Most CNC milling machines are computer controlled vertical mills with the
ability to move the spindle vertically along the Z axis. They are also called
engraving machines. Computer Numerical Control Milling is the most common form
of CNC. CNC mills can perform the functions of drilling and often turning. CNC
Mills are classified according to the number of axes that they possess.
Axes are labeled as x and y for horizontal movement, and z for vertical movement
CNC Z-Axis Control
The Z-axis movement allows for creating 2.5D surfaces. When combined with the
use of conical tools, significantly improves milling precision without impacting
speed, providing a cost-efficient alternative to most flat-surface
CNC machines can exist in virtually any of the forms of manual machinery, like
horizontal mills. More advanced CNC milling machines add even more degrees of
freedom, i.e. tilting the spindle or rotating the work piece, allowing
production of extremely complex 3D objects with very little refixturing, i.e.
prototype machinery parts.
A 5-axis CNC milling machine has an extra axis in the form of a
horizontal pivot for the milling head, as shown below. This allows extra
flexibility for machining with the end mill at an angle with respect to the
table. A 6-axis CNC milling machine would have another horizontal pivot for
the milling head, this time perpendicular to the fifth axis.
Programming CNC Milling Machines
CNC milling machines are programmed using G-codes. G-codes represent
specific CNC functions in alphanumeric format. Some potential packages
SE Drawing Extractor by Xpress Software Inc
SE Drawing Extractor SolidEdge Automation Tools that easily extracts 2D and
3D drawings into AutoCAD format (DXF & DWG) for easy integration with 3rd party
software, like CAM systems and CNC software.
GOelan by CN Industries
GOelanV5 is a powerful CADCAM software for Production Machining aiming at
the replacement of programming on the Machine Tool Controller.