CNC in computer machining refers to “computer numerical control” which is basically the ability of a computer to manipulate and control machinery. CNC machinery is able to carve a variety of items out of metals, woods, and so forth.
CNC technology has been around for many years and has continued to grow despite developing technology.
CNC requires finely tuned mechanical tools, along with precisely programmed software that tells the tools exactly what to do. CNC is so specialized that many people, such as technology and machinery investors, are not very familiar with it. Regardless, recent market research has revealed that the European CNC industry will likely grow rapidly in the next few years.
A recent “CNC Market Report, published by Allied Market Research, revealed that the industry will be worth about $18 million by 2022 at an annual rate of about 5.5%, revealing a tremendous growth period.
The Europe industry is growing so fast mainly due to technological advancements in consumer products. There is now a significant demand for CNC technology to be used in mass production plants to create, engrave, and machine electronic parts, plastics, steel, graphite, thermoforming, and so forth.
Europe made up a large share of the global CNC market in 2015, and is believed to maintain that standing as countries such as Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and so forth request machine tools.
We think it’s great that CNC is remaining prominent in other countries and that business is thriving. We are hoping to see the growth and development of CNC machines in the United States as well.
CNC Masters can take your manufacturing business to the next level or keep trade secrets close, CNC machine line-up features products that not only allow you to keep the entire manufacturing process in-house, but also help you save on space due to their smaller footprint.
CNC machines, regardless of how big or small they might be, are still machines.
They consist of sharp and hard pieces that could easily injure someone if use inappropriately. Using a CNC machine could be dangerous if you did not use the machine properly.
In order to protect yourself and the people around you, it’s important to understand how to operate CNC machines safely.
A lot of CNC safety precautions apply when you are using any form of machinery. For instance, you should always be wearing protective glasses when operating your CNC machine. You should also be using hearing protection while using a CNC machine as well. Even if you are experienced, these simple safety measures can protect you from short-term and long-term injuries.
In order to keep others safe, it is important that you are cleaning up after yourself after you use the CNC machine.
Whether you have a home workshop or you are working in a crowded space, it is vital that you clean up scraps of materials from the floor and surrounding area. Someone could easily fall on a scrap piece of wood or slip on sawdust: prevent accidents by simply cleaning messes when you leave.
You also should be keeping a safe distance between yourself and the bit at all times.
Leaving six inches of space will allow you to be close enough to work but far enough away to prevent your hand or your body from getting injured by being too close.
Although this tip might be considered common sense, you should never leave the room while operating a CNC machine.
Although machines can operate alone, you should always be within sight of the machine incase an issue surfaced.
For more CNC news, tips, and tricks, visit CNC Masters blog.
CNC Masters recently gained a few new machines that are attention worthy. We wanted to use this post an opportunity to showcase some of their strengths.
Max CNC Mill
Our new CNC MAX is specifically designed for the machinist considering the CNC Baron Mill that needs higher spindle speed and longer Y axis travel. The value and compact nature of the CNC Baron Mill are enhanced with the added features on the CNC MAX. The CNC MAX Milling Machine is turn-key, easy to learn, and even easier to operate. This machine also has the durable cast iron body and is designed for more demanding users. It provides more advanced features that emphasize the cutting precision and the ease of use.
CNC Supra Mill
The SUPRA CNC Mill offers Turn-Key Operation for any beginner or experienced machinist who needs a user-friendly, easy-to-use, machine and that needs to cut the parts the same day the unit arrives. This CNC Vertical Knee Mill provides the strength and durability of a manually driven Bridgeport-type vertical knee mill. The ingenuity of this machine delivers intricate and detailed parts through automation technology while giving the operator the option to manually machine simple parts through the use of the axis’ hand wheel. The machine also comes with the software you need to your milling needs without requiring extra software and has a one year warranty.
Our CNC Baron has been added into our line of CNC milling machines. This machine is designed for the machinist who needs both efficient and compact equipment at an excellent value. It is turn-key, easy to learn, and easy to operate. It has a durable cast iron body without being the size of a larger machine. The small frame is perfect for large and small manufacturing plants, machine shops, and other institutions that require the mass production of a single part. The CNC Baron Milling Machine comes with a one year warranty and we also offer product support for the CNC Baron Mill and its operational software as long as you or your company owns the CNC machine.
CNC JR Mill
If something essential is missing from your garage or workstation, the CNC JR Mill might be it. Whether you are a hobbyist or a businessman with a small to medium-sized enterprise in need of machine parts, this machine can likely meet your needs. This machine is as powerful as the full sized model but is a smaller size milling machine that comes pre-built and easily hooks up to your computer. The software is easy to use and will help you get projects done faster. This machine comes with a one year warranty.
CNC 1440 LATHE
The 1440 CNC Lathe has the ability to revert to manual control quickly and efficiently, eliminating the need to write a CNC program for short runs. At the same time, its advanced CNC capabilities transform complex turning applications into simple designs that can be programmed and executed accurately many times over on production runs.
For more information on these products, visit CNC Masters.
The College of Canyons, (COC) located in Santa Clarita, California has been getting a significant amount of attention lately. They just made the list of the Top 15 Community and Career Colleges with Salary Potential. COC focuses on preparing students for careers that they can succeed at in fields that are continuously growing. CNC machining is one of those careers and the program at COC is doing phenomenally.
COC also received an Outstanding Achievement Award in early October, given by the South Bay Workforce Investment Board, in the name of CNC machining. The award represented the fact that COC placed 100 percent of its graduates into careers that took part in the CNC Fast Track program. 100 percent of the students that pursued CNC machining got a job after college.
The Fast Track programs at COC are selected based on labor demand and the college focuses on careers where they expect job growth to occur. The programs are typically divided into manufacturing, medical/general office, managerial/professional, and test preparation courses.
The Fast Track CNC program is intended to help students learn the skills and work ethic required to succeed in the field of CNC outside of graduation. It is intended to earn students entry-level jobs in the CNC manufacturing industry, and it is working without a doubt.
Upon graduation, the students earn a “Machining/CNC Certificate of Specialization” which is proof that students are prepared to use CNC programming in the automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing industries. Students can work not just as a CNC machinist, but as a CNC lathe operation, production machinist, or even a CNC programmer.
The college has also been hosting a job fair with manufacturing companies surrounding the college to allow their students to be interviewed. Many of the students nearing graduation earn on-the-spot job offers during the fair. Students from COC have ended up working with Aerotek, Aerospace Dynamics International Inc., and Paragon Precision Inc.
COC is making a massive effort to ensure their students graduate with the knowledge that they need to have a secure and rewarding job. We applaud the focus that COC has put on CNC machining. If you’re interested in learning more CNC news, visit the CNC Masters blog.
In order to improve productivity in the workplace, many companies and shops that use CNC machines daily have opted into a method called “Lights Out” machining. Running lights out means that you continue to run the machines even after employees go home for the night. The CNC machines run throughout the night and complete jobs without manual assistance.
Both large and small companies have occasionally started to run lights out for a variety of reasons. Customers often want certain products on short notice and want you to get them as quickly as possible. If a company can run lights off, the shop can finish a project overnight and have it ready the next day for a customer because they don’t need to wait for someone to come in to do the job. Companies are also starting to do lights out CNC machining so they can save on labor costs by paying a fewer number of employees and not having to pay employee benefits as frequently. Saving on labor costs is the biggest reason shops are choosing to run lights out. By letting the machines run themselves overnight , you don’t need to pay an employee to monitor the job or do the job, saving the company money.
Another advantage to the lights out concept is that you are able to run longer jobs overnight and not waste the time on those hours during the day. During the day, it is beneficial to do shorter jobs that require frequent manual maintenance and monitoring complicated parts. While employees are waiting for a job to finish during the day, they can program some of the night jobs for lights out which uses their time more effectively. If a job has to run for several hours with little manual maintenance, running it lights out makes more sense. By doing so, an employee doesn’t have to spend their time just watching the machine work for hours.
In order to start implementing lights out, you do need to ease into it and make sure the CNC machine is working the way it is intended to. You should practice running jobs “lights out” while employees are still present for the first several attempts. You should also make sure all of the tools and parts are sharp and clean. Machines need to cleaned and maintained in order to perform at their best while running lights out. It is also important to make sure the proper program is loaded, the space is clear of chips, and that the reservoir is full of coolant. These are things that the operators normally do but would not be present to do during lights off.
The best CNC machines to use for lights out production are grinders, horizontal and vertical machining centers, multifunction lathes and two- and four-axis lathes. Have you ever tried to run your CNC machines on “lights off?” How did it go?
Scraps of wood and metal likely cover the surface of your workshop as proof of how hard you work in that space. However, a workshop does not need to be messy and will function much better if it is organized and inviting. If you are happy with the way your workshop looks and feels, you’re more likely to spend time on those projects that are piling up.
If the ceiling is unfinished in your workshop and it has wood or wires exposed, you’ve found your first project. A space without a ceiling will always feel cold and unappealing. You will likely spend a lot of time in your workshop and it’s important for it to feel welcoming. Painting the walls of your workshop is also an easy way to make the space feel warmer. Choose a color that you really like but wouldn’t necessarily use in your home. You can paint a workshop whatever color you want and that’s fun!
Give It Light
You will need light in your workshop in order to make it a practical space. Most workshops are within a garage or basement and both have little light. Fluorescent lights are ideal for a workshop. Although they feel very industrial, they are energy efficient and don’t give off heat. An encased fluorescent light will also not shatter or spark if it is dropped or knocked which is inevitable in a workshop.
Benefits of Workbenches
Installing a workbench is a vital part of making your workshop functional. A workbench will give you a large, flat space to handle multiple projects. Workbenches often come with drawers and hooks as well to use for storage and organizing. Place a padded, rubber mat down at the foot of the workbench to make it more comfortable for you when you’re standing at it.
Know Safety Precautions
Your workshop is likely an extension of your home but you still need to recognize that many of the materials in a workshop are dangerous. If you have chemicals in your workshop, store them in a locked cabinet and away from anything that could give off heat. Keep a fire extinguisher in your workshop as a precaution as well. Always wear closed toe shoes, such as sneakers or boots, in your workshop to protect your feet from tools or nails.
Categorize and Organize
Work benches are full of multiple tools, wires, tapes, paints, and extension cords. Come up with categories for whatever you have a multitude of in your workshop, label drawers, and organize accordingly. Make a habit of putting things away in the correct places. If designated drawers hold specific items, you will also save time because you’ll know where to find what you need.
Workshops are for building and creating. Whether you are creating a CNC machine masterpiece or fixing a light fixture, your workshop should feel organized, comfortable, and inviting.
High school students in Foley, Minnesota, have the opportunity to take a sheet metal machining class where CNC machines are used daily. Students that have taken this class have been highly recommending the class to one another, raising the number of students wanting to take it. The class became a “hot topic” among students and many students became interested in learning the CNC machines. The class allows students to discover, develop, and create, making the class unique and enticing to the high school students.
The class teaches students how to both use and master different sheet metal techniques, including using CNC machines. It is an elective course so students are not required to take it but students willingly sign-up for the class. Students do have to pay somewhere between 20 to 25 dollars for the independent projects but students claim they believe the money spent is well worth it.
During the 2014-2015 school year the industrial technology department received a curriculum review which awarded funding to the department. The school invested $12,000 for the purchase of
tools which included the purchase of a CNC machine, a laser engraver, and more. Students typically start out by creating simple things such as a tool box. As their skills improve, they are granted access to laptops and computer-aided design software such as CNC machines. The advanced students have been able to develop go-cart bumpers and metal signs using the CNC machine, along with many other creations. The CNC machines allow students to create things quickly and with great precision.
Through the sheet metal class, the high school students enrolled are also exposed to careers that would involve CNC machines and CNC technology. The students take field trips to local technical colleges to help students see what a higher education in this field would be like. They also tour business and establishments that use CNC machines to understand what people do that use CNC machines for a living.
Students enrolled in this sheet metal class are learning valuable skills that might allow them to establish themselves as a professional through CNC machines. If students aren’t planning to make a career out of CNC machines, at the very least, they are learning a valuable skill.
Many materials can be used with CNC machines, giving you plenty of options to create whatever you’d like with your CNC machine. From aluminum to copper and from plastic to wood, options are practically endless as far as what materials can be used. Some people even work with steel and wax, depending on what they’re designing. One of the major advantages of CNC machines are the amount of materials that can be used with them, providing owners with multiple options.
Wood is most commonly thought of as the material that you would use with a CNC machine. Solid wood is something that has never gone out of style and has been a “go-to” material for people for hundreds of years. CNC machines and wood go hand in hand, and although it’s certainly not the only material that can be used, it’s a popular choice. CNC machines have made creating products made from wood much easier. Choosing the right wood for your project, such as pine or cherry, can make a big difference in the finished product. Depending on the wood you choose, you also can gear yourself toward a certain color whether you’re going for a darker or lighter finish.
Plastic is also commonly used with CNC machines. PVC which stands for polyvinyl chloride is a plastic that is easy to use with CNC machines. PVC is lightweight yet tough which make it an ideal material to work with. The machines can cut through PVC relatively easily too, leaving finished products smooth. PVC also comes in a variety of color options which can help spice up projects and let CNC owners utilize their creative side. Another plastic that is commonly used with CNC machines is plastic acrylic sheets which have varying colors and thickness which can be turned into signs, storage boxes, or even aquarium windows.
Metal is something that can be challenging to work with when it comes to CNC machines. However, aluminum is one metal that is very easy to work with. It is extremely durable, can be recycled, and is easy to cut through. Aluminum is one metal that many CNC machine owners choose to work with. Certain metals require specific bits to make the cutting process easier as well depending on the thickness or toughness of the metal. Metals such as brass or bronze can be used on CNC machines but they are not as easy to work with as aluminum. Metal has a very distinct and shiny appearance, making most metal projects appear clean cut and sharp.
CNC machines have a wide variety of materials that can be used with them, allowing owners to create and design with very little limitation.
If you are making a one-off sheet metal project, such as a hobby piece or prototype, CNC machines are just the thing for you. The lineup of machines CNC provides allows you to keep your p roject in-house, preserving trade secrets. They also have a very small footprint, saving you the expense of additional space.
Where CNC machines really start to shine in sheet metal use is when you start to take advantage of our software. CNC Machine Master MX software is included with every purchase of our CNC mills, lathes, and router machines. It runs with most Windows programs from seven on up as well as with a USB port connection, touch screen desktop or laptop PC.
The Master MX comes with wizards to easily generate a file without using CAM software. The MX can also run standard FANUC G-code files from other CAD-CAM software such as MasterCAM, SmartCam, SurfCam, etc.
If you are used to doing your sheet metal machine work manually, CNC equipment has a great track record of helping people transition to software-based machining. CNC machines have brought together the best aspects of manual mills and lathes and integrated them with CNC capabilities. Because of this, many of our customers who were used to manual controls found it easy to learn the ropes of CNC machines.
Don’t believe us? Check out some testimonials.
One great example of very nice sheet metal work using CNC machines is from Creative Sheet Metal Services. Danny Isaacs used the Supra Mill for a cockpit instrument panel that used one-inch thick plate sheet metal.
Whether you are machining car parts, computer parts, of the next great invention of your own imagining, check out CNC’s lineup. We can help you bring your idea and your business into the world.
When you make an investment in machinery that impacts your business, you want to make sure it lasts. A CNC Machine is no different. This machine is so productive for your line, that if it breaks down, your production can fall behind and miss deadlines. We put together a few easy maintenance tips to help extend your CNC machine’s life.
There are a few operating problems like excessive vibration and chatter that can severely impact the machines efficiency. These problems can affect a spindle, and if you do not have an extra spare on hand, things will not look good while waiting for a replacement. If a spindle is pilled, it is because of both quality issues and possibly due to noise levels.
It is important to know when a repair is needed. You may be able to catch the needed repair in advance, before it gets any worse. If you have not done so already, setup a maintenance schedule for your CNC Machine, you may need to consult your handbook for best practices on this. Train your employees to properly maintain this machine as well.
It may be best to have a few individuals that specialize in CNC machine performance and will be able to maintain the machine, notice when a repair is needed, and take care of the repair for you.
If your CNC machine seems to be breaking down, even after proper maintenance is performed on a regular basis, you may need to consider having pushed it beyond its capabilities. Your machine may not be able to handle the increased workload you are requiring of it any longer. Think about other alternatives to redistribute the workload or consider investing in a new machine to handle what you need.
If you need help identifying a new CNC machine that will suit your new needs, contact CNC Masters at 626-962-9300. We are proud to provide some of the best quality and service nationwide for CNC machines.
For additional ways to extend the life of your machine, read here and here.