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The Basics of Computer Numerical Control

Computer numerical control (CNC) machines have touched nearly every facet of manufacturing. They bring three main benefits: automation, consistent and accurate production, and flexibility. At the core of CNC is motion control. Through the use of programmed commands, the machines will move with precision and consistency. CNC programming itself uses sentence-like commands, and the programmer needs to be able to visualize the machining. The user must know the basic practice of the machine, the types of motion available, and the forms of compensation (e.g., tool length, cutter radius). Furthermore, they must know how to format programs. It is helpful to take an example program that is currently running as a starting point.

Key Takeaways:

  • Benefits of the technology are reduced need for operator intervention, consistent and accurate workpieces, and high flexibility.
  • At its heart, CNC is about precise and consistent motion control.
  • CNC programs are made of sentence-like commands that tell the machine what to do.

“In this presentation, we will explore the basics of CNC, showing you much of what is involved with using these sophisticated machine tools.”

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