CNC plasma cutting machine, gas is quickly ejected from a tube. During this process, an electric arc is formed between the gas coming out of the nozzle and the surface being cut.

During this process, some of the gas becomes plasma, which has a temperature of between 10,000 and 50,000 degrees. The plasma is hot enough to melt the object being cut. It also blows away the metal that was melted during the cut.

CNC plasma cutters and CNC routers are very similar in size and shape. These tools can cut shapes that have only two dimensions.

CNC Plasma Cutting Machines

CNC Electrical Discharge Machines

EDM stands for “Electrical Discharge Machining.” This method utilizes electrical discharges or sparks to carve out specific shapes in the material.

In this method, material is stripped from a particular workpiece by delivering a steady current between two electrodes. Between these electrodes, there is a dielectric fluid that usually generates a voltage. After placing the material between the two electrodes of the machine, the machine calculates how much electricity needs to be discharged at each electrode.

CNC Electrical Discharge Machines-CNC Machines Types

CNC Laser Cutting Machines

These machines are similar to CNC plasma cutting machines. The only difference is that lasers are used for cutting and are great for cutting metals, plastics, and wood. The power of the laser can be changed depending on the density and intensity of the material.

CNC Laser Cutting Machines-different types of cnc machines

To Summarize

The range of CNC machines presented here represents the backbone of precision and efficiency in the dynamic manufacturing industry. From the versatility of a CNC milling machine to the intricate detail of a CNC laser cutter, these tools have revolutionized the way we manufacture.

As technology advances, we can expect to see more innovations and improvements in CNC machines that will continue to push the limits of what’s possible when it comes to manufacturing complex parts. Understanding the capabilities of these common CNC machines is not only key for industry professionals, but also a testament to the amazing advances in precision engineering. CNC machines can realize complex designs with unparalleled precision and speed.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Pinterest
Subscribe to get expert design and manufacturing tips
Scroll to Top