How Many Types Of CNC Machines Are There? | The Edge Cutter

We understand that there are a variety of CNC machines and used for multiple purposes which sometimes can get confusing. In this article, you will get a clear understanding of all the CNC types and their applications in different industrial and non-industrial projects. 

Why and Where Are CNC Machines Used? 

Machining processes like milling, lathe, drilling, etc., are done manually. So, you can only expect an average degree of accuracy and precision. Plus, it is a time taking process as the entire responsibility of the machine’s performance depends on the human operator. This is the foremost reason that CNC machines are introduced on the market. It not only reduces your workload and time but also increases the work efficiency, simultaneously. 

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines are now commonly used in the manufacturing industries. These Machines have acquired great fame and application in the past few years and it’s still continuing.

The Computer Numerical Controlled machine as the name suggests is typically controlled by a computer which regulates the machine performance to produce an accurate end product with precision, as desired. CNC machines enable automation due to which they are used in the production industries for batch processing. Unlike manual machines, a CNC machine reduces time of manufacturing, manual effort, and constant speculation over the machining procedures.

In a nutshell, this is what you can expect from a CNC-powered machine:

  • Increased productivity 
  • Zero risk of manual error
  • Allows repetition for batch processing of products by using CNC drives, software programs, and actuators.

Types of CNC Machines 

There are basically 12 types of CNC machines. Let’s explore them deeper: 

CNC Lathe Machine

A CNC Lathe machine is defined by its ability to turn the workpiece during the operation. The system has a minimal number of axes compared to a CNC milling machine, which makes the lathe machine more compact and hence, less space consuming. 

A CNC lathe comprises a centrally located lathe that manages and shifts the workpiece programmatically via computerized aid. At present, this type of CNC machine is commonly used in the industry for its quick and precise function.

CNC Milling Machine

CNC milling machine is widely used for its inbuilt tools which allow it to cut and drill materials. The workpiece is placed inside the CNC mill, which is then processed by the computer causing the tool to cut or drill the material.

Generally every CNC mill features  3 to 6-axes configurations and is used to manufacture gears including spur gear. The machine is  also used to make slots, drill boreholes into the workpiece by feeding part programs into the CNC system.

The machine is really easy to use. Even a semi-skilled operator can easily work with this machine. Mass production of turrets is possible with this machine. The parts and components produced by this machine are precise in terms of dimensional tolerance.

CNC Drilling Machine

It is typically used for batch processing in the production industries. However, CNC drills feature a multi-functional machining center  which is twisted and mingled occasionally as required. The greatest time-sink for a CNC drill is with its tool changing part. So, to ensure more speed, variation in diameter of the hole must be decreased. A CNC Drilling machine can be used for counterboring, tapping holes, and reaming.

CNC Grinding Machine

It delivers precision performance by using  a rotating wheel for metal shaping and cutting.  This CNC grinding machine is typically used to make ball bearings, camshafts, transmission shafts, and other workpieces that require accurate finishing.

Most materials formed using this CNC grinding machine are generally cylindrical in shape. But, the machine can also be used to produce other different workpieces as well.  

CNC Laser Cutting Machine

Although it uses laser technology instead of plasma, the laser cutting CNC appliance is designed to slice hard materials. Laser provides high-degree accuracy but is not as efficient as a plasma-based CNC machine. 

Laser-cutting CNC machines widely use any of these laser types as below:

  • Neodymium- Yttrium Orthovanadate (Nd:YVO4)
  • CO2, or
  • Neodymium(III)-Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet (Nd: YAG).

CNC Plasma Cutting Machine

The plasma cutting CNC machine is similar to the CNC milling machines and is used to slice materials. However, the machine significantly differs from its milling counterparts in terms of  operation where it uses a high-powered plasma torch instead of standard end mills or fly cutters, etc.  

A plasma cutting machine uses an accelerated hot plasma stream to cut electrically conductive and rough materials like iron, steel or other metals. 

CNC Electrical Discharge Machine 

It is also called a spark CNC machine, which peculiarly uses electric discharge to bring materials to a desired shape. The work material is placed between the top and bottom electrodes. Then the computer determines how much electrical sparks the electrodes should produce to get the job done.

CNC Router Machine

It works similar to any other CNC machines like CNC drilling, milling or lathe, etc. The only difference is that unlike those, a CNC router is fit for performing any sort of wooden carpentry projects like door carving, intricate interior designing on wooden surface, exterior decoration, making wooden signboards,  panels, molding, wood frames, furniture, musical instruments and more.

The machine will create the end product as per the input design sketch. You can even create a design in the system as desired and execute it with your CNC router. The machine delivers a better finished surface. A CNC router machine is an ideal option for door designing and more.

CNC Machine with Auto-Tool Changer

An Auto-tool changing CNC machine facilitates tool-bearing capacity and increases the machine’s production rate. This type of machine improves its capacity to work with numerous machining tools. The machine can  change the tools automatically and quickly based on different machining requirements. It can also manage to replace broken tools from the system.

The most significant factor of this CNC machine is that it decreases the production time to a noticeable extent. The CNC machine with automatic tool changer is a perfect approach towards full-fledged automation.

3-D Printer

This CNC machine is used to print a 3-D object, layer-by-layer. The design of the 3-D object to be printed is developed by the CAN and CAD process. Then the 3D printing machine is used to realize that design on a real platform. The 3D printer is basically used to create 3D prints of edifice, premises, and more. 

5-Axis CNC Machine

As the name suggests, this CNC machine type has 5 axes, out of which it has 3 original axes, namely; X, Y, and Z. Any sort of cutting procedure of ANY CNC tool is achieved along these 3 directions. However, the remaining two axes A and B were to allow a multidirectional movement of the cutting tool. Hence, this 5-axis CNC machine is used in sculpture-making industries.  

Pick and Place Machine

You will find this CNC machine type being used in the hardware manufacturing industries. The machine features numerous nozzles, each of which lifts an electrical part to place it in the precise location of an electronic equipment. To be more specific, the cellular device, PC, tablet, and other such electronic device manufacturing companies utilize the pick and place type of CNC machine. 

Conclusion

No matter what type of CNC machine you decide to buy,  it will only deliver you precise material output, decrease waste generation, reduce workload and work time, without affecting the accuracy of the end product.

The Edge Cutter is reader-supported website. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Leave a Comment