This blog has spent considerable time providing information about CNC tooling, CNC techniques and even how to use CNC tool trays to build a tooling cart. But what we’ve never covered is the topic of CNC machining in general. So here we go.
What is CNC?
CNC stands for Computer Numeric Control. It means that a machine that is cutting, carving, routing, or milling is being controlled by a computer using sophisticated software instead of a human. It isn’t the same thing as robotics. Saw blade, router bits, drill bits and face mills are just some of the tools that can be attached to a CNC machine.
Machining in Multiple Dimensions
CNC machines run on an X axis and a Y axis. If you think of those pages of graph paper back from Algebra 101 you remember that the X axis runs across the paper on a horizontal line. The Y axis went up the paper in a perpendicular manner. When you look at the bed of a CNC machine, it’s like looking at the same graph paper, but on the bed. The X axis is your horizontal and your Y axis is the vertical. But with CNC machining, you can machine in 3 dimensions. Unlike that graph paper, a CNC machine recognizes the Z axis. The Z axis is what defines the movement of the cutter up and down.
Computers changed machining in a couple of ways. Before CNC, if you wanted to drill a bunch of holes in a work piece, someone had to stand there and manually operated the drill press up and down and feed the material. Of course, that was after they had inserted the tool in the spindle.
Computer control took away the tedious job of moving the drill press up and down. Now a program could tell the machine how and when to move. The same program could be used to feed the stock.
But what really changed machining forever was inventing computer assisted drawing (CAD). Now you could design an object on a computer using software, then use software to turn that design into a set of instructions that a machine could follow to produce the work. Man still controls the machinery, except he uses software instead of his hands.
Sierra American Multi-systems understands machining. Whether you need a multi-stop for your manual knee mill or CNC tools and CNC tool trays to keep them safe Sierra American has you covered. Sierra American is an American manufacturer and supports American manufacturing.
Ask for Sierra American by name at any CNC tool supply. If they don’t have it, ask them to order it. You deserve American made quality from the company that knows CNC. You deserve Sierra American Multi-systems.