What are CNC Machines ? What do they do ? How many types are there ?
What are CNC Machines ?
What are CNC Machines ? The definition of CNC is: – Computer Numerical Control. This is the automation of machine tools by means of computer programs as opposed to manual control by hand wheels and automated cams alone.
How Do They Work?
Modern CNC machines use computer programs to automate the manufacture of products, machine parts or components thus improving productivity. The designers use the CAD program to design the object. The operators use the CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) software program to translate the CAD design into the manufacturing directives and these directives control the movement of the machine tools.
CNC Machines : History
History shows that engineers in the 1940’s and 1950’s built the early CNC machines. The first versions used punched tape fed computers. Punched tape was an early computer entry medium. So early technology used holes in the tape and the holes in the tape were like the 0’s and 1’s in binary. So one machine would create the punched tape and the other would translate the instructions into machine tool movements. Although technology has moved on the process is still the same and the holes have been replaced by tiny on and off switches.
As computing developed, so did the CNC machine. It improved and revolutionised manufacturing. These CNC machines were large bulky, complicated to use and very expensive. Advances in technology made the CNC machines smaller, less complicated to use and cheaper.
We are now in an age where the everyday man on the street can own one of their own.
This has now opened up the industry for use to design create and produce our ideas and inventions. We have reached an exciting time and I for one can’t wait to see what happens next.
In my next blogs I will cover the different types of CNC machine tools. Check out my next blogs for more info.