In as many sectors as of the mostly metal- or wood-processing industry, the so-called CNC router is very popular. But what is a CNC milling machine? What materials can be processed with a CNC router machine? And above all: How does such a machine work? In the following all these questions are answered.
To understand what exactly a CNC router is, it would be important to know what the word CNC means. CNC is an abbreviation of the English description “computerized numerical control”, and referres to an electronic method for controlling machine tools. Consequently, a CNC router machine is nothing more than a machine tool, which is numerically driven with computer assistance to process a variety of materials, such as Metals, wood, granite and much more.
It is able to produce very precise and complex shapes and contours by machining materials with a tool. A CNC router machine achieves these results via at least three axes, called X, Y and Z. The X-axis is horizontal, the Y axis vertical, and the Z-axis refers vertical to the other two axes. These, seen figuratively, result in a so-called portal, which is why CNC routers with such a portal formation (X axis designed as a bridge) are often called portal milling machines. In addition, some milling machines have an A, B and C axis representing a rotation around the main axes X, Y and Z.
As already mentioned, CNC router machines are controlled by a computer. All necessary data, in form of so-called G-codes, are assembled into a CNC program. The G-codes consist of a “G” followed by a number and type of milling work instruction. Since these codes are standardized, they may be based on a CNC control software used in almost all CNC milling machines. When all data has been inserted and the CNC program is ready to play, the milling machine can begin its work. Manufacturers have added their own codes to the ISO G-codes. Therefore, various post-processors exist to generate ultimately “matching” programs from CAM programs for all different machines.
By a rotation of the respective tool, or a spindle adapted to the material, opposite the clamped workpiece, a cutting movement is produced, which is necessary for the desired chipping. This has already been determined in the records based on the G-codes. The movement of the milling tool around the workpiece, ensures the predetermined shape. This can be done, depending on the design of the router, by displacement of the workpiece on a movable machine table. By using all axes, almost all workpiece geometries are possible e.g .:
Have a look at the versatile application possibilities of a milling machine!
A milling machine has the ability to process many different materials.
Listed here are just a few materials that can be machined on a CNC milling machine 2D or 3D:
Is important to note that some materials, such as e.g. Aluminum, require cooling during the actual milling operation. The heat generation means that chips can clogg or glue the flutes of the milling machine and the milling tool breaks. Suitable coolants and lubricants can be found in the range of most CNC milling machine manufacturers.
If you have decided to buy a CNC mill to facilitate some work or to make special work possible, immediately one question comes to mind: “What do I have to consider when buying a CNC router?”
With these four questions I quickly find out which CNC router is suitable for my needs: