by Jackie Johnson Jackie Johnson No Comments

Computer Numerical Control, or CNC, Machines have been the gold standard in manufacturing for many decades now. But how did they get started? And how do they work? In today’s blog post we will discuss just that!

A Brief History

Rudimentary versions of Computer Numerical Control machines (CAMS) have been around since the 19th century. But CNC machines as we know them today have been in use since the 1940s. It was during that time that John T. Parsons and Frank L. Stulen of Parsons Corp. in Traverse City, Michigan, developed a machine that could read punched-card calculators to automatically produce a machined part.

Close up of CNC machine at work

Close up of CNC machine at work

How do They Work?

The general idea behind CNC machining is to take a stock material such as metal, wood, or plastic and transform it into a finished product. The machine, which can be anything from a milling machine, to lathe, router, welder, or grinder, relies on instructions from a Computer-Aided Design file, or CAD file. It is important to note that the CAD file does not actually run the machine, but rather creates the code, also known as g-code, for it to follow to create the object.

What is G-Code?    

G-code, also known as ISO code, is a relatively simple computer language specifically designed for the CNC machine to execute. The g-code tells the machine exactly what moves to execute and in which order. It provides a roadmap for the machine to step-by-step create a finished product. G-code was developed by MIT in the late 1950s and by the 60s became standard use for CNC machines.

In Conclusion

CNC machining is a huge advancement in manufacturing, enabling companies to reproduce their products or parts in a way that is much quicker and more efficient. And with the aid of a computer, the make is much more accurate as well.

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