Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining is a highly automated process and delivers a high level of accuracy.  Tolerance accuracy could be as low as 0.0001 inches.  Parts that require precision and high-accuracy use CNC machine machining.

It is also the most cost-effective technique when production volumes are large and the parts are identical.  The basic CNC machining process includes the following stages:

  • Designing the CAD model using a CAD program (such as SolidWorks)
  • Converting the CAD file to a CNC program
    • Most typically converting the file to G-Code
  • Setting the part up in the CNC machine
  • Then executing the machining operations. 

Materials that can be used on a CNC machine: 

  • Aluminum
  • Steel Alloys
  • Brass
  • Nylon
  • ABS
  • POM/Acetyl
  • Wood and Foam (less dense materials)

CNC machining is good for when you need between 10 and 1000s of units of part production.  Various CNC machines used in industry: 

  • Milling Operations
  • Lathe Operations
  • Plasma Cutters
  • Electric Discharge Machines
  • Water Jet Cutters
  • 3D Printers
  • Laser Cutters
  • Glass Cutters
  • Wood Routers