CNC machining plays a vital role in the evolving world of modern manufacturing. But what is CNC, exactly? How does it play a role in the manufacturing industry, and what do CNC machinists do? Even more so, how can aspiring CNC machinists successfully prepare for – and land – a job in CNC machining today? As a leading manufacturing and machining school in Connecticut, Goodwin College breaks down all the details below, starting with the basics:
What is CNC?
CNC stands for Computerized Numerical Control. It is a computerized manufacturing process in which pre-programmed software and code controls the movement of production equipment. CNC machining controls a range of complex machinery, such as grinders, lathes, and turning mills, all of which are used to cut, shape, and create different parts and prototypes. On the day to day, CNC machinists combine elements of mechanical design, technical drawings, mathematics, and computer programming skills to produce a variety of metal and plastic parts. CNC operators can take a sheet of metal and turn it into a critical airplane or automobile part.
What is a CNC Machine?
Computer Numerical Control machines are automated machines, which are operated by computers executing pre-programmed sequences of controlled commands. CNC machines are essentially the opposite of “old-school” devices that are manually controlled by hand wheels or levers, or mechanically automated by cams alone. Today’s modern CNC machines understand and function using CNC machining language – called G-code – which tells them precise measurements for production, like feed rate, speed, location, and coordination.
Today’s design and mechanical parts for CNC systems are highly automated – unlike the old, dangerous, factory machines you’d think of back in the day. The parts’ mechanical dimensions are defined using computer-aided design (CAD) software, and then translated into manufacturing directives by computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software. Therefore, it is important to have knowledgeable CNC machinists and programmers in the industry to operate this high-tech machinery.
The Importance of CNC Machining
Manufacturers in Connecticut are leaders in making vital products in the industry, such as jet engines, helicopters, and submarines. And, thanks to recent advancements in technology, gone are the days of gritty factory life. Workers today use their machining skills in a clean, professional setting with advanced and cutting-edge technology.
Questions To Ask Yourself If You Are Thinking Of Buying A Laser Engraver
Laser engravers are a useful tool and it makes sense to purchase one if you use it often enough. If you are considering buying a laser engraver, there are many things that you need to think about before buying it. There are a number of options to choose from and there are good reasons to choose one kind of engraver over another one. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of each of the laser engraver before you decide on the one that you would like to purchase. Here are some questions that you should ask yourself before you decide to purchase a laser engraver.
1. How Often Will I Use It?
If you only plan on using the laser engraver once in a while, it may not be the best option to purchase a laser engraver. It may be more cost-effective for you to simply rely on a professional laser engraving service to manage your project. With a professional service, you can just have the company manage your projects for you and you can trust that it will be done properly. However, if you are planning on using your engraver very often, you have to decide which one is best for the kinds of project that you will be working on.
2. Is a Laser Engraver Difficult to Learn How to Use?
If you are worried about learning how to use a laser engraver, that shouldn’t prevent you from buying a laser engraver. You can use many different kinds of design software with laser engravers, so you may not need to learn how to use a new design software in order to use the laser engraver. Once the system and the laser engraver has been set up it is simple to understand how to use.
3. What Materials Will I Be Engraving?
Laser engravers are extremely useful because of the variety of materials that they can engrave. You should think about the different projects that you will be working on and the materials that you are engraving before you choose which laser engraver you wish to purchase. Both the HTL QT Desktop Laser Engraver and the CO2 Laser Engraver have the ability to engrave many different types of materials. Here are the many different materials that can be engraved with a laser engraver.
Metal – Laser engraving on metal can be used for key chains, jewelry, gifts, name tags, and many other applications. The engraving is exact and can be extremely precise. You can use either the HTL QT Desktop Laser Engraver and the CO2 Laser Engraver to engrave many different types of metals.
Plastic and Rubber – The benefit of using laser engravers instead of a traditional engraver is that you can very precisely engrave plastic without needing to worry about melting the plastic. The CO2 Laser Engraver is the best option for anyone who is planning on engraving on plastic or rubber.
Glass or Crystal – Since glass and crystal are so brittle, they cannot be engraved with a traditional engraver. With a laser engraver, you can get permanent, precise engravings that are perfect for awards, trophies, or even wine glasses. The CO2 Laser Engraver is the best option for engraving on glass.
Paper – Using a laser engraver to cut paper is an excellent use of a laser engraver. It can be used to create invitations, artwork, and other creative uses. A laser engraver can make custom cuts and designs. The HTL QT Desktop Laser Engraver and the CO2 Laser Engraver can both be used to engrave paper.
4. Are There Any Materials that Should Not Be Engraved?
This is something that you definitely need to know before you begin doing engraving. You want to make sure that you are not using the laser engraver on anything that could potentially damage what you are trying to engrave. Also, certain things could react with the laser and they could be harmful to you. For example, when PVC is cut with a CO2 laser, it can create hydrochloric acid and toxic fumes which are dangerous for you, and less importantly, will corrode the laser engraver itself. It is important for you to discuss this with the company that you purchase the laser engraver from to ensure that you only engrave what is safe and best for you and the laser engraver.