Must Know About CNC Machines and Their Working Principles

Must Know About CNC Machines and Their Working Principles

Computer numerical control (CNC) machines first came about between the 1940s and 1950s. These are electro-mechanical devices that rely on computer programming inputs to control machine shop tools. The initial models relied on punched tape technology and later on migrated to analog and digital computer processing in the 1950s and 1960s. With CNC machines from machine tool supply companies, you can boost shop productivity as these machines can automate technical and labor-intensive processes.

Benefits of CNC Machining

In general, machining relies on a controlled material removal process to transform a material like a block of plastic to a finished product. Like other prototype development technology, CNC machines get digital instructions from a computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) file like Solidworks 3D to make automated cuts. Using CNC machines boosts both the speed and accuracy of cutting prototype parts. This machining option is especially useful when processing critical materials, such as polypropylene.

Machining often involves using several devices that can be sourced from machine tool distributors to make the needed cuts. With CNC machines, you can combine tools into common units or cells. For example, basic machines can be used in one or two axes with advanced machines making lateral movements in the x and y-axis and longitudinal movements in the z-axis. Also, advanced machines can move rotationally about one or more axes. Meanwhile, multi-axis machines can flip parts automatically, which means you don’t’ need to assign a worker to flip the prototype stock material

Types of Machines

CNC machines can be grouped into two general categories: conventional machining and novel machining. CNC machines using conventional machining technologies are drills, lathes, and milling machines. These are usually for prototype development rather than manufacturing. Among all CNC machines, milling machines are probably the most popular. They have rotary cutting tools to remove material from the workpiece.

Meanwhile, novel technologies for cutting materials include photochemical machining, ultrasonic machining, electrochemical machining, electrical discharge machining, electron beam machining. These highly specialized techniques are useful for niche manufacturing processes and mass production that requires a specific type of material.


A CNC machine can process almost any type of material. The target application determines the material to be used. CNC machines can be used for brass, copper, aluminum, titanium, and steel. They can also process materials like plastic, wood, foam, and fiberglass.

Choose One of the Top Machine Tool Distributors

As a CNC machine distributor, we want to provide you with state-of-the-art equipment to optimize your operations and boost productivity. That way, you can bring down costs and increase efficiencies. Give a call today to learn more.