Machining is a manufacturing term used to describe any controlled material-removal process used to cut a piece of raw material into a desired final shape and size. Simply said, machining is the process of removing material from a workpiece using a power-driven machine to shape it into the desired design.
In a manufacturing process, most metal components and parts require some form of machining. Other kinds of material, such as rubbers, plastics, and paper goods, can also be fabricated through machining processes.
Types of Machining
In the machining market, there are many tools that can be used alone or in conjunction with other tools at different steps of the manufacturing process to achieve the desired result. The most common machining tools are:
- Cutting Tools: Typical examples of cutting implements are saws and shears. They are usually applied to cut material with predetermined dimensions.
- Boring Tools: These are often used as finishing equipment to make adjustments in previously cuts into the material.
- Grinding Tools: These tools use a rotating wheel to make light cuts or to accomplish a fine finish on a workpiece.
- Drilling Tools: Consists of two-edge rotating devices that produce spherical holes parallel to the axis of rotation.
- Turning Tools: Tools that turn a material piece on its axis while a cutting tool adapt it to form.
- Milling Tools: These tools use a rotating cutting surface with few blades to cut unique designs out the material.
Burning Machining Technologies
Burning machine is a type of tool that apply heat to shape a material piece. The most popular technologies are:
- Laser Cutting: A laser machine delivers high-quality surface finishes and extreme cutting precision. It emits a thin, high-energy beam of light that effectively melts, burn or vaporizes material. This process is applied for shaping steel or etching patterns into a piece of material.
- Plasma Cutting: This method is usually applied on electrically conductive metal that requires a precise cut width and minimal prep time.
- Oxy-Fuel Cutting: A method that uses a mixture of oxygen and fuel gases to melt and cut away material. This method can be used to cut hard and thick materials and offer high portability and low dependence on primary power sources.
CNC machining is a computer-aided technique that can be combined with a wide range of equipment. It relies on software and programming to shape the workpiece according to preset parameters. Unlike to manually guided methods, CNC machining is an automated process that offers various benefits such as high production cycles, low manufacturing costs and uniform production.
Precision machining performs specific small cuttings (between 0.013 mm to 0.0005 mm) and surface finishes finer than 32T. Like CNC machining, this type of machining can be applied to a wide range of fabrication tools and methods.