What is CNC machining?
Computer numerical control (CNC) technology is used by machinists to operate a variety of manufacturing tools and equipment in the production of metal parts. These parts must be made to exacting standards, and the machinist uses precision measuring instruments to ensure accuracy and that the parts meet quality guidelines. A machinist reads and interprets specifications and blueprints, calculates dimensions and tolerances, lays out their work and marks pieces for machining. They then set up, program and operate their machine tools, such as CNC metal turning lathes, to cut or grind the metal into parts or products to the precise specifications of engineers or designers. They fit and assemble the machined metal parts and subassemblies, and verify their dimensions, strength and hardness.
The job of the machinist has changed due to technical advances such as the development of CNC technology. Now more than ever, it combines mental ability with manual skills – to develop a project from a blueprint requires careful thought and an understanding of mathematics and computer programming, as well as good mechanical ability. However, modern computer age machinists must still understand the properties of metal and basic manual machining techniques as they rely on this knowledge to set up and operate the variety of machine tools they use.