Milling started out as a manual process. But like every other domain, technological advancement revolutionized it. In 1980 it earned the name CNC or Computer Numerical Control milling. Unlike the traditional milling process, CNC milling uses computerized cutting to get the custom shape. Similar to any other computerized process, the CNC milling also follows a stepwise process.
Incorrect steps result in an ineffective final piece. Therefore, it is best to overview the steps involved. This article discusses the necessary steps that help get a precise final piece.
The Four Process Steps of CNC Milling
Presently, CNC machines are intelligent enough to craft a perfect piece. But without the must steps, the resultant precision isn’t possible.
For creating a custom design using a CNC milling machine, the following steps are necessary.
Building A CAD Model
It all starts with building a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) model. Firstly, the operator makes a 2D or 3D CAD design. This design, in turn, serves as a guide to all the upcoming actions in custom CNC milling. Therefore, the designer cross-checks the CAD design before any further processing.
The machine’s model specifies what kinds of design it creates. Furthermore, the other operations also dictate the final workpiece.
Getting the CAD Files Ready
After making the design, the user converts it into a CNC-compatible program. Mostly, Computer-Aided Manufacturing or CAM software converts the design. Later, the CNC machine uses the converted code to design the custom part.
Setting Up the CNC Machine
Once the files convert, the next step is to set up the CNC machine to use those files. Setting up the machine involves things like inserting the work material into the machine, aligning the needles correctly, and fixing the cutting and rotating parts.
When the machine is ready, the program is set to work using the machine interface. Once the process initiates the machine works at a speed of thousands of RPMs to build the needed part. Most machines follow one of the below-mentioned approaches to build the final piece.
- Feeding the work material into the rotatory tool
- Moving the tool across the work material
- Or moving both the tool and the material relative to each other.
Different Kinds of Milling and Materials Used
Every CNC custom designing machine uses a cutting tool that cuts the material into pieces. However, there are two different milling methods CNC machines employ.
- Conventional milling
- Climbing milling
Both of the milling techniques differ in aligning the cutter with the feed. In conventional milling, the feed and the cutter have the opposite direction, while in climbing, the feed aligns with the cutter.
Before investing in a CNC milling machine, it is important to make sure that they are compatible with the required material. Usually, they work on materials like brass, steel, and other alloys. Moreover, they work with plastics and nylon materials as well. But these are not the only available options.
The precision of the manual milling process became more questionable as industries progressed. This demand led to the invention of CNC milling in 1980.
Although machines are fast and less error-some than humans, they require rigid instructions. Hence, the operator needs to know the stepwise process.
The process contains four basic steps. Besides the basic steps, other fabrication processes and features also determine the quality of the final product. Moreover, the machine must work comfortably with the material at work.