The question “What is CNC milling?” is often asked. For starters, it’s good to know that CNC stands for “Computer Numerical Control.” Briefly, this means that your milling operations are performed by a computer instead of being done manually.
In CNC milling, the operations to be performed are written in advance in a program. The CNC milling machine reads these operations from the program and performs them without the intervention of a hobbyist, production worker or craftsman.
Computer controlled milling
Computer controlled milling is another term for CNC milling. In this case, the milling machine is set up in advance. The workpiece is placed in the milling machine and the program is loaded. In computer controlled milling, the computer will then perform the rest of the work.
When to do CNC milling?
In general, CNC milling becomes more attractive when operations to be performed become more complex or if you want to repeat operations more often. This is because a CNC milling operation requires a program to be written first. If you want to mill a few simple wood joints or a small profile, it often does not pay to write a program for a CNC milling machine.
Nevertheless, CNC milling does have a number of important advantages, even when only simple machining operations are performed:
- Operations are performed exactly according to instructions. Of course, the milling machine must be properly adjusted, but the computer will take over the instructions one-to-one.
- Operations are reproducible without extra work. You only need to re-enter the same program into the machine.
- Complex operations are performed easily and accurately. Very complex shapes are difficult to mill by hand, but with computer-controlled milling this is not a problem.
CNC machining for the fastest and best results
With a CNC milling machine, you can have complex operations applied to different materials. Not surprisingly, a CNC can be equipped with multiple milling cutters. To increase the versatility of a CNC machine, a CNC machining center with a changeover magazine is often used. A machining center consists of one or more CNC machines that can automatically change cutters and other tools. The advantage of this is that you can have complex operations performed automatically, without having to change cutters yourself.
CNC milling of aluminum
Aluminium can be milled into all kinds of shapes and is therefore ideal for applications where it must be light but above all robust. We can also mill and engrave small signs for lockers or seat numbers, for example. We often paint engravings for an even more beautiful end result.
Aluminum sandwich panels (such as Dibond) are also perfect for milling with a CNC machine. With various milling techniques, the most beautiful creations can be made.
CNC Milling Plastic
Plastic is increasingly used to replace other materials, such as steel or wood. A major advantage of plastic is that it is wear-resistant. Plastic does not have the property of rotting or wearing out.
With the use of the right technique, it is possible to mill or laser very precise products from plastic sheets (or blocks). Acrylic, for example, is a widely used material for facade letters or displays. But polycarbonate can also be processed, which is more impact-resistant than acrylic.