What is CNC?

CNC means Computer Numerical Control, and is another part of the Computer Aided Design and Manufacture process. It is the conversion of the design produced by CAD software into numbers, which are co-ordinates of a graph, used to control the movement of the cutter in the machine manufacturing process. In this way CNC is the ‘instructions’ for the computer used to control the cutting and shaping of the material.

In order to control the movement of the cutter on to a 3D CNC machine, the X, Y and Z coordinates are used to allow the material to be machined in three directions. Once the design is produced using CAD software and has been converted into coordinates, the cutter is instructed to travel from one coordinate to the next in sequence, producing the desired shape. Of course this means that even for a simple shape there can be thousands of coordinates,

For more information about the processes involved in Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing please visit our What is CAD? and What is CAM? pages.