For designers, R&D teams and manufacturers who rely on sourcing parts, CNC precision machining enables the production of complex parts without additional machining. In fact, CNC precision machining often enables the production of finished parts on a single machine.
Machining removes material and uses a wide range of cutting tools to create the final, often very complex, design of a part. The level of precision is increased through the use of computer numerical control (CNC), which is used to automate the control of machining tools.
The Role of CNC in Precision Machining
CNC machining uses coded programming instructions to cut and shape workpieces according to specifications without the need for a machine operator.
Based on the CAD (computer-aided design) model provided by the customer, a skilled machinist uses CAM (computer-aided manufacturing software) to create machining instructions for the part. based on the CAD model, the machinist determines what toolpaths are needed and generates programming code to instruct the machine.
- Appropriate rotation speed and feed rate
- When and where to move the tool or workpiece
- Cutting depth
- When to apply coolant
- Any other factors related to speed, feed rate, and adjustment
Materials to be machined
Commonly machined metals include aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, steel, titanium, and zinc. Wood, Styrofoam, fiberglass, polypropylene, and other plastics can also be machined.
Of course, depending on the application and conditions, any material can be precision CNC machined.
Advantages of Precision CNC Machining
For many small parts and components used in a variety of products, CNC precision machining is often the machining method of choice.
As is the case with almost all cutting methods, different materials behave differently, and the size and shape of the part also have a significant impact on the machining process. However, in general, the process of precision CNC machining has advantages over other machining methods.
That’s because that’s what CNC machining can provide.
- Highly complex parts
- Tight tolerances ranging from 0.0002″ (±0.00508mm) to ±0.0005″ (±0.0127mm)
- Extremely smooth surface finishes, including custom finishes
- Repeatability for high volume production
A skilled machinist can make 10 or 100 high quality parts using a manual lathe, but what if you need 1,000 parts? 10,000? 100,000? 1,000,000?
With precision CNC machining, you can get the scalability and speed you need for this kind of high-volume production. What’s more, precision CNC machining is highly repeatable, so no matter how many parts you produce, you’ll have the same part from start to finish.