Mills Translate programs consisting of specific numbers and letters to move the spindle (or workpiece) to various locations and depths. Many use G-codes Functions include: face milling, shoulder milling, tapping, drilling and some even offer turning. Today, CNC mills can have 3 to 6 axes. Most CNC Mills require placing your workpiece on or in them and must be at least as big as your workpiece, but new 3 axis machines are being produced that you can put on your workpiece, and can be much smaller.
Lathes Cut workpieces while they are rotated. Make fast, precision cuts, generally using indexable tools and drills. Effective for complicated programs designed to make parts that would be infeasible to make on manual lathes. Similar control specifications to CNC mills and can often read G-code. Generally have two axes (X and Z), but newer models have more axes, allowing for more advanced jobs to be machined.
Plasma cutters Involves cutting a material using a plasma torch. Commonly used to cut steel and other metals, but can be used on a variety of materials. In this process, gas (such as compressed air) is blown at high speed out of a nozzle; at the same time, an electrical arc is formed through that gas from the nozzle to the surface being cut, turning some of that gas to plasma. The plasma is sufficiently hot to melt the material being cut and moves sufficiently fast to blow molten metal away from the cut.
CNC plasma cutting
Electric discharge machining (EDM), also known as spark machining, spark eroding, burning, die sinking, or wire erosion, is a manufacturing process in which a desired shape is obtained using electrical discharges (sparks). Material is removed from the workpiece by a series of rapidly recurring current discharges between two electrodes, separated by a dielectric fluid and subject to an electric voltage. One of the electrodes is called the tool electrode, or simply the "tool" or "electrode," while the other is called the workpiece electrode, or "workpiece."
Master at top, badge die workpiece at bottom, oil jets at left (oil has been drained). Initial flat stamping will be "dapped" to give a curved surface.
Multi Spindle Machines Type of screw machine used in mass production. Considered to be highly efficient by increasing productivity through automation. Can efficiently cut materials into small pieces while simultaneously utilizing a diversified set of tooling. Multi-spindle machines have multiple spindles on a drum that rotates on a horizontal or vertical axis. The drum contains a drill head which consists of a number of spindles that are mounted on ball bearings and driven by gears. There are two types of attachments for these drill heads, fixed or adjustable, depending on whether the center distance of the drilling spindle needs to be varied.
Wire EDM Also known as wire cutting EDM, wire burning EDM, or traveling wire EDM, this process uses spark erosion to machine or remove material from any electrically conductive material, using a traveling wire electrode. The wire electrode usually consists of brass or zinc-coated brass material. Wire EDM allows for near 90 degree corners and applies very little pressure on the material.Since the wire is eroded in this process, a wire EDM machine feeds fresh wire from a spool while chopping up the used wire and leaving it in a bin for recycling.
Sinker EDM Also called cavity type EDM or volume EDM, sinker EDM consists of an electrode and workpiece submerged in oil or another dielectric fluid. The electrode and workpiece are connected to a suitable power supply, which generates an electrical potential between the two parts. As the electrode approaches the workpiece, dielectric breakdown occurs in the fluid forming a plasma channel and small spark jumps. Production dies and molds are often made with sinker EDM. Some materials, such as soft ferrite materials and epoxy-rich bonded magnetic materials are not compatible with sinker EDM as they are not electrically conductive.
water jet cutter Also known as a waterjet, is a tool capable of slicing into metal or other materials (such as granite) by using a jet of water at high velocity and pressure, or a mixture of water and an abrasivesubstance, such as sand. It is often used during fabrication or manufacture of parts for machinery and other devices. Waterjet is the preferred method when the materials being cut are sensitive to the high temperatures generated by other methods. It has found applications in a diverse number of industries from mining to aerospace where it is used for operations such as cutting, shaping, carving, and reaming.