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

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With CNC machines hitting the woodworking tool marketplace in a big way, you may be wondering what is a CNC? 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?”, 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.

You may also be interested in:

V-Carving Letters and Artwork with a CNC Router

Engraving Letters and Artwork with a CNC Router

Make an Oval Box and Textured Lid with a CNC

CNC Machine Programming Tips

Discussion
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4 Responses to “CNC Overview: What is a CNC & How is it Used?”
  1. 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.

    Reply
    • George Vondriska

      You’re right, a CNC machine is an expensive addition to the shop. But we’re seeing more and more interest in this topic, so will be exploring it to see where it leads.

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Roger,

      We are sorry to hear that you are not able to view the video. We have tested it and it is working ok. Please give us a call at 1-855-253-0822 and we can troubleshoot the issue with you.

      Thanks,
      Becky WWGOA Video Membership

      Reply

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