Computer numerical control overview process

cnc steps

Overview of the process
This is how I view CNC.  I break it down into simple steps that I can remember.  Now, they all interact, but it is good to keep them in boxes for simplicity sake.  I also like to keep them in a logical, progression type order.  Here they are: Design, CAD, CAM, Control and Machine.

Today you are going on a journey.  You are going to learn about the basics of CNC.  I hope you are as excited as I am about this topic.

I have been using CNC equipment in my home shop for six years now.  The technology gets better and better every year.  The software gets better every year.  At one time large companies could only afford this technology.There are CNC machines by the thousands working in garages like yours and mine everywhere.

There are basically five elements to a CNC Project that you need to know:
Design – thinking and planning what you want to build
Computer Aided Drafting – translating it into the computer
CAM – converting it into machine language
Controlling – controlling your machines movements
Machining – building the part to specifications

These five elements are really the building blocks to a CNC project.  As you see them above, that is generally the order people associate them in.  For example, you can’t control until you have a design.  You can’t use your CAM software before your CAD software.  One of the main things you need to address is how these elements interact with each other.
This may cause some confusion right now.  Over time, it will seem very basic.  The more you use these elements with one another, the more their order will become second nature.

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