Posts Categorized: CNC Milling


5 Tips for Finding the Right CNC Mill

CNC Milling toolThere are a lot of new and used CNC machines on the market, but some of them are no bargains. While it might not take much to fix up an old wreck that’s been milling for the last three decades, that “great deal” on the showroom floor could end up forcing you to do more repairs than milling. And that brand-spanking new machine? It’s a hefty investment, so you have to be careful with that option, too.

Generally, you should approach buying a used CNC mill with the same caution you’d have when buying a used car—kick the tires, take it for a spin and look under the hood. The same goes for a new one. If the sales rep tells you that it was gently used every Sunday by a little old lady from Pasadena, put a hand on your wallet and back away slowly. Before you lay out the cash, check out these tips for getting an affordable CNC mill that won’t let you down.

What size CNC machine will you need?

The answer to this question will depend on a couple of factors. First, you need to determine the amount of floor space you can allocate for the new machine and its gear. Next you need to determine the size of the components you’ll be producing, and how to store the raw materials. You may also need to make room for a vented hood, particulate mitigation and even a water-cooling system.

What materials are you machining?

If you’re machining mostly simple parts, you can get by with an older rebuilt or gently-used CNC machine. If your parts are more complex, however, or you need more axes to produce your parts, then you would probably be better off with a newer, more versatile machine.

What are your maintenance costs?

If you’re currently paying for frequent maintenance and repairs on the machine you have now, you may want to consider buying a newer machine. Just like a car, a CNC mill requires maintenance, but at some point it can become more cost-effective to invest in a new machine rather than try to keep an old machine on life support.

Is the manufacturer still in business?

Are replacement parts still readily available for your old CNC mill? If not, buying a newer but lightly-used machine could be your best bet. Custom-machining replacement parts for a discontinued model from a company that is no longer in business could end up costing you as much as the brand new machine you thought you couldn’t afford.

What are your productivity needs?

If business is booming and you want to use a CNC machine to speed up production, you would do well to look at new models. Newer machines are generally more capable than older models, so if time is of the essence, you will do better with a more up-to-date station.

Before you commit to a purchase, you might want to ask the seller if you can “test drive” the machine. If you’re not very experienced with CNC machines, bring an experienced CNC machinist with you to evaluate the machine’s performance and condition. Ending up with a lemon on the shop floor could cost you time, money and even customers. It’s worth taking your time to find the right machine that will save you cash and aggravation down the road.


CNC Milling Allowed Apple to Create the World’s Thinnest Laptop

MacBookA decade ago, Steve Jobs unveiled the MacBook Air in a clever on-stage demonstration by removing the two-pound laptop from a flat manila envelope. At just .76 inches at its thickest point, it was the thinnest laptop ever created. The MacBook Air challenged preconceived notions about industrial design, and ushered in a whole new era of ultra-slim laptops that seem to defy the limits of their hardware.

Now, ten years after consumers first laid eyes on the MacBook Air, Apple is reportedly preparing to retire the laptop from its product lineup. That’s why we’d like to take a moment to highlight the contribution CNC milling made to the original design of the world’s thinnest laptop.

In 2008, Apple’s designers were working to develop new manufacturing techniques that could streamline the process of creating unibody aluminum products. At the time the company was using CNC machines to design product prototypes, but not to mass-produce its final products.

In an effort to make the MacBook Air a reality, Apple began investing heavily in its CNC infrastructure so that it could be scaled-up for mass production.

Since then, Apple has begun using CNC mills to mass-produce other products like iPhones and MacBook Pros as well. These sleek, seamless aluminum bodies have become a trademark of Apple’s design aesthetic, and it’s all thanks to the power and precision of CNC machining. In recent years, other laptop manufactures like Acer and Asus have even adopted Apple’s methodology to create their own super-skinny “Ultrabook” PCs.

The MacBook Air may be nearing the end of its lifespan, but the CNC processes that made the innovative laptop possible are still having a profound effect on today’s consumer electronics.


What a CNC Mill Turn a Block of Aluminum Into a Cylinder Head

What a CNC Mill Turn a Block of Aluminum Into a Cylinder HeadCNC machines are the industrial sculptors of the modern era. There’s something downright mesmerizing about watching a CNC mill transform a blank piece of material into a complex piece of functional equipment.

Take the video below, for example, where a massive 5-axis CNC machine effortlessly mills a cylinder head out of a solid block of aluminum.

It’s a powerful tool with a light touch, shaving of fractions of a centimeter at a time to achieve a degree of precision that human machinists can only dream of. Thanks to the machine’s 5-axis design, the cutting tool is able to approach the raw material from just about any angle. In just under three minutes, you can watch a hunk of metal become the heart of an internal combustion engine.

At CNC Masters, we’ve been offering powerful CNC machines at remarkably low prices for nearly 30 years. We’re committed to helping machinists harness the power of CNC machinery at a price they can afford. Give us a call today to learn more, and check out the video below to see an industrial CNC mill in action!


A Vertical Milling Machine Can Save Space in Your Shop

Although there are many different CNC mills on the market, they typically fall into two broad categories—vertical CNC machines and horizontal CNC machines. Another, less common type of CNC machine is the universal CNC machine, which converts from a vertical mill to a horizontal mill, offering the best qualities of both types of machine in one convenient package.

The most common type of milling machine is the vertical machine because it takes up less floor space.

This type of machine utilizes a spindle that comes down from the top of the machine, making it much taller than it is long or wide. As a result, many hobbyists and business owners prefer to use a taller vertical machine instead of a horizontal one, which may take up too much valuable floor space in their shops. If you’ve been hesitant to invest in a CNC machine in the past due to space constraints, a vertical mill is a great option to consider.

Take the SUPRA CNC vertical knee mill, for example.

This vertical CNC mill offers a small footprint and highly functional design that is ideal for both beginners and experienced CNC operators. It also comes equipped with our own Master MX software that makes it easy to execute complex commands and create highly-detailed designs.

Interested in learning more about the vertical CNC mills we offer at CNC Masters? Our engineers would be happy to help. Give us a call or contact us online today to schedule a consultation!


Factors that Affect CNC Milling Quality

Factors That Affect CNC Milling QualityThanks to their ability to execute complex instructions and fabricate products to precise specifications, CNC mills can be incredibly useful tools to have around. But just because you finally got your hands on a CNC mill doesn’t mean you’ll be able to press ‘Go’ and start machining engine blocks right away.

Ultimately, the quality of your finished product will depend on a few different factors.

There are two main factors that control the results of CNC milling: Hardware and software.

These factors determine the capability of the milling machine and, consequently, the quality of work that can be produced. It is important that the software and hardware of a CNC machine should complement one another. At CNC Masters, we include our own custom CNC Master MX software package with each of our CNC mills.

Hardware

A typical mill is composed of four axes or pivot points that animate the machine head. These pivots make it possible for the machine to rotate, turn, and work on surfaces that are at difficult angles with the head. The more axes in a machine, the more flexible and versatile it will be.

Software

Software, on the other hand, is what drives the axes for precision machining; this is the brain of the machine.

CNC stands for computer numerical control, a set of alphanumeric commands that operators can enter into the software’s user interface.

  • These commands are then translated into a computer language called G-Code.
  • Each code corresponds to a precise action that the machine can interpret and execute in sequence to achieve a desired end result.
  • A complex project might utilize thousands of these G-Codes, each of which constitutes one small step in the manufacturing process.

For more information and other valuable tips about CNC milling, visit contact us online or call 1-877-262-8895.


Make Thoughtful Custom-Engraved Gifts With a CNC Machine

Make Thoughtful Custom-Engraved Gifts With a CNC MachineThe holiday season might still be months away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about great gifts ideas for friends and loved ones! This time of year, you might even have a few summer birthdays or wedding gift ideas to think about as well. But rather than running out to the store and finding a last-minute present, why not create a custom-engraved gift of your own with your CNC milling machine?

Friends holding a housewarming party? Make a welcome sign to invite guests into their new home. Have a family member who’s an avid reader? Make them a set of bookends with lines from their favorite books engraved on each end. Did your spouse recently receive a promotion or new job opportunity? Make them a custom nameplate for their new desk

Thanks to the versatility of CNC milling processes, the possibilities are nearly endless. If you want to get really ambitious, you could even create a custom cribbage board for game nights with friends and family.

Everyone loves homemade gifts, and with a CNC machine you can create highly-detailed designs that speak to a person’s unique hobbies and interests. If wood is your preferred medium, you can also choose a wood grain and stain to really make your project an elegant, eye-catching displace piece.

Looking for the tools you need to make your next CNC project a reality? You’ve come to the right place. Browse all of our CNC machines online, or give us a call today to learn more.


Check Out These Open-Source CNC Furniture Designs!

Check Out These Open-Source CNC Furniture Designs!People typically associate open-source design with computer software, but in recent years many hobbyists and professional craftsmen have started to apply the principles of open design to furniture as well. CNC routers and laser cutters have made it possible for people from all across the globe to share different furniture designs with others, who can then use the design information to create their own furniture while putting their own unique spin on the pieces. Here are just a few of the really cool open-source CNC furniture designs you can find online.

The Layer Chair

Do you want to create formal chairs for your home that don’t feel so stuffy? Jens Dyvik created the Layer Chair, and through open design, it has morphed into a wide range of different chairs that all stem from the same basic structure. Depending on your specific needs, you can customize this chair to make it your own.

Italic Shelf

The Italic Shelf was created by Ronen Kadushin, who has been practicing open design for more than a decade now. It is an open shelving system that can be put together in a variety of different ways to alter the shape and look of the shelves themselves. It might look a bit unsteady, but Kadushin incorporated a “controlled collapse” structure into it that keeps it as strong and as stable as more conventional shelving systems.

Ultimate CNC Cut Height Adjustable Desk

Did you know that most standing desks use the same base with different tops on them? Tyler Cooper figured this out and came up with a way to customize his own sit/stand desk that is unlike most of the adjustable desks you’ve seen.

Want to check out other open design furniture concepts? Check out the complete list from Makezine here! CNC Masters also has you covered if you want to take an open source design and make it your own. We offer CNC milling machines and lathes that are ideal for these projects and many more. Contact us at 626-962-9300 to learn more today.


Highlighting Several of Our Favorite CNC Machines

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

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 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.

CNC Baron

CNC Baron Milling MachineOur 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 MillCNC Jr. Table Top 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 CNC 1440 Turning Center 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.


CNC Machining Vs. 3D Printing

CNC Machining Vs. 3D Printing

 

CNC Machining and 3D printing methods are two forms of object manufacturing that draw a lot of comparisons, although they operate very different from each other. For example, CNC machining is programmed to manufacture an object by carving a material to a desired object shape, while 3D printing builds an object via layers.

While both printing methods are very different, we have outlined some advantages and disadvantages for CNC Machining and 3D printing.

Under CNC Machining (or CNC milling), a customized computer program is created for the manufacturing of an object, while accurately controlling several factors such as feed rate, location, coordination and speeds. Using CNC programming the computer program better controls exact positioning which ultimately leads to the highest standard of accuracy. Not only is CNC Machining precise, it is also very easy for repetitive manufacturing while also maintaining accuracy.

Another perk to CNC Machining is how it can work with a large variety of materials such as plastic, metal, wood and wax as well as several others.

CNC machining is faster than 3D printing. CNC machining creates an object by cutting away material to create an object, while 3D printing works by reducing an object via tiny layers until it creates the shape of an object. The process of 3D printing can’t be sped up, so when it comes to manufacturing speed CNC milling has the upper hand.

CNC milling has a higher level of quality settings. When you’re in the prototype stage, sometimes it’s nice to complete a task with speed rather than accuracy to speed up the development phase of a project, which is a big benefit to CNC milling.

With 3D printing, one must endure the slow production of a product layer by layer, which really slows down the prototype research and development phase.

Another downside to 3D printing is that it requires a larger workforce to design operate and maintain product production. Couple this with the higher setup costs, and 3D printing becomes inferior to CNC Machining.

CNC Masters can help if you’re looking for a way to take your manufacturing business to the next level. With our professional CNC milling machines, there’s no need to invest in more floor space for your business or hobby. For more information on any of the products we offer, contact us today!


Create A Gift Unlike Any Other!

Create A Gift Unlike Any Other!When it comes to birthdays, it can be hard deciding on the perfect gift. Sometimes the gift may be too expensive or we run out of time to do something special. When that happens we settle for what we can pull together at the time and give that to the birthday boy or girl.

However, there is a way to create something that can truly express how important they are to you and it’s a very easy to use machine.

Milling Machine – The Gift That Keeps On Giving

A milling machine would be a great tool to use to make a great birthday gift. It will allow you make precise cuts on whatever material you want to use. Not only that but it will be done very quickly as well so no need to worry if you feel crunched for time.

They are also very easy to use as they come with very simple software that will allow you to get working on the gift in no time. With the machine you could do something like recreate the logo of their favorite sports team on whatever material you have selected.

The options are pretty much wide open on what you can do but just make sure it is perfect for the birthday boy or girl!

CNC Masters offers quality milling machines perfect for your work or creating something for a loved one. Our products are easy to use and will make sure no matter what you create will leave a lasting impression. For more information on our products, contact us today!