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Your Guide to CNC Machining: Terms, Processes, and Parts

CNC machining refers to Computer Numerical Control machining that is quickly becoming the industry standard for producing high-quality products. By allowing various industrial-grade machines like milling machines and routers to be pre-programmed, complex ranges of control can be reduced to a press of a button instead of the work of a trained and seasoned craftsman (figuratively speaking of course).

While each type of manufacturing process has its advantages and disadvantages, this article focuses on the CNC machines offered by Streamline Automation and outlines its basic machining process, the various components that are available, and the tooling of the machines themselves.

The CNC Machining Process

While the CNC machining styles differ from one manufacturer to another, the underlying principles of the process remain largely unchanged. The basic CNC machining process includes the following stages:

  • Designing the CAD model

  • Converting the CAD file to a CNC program

  • Preparing the CNC machine

  • Executing the machine operation

The CNC machining process begins with creating a 2D vector or 3D split part CAD design. At Streamline Automation, we offer to work with our clients to finalize CAD designs together using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software like Fusion360™. This way, you are able to view the model or parts that will be produced, along with the necessary technical specifications. Aside from CAD, other software applications that help increase the precision and accuracy of the machines include: CAM (Computer-aided manufacturing) and CAE (Computer-Aided Engineering). While Streamline Automation helps our clients with finalizing CAD and utilizes CAM, we leave CAE for the clients to analyze and modify pre-designs.

CNC machined parts are complex and often restricted only by the capabilities of the machines themselves. Luckily, Streamline Automation mitigates this issue almost completely due to our systems carrying tall gantry clearance plus 4th axis capabilities. Additionally, the properties of the material being machined, tooling design, and work holding capabilities of the machine further restrict the design possibilities. At Streamline Automation, our machines are capable of working with all standard materials in the current milling industry including wood, plastic (varying types), foam, and more. A good tip is to consult the CNC supplier regarding your specific needs.

Various Components Available

With large varieties of machines available and an even larger number of components and adjustments in the market, it is truly up to you to decide what specific needs you would like to be met. At Streamline Automation, we believe in helping our customers achieve their creativity and help them save costs. Because of this, we would suggest not to look for many custom adjustments as that increases each CNC machine’s listing price significantly

Regardless of the modifications you’re looking for to improve your productivity and carve your way into the CNC space, Streamline Automation will always have your back with our professionals ready to offer help and assistance. Our quality training programs that accompany our machines help us stand out from the neighbouring competition. We allow even the greenest users to have the confidence and skills to process their work in a short amount of time. By taking our time talking to our clients and researching their needs, we have the best-suited software ready and available for each occasion. Whether it is advanced capabilities that our clients are after or simple and straight tasks they have in mind, our training program along with real-world experience can make the implementation of programming and automation an easy process. Again, our systems are catered to the client to be best suited for their needs and skill sets and complement everyone’s knowledge and skills in a hands-on approach.

CNC Tool Kit

Many machines are set up for different functions with CNC capabilities. Streamline Automation offers three industry-leading CNC machines that help you perform the tasks of a milling machine or routing machine.

The FROGMill™ and the FROGMill™ Lite have heavy welded frames and precision rack and pinion drive systems that all but ensure the quality of the product. Large tools that are interchangeable and high capacity spindle ensures their lifetime. FROGMill™ Lite is an entry-level system that helps those who have lesser output needs and smaller machine shop space with its more compact design.

The FROGWire™ helps produce quality, clean surfaces with its 5-axis cutting angles. It is perfect for producing small sheets and sculpting large parts of foam. The FROGWire™ is efficient in its power usage and holds a small kerf size due to the size of the thin wire.

To learn more about how Streamline Automation may help you and your organization increase production capability and expand manufacturing capability, contact us today or see samples of our work here.

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