Background

CNC Machining is a deductive process by which automated cutting tools remove material from raw material or a pre-existing part. Components can be crafted from almost any material—either sourced from our inventory or exclusively ordered for your project. Our capabilities allow us to create CNC machined parts with unrivaled precision and speed, while our experienced team guarantees the highest standards with cutting-edge software and equipment. Ideal for prototypes, production parts, repeat-use master patterns, as well as a wide range of other applications where accuracy is of paramount importance.

CNC Machining is the short form for Computer Numerical Control. The CNC machine comprises a microcomputer that acts as the control panel and a cutting apparatus. The program of instructions is fed directly into the computer that tells the machine how to cut the metal for the job to ensure precision and quality.

Subtractive manufacturing processes, such as CNC machining, are often presented in contrast to additive manufacturing processes, such as 3D printing, or formative manufacturing processes, such as liquid injection molding. While subtractive processes remove layers of material from the workpiece to produce custom shapes and designs, additive processes assemble layers of material to produce the desired form and formative processes deform and displace stock material into the desired shape. The automated nature of CNC machining enables the production of high precision and high accuracy, simple parts, and cost-effectiveness when fulfilling one-off and medium-volume production runs.

The Process

While the CNC machining process offers various capabilities and operations, the fundamental principles of the process remain largely the same throughout all of them. The basic CNC machining process includes the following stages: Designing the CAD model, converting the CAD file to a CNC program, preparing the CNC machine, and executing the machining operation.

Designing the CAD model is quite a standard procedure, and once an appropriate geometry has been defined, the next step is deciding how much material needs to be removed from each surface. Once the CAD file has been completed, it must be turned into G-code or M-code, which are the languages that order CNC machines what to do. 

The conversion process involves sending the CAD file through a CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) program. These programs are specifically designed for converting CAD files to G-code and M-code and are loaded onto a computer attached to the CNC machine. The geometric code (G-code) controls the movement and speed of cutting heads while the miscellaneous code (M-code) covers any other relevant data that is not directly related to the movement and speed of cutting heads. This might include the use of a coolant or something as basic as when the program starts and ends.

Before the operator runs the CNC program, they must prepare the CNC machine for operation. These preparations include affixing the workpiece directly into the machine, onto machinery spindles, or into machine vises or similar work holding devices, and attaching the required tooling, such as drill bits and end mills, to the proper machine components. Once the machine is fully set up, the operator can run the CNC program. While the CNC machine is running, it will operate in one of the four common CNC machining operations. o remove the right amount of material from the workpiece to the correct dimensions and tolerances, CNC machines use certain basic processes, including Drilling, Milling, Turning, and Routing.

Drilling is the process of creating cylindrical holes in a workpiece by using multi-point drill bits. CNC drilling can produce vertically aligned holes with diameters equal to that of the bit used, but angular drillings are also possible through specialized machine configurations and devices. Milling is a machining technique in which rotating multipoint cutting tools remove material from the workpiece. In CNC milling, there are two ways to feed the machine: either by feeding it in the same direction as that of the tool’s rotation or opposite to its rotational movement. The process can cut shallow, flat surfaces, and flat-bottomed cavities into the workpiece, also known as face milling. It can also perform peripheral milling in which it cuts deep cavities, such as slots or threads in the part.

Turning employs single point cutting tools as part of a machining process that is used to remove material from the rotating workpiece. In CNC turning, the machine—typically a CNC lathe machine—feeds the cutting tool in a linear motion along the surface of rotation on top of it removing any excess until desired dimensions are reached. Operational capabilities of the turning process include boring, facing, grooving, and thread cutting. Lastly, Routing is used for the precision cutting of various materials such as wood, composites, aluminum, steel, and plastics. This process is often used when creating joinery such as mortises or tenons due to its ability to create extremely accurate cut lines time after time.

Machines

We hold two YCM 4 Axis CNC machines- YCM NXV 1020AM and the YCM NXV 1020A. Founded in 1954 in Taiwan, YCM (Yeong Chin Machinery Industries Co. Ltd.) specializes in machine tool manufacturing. YCM machine tools have been recognized worldwide for superior precision, outstanding rigidity, and exceptional reliability. Today there are more than 70 makes and models fulfilling the industry’s diverse requirements. With nearly 70 years of machine tool manufacturing experience, YCM has established a strong foundation in the field of machinery.

YCM 1020A

1020A Data Sheet

YCM 1020AM

1020AM Data Sheet

Materials

The CNC machining process works with a huge range of materials, including metals, plastics, and wood. Metals would include Aluminum, which is a hugely popular metal for use in CNC machining because of its excellent strength-to-weight ratio and high recyclability, or steel, which is commonly used in CNC machining because it’s tough and durable. Plastics would include ABS, Polycarbonate, PEEK, and many more. On the other hand, when it comes to woods that are suitable for CNC machining, hardwoods tend to work better than softwoods. Woods like maple, walnut, cherry, pear all have excellent internal cohesiveness across the grain and a solid even consistency.

Gallery