What is CNC machining?

CNC – Computer Numerical Control – machining is a subtractive process where a solid block of material is shaped through cutting, boring, drilling, and grinding – producing a unique, custom-designed part.

The material can be anything from wood to plastic, metal, foam or composites – giving you a lot of scope for the product/part you’re looking to create.

And you don’t need to worry about spiralling costs as CNC machines are incredibly accurate – meaning they create minimal waste with zero errors.

Due to its flexibility and effectiveness, CNC machining is widespread and is found in industries such as:

  • Automotive
  • Aviation
  • Aerospace
  • Oil and gas
  • Transport
  • Medical
  • Telecommunications
  • The list goes on…

It’s not just for large businesses, either. CNC manufacturing is equally suitable for small businesses, startups, or an inventor with an idea ready to be prototyped.

CNC machining process

The whole process starts with an idea or a vision of the product you’re looking to build.

For automotive businesses, this could be the door frame of their latest model. While for an entrepreneurial inventor, it could be a part of their product that must be custom-built.

Either way, our expert design team can help take your idea and turn it into reality. 

If you already have a CAD design ready, fantastic. We can work with that, chat with you about what you’re looking to achieve and then give you a quote.

If you don’t have a design, don’t worry, as we can help you out by creating the design for your particular needs.

Our friendly team will help you out at each stage of the journey.

Once a design is in place, and you’re happy to proceed, we get to work on delivering your product with our industry-leading CNC machines and operators.

Depending on your needs and resources, that can be as quick as the same day up to 48-hours.

Types of CNC machining operations

Just like us humans, CNC machines come in all shapes and sizes. The most common of which is the milling machine.

With milling, excess material is cut away to mould the shape you are looking for by:

  • Cutting and removing surplus material
  • Machining features to the exact size and shape you require
  • Drilling holes

Second to milling is the lathe which creates cylindrical shapes.

Lathes rotate the material and make the part by turning the material against the cutters as it moves along the surface, creating a smooth area as it goes – void of bumps or grooves.

Lathes can produce items such as:

  • Parts for valves
  • Automotive compononts
  • Shafts
  • Anything cylindrical

7 advantages of CNC machining

1 / Fast and cost-effective

The automated nature of CNC machining makes the process simple and cost-effective, with parts produced with high levels of precision and accuracy.

2 / Little to no waste

CNC machining is driven by computers using cutting-edge software optimised to know how to create a component without waste.

Our experienced design team use CAD-CAM models that produce quick and eligible results.

3 / Zero defects through greater accuracy

As the process is fully automated, human error is illuminated. The end-to-end process is managed by computer and delivers a high-quality end result each time.

With parts being reliably made to measure each time, assembly by human or robot hands is far more effective.

4 / Repeatability

Working hand-in-hand with accuracy is repeatability – they are the superpowers of CNC machining.

A simple way to look at it is that accuracy achieves your desired result. Repeatability means that result is achieved every time, no matter the volume.

5 / Enhanced personnel safety

CNC machines can function without an operator, which removes the chances of any accidents happening. No loss of limb or digits here 🙂 

Modern CNC machines can change their tools as part of the process. Which is another tik in the box for safety and efficiency.

If you need to change your design, no problem – that’s all handled through the CAD-CAM software. The only hands-on needed is through typing on the PC’s keyboard.

6 / You can scale up

CNC machining gives you the flexibility of scale in that you can build one part all the way through to a piece that needs to be created thousands of times.

All safe in the knowledge that each piece is identical.

7 / Lower production costs

Last, but certainly, no means least, is lower production costs. The above points should nicely highlight for you how smooth the process of CNC machining is.

Parts can be produced quickly, without waste, and with identical results – which equals lower costs. All without compromising on quality.

Is CNC machining for you?

If you are looking to build a product or are curious about the process, hopefully, we’ve given you a nice overview of what’s involved.

However, the best way to find out how 100% British CNC machining can help you is to speak with an Axiom expert today.

Whether you need a prototype or a production at scale, we can help you out.