What is CNC Cutting:
CNC cutting refers to a process in which a computer-controlled machine automates the process of material removal. Within metal fabrication, this can mean cutting sheet metal to a desired size or shape. Examples of machines that perform these subtractive processes are CNC routers and lasers, though they differ in their method of removing material.
CNC Lasers use their high energy beam to cut through material, meaning they are a thermal based process, rather than contact based. Laser cutting pertains to many types of materials, such as metal, wood, plastic, and glass, and does not require custom tooling for each. Speed is another benefit of laser cutting, as it can cut a piece of sheet metal in no time. The tolerances achievable using CNC lasers allow for the creation of perfectly fitting intricate parts, even with little to no cleaning of edges.
CNC Routers use a fiction based cutting process that relies on a spinning bit to remove material. CNC Routers are just as accurate as their laser counterparts, but are typically slower. Routers are also suitable for materials such as metal, wood, plastic, and glass with the use of different bits. Routers are best suited for projects where engraving takes place, as they can remove material at specific depths better than their laser equivalents.
So as for what you should know about CNC cutting, this term is typically applied to CNC routers, although it refers to any form of CNC controlled cutting machine.
CNC in the term "CNC cutting" stands for computer numerical control. This means a computer is controlling the machine's movements, typically through a type of programming language called G-code (Geometric Code). G-code is derived from a CAD model.
CAD or computer aided design models are 3D drawings of the part to be cut. These drawings include all dimensions and specifications the machines need to cut each piece.
With most metal fabrication applications that start with sheet metal, laser cutting is the best choice. While cutting, lasers provide excellent accuracy, speed, and consistency for each pass. Their efficiency also lowers cutting costs.
Learning the ins and outs of CNC cutting can be time consuming and confusing. That is why we at Rapid Metal Fab can make or advise on decisions regarding the type of CNC cutting your project may require, along with any other choices in the metal fabrication process. We would also be glad to answer any other questions regarding metal fabrication. To ask questions or begin creating your own custom metal works contact us here.
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