CNC Overview: What is a CNC & How is it used?

benchtop cncs like I've got here in my

shop have really become the rage these

days and what that does is it raises a

lot of questions about what's the deal

with the benchtop C&C so in this

particular video what I want to do is

just give you an overview of what these

machines can bring to your shop if

you're interested in going that route

then in additional videos that we've

created we've drilled down in detail

with each machine to look at layout

mounting the material on the machine

much more in depth about specifically

setting up work and using the machine

but let's talk about this whole CNC

thing what's the deal with CNC well

first what is the deal with CNC computer

numerical control is what that means

here's what it boils down to we're going

to connect a computer to the head of the

machine the computer is going to control

the movement of that machine so think

about it this way this machine becomes

you with a plunge router in your hand

the plunge is what we call the z-axis

up-and-down move this way that's y axis

moving away from you left to right is

the x-axis so as the computer feeds the

signal to the machine it can move in

each of those directions and it can move

in all those directions at the same time

to create a variety of shapes a variety

of profiles do a variety of work now

what are we connecting to well it's

pretty familiar stuff the machines have

a router or spindle mounted in them and

when you look at those you're going to

be very familiar with it it's very much

like a router motor in a handheld router

or a router table that you've probably

already used on the end of the spindle

there's a collet and into that collet we

can put different router bits to create

different cuts the way that the machines

work is that as the computer feeds the

signal the X and the y-axis and the

z-axis are going to be controlled so

you'll see this component on the machine

moving back and forth left to right

front to

back the spindle moving up and down to

create all the different cuts that we

want to create the material itself is

going to be mounted to what's called a

spoil board called a spoil board it's

like having a sacrificial fence on one

of your tools the spoil board is

something that we're going to cut into

because quite commonly we're going to

cut all the way through our work and as

a result every once in a while we're

going to come back and clean that spoil

board up so in the world of jargon to

understand that's commonly called fly

cutting when we come back and we level

this board to get it nice and flat and

get those marks off of it what kind of

stuff can we do with these machines well

honestly your imagination can take you

in a bunch of different directions

people have made guitars they've done

what look like hand carved items

projects that can be done with CNC

machines are very very broad very very

endless how about different materials

well we're going to look at cutting wood

we're going to look at cutting MDF but

we can go quite a ways beyond that you

can cut a lot of non-ferrous materials

like aluminum you can also cut plastics

foam polycarbonate acrylic so you want

to make sure that you understand from

your particular manufacturer what is and

is not safe to put on your machine but

like a router we can control the speed

on the spindle the RPM and we can

control the feed rate at which it

travels all of that stuff will come into

play when we're cutting especially

non-ferrous metals and materials besides

wood so quite a bit of diversity in

these machines a lot to learn but we're

going to help you with that learning

curve as I said there's other videos

coming from us that are going to drill

down in detail and try to help you

understand better exactly what these

machines can do for you