The biggest advantage of the CNC machine is its automatic machining based on the programming sequences, which largely saves time and improves efficiency, as well as reduces mistakes during the manufacturing. How does CNC machining process work and how to get into CNC machining for hobbyists? Hope the following CNC tutorial for beginners can bring you closer to the technique.
Here is the basic process from CNC design to the finished part, in actual operations, there will be more details and setups that related to the complexity of the CNC parts. The following steps explain how the CNC machining process works.
1. Design the CNC parts you want to produce. The first thing you need to do is create a model or design of what you want to make, either 3D or 2D. For 2D drawings, DXF is the usual format, while for 3D model, the format is depending on what software you use. Generally, AutoCAD and Fusion 360 are commonly used CAD software.
2. Turn the model/design into instructions. The motions of CNC machines are based on the programmed instructions, if you just send the model files to your CNC lathe or mill, it does not know what to do and how to do. Every CNC has a few different controllers and each machine understands the code a bit differently and needs some different parameters. Use CAM software to take your design, assign various tools and types of machining operations to specific elements of the design and calculate the tool path, which is the path the tools will follow in order to cut a workpiece. Once these tool paths have been calculated by the software, we can use them to generate and save the G-code. After you generated your tool, you should go to post-processing and in there you need to choose your controller so that the software knows exactly how to translate it. After we chose our controller, we can get the file and export it, which contains the g-code. There are many many lines of code depending on the complexity of the machining process.
3. Turn your computer to a CNC machine controller. Now, most CNC machines are controlled by a computer or some kind of specialized controller, which is often used for more expensive or high-end models. For beginners, a computer with software that connects to your CNC is enough. Choose a CNC control software to turn your computer into a CNC machine controller, Mach3 is a good choice for beginners and hobbyists.
4. Machining process. The software needs to control the CNC and set the zero point, you need to tell the machine where you want the zero points to be around and choose the point as the product design. Then move your machine to the zero point, keep your eye on the machine and there are some tools that allow you to find the point precisely. Tell the software where is zero and when you start your code by just pressing cycle start, the software sends the codes to the machine and the whole process can begin.
CNC is a broad knowledge need takes a long time to study and progress in practice. Here are just some key points in learning CNC machining.
1. Design the required part is the first step in CNC, you can use various CAD software to complete it or download free CAD files then modify it for manufacturing needs. Check out our Best CAD Software 2020 List, which contains either free or paid options, beginners and professionals can both find what you need. If are strange to the field, CNClathing.com also provides CNC design services for industrial parts in different industries, welcome to contact us for any needs.
2. Learn about CNC programming. CNC programming can be very complicated, for beginners, you can check some CNC programming examples first to understand the meaning of G-codes and M-codes, as well as how it works.
3. Learn about the components and construction of CNC machines. CNC machines like lathes, mills, routers and drills are all the equipment to complete the machining operations on the material stock, get to know what is the machine composed of and the function of each component.
4. CNC machine setup is what we get the machine ready to run the part, make sure all the right tools in the tool changer and right instructions are loaded.
5. The common troubleshooting and maintenance of the CNC machine are also important.