The Evolution of CNC Machining

Have you ever wondered how CNC machining went from the conception of its design to where it is today? Well, we’re about to go on a journey and look at the evolution of CNC machining. Sounds pretty exciting, right?

What is a CNC Machine

CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control, and it refers to any machining process that is controlled by a computer. CNC machining almost completely replaced manual lathe work in the ’60s, and today it is used to create everything from car parts and surgical equipment to jewelry, toys, and more.


While some CNC machines are designed to handle more than one type of machining operation, the most common form of CNC machining involves milling using a rotary cutting tool. In this process, a spinning cutter removes material from a block. Extended spindles rotate the keyway broach to create the slot needed for the key in a shaft or other machine element.


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Through this method, it is possible to mass-produce components very quickly and efficiently for use in countless industries throughout the world.


The evolution of CNC machining is a long and winding road. The first true CNC machine was invented in the 1940s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that they became widely used in manufacturing. Since then, they have continued to evolve and improve to become more efficient machine tools.


The earliest CNC machines were used to automate a few functions on manual lathes, called NC (numerical control) machines. They could be programmed with punch cards to automate repetitive operations like drilling or turning. This made it possible for manufacturers to make many identical parts without costly mistakes that could ruin an entire piece of material.


The next advancement came in the late 1960s, when a computer was added as part of the control system for the machine tool. This allowed for more complex programming and improved precision, with fewer errors in calculations due to human error or misreading program instructions from punch cards or tape readers.


In 1977, the Japanese company FANUC introduced the first true CNC manufacturing machine, which included all three axes of motion: X-Y-Z coordinates on a Cartesian coordinate system with three motors controlling each one independently rather than using two motors and a belt-driven linkage like other early versions had done before them.


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We can see that CNC machining has evolved progressively with the rapid development of science and technology. With the continuous innovation of the related technologies, CNC machines will be more widely used in a variety of fields. But we still need to pursue the goal of reducing costs and improving efficiency and convenience. This is necessary for upgrading our product quality, making it more competitive in the market and providing better services to customers.