As the world has shifted over the centuries from agrarian to industrial, the need for quality machines and parts has grown exponentially. Computer Numerical Control (CNC) is the method by which computer programming controls the tools necessary to create parts and prototypes. What happens in a CNC machine shop is not only fascinating but vital to every part of the global economy.
Regardless of your industry, when you need a prototype, part, or component quickly, you can trust United Scientific Inc. They work with speed, accuracy, and precision to create what you need for your job. In business since the 1940s and the time of “punched tape” machining, United Scientific knows how to deliver your product with excellence.
What Is A CNC Machine Shop?
At its basic level, CNC machining is a process that works by subtraction or elimination. It is a type of subtractive manufacturing. Starting with a solid piece of material the tools remove layers until the desired shape and dimensions emerge. By contrast, 3D printing is an additive process, building a part or component in layers from a 3D printer.
In a CNC machine shop, machinists can work with just about any material, such as wood, copper, steel, foam, and polypropylene. They serve many different industries from education to aerospace with their expertise.
So what happens in a CNC shop? As it turns out, a lot happens. From start to finish, the process is intricate and impressive.
CAD File Conversion
Before any machining can happen, a designer generates a computer-aided design (CAD) with the specific dimensions and geometries of the client’s part or prototype. This file then goes through another computer program that generates the specifications for the CNC machine in its language. This digital output allows the tools to understand their job.
G-code is the most common programming language used for CNC machines. It takes the CAD and translates into digital instructions for the machine. This language tells the tools where they need to go, when to go there, and how quickly to move.
Setting Up the Machine
Once the computer knows what it needs to do, the machinist has to prepare the tools for that particular job. Each project starts with a blank – the solid piece of material that the machine will reduce and sculpt. The CNC machinist loads the blank onto spindles and ensures all the tools are functional and ready to work.
CNC machines use several different tools, such as drills, vises, and lathes. Sometimes these are combined into multi-use components in the device. The operator must check that everything is lined up and working correctly before running the program.
Executing the Program
After everything is prepared and ready to go, the operators can run the program. The CNC machine will follow its digital road map and set of instructions to create the required piece with precision.
Some of the most common types of operations in a CNC shop are:
- Milling – This process feeds the blank to a rotating cutting tool that cuts away excess material. Milling can create threads, slots, and cavities in a piece, as required by the instructions.
- Drilling – The drilling process feeds the material to multi-tip drill bits that can bore holes into the piece which makes it possible for the CNC machine to countersink and ream parts as needed.
- Turning – The turning process removes material from the outside of the blank by feeding it into a machine such as a lathe. It can create slots and grooves around the circumference of a part.
Who Uses CNC Services?
Although most people may never need a CNC machine shop, these workplaces are vital to almost every industry around the globe. Our modern world relies on machinists for productivity in every facet of society, from farming to medicine to high tech industries.
Some machine shops produce products that the company then sells directly to consumers. Often, these businesses do all of their CAD work and CNC machining in house.
More often, however, the machine shop is a contract shop. In this case, the operators and machinists create parts and components for clients who use them to make products they sell to consumers.
Contract shops typically do not have CAD designers in house. Instead, the client hires that out and provides the CNC plans to the machine shop.
Machining is essential to the productivity of any manufacturing businesses in the global marketplace. Some of the biggest customers for the CNC machining industry are:
- Military and Defense – The ever-evolving need for new designs and technology in the military demands constant updates to parts and components. Also, the natural attrition of vehicles and weapons means that the timely production of new parts is critical.
- Aviation and Aerospace – As aircraft getter faster and lighter, CNC machine shops are busy keeping up with the demand of parts made with incredible precision to ensure safety and success.
- Medical Research – The realm of medicine and healthcare relies on fast-moving research. Laboratories around the world require CNC machined parts regularly.
- Optics – Manufacturers of telescopes and microscopes rely on accurate, precise CNC machining for their fine-tuned parts and pieces.
Commitment to Quality
At United Scientific, we pride ourselves on producing high-quality parts for our clients. Always. We give every single job the attention it deserves so that no client is left wanting. We know that you trust us to create parts that will function safely and effectively for you and your customers.
This commitment to excellence and the highest quality of work is why our clients come back to us again and again. They can rely on our precise, attentive, accurate work.
By hiring the best machinists and supporting them with ongoing professional development, we can always deliver. With a documented 99% accuracy rate, we know that our 70 years of machining experience will provide exactly what the job requires.
Trust United Scientific For Your CNC Machine Shop Needs
No matter your industry and no matter how tight the tolerances, United Scientific is ready to serve you. We are proud of our ISO 9001 outstanding certification, and we strive to exceed expectations for every client.
Reach out today to get your job started right away. We can’t wait to serve you.