CNC has different applications depending on the machines that operate on it. So if you're a budding operator, you should know the most common machines that can operate on CNC.
Milling machines are common CNC machines. These devices are used in the shaping of metal and other solid materials. It is basically a rotating cutter and a table. Milling machines are capable of complex toolpaths as the cutter is not limited to a sideways movement but allows for an “in and out” motion. This movement is precisely controlled by moving the table and the cutter relative to each other. Cutting fluid is then pumped in to lubricate and cool the cut and to remove any swarth that is generated by the cut.
Lathes are machines that perform different operations such as sanding, cutting, knurling, deformation, or even drilling. These machines work by spinning various solid objects and then using tools that are symmetric to the axis of rotation. A lathe machine has a single tool in which the workpiece is worked against the tool. The tool is then worked alongside or into the workpiece in order to generate the feed.
Lathes can be used for different operations.
These are more complex CNC machines that combine milling and turning. As milling was described earlier, turning will be the focus of this section.
Turning is the process by which a central lathe is used in conjunction with the rotation of the material to be turned. The cutting tool is then moved along the two axes of motions to produce accurate dimensions.
Combining turning and milling can produce extremely precise components. And that is what these machines are used for. However, due to the complexity of these machines, operators have to be specialists in order to be able to operate with maximum efficiency.