5 Types of CNC Machines Commonly Used in Metalworking

Fabrication, Manufacturing
May | 29 | 2017

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) is widely used for the automation of machines used in metal removal, shaping, and fabrication. There are several types of CNC machines that can be found in fabrication facilities today. Some of these include:

CNC Milling Machines – A mill uses rotary cutters to shave, cut or slice sections off of a work piece. CNC technology enables far greater precision in milling than when the operation is performedmanually.The CNC milling machine can be programmed to vary in depth, angle and direction of cut. A 3-axis machine operates along both the X and Y horizontal axes, as well as the Z vertical axis. A 4-axis machine includes a rotary dimension to its linear capability, which allows it to cut along an arc.

CNC Lathes – Lathes used in turning centers operate by rotating the material rapidly on a spindle. While the material is turning, a cutting tool is used to shape the piece into its desired form. CNC lathes are ideal for manufacturing symmetrical objects that have conical, spherical or cylindrical shapes.

CNC Drilling Machines – Sophisticated drilling machines can be programmed using CNC technology to ensure precise positioning of holes in materials. With thick material, a process called peck, or interrupted cut drilling is used to drill the hole in a stepwise procedure.CNC turret drilling machines have several drill bits and cutting tools mounted on a turret. Automation enables the required tool to be indexed quickly and accurately into position for drilling.

CNC Grinders – Grinding machines use a rotary wheel, which abrades the material by grinding or grating it into the desired shape. CNC grinders are easier to program than lathes or milling machines because they do not require the same level of precision.

CNC Plasma Cutters– Plasma cutters use a plasma torch to cut sheet metal. They are are ideally suited for cutting two-dimensional shapes.


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