At first sight, the CNC drilling machine looks top heavy and ready to fall over.

A tall vertical column sits above a box shaped base. Above this tall column is the electrical drive for the drilling machine’s vertical unit. Hidden in this lop-sided construction is the fact that there exists a counterbalance, a counterweight to the pull of the weighty column.

The CNC drilling machine changes its shape during the course of its operation. The operator is able to move both the horizontal table and the vertical column. The operator initiates that movement by switching on one of the electric drives.

With the aid of the computer numerical control system, the operator is able to direct the movement of the drill along three axes simultaneously. This allows the tools of the CNC drilling machine to complete precise and incremental changes in the material that needs to be processed. The precision of the processing is guaranteed by the specifics in the CNC software.

The popularity of the CNC drilling machine is evident from information on the Internet. For example, a look at the businesses with a CNC drilling machine in one small California City showed that there were at least 18 different machines. This was in the southern California city of Culver City, a town with a population of only 33,000.

Here the number of businesses with a CNC drilling machine greatly exceeds those businesses with shelves of books.

Many of the businesses that use now, or have used in the past, a CNC drilling machine are located in the most least-traveled areas of the City. For example, a conversation with Ralph, the owner of R and R Engineering, reveals that his business lies under the freeway, close to the spot where the San Diego Freeway intersects the I-90. Ralph admits to have scaled-back his use of the CNC drilling machine, but only because he is hoping to soon retire.

Ralph’s shop is walking distance from where this article on the CNC drilling machine is being written. Ralph has told this writer that he recently sold a CNC drilling machine. The writer has begun to ponder on who might have purchased that large, lopsided piece of equipment.

Who would want a CNC drilling machine? Who would want a metal box that served as base for a tall metal column? Who would want a rotary table that rested on top of a four-point contact ball bearing? Perhaps the buyer was one of the physics teachers at Culver City High School.

The CNC drilling machine has at its base a ribbed surface. This ribbing offers resistance to the twisting and bending of the functioning machine. This ribbing shows how friction can be harnessed to provide an important element of a working machine. Therefore, the CNC drilling machine has the ability to demonstrate some of the fundamental physics principles.

Maybe the students in one Culver City classroom will get a look at a CNC drilling machine. Maybe some students will choose to establish a future R and R Engineering.


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