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What is CNC Machining?

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CNC, or computer numerical control, machining is a modern manufacturing process that creates a part from a computer design file. CNC is a subtractive process, meaning it removes material from a stock, or blank, piece to produce a custom part. CNC machining works well with many different materials, including metal, wood, glass, plastic, foam, and composites. Highly versatile, CNC machining is used in numerous industries including automotive, construction, aerospace, agricultural, and more. Products like automobile frames, airplane engines, surgical equipment, and garden tools can all be created from CNC machining. 

CNC machining is an automated process with incredible precision and unparalleled accuracy. When producing simple parts with moderate-volume production runs, CNC machining is highly cost-effective. For complex and intricate parts, CNC machining is limited, so another manufacturing process like 3D printing or liquid injection molding may be a better option for those projects. 

How Does CNC Machining Work?

CNC machining uses digital instructions, commonly through a G-code, to cut shapes into the stock material. Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and computer-aided design (CAD) programs automatically generate the G-Code from a 3D model. The G-code is a computerized control that operates the machine and cutting tools with little input. The design of the CNC machine parts, properties of the material being used, tooling design, and work holding capabilities of the machiner determine which types of tooling it can complete.

Once a CAD model design is completed and the CAD file is converted to the proper programming language, the CNC machine must be prepared for operation. To prepare the machine, the operator must affix the workpiece and attach the necessary tooling. Once a machine is fully prepared for machining, the operator may run the CNC program. 

The CNC program is a set of instructions for the CNC machine. The code serves as a command for the machine to determine its tooling actions and movements through the machine’s integrated computer. The CNC machining operation employs numerous operations including, mechanical, chemical, electrical, and thermal processes to remove the material from the stock piece. The most common mechanical CNC machining processes include drilling, milling, and turning. The result of CNC machining is an efficiently created, custom-designed part. 

CNC Machining Service Providers

Companies can perform CNC machining in-house, but it is incredibly costly to invest in CNC equipment. More commonly, it is the best option to out-source to CNC machining experts. Mainstay is the leading provider for CNC machining for Midwest manufacturing companies. We are a reliable partner who aligns with your aspirations for growth. Our team is highly capable and efficient and delivers high-quality work for even the toughest demands. Learn more about how our CNC machining services are the solution for your custom needs by visiting our website, calling us at 317.975.1056 , or sending an email to sales@mainstaymfg.com.