The CNC milling machine is the most commonly used piece of equipment among the manufacturing machines that have a computer numerical control (CNC).

Its presence in the industry setting underlines the degree to which the computer has contributed to the advancement of mass production. The operator of the CNC milling machine can create complex parts from stainless steel, aluminum, or cobalt.

And complex parts are not the only thing that one can make with a CNC milling machine. Some of the products that we take for granted today did not exist just fifty years ago. At that time, the manufacturers did not have any CNC milling machine. Hence, society then lacked many of the conveniences that we have today. 

For example, today our shippers have the ability to cushion the goods that they are shipping with bubble plastic. This particular plastic has been produced by a CNC milling machine. It represents an entire family of products, all of which are at our fingertips today because manufacturers know how to use a CNC milling machine. Other members of that same family are lock and loop fasteners, shoes, sewing machine motors and inkjet cartridges.

What allows the operator of the CNC milling machine to make these very useful objects? The process relies on micro control. A microcontroller interfaces between a computer serial port and a driver and allows the operator to create complex parts or hard-to-make objects. The operator has the ability to move the mill in a set number of directions. The head size on the milling device tells the operator in how many different directions he or she can control the milling instrument.

The number of angles at which the operator can set the milling instrument will be equal to the head size minus three. For example, if a CNC milling machine has a head size of four then the operator can move that machine only straight up and straight down. Numbers 1, 2, and 3 represent the three allowed directions for movement of the object that is being created by the milling process. When the head size is five, a CNC milling machine can be moved along one additional angle, one angle in addition to the standard up and down movement. The object that is undergoing the milling process will always be allowed movement in three directions.

A skilled operator can use the CNC milling machine to create the complex parts for other machines. For example, a CNC milling machine can be used to make a sealing machine, a food-packaging machine, a crusher machine, or a shredder machine. It is interesting to note that some of our current needs (the need for the shredding of documents) have been met primarily because manufacturers have discovered the usefulness of the CNC milling machine.

In a sense the CNC milling machine guarantees our society’s need for its very existence. Manufacturers use the CNC milling machine to make inkjet cartridges. Those inkjet cartridges are then used to create printed papers. Shredders, devices that have been created through use of the CNC milling machine, destroy those printed papers later.


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