Friday, October 30, 2015

Understanding CNC (part 2 of 2)

With the advent of Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM), even programming CNC machines is a snap. These programs actually take the bulk of the programming process to make the operation less tedious. However, to be an effective programmer of CNC machines, you have to know what the machine you’re working on will be doing. That is why machinists are often the best people for the job.

The ease that the machines provide is hinged heavily on the quality of the machine. Low-cost CNC machines oftentimes have many functions that have to be manually activated. High-cost machines, however, are almost fully automated. The operator only has to load or unload workpieces. Once the cycle has been initiated, the operator just has to sit back and watch for any malfunctions. The stress on the operator is so low that some even complain of boredom in the middle of a cycle.


The programming language that CNC uses is called a G-Code. These codes actually position the parts and do the work. To be able to have a machine work properly, you have to input the correct variables such as axes, reference points, the machine accessories, and whatnot. Every machine has a different set of variables so you have to be careful to take note of the differences.

Aside from the G-Code, logical commands or parametric programming can be used to make the process more time-efficient. This type of programming language shortens lengthy programs with incremental passes. A loop can also be programmed thereby removing the need for coding repetitions.

Because of these features, parametric programming is more efficient than CAM. It allows users to directly and efficiently make performance adjustments. It also allows extensions to the functionality of the machine it is running on.

And that makes CNC.

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