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CNC Machining

Weimi Hardware Tech. Company | Updated: Oct 20, 2017
Source: research

CNC Machining

CNC starts with a peice of metal, sometimes called a "billet."

(Billet:
   pretentious word for "lump of metal," used by machinests and marketeers to confuse outsiders.)

That peice of metal might have been cast, forged, or rolled (squeezed between rollers, sort of a limited forging, only capable of making flat things with straight grain like a board).

It is put into a fairly standard machine tool, that has had position sensing and motors on the control knobs installed. This is basically just a robot machinist. You use a rotating cutting tool to cut away all the metal that isn't your crank. 3D metal etch-a-sketch, with the computer interpolating so the circles come out looking pretty smooth.


Advantages of CNC machining

You can't use an acute inside angle on a forging, you would never be able to get the part out of the mold. So all inside corners must be wider than 90 degrees, and have radiused edges (if you had a die (mold) that tried to form a sharp corner, it would cut rather than push the metal into place.

CNC doesn't impose such restrictions, though to get nicely radiused corners, you might have to change tools, to make the last pass. (you use a flat tool to get rid of the bulk of the metal over the flat areas, and use a round nosed tool to form the inside radius where needed.) So eliminating stress risers means more expensive machining time.


Why CNC?

So why CNC at all? Well its good at making small numbers of compicated shapes. In fact, they are just the thing to make the molds (called tools and dies) to do your forging in. (As a result, CNC technology has in fact lowered the "tooling" costs associated with forging!) It got its biggest boost from the missle folks. If you only plan to build 30 of something, CNC is just the thing for parts with a complicated shape, like that landing gear strut on that fighter.

The peace dividend left a bunch of shops with excess CNC capacity. Since the cost of the machine "just sitting idle" can easily be over half what it costs running full out on a billable job, it was find something for it to do, or the bank may be calling the auctioneer. They cast around for things that would get some money in to make the lease payments. Boutique bike parts and other things, where "rocket science" adds enough marketing appeal to overcome CNC's inefficencies, were something these shops latched onto. (for others, take a look at golf clubs or mototcycle and car hop up parts)

A press, while big and heavy is a very simple "low tech" machine, that has very low maintence requirements. For the most part, they are too stupid to break. The most complicated part of a press are the sensors that make sure that the operator's body is out of the way before it starts moving. It's either a single motor connected to a pump, and a big hydraulic piston, or a "drop forge", a big lump of metal, with a mechanisim that picks it up, and drops it. (CLANG!!!!!). No fancy measuring gear. No computer, unless they have a robot next to it to load and unload the finished parts.


If you have any questions about cnc machining, please feel free to contact us, our technical engineer will remain available for you.

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