What is a CNC Machine and How Does it Work?

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) is a metal machiningused in the manufacturing process. Read the complete blog to understand what CNC Machine is and how it works

What is a CNC Machine and How Does it Work?

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) is a metal machining used in the manufacturing process. There are three elements – digitized data, Computer-Aided Machining (CAM) program and computer which automate, monitor and control the machine’s movements. These movements can be either rotary or linear. Basically, there is a pre-programmed software with or a written programing code that governs the machine’s actions. It is also known as the subtractive fabrication method. This is because the production process removes the material, which is the opposite of additive manufacturing (also called 3D printing).

Uses of CNC Machine

CNC machines can be used for simple as well as complex machines like:
  • Milling machine
  • Lathe
  • Router
  • Robot
This list is inclusive but not exhaustive.

Does CNC Need Human Intervention?

Usually, CNC doesn’t require any manual intervention. They run unmanned with the help of robots to load or unload components. Some industrial machines have sophisticated CNC that continuously monitors and adjusts the speed and position of the machines. Most modern machines are completely automated with a set of digital files with specific instructions. However, if the machines are large and complex, there might be a need for a human controller. This human controller works on an external PC and executes programmed motions to control the movements of the machines.

How Does CNC Machine Work?

Let’s explain through the example of the milling process through CNC. The milling process involves various activities – end milling, chamfer milling, face milling, drilling, tapping, boring etc. As soon as the milling equipment comes in contact with the workpiece, it eliminates chips from it. When the CNC system of milling machines gets activated, it will start removing the chips as per the desired cuts programmed into it. It works autonomously once the information and program are fed into it. You can ask milling machine manufacturers to give a complete idea about operations through CNC. CNC can perform in a similar way for turning and grinding operations.


CNC can carry out the most complicated cuts and angles on workpieces at various levels quickly and accurately. CNC machines are beneficial for processes that are repetitive and predictable in nature. Also Read: World’s Best Selling HAAS CNC machines at PMTX 2018

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