What is CNC Prototyping?
As technology continues to advance, it goes without saying that the way we create things has changed as well. Although most people have probably never heard of CNC prototyping or CNC machining, it’s actually involved in some way in nearly all manufacturing processes. If you ever work in manufacturing, it’s possible that you’ll be dealing with this method on a daily basis. Keep reading for some basic facts about it.
The Early Days
For the most part, computer numerical control (CNC), was invented to replace some other existing manufacturing process. Before computers got involved, there was a lot of manual labor involved in even the simplest processes, like drilling holes. Machines like drill presses were used for these processes, which were fairly slow processes because of how much human intervention was needed. Having workers do every step of the process is okay for smaller companies, but when you’re putting out massive quantities of items, cnc prototyping is the way to go.
How It Works
The reason CNC is good for larger manufacturing processes is because it allows commands to be programmed into a machine, which means the work gets done without someone manually having to work the drill press or other piece of machinery. In fact, with CNC machines, virtually everything an operator does is done by the machine. Once it’s up and running, it’s also easy to keep running. In fact, operators even tend to get bored throughout the process as they don’t have a ton to do. These operators do have lots of other things to do, however, like measuring workpieces and making various adjustments to keep the machines running smoothly. Still, eliminating manual work makes the entire process faster.
All CNC machines have programmable directions of motion called axes along which they move. Generally, the more axes, the more complicated the machine. Most CNC machines also have other programmable elements, including automatic tool changers, spindle speed and activation, and coolants for lubrication purposes.
Where are They Used?
You’ll find CNC machines in a wide range of industries, including the metal removal industry, the metal fabrication industry, and the electric discharge machining industry. They’re also used in the woodworking industry. Another great thing to keep in mind if you’re at all knowledgeable about CNC machining is that there’s a serious job shortage, so a new job could be in your future!