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Before proceeding with the conversion, I thought I
would give you a crash course in the CNC machining
What is a CNC machine?
CNC stands for “Computer Numerical Control.” In a
nutshell, a computer is used to place the working end of a
tool at a given X, Y, Z point in space. While other
parameters may also be employed — such as angle and
rotation — we will be concerned primarily with the X, Y,
and Z location of the tool. As for the tool head, this can
be a 3D printer injection nozzle, laser, plasma torch, or
even a cutting knife or wire. In this series, I will primarily
be interested in a spinning tool head with a router bit or
end mill attached.
Figure 3 shows a CNC laser cutter. The actual laser is mounted in the back
of the unit, so that the laser can make quick passes for engraving. The X and Y
positions of the beam are controlled with moving mirrors, while the Z axis is
controlled by a moving platform.
The MakerGear M2 3D printer shown in Figure 4 is another CNC machine.
It has a moving X and Y axis, and uses a moving head much like the laser. In
this instance, an extruder is the tool attached to the business end of the
Even the unique 3D Rostock design shown in Figure 5 is a CNC machine.
The X, Y, and Z axis positioning is achieved by the relationship between the
There are other CNC devices also in use. Pick and place machines are CNC
machines at their core. All that said, the actual machines I want to discuss are
CNC routers and CNC mills. These have a rotating tool connected to the
working end of the machine, much like the router connected to the KRMx02
CNC shown in Figure 6, or the spindle head connected to a KRmc01 CNC
shown in Figure 7. It is these CNC types I will be introducing.
Figure 4. Figure 6.