Computer numerical control machining (CNC) is a manufacturing process in which pre-programmed computer software dictates the movement of factory tools and machinery. The process can be used to control a range of complex machinery, from grinders and lathes to mills and routers. With CNC machining, three-dimensional cutting tasks can be accomplished in a single set of prompts.
CNC machining services supersedes the limitations of manual control. Live operators are needed to input the commands of the computer through buttons, levers and wheels, but the computerized machine does all the machining and cutting through its imputed program.
CNC Machining Services
To deliver custom forgings that better match our customers' final design requirements, Great Lakes Forge offers fully customized CNC machining services. Our precision, large format CNC lathe enables us to provide several CNC machining forging services to customer specifications, including:
- And more
By providing precision machining in-house, we reduce the number of vendors you need to work with, and thereby reducing the total time and cost of your project.
Large Format CNC Provides Superior Accuracy & Perfect Repeatability
The precision afforded by CNC machining allows us to deliver forgings with extremely tight tolerances that would be impossible to achieve through the forging process alone. CNC programming guarantees perfect repeatability from one piece to the next-if you need two, ten, or a hundred forged parts, each one will match the others exact specifications.
Great Lakes Forge's large format CNC system can accommodate round or cylindrical parts up to 18" in diameter. We can turn parts up to 76" long to match the tight tolerances of our customers' designs. We can bore or drill holes up to 18" deep in parts up to 53" in length.
Our CNC machining software enables us to retain customer design files and specifications for future orders. If you need to reorder a custom forged and machined part or component one, two, or ten years from now, it will be identical to the original part Great Lakes Forge provided.
CNC milling is a machining process that is similar to both drilling and cutting. Like drilling, milling uses a rotating cylindrical cutting tool. However, the cutter in a milling machine can move along multiple axes, creating a variety of shapes, slots and holes. In addition, the work-piece is often moved across the milling tool in different directions, unlike the single axis motion of a drill.
CNC mills can run on programs comprised of number- and letter-based prompts, which guide pieces across various distances. The programming employed for a CNC mill machine could be based on either G-code or some unique language developed by a manufacturing team. Basic mills consist of a three-axis system (X, Y and Z).
CNC Turning is a manufacturing process in which bars of material are held in a chuck and rotated while a tool is fed to the piece to remove material to create the desired shape. CNC turning lathes can create components with minute details and extremely rigid designs.
A CNC controlled turning lathe functions by securing and rotating the product being machined along a dual axis of movement at high speeds, while a single point cutting, or boring tool shapes the material, resulting in the desired component being created. The CNC turning lathe is controlled by computer programs; ensuring that the exact same components can be produced and reproduced with systematic precision.
CNC Milling and Turning Differences
CNC milling and turning allow users to generate patterns and add elements to metals that are impossible to do by hand. CNC Milling uses guidelines and codes programmed into the computer for near automated functionality. The mill then cuts and drills materials to dimensions entered into the computer. The computer programming options allow the machines to make precise cuts at the operators chosen pace.
In contrast, CNC Turning uses computer-controlled machines to create a final product that is different from that of milling. CNC turning uses a single-point cutting tool that inserts parallel to the material to cut. The material is then rotated at changing speeds and the cutting traverses to create cylindrical cuts with exact measurements. It is used to create circular or tubular shares from larger material pieces. Since CNC turning is an automated process, speeds can be adjusted for increased accuracy.
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Note: Our CNC machining capabilities are currently limited to carbon steel, alloy steel, and stainless steel forgings.