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CNC Operations

What is a CNC?

The first NC machines were built in the 1940s and 1950s, based on existing tools that were modified with motors that moved the controls to follow points fed into the system on punched tape. These early servomechanisms were rapidly augmented with analog and digital computers, creating the modern CNC machine tools that have revolutionized the machining processes.


The term “CNC” is a generic term which can be used to describe many types of devices, this would include plotters, vinyl cutters, 3D printers, milling machines and others. CNC stands for Computer Numerically Controlled and basically means that the physical movements of the machine are controlled by instructions, such as co-ordinate positions that are generated using a computer.


The term “CNC Machine” is typically used to refer to a device which uses a rotating cutting tool which moves in 3 or more axes (X, Y and Z) to cut-out or carve parts in different types of materials.


What can I make with a CNC?

CNC’s are incredibly versatile and allow you to cut a variety of different types of product and materials. The exact abilities of a machine will vary with size, rigidity and power. Typically most CNC Routers can cut soft and hard wood, plastics, other composites and non-ferrous metals.


CNC users range from hobbyists who build their own machines through to large companies with industrial equipment costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. With the right software a CNC can make a huge selection of things, for example Vectric customers use them to make the following:


Signage, custom furniture, plaques, trophies, chocolate & cookie molds, awards, folk-art, toys, wall-hangings, plates & bowls, lithophanes, memorials, cabinets, doors, boxes, clocks, religious carvings, panel goods, architectural millwork & moldings, picture frames, mantels, archways, prototypes, remote control vehicle parts, face plates, heirloom gifts, military awards, education projects, movie & theatre props, coasters, chests, bottle totes, pool cues, rustic carvings and many other applications.


To learn more about the types of software we use to program our CNC machine refer to this article.



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