When CNC machines were first developed in the ’40s and ’50s, they used the now obsolete punched tape data storage technology. Soon they transitioned to the digital era. Today, CNC relies on digital instructions to cut prototype parts. The benefits of automating this process are improved speed, accuracy and, ultimately, productivity. The technologies employed by CNC machines are a combination of conventional (e.g. drills, lathes) and novel (e.g., Ultrasonic machining). CNC isn’t necessarily better than 3D printing, but it does work with a greater range of materials, most commonly metal, wood, fiberglass, foam and plastic.
- CNC machines are used in machine shop to help program the computers.
- There are many different types of CNC machines but all fall into two basic categories.
- There is controversy over which is better, CNC or 3D presenting, but it truly all depends on a number of factors.
“The ability to program computer devices to control machine tools rapidly advances shop productivity by automating the highly technical and labor intensive processes.”