What Are the Most Common Types of CNC Machines?
Since the dawn of time, human beings have striven to find easier ways to do everyday things. We figured out how to ride a horse; we attached a cart to it. We created the computer; we found a way to fit one in our pockets.
And when we wanted to find an easier way to manufacture parts with precision, our answer was to create automated machinery connected to a computer that could shape materials. Thus, computer numerical control machinery was born. And knowing the answer to the question, “What are the most common types of CNC machines?” will help you understand the applications of this.
The very first CNC machines to be patented were CNC milling machines, so it makes sense that they remain one of the most common types of CNC machines to this day. This equipment uses a series of multi-point cutting tools such as drills, cutters, and broaching bits that rotate along multiple axes to cut and shape materials.
The concept of the lathe is actually thousands of years old. A craftsman places the material they’re working with on a rotating workpiece, allowing them to work evenly across the surfaces of it. Applied to CNCing, it allows manufacturers to quickly shape parts, especially oblong or conical parts like pistons.
Just like the horse and the CNC machine, after humans found a way to cut metal, they found a way to cut metal even quicker. But instead of getting a sharper tool, they send electricity and a plethora of gasses—nitrogen, oxygen, helium, and neon, for example— through a torch, heating them to tens of thousands of degrees and cutting through steel and non-ferrous metals up to an inch thick.
The one caveat is that plasma cutting is only used for cutting, not engraving or shaping.
Laser Cutting and Engraving
Those who had a mischievous streak as a child may have memories of tormenting ants with a magnifying glass on a sunny day. The same concept is applied to laser cutting and engraving. Unlike plasma cutting, laser cutting uses a highly magnified beam of light to cut through metal with incredible precision.
The beam isn’t as powerful as plasma, only able to cut through about ¾ of an inch of metal. However, the benefit is that the technology can also be used for engraving.
Humans are always striving to make life a little easier, and at Industrial Automatons, our goal is to make acquiring CNC machine replacement parts easier. Contact us today for prices on human-machine interfaces, motors, AC inverters, and more.