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CNC Milling Machine Buying Tips

CNC stand for Computer Numerical Control, and refers specifically to the computer control of machine tools. The main purpose of CNC Milling Machines is to repeatedly manufacture complex parts in metal as well as other materials, using a specially coded program. This specially coded program that is used by CNC Milling machines is written in a notation called G-code. G-codes represent specific CNC Milling functions in alphanumeric format. CNC Milling was developed in the late 1940's and early 1950's by the MIT Servomechanism Laboratory.

1. About CNC

- Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Milling is the most common form of CNC - CNC mills can perform the functions of drilling and often turning - CNC Milling machines are classified according to the number of axes that they possess - Axes are labeled as x and y for horizontal movement, and z for vertical movement - The evolution of CNC milling machines drastically changed the manufacturing industry - Curves are as easy to cut as straight lines, complex 3-D structures are relatively easy to produce, and the number of machining steps that required human action is way down.

2. The Fabrication Process

With the use of CNC milling machine the fabrication process of the materials have been trimmed down to just a couple of steps. CNC Milling machines now days are driven directly from computer softwares crated by CAD software packages. With the use CNC Milling machines the assembly of parts can go from brief designs without any intermediate paper drawing works being required. In one sense, with the use of CNC milling machines industrials tasks are done must easier and much faster and the production cost of the company is also lessening out. CNC machines may be said to represent special industrial robot systems, as they are programmable to perform any kind of machining operation, within certain physical limits, like other robotic systems.

3. Buying Tips

Before buying a CNC milling machine it is a must that you should have knowledge about the CNC milling machines basic parts. A CNC milling machine is basically composed of a Safety shield that is usually a clear plastic cover that cover and protects the cutting area. The Tool bit, this part of the CNC milling machines is the one that do the cutting. Spindle Shaft, is the part that holds the tool bit. Spindle Motor, is the part of the CNC milling machine that drives the cutter. The Vertical Column, the part that holds the spindle and all of its part. The Cross Side, a moveable support where the work piece is being cut. The axis motors, which moves the cross side into different axis and the Controller box.

When purchasing your milling machine make sure to check that you have all of this part intact on your CNC milling machine, for if one of this parts is not there it will not surely work or will produce an undesirable end product. Also see to it to check out for safety features, never buy a CNC milling machine without an emergency stop button, this button automatically stops machining when it is pressed. Human, hardware or software errors could mean big losses if the CNC cannot be stopped quickly enough to correct the problem. Also check out the control panel part, it is advisable to buy one with a big control guide sticker so you can clearly see it.

Also check out the screws and tools with long overhangs and adapters, be more observant about cracks and breaks on this CNC milling tools. Make sure that the plastic shield that you are purchasing with your CNC milling machine is made up of high impact polycarbonate plastic. An insert break loose from a 35 mm diameter CNC milling cutter at a spindle speed of 45,000 rpm will be thrown out at a speed of 90 meters per second - equivalent to a bullet that is being shot out of a pistol!

All About Cnc Router

CNC may be the acronym of 'computer control numeric' and it relates to numerous functions implemented for manufacturing. CNC router is usually a wood-cutting unit entirely managed and governed by a laptop or computer. CNC router is also chosen to cut plastic and even metal. Though the usage of CNC Router is still at a pretty early stage, the handful of consumers who are applying a CNC router are reaping helpful benefits greatly in conditions of price usefulness, top quality and productiveness.
Router bits are wood functioning routers are diverse CNC router products.

If a carpenter takes complete advantage of the CNC router, enormous added benefits could be purchased.

CNC routers are very much effortless to run in comparison to lathes and milling models.

CNC routers is often implemented constantly and should be switched off only occasionally for the sake of maintenance. CNC routers not only lower waste; these also minimize the variety of errors along with the times necessary to manufacture any item.
The design program of CNC router is such that countless comparable solutions might be designed out of it. The CNC router designed partsare all the same.

Updating CNC router is rather convenient using the guide of software program betterment. Consequently there's no really need to invest in a prototype. Given that handbook labor shouldn't be necessary for operating CNC router, a reduced amount of skilled and also unskilled individuals can operate with these equipments.

Virtual computer software provides coaching on the use of CNC routers. It can be pretty simple for a single individual to supervise several CNC routers at a time for the reason that as soon as programmed, these units maintain on working with no any manual aid.

Still, CNC routers have specific disadvantages as well. Compared to other manually functioned equipments, CNC router bits and CNC routers are a great deal alot more high-priced.

Only simple instruction periods can permit an person to run CNC devices successfully. Therefore the yearlong knowledge and expertise of engineers are under challenge. CNC routers are effective in mass production. Considering the fact that these are computerized, a reduced amount of quantity of many people is essential to operate these. Thereby CNC routers really encourage unemployment.

Used optimally, a CNC router can very easily take the location of your skillful carpenter. Although use of this machine is not yet in complete swing, the price tag of those equipment is reducing which in turn would produce higher demand.

Wider use of CNC routers and slipping rates of computer systems will shortly lead to further slash inside selling price of those units making popular using every one of the a lot more.

Programming 101: CNC

CNC programming uses a code similar in structure to BASIC. So, if you know how to

construct a simple counting program, chances are, you already know what a G-Code looks like. However, there a few other things you have to consider before you start encoding instructions.

The first thing that you have to do is to assign values for each of the variables. These variables include the programmable motion directions (axes), and the reference point for the axes. The values that you assign to these variables dictate the movement of the machine.

The next thing that you have to do is to take into account the accessories of the machine. Many machines have accessories that are designed to enhance the capabilities of the basic device. However, using these accessories requires you to include them in the coding system. This means that if you want a more efficient machine, you will have to know the machine inside out.


After those steps, you have to create a subprogram that will deal with the math. This step will then allow your machine to compute the necessary variables and effectively operate without stopping to ask the operator what the limitations are.

To show you what these codes look like, here’s an example from Wikipedia:

#100=3 (bolt circle radius)
#101=10 (how many holes)
#102=0 (x position of ctr of bolthole)
#103=0 (y position of ctr of bolthole)
#104=0 (angle of first hole
Tool call,
spindle speed,and offset pickup,etc
G43 in some cases (tool length pickup)
G81(drill cycle)
call sub program

#105=((COS#104)*#100) (x location)
#106=((SIN#104)*#100) (y location)
x#105 y#106 (remember your G81 code is modal)
If #100 GT 360 goto N50
Goto 100

In the code above, the machine is a drill. The operator utilized a loop in order to keep the machine from stopping. The subprogram then governs the cycle of the machine. This code is still quite a simple code. Other machines require the inclusion of the maximum RPM in the coding.

An easier way of programming CNC machines would be the use of Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM). This system takes on the brunt of programming so that it doesn’t seem so tedious and frustrating. It is still similar to BASIC.

Another programming enhancement that was developed was the parametric programs or the logical commands. These programs were designed to shorten lengthy codes in order to make them user friendly. However, these codes do not always use the same language with every machine. The language and sequence often varies depending on the typ of machine you will be working on.

The operator has to know what the machine can do or what it was made to do before attempting to program it. You should be able to visualize the machine doing what you want it to do.

But, you don’t have to be a math wizard or a programming genius. You just have to know what your machine does and what you want it to do

Data Transfer of CNC

A CNC machine cannot function without a program. And a program cannot make its way to the machine without an effective data transfer system. So, what are the methods of data transfer and how effective are they in conveying data from one point to the next?

Punched tape

The first data transfer method is the punched tape. It consists of a long strip of paper with holes punched in it to store data. The holes represent a set of data that tells the machine how to move and what to do.

This method has proven to be very versatile and very useful. It has proven to withstand the test of time as numerous magnetic storage devices have deteriorated over time even to the extent of being unreadable while punched tape has been shown to be fine decades and perhaps even centuries later. Repair is also not a problem as specially designed splices can put two end together virtually unchanged. Furthermore, punched tape can be visually decoded should the need arise. This means that human accessibility is also not a problem.

Floppy Disk

While punched tape is quite a long roll of paper, a floppy disk is a small magnetic storage device that is more space efficient than punched tape. It can also be used to store simple programs.

Floppy disks virtually revolutionized the way data could be stored and transferred from one point to another. It allowed users to store and transfer data faster than punched tape allowed. Furthermore, the data within a floppy could be easily edited at any point as long as you have the proper program to read it. However, this method has proven to be quite problematic in the long run as floppies have a tendency to degrade alarmingly fast. A floppy could be unreadable after only 3 years.


This method is actually a set of standards for serial binary signals that connects between computers, terminals, and modems. This is a fast and efficient way to transfer data.

This cable connects a CNC machine to a computer that has floppy disk support thus eliminating the need for punched tape. This allows the operator to input data remotely and even while accomplishing other tasks. However, it need to be used in conjunction with an effective data storage device so as to have backups in case of emergencies.


Networks are a set of computers that are linked together to make data sharing easier. In an industrial scenario, networks allow a number of different users to individually create a program for the machine to run on.

This method allows multiple users to access and transfer data remotely. This allows for a faster and more efficient check-and-balance system for the programmer and the data verifier. Furthermore, different parts of the program can be completed by different programmers and then compiled by one user. This makes program creation a fast and easy process.

Manual Data Input (MDI)

MDI allows users to input commands directly into the CNC machine’s memory. This may seem to be an effective way of telling the machine what to do but it actually has a lot of drawbacks to it.

Despite it being the fastest way of telling the machine what to do, it is also a very risky and tedious operation as it requires the use of the machine’s terminal. Furthermore, the construction of a program is not as fast as opposed to the network method. It only allows one user to access the machine thus making it a long and drawn-out process.

Another disadvantage that comes with MDI is that it limits the operator to only one task at a time. However, MDI allows the most control over the machine compared to other methods

CNC Programming Tips

When a program is completed and sent to the Computer Numerical Control Machine, the programming process is over. All calculations were made and the algorithm fully written. But the question is the programmer’s job really finished? When is the programmer’s responsibility really over? And how can we evaluate the type of program that the Computer Numerical Control Machine programmer did?

The fairest and reasonable answer to those questions would basically when a part has been machined under the most optimized working conditions. Therefore the Programmer’s responsibility does not end after he or she finishes the program. We could say that the program at this stage is still very much in the development process, because most of the programming considerations were based on certain assumptions and there are a lot of external factors that may affect the outcome of the product.

Every Computer Numerical Control programmer should have an effort to be in the touch with the actual production. In the field of software development, Constant communication with your colleagues as well as actual machine operators of the CNC will help you to improve your own program. Because most of the time the CNC machine operators are a good source of constructive ideas, improvements and suggestions.

A good CNC programmer should talk, ask questions to them and most importantly listen to what they have to say. Programmers who never put their foot in the actual machining process and think they are always right are all on the wrong track. Exchanging ideas with CNC machine operators, asking questions and seeking answers is the only way to be fully aware of what is going on in the machine.

Whenever you start a Computer Numerical Control Program the first time it is important to check its Program Integrity. A new and unproved program is a potential source of problems. During Manual Programming in CNC, mistakes are more common than when the program is made in a CAM program.

A good way to look at a new program is through the machine operator’s perspective. Experienced Machine Operators take a direct approach when running a program for the first time. That means that they wont take any chances of mistakes with the actual running of a program therefore a good programmer must take note of any comments that the Machine operator will say about the program.

What does an experienced Machine Operator look for in a new part of a program? Most of the Machine operators would say that the first and most important thing to be checked on a Computer Numerical Control Program is its consistency. Therefore a machine operator looks at how a CNC programmer does its own programming, is the way you create your own algorithms the same as the other ones. Machine Operators take note with this kind of Information.

Upgrading your CNC Program

Whenever you upgrade your own program, it means that you are strengthening or enriching it, therefore making it better than it was before. Upgrading would be based on this standard, It is to decrease the production cost without compromising the quality of the part being manufactured or the safety of the Computer Numerical Control Machine Operator.

One of the Most Common forms of Program Optimization is doing some minor changes to the spindle as well as the feed rates of the machines. This process is called cycle time optimization, slightly increasing the spindle speed and feed rates of these machines will decrease the time it takes to finish the part.

And when we compare it to mass production, saving one second for each part in a batch of 3600 pieces would mean an hour saved. Efficiency in the rate of production is a very important aspect in Mass Production.

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