A close-up photo of a CNC milling machine in operation, with metal shavings visible around the drill and on the machine platform.

Throughout the world, manufacturers widely use CNC milling. If you are not aware of what CNC milling is, and how it requires CAM software to produce parts or products, read on to learn about this fascinating machining technology.

What is CNC milling?

Computer Numerical Control milling is a process that uses computerized controls to control the various aspects of machining parts or products. CNC milling uses rotating multipoint cutting tools to progressively remove material from a workpiece to produce a custom-designed product or part. The computer controls things like the spindle rotations, the cutting tool’s rotary and linear motions, and the cutting feed rate.

The process of CNC milling is suitable for a broad range of materials, including metal, wood, plastic, and glass. CNC milling includes common operations like face milling, plain milling, form milling, and angular milling. It can also include specialized operations such as straddle milling, profile milling, gang milling, and gear cutting. CNC milling’s versatility means it is widely used in a broad range of industries for a variety of parts and products.

Generally, CNC milling machines are categorized into two machine configurations: horizontal and vertical. They are also differentiated by the number of axes in motion. The spindle of vertical milling machines is vertically oriented, and in horizontal machines, the spindle is horizontal. The latter machines also employ arbors to give additional support during the milling process. And they have support capabilities for numerous cutting tools like straddle milling and gang milling. The majority of CNC milling machines come with between three and five axes, typically providing performance along the XYZ axes and, when applicable, around the rotational axes.

Purchasing CNC Milling Machines

If you are looking to buy CNC milling machines, check out the wide selection on Revelation Machinery. The company regularly updates its inventory, and you will be able to find CNC milling machines in a wide range of sizes, brands, and capacities.

What is CAM software?

The CNC milling machine receives its instructions from a program that is written specifically for every cutting task. The process of creating a part or product with CNC milling begins with designing the part or product in either 2D or 3D with a computer-aided design program. The completed CAD design is then exported and converted into G-Code. The programming code is created using an offline Computer-Aided Manufacturing software system, which is typically abbreviated to CAM software. It is also known as CNC milling software. The G-Code program tells the CNC machine where to position and move the cutting tool, among many other aspects that are vital to the accuracy of the machining process. The CAM software also enables a programmer to perform other tasks that are not available at the CNC machine control interface, such as machining calculations, visual simulations of cut materials, and tool collision avoidance.

By leveraging existing geometric 3D CAD models and generating precision G-Code control programs that contain millions of lines of code, in a matter of minutes, it is clear that CAM software enables manufacturers to save time and increase machining accuracy. Furthermore, CAM and CNC milling eliminates human errors, which can occur when control programs are written manually.

Types of CAM Software

There are several CAM software options available, so whether you need a standalone CAM package or a CAM software that integrates fully into a CAD program, there are solutions available. You will be able to find CAM software for things like molding, wood-working, rapid prototyping, tooling, and general machining. CAM software is available for users of VisualCAD, Rhino, SolidWorks, Alibre Design, and more.

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Annabel Johnson

Part time gamer, reviewer and blogger. Full time geek and tech expert!

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