CNC Programming & Machining

The basics of CNC programming & gear cutting

a CNC gear cutting & machining flow chart

Programming can be a steep learning curve for the beginner, but getting a job as an apprentice is a bit of a cheat sheet into learning how to ‘master’ the programming side of the job so you can start getting your hands on the gear cutting side of the business using companies such as The one thing you will learn is that programming is one thing, machining is a different monster. The basics of CNC programming are G codes and M codes, these are used to control the machining process when it comes to milling, turning or lathing.

CNC Machining

The console for operating these machines can look like your average PC, but what you can take from this straight away is CNC stands for ‘computer numerical control’, this is how the machines receive their instructions from the controller via the specialised software used in creating manufactured parts. The G codes, which are essentially the machining language for the console, is responsible for controlling the machines speed, rotation, location, feed rate as well as other aspects associated with the machining process. When a code has been developed, it is loaded into a machine where first off it will be run under a test condition, this trial run is commonly referred to as ‘cutting air’ and is a vital step before implementing it’s use on actual parts. The purpose of this test is to prevent damage to the machined parts, scraped, chipped or damage to the actual machine itself, resulting in a failed job.

Advantages for this type of machining

Overall, this type of machining gives the user more control than manual machining and the processes involved can be repeated time and again. CNC machining is mainly used for developing complex objects (parts) that would otherwise be unachievable by hand. This in turn can lead to mass production of a part with hopefully no mistakes that would likely occur with human operation over a considerable length of time, and completed to the clients specifications.