The metalworking industry needs more CNC operators. This rewarding career appeals to people who have a broad skill set: a good eye for detail, math, mechanical design, and the ability to read technical drawings. CNC operators use a combination of brains and hands-on work to properly transform a metal casting into a valuable working machined part.
What do you need out of a CNC machining metal cutting tool?
That’s simple, right?
- Easy installation/adjustment
- Reliable rigidity
- Solid durability
- High precision (of course)
How you want a tool to perform is cut and dried. What’s challenging for many engineers in CNC machine shops is how to select the right tool to make sure the job gets done properly. Of course, selecting a CNC machine cutting tool isn’t only about the performance of the tool. Cost is a huge factor, and we’ll address that in this article, too.
At some point, we all need some help with the heavy lifting.
In the world of CNC machining, that can mean robots to lift, position, and pack metal castings, some weighing hundreds of pounds. It also means less physical and mental stress on employees, the most valued asset of any machine shop.
Working alongside a robot can improve operator productivity by taking on repetitive, physically demanding work. Smart manufacturers use robots to increase speed, enhance efficiency, and drive repeatability, which leads to better quality.
At Stecker Machine, we talk to a lot of job hunters who aren’t sure about working in a CNC machine shop. The day-to-day responsibilities, the culture, the work environment … it can be intimidating.
That’s why we had a discussion with recent hire, Zane, to get his thoughts. He’s been a CNC machine operator for three months, and here’s what he’d like to share with people who may be interested in a career in CNC machining.
As its name clearly states, CNC (computer numerical control) is automated control of machining tools using a computer. Yet, that doesn’t just happen; it requires the right coded programmed instruction.
So, what is G-code? What is M-code? And how do G-code and M-code programming actually work? This article explains each one, but first let’s touch on what programming actually is.
The title of this article grabbed your eye for a reason.
If machine shop tools are vital to your success, this article complements two others that may interest you. They covered choosing the right CNC machine tools for complex parts and maximizing cut tools and minimizing tool crib spending.
While a future blog will likely cover specific grades and materials used to make CNC machine shop tools — carbon steel, high-speed steel, etc. — today, we’re sharing the skills needed to manage a shop full of tools.
Tool availability drives scheduling, which directly impacts the bottom line. What good is it to win a project, secure the right operators, receive the castings, and prepare a project setup cart with an incomplete set of tools needed to finish that job?
There’s no arguing: CNC machines are incredibly accurate. Their ability to precision cut ¼ the width of a human hair (0.001”), makes them essential in any modern machine shop.
The goal of modern CNC milling is to transform materials such as metal castings into finished, usable parts. That goal is only achievable by using incredibly precise CNC milling machines.
Computer software is the brains of a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) milling machine, controlling the machine and automating production to increase throughput with consistent quality. It’s this repeatability that makes CNC machining so efficient and so valuable to both customers and the machinists themselves (see “The Machinist’s Perspective” throughout this article.)
Solid client-vendor relationships are vital for any company. So much depends on them: quality, customer service, efficiencies, low costs, supply chain integration, future growth, and much more. Not having them invites miscommunication, contentiousness, quality issues, and missed deadlines. In fact, organizations should nurture vendor relationships similarly to how they focus on customer loyalty.
When it comes to high-quality machining, precision is the key to part quality. And the key to making that process cost-effective is repeatability, so every part can be counted on to perform as expected.