CNC Programming General Information

CNC Programming is one of the most effective ways that people are using today in order to cut metal and do other processes in manufacturing. Many hobbyists are using CNC programming to produce woodworking, metals and foam objects. CNC has created a way for many people to manufacture or fabricate parts quickly and effortlessly.
CNC stands for computer numerical control and is basically the use of a computer to do certain types of operations. This is a process that can be applied to lathe, router, foam cutters and laser machines; it can also be applied to mini versions of these types of machines.
There are basically two types of categories that CNC program will fall into point to point positioning or continuous path positioning. Usually a computer can execute both types of programming depending on the sophistication of the software program being used. This means that the operator must understand both processes in order to run the machine.
Here is a simple explanation of these two categories:
Point to point positioning - this category is mostly used when drilling, boring, punching or tapping is needed. This is a process used to position from one point to another when the machine process is being done. In other words, it works from the X to the Y position or to as many positions as it is instructed and keeps going until the process is finished.
Continuous path positioning - this category is generally used when a lathe or milling machine is being used and is used for contouring (contouring is another name for this category). This means that the cutting tool moves in a continuous motion from one point to another until the piece is completed. This means that the operator has to be able to program the machine so that it continues on several axes at a time and simultaneously.
Continuous path positioning also uses a series of processes called interpolation which is the way in which the machine is programmed to go. Interpolation can be helical, parabolic, cubic, circular and more. The basic function of this interpolation is to keep the programmed information stored and to monitor and direct the axes in how it should go.
Before any of the programming can be done there is a manuscript that is used which is the basic drawing of what is to be made. This must be studied to make sure that the operator understands the intricacies of the drawing so they can translate the information into the computer software they are using.
This means that the operator must be skilled enough to understand how the paper drawing will translate to the computer, and then be able to program this information into the computer so that the machine will perform the cuts or the processes accordingly.
When you think about this process, it is a good idea to think about what you would do if you were producing the work manually because anything you would do manually, you will depend on the machine to do automatically. By understanding both processes the individual will be more successful.

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