4 CNC machining myths and misunderstandings

January 30, 2017

How long have you been a CNC machinist? Years? Decades? Are you considering just getting started?

Every profession has its facts – and misunderstandings. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the exaggerations and myths out there.

Here’s some you may have heard:

1. If You’ve Had Success Running a Job Before, You Won’t Have Any Problems In the Future

To get the same results, you have to set your CNC job up in exactly the same way – without any variation at all. If you’ve had a miscue of some kind, you’re likely misremembering how the job was done in the past.

2. CNC Machining is Easy for Anyone to Do

There’s a little bit of truth to this, but it’s still an exaggeration. CNC machining is easier to start from scratch. It allows people with less experience and skills to produce better, more consistent results. You can automate much of the process, which takes away some chance for error.

However, programming, setting up workspaces, monitoring production, and making adjustments to all this take experience. And it pays off with faster production times and higher product quality.

3. Jobs Always Take the Same Amount of Time to Run

They do…if everything goes exactly as expected. However, while CNC machines automate work and make production easier, they don’t guarantee the same run time for each job.

For example, your cutting tools will wear down. You may have different operators who take varying amounts of time to keep the machine running at a good speed. With repeating jobs, you should be able to have a reasonable close time of completion. For new jobs, however, time to complete may vary greatly.

4. CNC Machines Don’t Use G-Code Anymore

Just about every CNC machine uses a CAM system – that’s right. However, G-code is the output of every CAM system, which your CNC machine uses to run. Even today, it’s faster for CNC machine operators to modify the G-code than it is to make changes in the CAM system.

Code still matters a lot. And so does the experience and skill of the CNC machine operator.

Yes, running a CNC machine is easier than conventional machinery, but it’s not “easy.” Just like any other profession, the more skill and experience you have, the better results you’ll get.

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