CNC (computer numerical control) machining is a process that uses code, often generated using computer software, to control the movement of cutting tools to manufacture parts through material removal. CNC machining software, often referred to as CAM software, manages movements of the machinery through programming which eliminates the need for manual operation.
Types of CNC machining
The first step in many CNC machining operations is to remove as much material as possible. See how Autodesk's Adaptive Clearing helps.
CNC machines are broadly classified by the number of axes involved and how they move.
2.5 axis machining creates prismatic features at distinct Z levels, moving the tool in only 2 axes simulatenously.
3 axis machining uses all three axes simultaneously to create complex and non-planar surfaces.
4 axis machining uses all three axes simultaneously to create complex and non-planar surfaces.
5 axis machining uses a combination of 3 linear axes and 2 rotational axes to efficiently machine a broad scope of geometry.
Types of CNC machines
CNC machine design will vary greatly. On some machines, the part will move or rotate while the spindle and tool remain stationary. In other machines, the part is stationary while the spindle moves. Some machines are a combination of both these designs.
To learn more about various CNC machine designs, you can read our Types of CNC eBook. This eBook also includes descriptions of CNC machine components & programming and non-milling machines.