CNC Machining Process

At Abilista we offer CNC machining for the manufacture of your functional prototypes.

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You are just one click away from finding the right CNC machining company to materialize your project. Turning, 5-axis milling and machining technology fully at your disposal.

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But first, we want to show you in more detail which are the main CNC machining processes and what types of parts can be manufactured with each one of them.

Discover

CNC machining

at a glance

Although the term Machining is very broad, in this section we are going to focus on manufacturing processes using machining by chip removal. As its name indicates, this process consists of obtaining the piece by “carving” the raw material. Hence the name chip removal. Even so, there are different machining processes by chip removal, of which we will see the most prominent, but previously we would like to clarify the term CNC or computer numerical control.

CNC technology appeared much later than lathes and milling machines. These machines were equipped with verniers or mechanical controls, which operated the axes of the same to achieve the desired geometry. In these cases, repeatability and precision were constrained by the skill of the operator.

With the advent of numerical control manufacturing, drives are now controlled by a computer, simplifying and automating these processes. The operator inputs the geometry, tolerances, and other parameters to the machine and in this way, the result is always the same and serial production takes on another dimension.

Main applications for CNC machining processes:

Functional prototypes

Fabrication of functional prototypes to validate the performance, reliability and assembly methods of products.

Low volume series

Fabrication of low volume parts for production and testing.

Tooling

Fabrication of tooling for mass production and manufacturing equipment.

Advantages and Limitations of CNC machining

Main advantages

Main limitations

Types of CNC Machining

Let’s see what are the main machining processes that are most commonly related to prototype manufacturing.

CNC milling

Milling is a machining process where a cutting tool that rotates at high revolutions removes material from a piece of raw material (metal, plastic, resin,…), until leaving only the piece that we design and that we want to obtain.

To achieve this, the machine (machining center) has the ability to change cutting tools indefinitely, in order to machine the different geometries. Drill bits, strawberries, taps, are the most used tools.

Depending on the type of machine, the part, which is firmly attached to the table, is oriented to be accessed by the machining head, which is where the tool is located. It is also common for said head to be oriented simultaneously. This usually happens in 5-axis centers, which are capable of finishing the part on all its faces, with the exception of the one that serves as a base. In addition, when their axes are combined, the geometries to be obtained can be of great complexity.

mecanizado CNC

CNC turning

The manufacturing processes by turning are especially indicated in parts with an axis of revolution. However, after incorporating the motorized tools in the lathes, it is also possible to make axial and eccentric holes to the rotation of the piece.

During turning, the piece is attached to the lathe chuck, rotating at high speed. The tool, fixed to the so-called turret, moves longitudinally, removing chips and replicating the geometry of the part.

Within turning, 5 fundamental operations are distinguished:

Facing

It consists of machining the frontal face of the part which is the face furthest from the locking plate.

Turning

This operation consists of “copying” the profile of the part. To do this, the cutting tool, located normal to the axis of the part, runs its entire length, to achieve its shape.

Parting

This is how the processes for cutting excess material or separating the finished piece from the rest of the material that remains attached to the locking plate.

Drilling

This process can be carried out with a motorized or fixed tool. Normally, when the hole to be drilled is on the axis of rotation of the part, it is done with a bit fixed to the head, while the part is turning.

Torneado CNC

Multitask Turning

When using motorized tools as in lathes, we talk about multitask turning or turning centers, which is also how this type of machine is known. A multitasking lathe is usually equipped with two chucks and at least one head with motorized tools.

During the manufacturing process, the part is fixed to one of the plates, making it rotate so that the fixed tools perform their function, as if it were a conventional lathe. This movement of the plate also serves to orient the part and allows the head to perform complex milling operations.

The second plate is usually used as a “transfer”, that is, it can advance and collect the part before cutting it off. In this way, these machines can finish the part on all its faces, guaranteeing high precision and big time savings.

torneado multitarea

Available Materials

List of the main materials that you can choose from to build your functional prototypes.

nylon cnc

PA

Polyamide or Nylon is an ideal material for functional applications thanks to its excellent mechanical properties and high resistance to abrasion and chemical attack.

abs cnc

ABS

ABS differs by its high impact resistance and its hardness. It is also very resistant to chemical attack.

pc cnc

PC

Polycarbonate offers precision, durability and stability, producing robust parts capable of withstanding functional tests.

aluminum cnc

Aluminum

It stands out for its versatility and low weight while maintaining good mechanical properties.

stainless steel cnc

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel has excellent strength, high ductility, and good thermal properties. Very resistant to corrosion.

brass cnc

Brass

Brass is a low melting point soft metal, durable and cost-efficient. It is a good conductor of heat and resists corrosion.

Finishing options

Different finishing options for your parts:

as machined

As Machined

As part comes from the machining process. Minor tool marks will be visible on the part.

polished cnc

Polishing

The processed surface will be highly smooth without neither machine line nor sanding mark.

powder coating

Powder coating

Sprays a strong, wear and corrosion resistant protective polymer paint on the surface of a part. More durable than standard painting methods.

bead blast cnc

Bead blasting

Mainly used for aesthetic purposes, bead blasting removes tool marks by adding a uniform matte or satin surface finish on a machined part.

chrome plating

Chrome plating

A thin layer of chromium is placed onto a metal or plastic object. The chromed layer can be decorative and provide corrosion resistance.

Anodizing

Anodizing

Available for aluminium only, anodizing adds a corrosion resistant, hard, non-conductive ceramic coating on the surface of machined parts.

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