George Vondriska

CNC Overview: What is a CNC Machine & How is it Used?

George Vondriska
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With CNC machines hitting the woodworking tool marketplace in a big way, you may be wondering what is a CNC Machine? Here’s an overview for you to help you understand what the deal is with CNC.

What drives the machine?

The first step is programming on a computer. Don’t sweat the programming too much. In most cases it’s pretty intuitive. Once we have a drawing it can be sent to the CNC machine, much like sending a document to a printer.

Making cuts

You’ll recognize many aspects of a CNC machine. It’s not unlike a hand-held plunge router, with control of the router’s direction being provided by the CNC. Router bits are held in a collet. Three axes are available on these machines, allowing a wide variety of cuts.

Is a CNC for you?

Once you’ve answered the question “What is a CNC Machine?”, you’ll be wondering if one of these machines is a good fit for your shop. This is a question that each of us needs to answer individually. What benefits will a CNC machine provide for me? There’s a huge variety of things the machine can be used for. WoodWorkers Guild of America is ready to help you determine if a CNC machine will benefit you, and help you learn how to use it. Learning to use a benchtop CNC can be a lot of fun, and provide an opportunity for your creative juices to flow.

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CNC Machine Programming Tips

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3 Responses to “CNC Overview: What is a CNC Machine & How is it Used?”

  1. Terrell

    Hello All, I'm researching CNC machines and accessories. I've look at several brands and reviews which not so much confused me but made the decision way harder than expected. I understand that no matter how great the machine is you're going to have one ore two customers not happy for some reason which generates a poor review. So, I turn to the professionals with experience to help. I'm looking at several brands, Shark HD W/laser module, X carve, Laguna and Shop Bot. I'm sure this process is just like purchasing other tools but I like to talk to others that have the machine and can tell me the good and draw backs. I'm leaning toward the Shark HD with laser module as it can help with other items I make. I appreciate the time and all responses, thanks Terrell

  2. Roger Weekes

    George: I am a huge fan. Thanks for the info. I will be buying a CNC Router for my shop shortly - and need ALL the info I can get. I tried playing your video re: how does a cnc work? etc. and can't get it to play. Is there another way to view it? Thanks.

  3. roger

    So I've done the math and estimate an investment of about $4500 to turn out my first piece!! Let's not forget that your audience is primarily do it yourselfers who have between 5 and 15 thousand invested in their shop so I don't think any are interested in this very expensive novelty.

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