CNC stands for “computer digital control”, which refers to the control of a machine by a set of commands issued by the controller. The command code sent by the controller is usually in the form of coordinate list, which is called G-code. Any machine controlled by such code can be called a CNC machine, including milling machines, lathes, and even plasma cutting machines. In this article, we will focus on introducing different types of CNC milling machines and lathes, as well as their combinations. The movement of CNC machines can be defined by their axes, including the X axis, Y axis, and Z axis. More advanced machines also include the A axis, B axis, and C axis. The X, Y, and Z axes represent the main Cartesian vectors, while the A, B, and C axes represent the rotation of the axes. CNC machines typically use up to 5 axes. The following is a list of typical CNC machines.
CNC lathe – This type of lathe works by rotating materials in the chuck of the lathe. Then the tool moves on two axes to cut out cylindrical components. CNC lathes can form curved surfaces, while manual lathes are difficult or even impossible to form curved surfaces. Tools are usually non rotating, but if they are power tools, they can also be moved.
CNC milling machines – CNC milling machines are typically used to manufacture flat components, but more complex machines have more degrees of freedom and can produce complex shapes. The material is stationary, the spindle rotates with the tool, and the tool moves along three axis directions to cut the material. In some cases, the spindle is stationary while the material moves.
CNC drilling – This machine is similar to a CNC milling machine, but it is specially designed to cut only along one axis, that is, to drill down into the material only along the Z axis, rather than cutting along the X and Y axes.
CNC grinding machine – This machine allows the grinding wheel to come into contact with the material, producing a high-quality surface. Its design purpose is to remove a small amount of material from hard metal; Therefore, it is used as a surface treatment operation.