CNC Precise Machining: Frequently Asked Questions

The world of CNC machining seems intimidating at first, but it’s quite simple and straightforward. If you want to know more about this process and how to use it, this CNC precise machining FAQ will cover the basics and get you up to speed with all of the ins and outs of CNC machining today. 

With this basic knowledge, you’ll be able to make better decisions when buying new equipment or working with others who can help your business or organization get started with CNC machining.

What is CNC?

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) is an automated process for manufacturing parts. It can be used for a number of different tasks, such as cutting, drilling, and grinding. 

CNC machines are operated by a computer that sends instructions to the machine to produce the desired part with high precision. The computer controls the speed and position of the machine’s axes to create accurate parts without any manual input from an operator. 

With this high level of accuracy and repeatability, CNC machines are often used to make prototype or production parts for many industries, including aerospace, military, automotive, and medical devices.

What is CNC Machining?

CNC is a system that tells the computer what commands to execute to produce a specific set of desired results. This can include anything from 3D printing, injection molding, laser cutting, and more. 

CNC machines require some programming before they can be utilized, called CAM (or Computer Aided Manufacturing). 

What are the different types of CNC machining Centers?

There are three major types of CNC machines, vertical machining centers (VMCs), horizontal machining centers (HMCs), and turning centers. The type of machine you want to purchase will depend on what you’ll be machining, the volume of material, and the shape. 

In general, VMCs are used for large-volume production work on complex parts with rough surfaces; HMCs are used for precision high-volume production work with various surface finishes; turning centers are used for large volumes of cylindrical shapes with complex features.

Which are the types of CNC Machines?

There are five types of CNC machines. These include plasma cutting machines, milling machines, laser cutting machines, CNC lathe machines, and router machines.

What are the uses of Types of CNC machines?

Cutting machines are the simplest CNC machinery and can be used to cut through various materials, including wood, metal, foam, and more. Cutting machines work by cutting shapes out of material by applying heat or a laser beam. 

Laser-cutting machines use a laser beam to cut through the material and create smooth edges. Milling machines are also known as milling cutters because they carve designs into surfaces. The machine has rotary blades that spin rapidly across the surface and cut away excess material. 

Router machines function similarly to milling machines; however, they have a spinning circular blade instead of blades with teeth. Lathe machinery is often used in manufacturing and for personal projects such as making jewelry or bowls from wood or metal wire. A lathe machine holds a rotating workpiece between two parallel ways, and one or more cutting tools remove metal to form different shapes. 

What materials can be used with a CNC machine?

A CNC machine can cut or shape any type of material, such as wood, metal, stone, and plastic. However, it is important to consider the material’s properties when designing a project. For example, you may want to use an abrasive plastic rather than a more delicate one if your design requires a lot of sanding or scraping. 

You also consider the surface finish you’re looking for; some materials require finishing before they can be used, while others do not need additional work.

What do I need to start CNC machining?

In order to begin CNC machining, the first thing you will need is a metalworking machine that can cut materials. This can be either a laser cutter, plasma cutter, water jet or CNC milling machine. 

You will also need some cutting software, like CAD or CAM. After designing your piece of work on the computer, you will then send it to the cutting software program. The cutting program will use that design and convert it into code for the machine to read and follow. 

If you are using a CNC milling machine to create your project, then you will need three different types of tools: an end mill bit for rough shaping; an engraving tool for more detailed designs; and a ball nose end mill bit for finishing touches. 

Why is CNC machining important?

CNC machining is the process of using a computer to control a machine tool – such as a lathe, milling machine, or 3-axis CNC router – in order to produce precise parts. 

It’s an integral part of the manufacturing process for many industries, including aerospace and automotive. In the past decade, CNC has become increasingly common in smaller shops due to lower costs and the availability of off-the-shelf software. As machines like laser cutters and waterjet cutters have grown in popularity, however, some small shop owners are starting to question whether they need their own CNC machine. 

Do I need precision beyond what can be done with hand tools? 

If your business relies on creating intricate components that can’t be produced by hand tools, then it’s worth considering adding CNC machining to your production capabilities. However, you need to get the best CNC machine depending on your needs.

Do I use CAD/CAM software? 

You need to have the appropriate software to get precision results from CNC machines. However, knowing how to program a CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) system can help you more efficiently create custom components and optimize productivity. 


If you’ve read this far, you now know the basics of CNC machining. You should have a good idea of what it is, how it works, and some of its benefits. However, there’s still more to learn about the topic. For example, if you’re considering investing in a CNC machine for your company’s needs and are curious about pricing or the difference between manual and automated machining processes.


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