CNC Machining

CNC Machining: A Journey from Analog to Digital

CNC(computer numerical control)machining is an important indicator to measure the industry development of a country. It is closely connected with our daily life. From the tiny screw to the big heavy machines, for example, ships, airplanes, and the railway, CNC plays a very important role in producing mechanical parts. It is also the foundation of intelligent equipment development.


What Is CNC Machining?

What Is CNC Machining

CNC(Computer Numerical Control)is a process of manufacturing, It is the automation of machine tools that are operated by precisely programmed commands encoded on a storage medium, compared to the old milling machines controlled manually by hand or mechanically automated by cams, CNC  machining is controlled by computer, through a pre-programmed machining program controls the machine tool to cut with a specified path, so as to realize the processing of the workpiece.


What is the history of CNC machining?

History of CNC Machining

After World War II, most of the production in the manufacturing industry relied on manual operation, when workers understood the drawings, they manually operated machine tools and processed parts, which was costly, and inefficient, and the quality was not guaranteed.

In the late 40s of the 20th Century, an American engineer John Parsons conceived a method to punch holes in a cardboard card to represent the geometry of the parts that need to be machined and use a hard card to control the action of the machine tool, which was only an idea at the time.

In 1948, the United States Air Force was looking for an advanced processing method to solve the processing problem of aircraft appearance models. They sponsored MIT to research the development of this hard cardboard to control the machine tool, finally, in 1952, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Parsons cooperated to successfully develop the first demonstration machine, and by 1960, the relatively simple and economical point control drilling machine, and linear control CNC milling machine have been developed rapidly, so that CNC machine tools in the manufacturing industry in various sectors gradually promoted.

The history of CNC machining has gone through more than half a century, and the NC numerical control system has also developed from the earliest analog signal circuit control to an extremely complex integrated machining system, and the programming method has also developed into an intelligent and powerful CAD/CAM integrated system.


When Was CNC Machining Invented?

When Was CNC Machining Invented

The first NC machines were built in the 1940s and 1950s, based on existing tools that were modified with motors that moved the controls to follow points fed into the system on punched tape. These early servomechanisms were rapidly augmented with analog and digital computers, creating the modern CNC machine tools that have revolutionized the machining processes.


Who Invented CNC Machining?

Who Invented CNC Machining

In the 1950s, the first numerical controlled machine was introduced; with a particular focus on contour cutting milling machines, American engineer John T. Parsons partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop the first NC machine tool using a numerical control system and a Cincinnati milling machine. In 1958, Kearney & Tringer developed a machining center with automatic tool changers. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has also developed APT (Automatic Programming tools).


Why Was CNC Machining Created?

Why Was CNC Machining Created

With the modern development of industry, the invent of CNC machine is a trend and necessary. the machining process can be automatically controlled by a computer, achieving higher precision and complexity. At the same time, the development of CAD/CAM technology makes the design and manufacturing process more closely integrated, the application of this technology has brought revolutionary changes to the manufacturing industry.


What programming is used in CNC machining?

What programming is used in CNC machining

In modern CNC systems, end-to-end component design is highly automated using computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) programs such as SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor.

The programs create 2D and 3D drawings based on the requirements and functions of the product and interpret them.


What is the composition of a CNC machine?

What is the composition of a CNC machine

CNC machine is a typical mechatronics product, which integrates a variety of advanced technologies such as microelectronic technology, computer technology, measurement technology, sensor technology, automatic control technology, and artificial intelligence technology, and is closely integrated with mechanical processing technology, which is a new generation of mechanical manufacturing technology and equipment. The basic components of a CNC machine include a control medium, numerical control device, servo system, feedback device, and machine tool body.


What are the Main Objectives of CNC Machining?

What are the Main Objectives of CNC Machining

CNC machining is an advanced processing technology in today’s machinery manufacturing, is an automated processing method with high efficiency, high precision, and high flexibility. CNC machining technology can effectively solve complex, precise, small batch changeable processing problems like molds, and fully meet the needs of modern production. The machine tool automatically processes the workpiece according to people’s wishes under control to make a wonderful product.


What Industries Use CNC Machining?

What Industries Use CNC Machining

In the whole industry area, CNC machining can be marked as mother-machine for all the machines, almost all the manufacturing needs CNC machining and the products chain includes the below list as the main application.

National defense and military industry: aerospace, nuclear industry, ship industry, weapons manufacturing; Medical; Shipbuilding and repair and ship-related; Machinery manufacturing, etc.; Automobile industry: body processing, cylinder block processing, transmission, clutch, shaft parts, etc.; Other industrial manufacturing related fields.


What is the process of CNC machining?

What is the process of CNC machining

Analyze the part drawing to understand the general situation of the workpiece (geometric shape, workpiece material, process requirements, etc.)

Write a program sheet (different machine tools will be different, comply with the manual)

Program verification (input the program into the machine tool, and carry out graphic simulation to verify the correct programming)

Processing of the workpiece (good process control can save time and improve processing quality)

workpiece acceptance and quality error analysis (inspection of the workpiece, qualified flow into the next one. If it is unqualified, find out the cause of the error and the correction method through quality analysis.


What are the features of CNC machining technology?

What are the features of CNC machining technology

The CNC machining process is a kind of automatic processing that applies computer control technology to machining, it has the characteristics of high processing efficiency and high precision, and the processing technology has its uniqueness, the process is more complex, and the work step arrangement is more detailed and thorough. In other words, its main features include strong adaptability to the products and the ability to process the surface of products with complex shapes.


How is CNC Machining different from ordinary Machining?

How is CNC Machining different from ordinary Machining

It can carry out multicoordinate linkage and process parts with complex shapes; When the processed parts are changed, generally only need to change the CNC program, which can save production preparation time;

The machine tool itself has high precision and rigidity, and can choose a favorable processing amount and high productivity (generally 3~5 times that of ordinary machine tools); The machine tool has a high degree of automation, which can reduce labor intensity; The quality of the operator is higher, and the technical requirements for the maintenance personnel are higher


What is the developing trend of CNC machining?

What is the developing trend of CNC machining

With the continuous development of science and technology, the development of CNC machining is getting faster and faster, and the trend of CNC machining is going for high performance, high precision, high speed, high flexibility, and intelligence.

Due to the accuracy of the CNC machining itself, the accuracy of the processed parts is required to be higher and higher, which needs the stability of the accuracy. With the acceleration of the development of mechanical industrial products, the running speed of each axis of CNC machining is also required to be greatly accelerated. With the enhancement of the integration of CNC systems, CNC machining should realize multiple centralized control, even long-distance remote control. With the development of artificial intelligence and automation technology, CNC machining systems will be integrated with other advanced technologies to achieve more intelligent resource optimization.



Overall, the history of the development of CNC machining is a history of continuous innovation and breakthroughs. From simple manual processing to automation, intelligence, and additive manufacturing, every step has injected new impetus into the progress of the manufacturing industry. With the continuous progress of technology, the future of the machining field will be more exciting, opening up a broader prospect for the innovation and development of the manufacturing industry.

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