What is CNC machining?

Tue Jan 04 14:38:07 CST 2022

CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining is a widely used manufacturing process that uses automated high-speed cutting tools to form designs from metal or plastic stock. Common CNC machines include 3-, 4-, and 5-axis milling machines, lathes, and routers. The way a machine cuts a part can vary - the workpiece may stay in place as the tool moves, the tool may stay in place as the workpiece rotates and moves, or the cutting tool and workpiece may move together.

Skilled machinists operate CNC machines by programming toolpaths based on the geometry of the final part. Part geometry information is provided by CAD (Computer Aided Design) models. CNC machines can cut virtually any metal alloy and hard plastic with high precision and repeatability, which makes CNC machined parts suitable for nearly every industry, including aerospace, medical, robotics, electronics, and industrial. Xometry offers CNC machining quotes for over 40 materials, from commodity aluminum and acetal to advanced titanium and engineering plastics such as PEEK and Teflon.