What is CNC Machining?

What is CNC Machining?

CNC machining is a technology used in the production of manufactured goods. It uses pre-programmed software which controls the movement of machinery and tools. CNC stands for computer numerical control. It has many advantageous benefits in comparison to traditional manual machining which has its limitations. 

CNC machining works like a robot. When the pre-programmed software is activated, the production process begins. CNC programming involves code generation. The programming is retained in the memory so design and production can be consistently repeated over and over again. Codes can, however, be revised and updated and so CNC machining is by no means static.

CNC Machining: The History

Motors were first used to control the movement of tools in the 1940s. It was during this period that the early numerical control machines were also employed. The rapid development of technology allowed for these mechanisms to be improved by combining them with computerisation. This is what led to the creation of CNC machining. Some of the most common CNC machine processes used are laser cutting and ultrasonic welding. 

How does CNC programming work?

The language of CNC machining is referred to as G-code. It controls the speed, feed rate, co ordination and cuts of all the various tools in the production process. You can programme a CNC machine to run repetitive cycles without the need of manual workers to control these functions.

CNC machining that involves part is mostly automated. Through the pre-programming software, dimensions of the task can be put in place. Even if a product has numerous parts, made with numerous tools, these multiple functions can also installed. Robotic hands can be used to transfer parts from one process to another. Ultimately, the programming allows for complex designs that can be repeated consistently.

Examples of CNC Machines

Some examples of types of CNC machines available include the following:

1. Lathes

Lathe machines cut pieces in a circular motion. CNC machines allow this to be done with accuracy. These machines allow for complex designs to be run. Lathe machines can be directed by G-code or unique proprietary code.

2. CNC Mills

These work on number or letter prompts. CNC mills can be programmed using G-code or with a unique language created by the manufacturing team. 

3. Plasma Cutters

With this type, the material is cut with the use of a plasma torch. It is most commonly used for metal. 

4. Water Jet Cutters

In the context of CNC machining, water jets are means of cutting hard material such as metal and stone such as granite. It is done so with high pressure water, and sometimes with water and sand. It is a cooler substitute to other CNC machining methods that use heat as a production process which can be damaging to some materials.


CNC machining is the use of pre-programmed software that allows for the control of various tools in a production process. Through intricate G-board programming, you can control the speed and precision of any process. The nature of the software based production means you can update and replace existing programming at any time. 

At Standish Engineering, precision engineering company, we specialise in the production of batch quantities. Our experienced team of precision engineers are on hand to support the CNC machining requirements of your company. We promise a combination of precision engineering skill, state of the art machinery and the total flexibility of our workforce ensure that we offer you the best service possible.