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CNC Machining

Computer numerical controlled (CNC) machining utilizes pre-programmed information on computer software to carry out cuts and other automated, subtractive procedures on complex machinery. Programmers write the coding that runs the CNC machines and their tooling, creating a computer-aided design (CAD) drawing of the required part that CNC machines interpret and follow. The software program controls the speed and machining operations for producing a part, and the programmer can easily optimize and revise the computer-stored code, as needed.

This flexible programming makes CNC machining adaptable for a versatile range of processes and industries. At General Machine & Experimental Works, Inc., we offer a variety of CNC machining services to help reduce production times, increase productivity and quality control, and generate accurate, repeatable components.

Types of CNC Machining Processes

Five of the most common CNC machining processes are:

  • Precision milling. Operating on three or more axes, computer-controlled direct rotary cutting tools in CNC mills create a product from a CAD model. The workpiece remains stationary as the tools shape it into rectangular or square configurations with various features.
  • Lathing. Alternatively, lathes and turning equipment utilize stationary tools to shape rotating workpieces along two axes. The CNC programming instructs the machinery to remove excess material around the workpiece’s circumference, creating the desired product dimensions. 
  • Plasma cutting. In this process, a plasma torch pierces electrically conductive materials using an electrical arc that ionizes high-pressure gas. CNC programming directs the arc to melt the material and accurately cut out a design.
  • Electrical discharge machining (EDM). Through wire or sinker EDM, this machining technique uses electrical discharges, or sparks, along with an electric field and current to remove material from a workpiece. The equipment will then flush debris away from the completed, shaped component with dielectric fluid.
  • Water jet cutting. Machines for water jet curring slice into metal and other hard materials using a high-velocity jet of water, which may contain abrasive substances like sand. Materials sensitive to high temperatures are ideal for carving and shaping through water jet cutting.

Best Uses for Mills, Lathes, Plasma Cutters, EDM Machines, and Water Jet Cutters

The machinery for each of these CNC processes is applicable to a broad spectrum of industrial applications.

  • Mills. CNC milling produces accurate workpieces with high tolerances. These machines have capabilities for generating threads, slots, pockets, and more. The process is ideal for small or medium runs, as well as prototyping and small-batch machining, in industries like aerospace, automotive, and oil and gas.
  • Lathes. CNC lathe machines shape wood and metal workpieces to create products as large as airplane engines and as small as gears. The axes of the lathes determine the types and complexities of the parts they can produce, with varying capabilities for tapping, boring, turning, and drilling. Industries such as aerospace, electronics, and medical utilize CNC lathes.
  • Plasma cutters. From artists to industrial companies, a variety of users rely on CNC plasma processes to cut sheet metal, decorative metal, tubes, and pipes. The HVAC industry employs specialized CNC plasma machinery for the precise cutting of ductwork. The speed and efficiency of plasma cutters have significantly increased productivity in the HVAC industry, as well as construction, food processing, and robotics.
  • EDM equipment. EDM machinery is uniquely capable of cutting materials with extreme hardness and can achieve tiny or complex features. It also gives a superior surface finish. This cost-effective, predictable, and accurate process has applications in the automotive, electronics, and medical fields.
  • Water jet cutters. Water jet cutting offers speedy turnaround times, and it is popular for applications that require highly accurate components with tight tolerances. Industries requiring high levels of precision without excessive heat in the machining process include the aerospace, food and beverage, and glass-cutting sectors.

Learn More About CNC Machining From General Machine

At General Machine, we specialize in CNC machining, precision milling and drilling, and all phases of welding and grinding to provide comprehensive services for our clients. Our company offers short runs and production work for companies in the food processing, brewery, trucking, municipality, plant maintenance, chemical, pharmaceutical, packaging, converting, and photography industries, among others, to deliver products that meet our clients’ exacting specifications with close tolerances.

Our courteous, knowledgeable team is here to assist with accurate order fulfillment and prompt service. Contact us online or at 201-843-9035 to learn more about what CNC machining from General Machine can do for your business, or request a quote today.