Introduction to CNC Prototyping MAchining


What is CNC Machining?

Computer-numeric Controlled Machining is a subtractive manufacturing process where material is removed from the source to create finished product using variety of precision cutting tools. Depending on the Computer Aided Drawing (CAD), the tools are controlled with advanced software. This production manufacturing process benefits you prototype the exact drawings found in production with the freedom of editing and making changes.

The modern CNC Machining Services have programs generate a computer file containing commands to operate a machine by the use of a post processor and use it for production. Few installations contain number of machines designed specifically in a pattern and are controlled by an external robotic or manual operator to move the components from machine to machine.


NC machines built in early 1940s and 1950s have been rapidly developed and augmented to create modern machines to revolutionize the machining process.


Motion is controlled along two axes (X and Y) and the third axis comprises of a tool spindle. Direct-drive stepper motor drives position of the tool to inculcate highly precised movements. With lesser speed and small forces, Open-Loop controls work. Closed loop controls are rather used on commercial metal working machines.

CNC like systems are now used in welding, laser cutting, ultrasonic welding, friction stir welding, plasma cutting, spinning, bending, hole punching, gluing, pinning, sewing, fabric cutting, fiber and tape placement, picking and placing etc.

Benefits of CNC Prototype

  • Highly accurate and Repeatable
  • Veteran for different kinds of substrates
  • Quick removal of huge amount of materials
  • Lower tooling costs
  • Scalable volumes
  • Complex shapes
  • No Skill Requirement
  • Fast turnaround
  • Economical
  • Safer
  • Reduced Inventory

Applications of CNC Prototype

  • Mills
  • Lathes
  • Plasma Cutters
  • Electric Discharge Machining
    • Sinker EDM
    • Wire EDM
  • Water Jet Cutter
Mills – Different materials are cut using computer controls which translate programs having specific letters and numbers to move the work piece / spindle to various depths and location. While many use G-Codes, soma use proprietary codes created by respective manufacturers. CNC Mills help shoulder milling, face milling, drilling, tapping and turning.
Lathes – Lathe machines cut spindle (or work piece) while they are rotated. They use indexable tools and drills to make faster and accurate cuts. Complicated programs designed to make parts are fed into Lathe machines as the same are infeasible through manual lathes.Advanced lathes have more than 2 axes compared to their traditional counterparts.
Plasma Cutters – Plasma Cutting is done using Plasma Torch, they are used to cut steel and other metals. Gas is blown out of the nozzle at a high speed and an electric arc at the same time turns the gas to plasma which melts the material to be cut.
Electric Discharge Machining–It uses electric discharges to obtain the desired shape. It is thus also known as wire erosion, die sinking, burning, spark machining or spark eroding. They are of two types:
Wire EDM
Sinker EDM
Water Jet Cutters–It slices metals and other materials using a water jet (or a mixture of water with sand) at high pressure and velocity. It is often used during fabrication or manufacture of parts for machinery and other devices.

Other CNC Tools

  • Other tools having CNC variants are:
  • EDMs
  • Drills
  • Embroidery Machines
  • Wood Routers
  • Canned Cycles
  • Wire Bending Machines
  • Sheet metal works
  • Hot-wire foam cutters
  • Oxy-Fuel
  • Cylindrical grinders
  • Surface Grinders
  • Induction Hardening Machines
  • Knife Cutting
  • Submerged Welding

Why use CNC Prototype?

There are number of reasons why CNC prototype is used. I have listed the three major areas to think about:





When correctly programmed, they are 100% correct with the finished prouct.



•  Produces parts with                maximum accuracy

•   Good accuracy

•   High degree of quality







They are very easy to use once learnt how to use them.



•  Complex fixtures are not              required

•   Reduced storage      requirements

•   Lower tooling costs






CNC prototype reduces the time taken to produce the furniture items.



•  Improvements with minimum delay

•  Reduced waste

•  Reduced lead time